SeaWorld’s New Penguin Ride System Revealed?

UPDATE 3/14/2012: The concept art and vehicle renderings have been removed from their source websites, so we have removed them from our article as well.

In November of 2011, SeaWorld Orlando announced their new expansion for the 2013 season, an entire Antarctic re-theme of their existing Penguin Plaza area to be called Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin. While details were scarce, they did promise a “one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible family adventure” that would combine “state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.” So, what could that ride system be?

Plans filed with the South Florida Water Management District last September showed the overall layouts of the three buildings in the new area. One of our forum readers, Beast, pointed out a few interesting things about them. For starters, there are five pre-show rooms (each with 8 people) and what appear to be five circular load bays, or ports. In addition, there is no ride track evident inside the building, something most would shrug off as an unnecessary detail to be included in plans like these. But why include pre-show rooms with guests but no ride track? Beast hypothesized that this new ride might be of the trackless variety, much like Pooh’s Honey Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland.

Sounds like a crazy assumption, right? No ride track on plans = trackless ride system. We thought the same thing at first too, but there’s more. Looking at attraction diagrams on ETF Ride Systems website, a company that specializes in trackless ride systems, you’ll notice something quite familiar on the Mystic Mover page:

The ride above features ‘ports’, just like on the SeaWorld plans. ETF also makes a Multi-Mover attraction that can accommodate more vehicles for a higher capacity. This kind of ride would definitely be a first for American parks, and could allow SeaWorld to program multiple ride paths so that your experience really could be “different each time” like the press release suggests.

So what do you think, is this enough evidence to assume that SeaWorld’s new ride will feature a trackless ride system? Or do you think it’ll be something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below, or on our message boards!

The gallery below contains the plans for the new area, including a labeled overview of the potential ride building layout.

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UPDATE 3/14/2012: The concept art and vehicle renderings have been removed from their source websites, so we have removed them from our article as well.

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