INFINITY Falls, featuring roaring rapids, soaking fountains and a record-setting 40ft waterfall drop, is now open at SeaWorld Orlando.

The ride is SeaWorld Orlando’s newest and most highly anticipated attraction – bringing the thrill of white water rafting into a new experience the family can enjoy together. Built as the centrepiece of a newly themed area, which is designed to resemble a base camp for explorers and scientists, after riding Infinity Falls the entire family can explore the base camp and take part in interactive experiences that combine play with education to create a positive impact on fresh water ecosystems. The experience aims to reinforce Park to Planet in real time, a SeaWorld mission to help guests understand some of the challenges facing the planet and hopefully inspiring them to help.

Onboard Infinity Falls’ eight-passenger circular rafts, riders embark on an adventure through a lush rainforest environment inspired by some of the world’s most incredible freshwater ecosystems. Featuring dynamic drops and turns and interactive water elements, visitors get to experience the feel of travelling through exhilarating rapids. The ride is a first of its kind, featuring an innovative vertical lift designed to transport the rafts to the top of the ride’s 40ft drop in just over five seconds.

The new realm boasts a gift shop where guests can purchase Infinity Falls-themed merchandise and donate five per cent of the net proceeds to The Everglades Foundation Literacy programme, which provides K-12 educators with the curriculum and tools to educate young Floridians about the ecological and economic impact of the ecosystem. The park’s new restaurant, Waterway Grill, is also located next to Infinity Falls and features flavours inspired from regions around the Amazon and a selection of craft beers.

Images courtesy SeaWorld Orlando

Jennifer Diaz, director of education at The Everglades Foundation, commented: “Educating the next generation of Floridians, coupled with leadership and actions today is critical to the desired outcome – a restored and resilient Everglades. Thanks to our partnership with SeaWorld, we are continuing to advance the reach of the Everglades Literacy Programme in Florida.”

The opening of Infinity Falls is an ideal addition to SeaWorld’s ever-growing ride portfolio and Mark Pauls, president of SeaWorld Orlando Parks, said: “From the excitement of the thrilling rapids, to the unique vertical lift element, Infinity Falls is an adventure that appeals to the entire family. The opening of Infinity Falls is the beginning of an incredible and action-packed year ahead. We are proud to bring our guests more events, more rides, more thrills and more value than ever before.”

In order to bring the ride to life, SeaWorld Orlando worked with Intamin (IntaRide LLC). The company’s Sandor Kernacs talked InterPark through the project. “SeaWorld wanted to have a water ride for the whole family and that is exactly what they got with this rapids ride. Visitors from young to old can enjoy this ride together – even though they will probably enjoy the ride more if they are wet rather than dry!

“From the very beginning, it was SeaWorld’s goal to have more than just your average water ride. They wanted to raise the bar for water rides and Infinity Falls shows that with the newest technologies, rapids rides can achieve ride experiences that were not available in the past.

“A number of features of this ride were improved on or newly designed, driven on one hand by the requirements from SeaWorld and on the other hand by our own quality expectations. The ride provides a dry station conveyor, an ADA switch, two indexing conveyors to align boats where needed, three flume sections connected to each other by the three incline lifts, the vertical lift and the down chute.

Images courtesy SeaWorld Orlando

“The new vertical lift is considerably more sophisticated than others before it and is, for sure, the most prominent technical feature of the ride. At the same time, it is also important to mention the highest drop ever built on a rapids ride – the 40ft down chute with three different shower water effects!”

In terms of safety, the whole ride is designed according to the latest safety standards and according to Kernacs, worth particular mention in the context of safety is the newly designed boats with reference to the characteristics of the water flow and the tallest down chute. According to Kernacs, this is why the boats for Infinity Falls are equipped with belts, making sure that passengers are safely seated.

“Infinity Falls represents the newest generation of rapids rides having incorporated several new and different features,” he continues. “This ride differs in many ways to the rapids rides of previous generations.

“To have been part of this project was a great opportunity for us to provide the first, new generation rapids ride and I would like to thank SeaWorld for that opportunity. It was also a great experience overcoming all the challenges that are in the nature of such a project and collaborating with all the different parties involved to make it happen was really rewarding.”

Images courtesy SeaWorld Orlando