FOX 5 San Diego

Plans for SeaWorld’s next roller coaster take shape

A view from high atop SeaWorld San Diego's roller coaster "Emperor" as seen in a POV video released by the park shortly before it opened in March 2022. (Photo: SeaWorld San Diego)

SAN DIEGO — With the long-awaited Emperor dive coaster finally open, SeaWorld San Diego is setting its sights on the park’s next thrill ride — and we’re starting to get an idea of what to expect.

While a SeaWorld spokesperson declined by email to share renderings or a statement on the coaster this week, a meeting of the California Coastal Commission revealed some key details about the coming attraction.

As proposed, the coaster will rise no more than 30 feet into the sky from a location just east of the Wild Arctic area, on the east side of the park. That puts the ride in fairly close proximity to big brother Emperor. Crews will remodel the Wild Arctic building, long home to a beloved helicopter-themed ride, to serve as a rider loading area.

As noted by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the 30-foot-or-less design suggests a ride that’s more accessible to the whole family, as opposed to Emperor’s big kid thrills.

The park’s Coastal Commission application says the ride will be colored gray and blue to “aid the structure in blending into the surrounding sky.” The ride’s lighting will similarly minimize its impact to the surrounding area by remaining below the 30-foot height limit and not casting light upward, the park says.

Commission staff also considered the impact of the ride on wildlife, noting SeaWorld’s continued shift toward amusement park rides and away from live animal shows. Officials considered creatures both within the park and in the broader Mission Bay area.

“While the addition of a thrill ride and continued intensification of such rides within SeaWorld may increase ambient sound levels within the leasehold, SeaWorld has provided information that indicates no adverse impacts on captive marine animals are anticipated,” a staff recommendation reads.

It goes on to require a noise monitoring plan that keeps tabs on levels around the site, making sure that it’s not noisier than anticipated.

That caveat was among several other special conditions included in the commission’s approval of SeaWorld’s coastal development permit. Others related to lighting, traffic and attendance.

While the park is keeping everything else under wraps, a SeaWorld spokesperson told FOX 5 to expect a formal announcement “in the next few weeks.”