In 2016, SeaWorld Orlando was in a dark place. Attendance had continued to fall, and bad press plagued the company as a whole. SeaWorld needed something big, and it needed it soon. At the Orlando park, this meant adding a new thrill ride in the form of Mako. The 200 foot tall B&M hyper coaster was certainly enough to rekindle my interest in visiting the park, which I recently did. After 3 rides on Mako in both the front and back rows, I believe I’ve formulated a good opinion on the coaster. Here are my thoughts:
Mako opened along with a brand new entrance area themed to sharks as a whole, adjacent to SeaWorld’s existing shark attractions. The plaza area is well done in my opinion. Definitely not the immersive level of theming you’ll find at Pandora or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but it looks nice and gets you in the mood for the ride. The queue area looks nice as well, complete with an exhibit done by Guy Harvey and some facts about Sharks, but is nothing overly special. It’s better than the build up for a lot of rides, which is fine enough. But you’re not really riding Mako for an immersive experience anyways.
Now, let’s get into the main attraction: the ride itself. Mako was/is advertised as the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in Orlando. And it can back these claims up with some impressive stats; a max height of 200 feet, a drop height of 197 feet, a max speed of 73mph, and 4,760 feet of track. But numbers don’t always translate to a great ride (stares at the original Son of Beast). Luckily, Mako packs quite a punch. The ride is glossy smooth ,and has a great layout. After the lifthill, you go down an incredible 70 degree drop. The drop is followed by a massive overbanked turn. Then you go into the staple of B&M hyper coaster: floater airtime hills. The coaster is packed with them and every single one of them delivers airtime. The first massive one is my favorite part of the entire ride because of how much air time you get. The coaster also has a unique element in the hammerhead turn, which is a pretty cool feature that provides some good G-forces. After that, you go through a few more airtime hills which are all very good. Then you hit the midcourse, which actually doesn’t slow you down too much. After that you go through some smaller hills and then over the entrance plaza.
The ride’s finale is the same as every other coaster ever built since time began, a helix. That said, this helix is over the lake in the middle of the park, so if you’re on the left most seat of the train you feel like you can almost touch the water. Overall, this is a great layout, and it’s very reridable. The coaster also sports a great color scheme with the purple track and blue supports.
I was able to experience both the front and back rows and both provided a great ride. The back is going to be more forceful as always, but I really enjoyed the drop and the overbanked turn in the front row. Both are amazing and you should definitely try each, but I think I have to give a slight edge to the back row since you get more airtime which is the strength of a B&M hyper coaster.
Simply put, Mako is an amazing ride from start to finish and every enthusiast should make a trip to SeaWorld for it. And it certainly has had an impact on the park as a whole as attendance increased last year and stock prices have risen recently. And it easily is the best coaster in the Orlando area between all of the theme parks. But could Mako be the best ride overall? Better than anything that Disney or Universal have to offer? No. It’s a great coaster, but the lack of theming is always going to keep it out of the top spot. But I think it’s probably in my top 10, which is impressive given the immersive attractions that SeaWorld’s competitors have. Overall, Mako is an epic coaster and is essential for every coaster enthusiast to ride at some point. For the first time in a long time, I can reccomend a trip to SeaWorld during your Orlando vacation. I’m giving Mako a 10/10.
Final Score: 10/10
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