ORLANDO, Fla. – There's a lot riding on SeaWorld's new Infinity Falls attraction. The theme park unveiled the custom-designed raft for the water coaster Tuesday at the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show in Orlando.
“(It) will place our guests in the center of a river adventure in the middle of a tropical rainforest jungle that's full of animals, record-breaking rapids and a record-breaking drop, the world's tallest drop on any raft ride on the planet," SeaWorld creative director Brian Morrow said.
The circular raft on display at IAAPA is one of 15 rafts for the future river rapids attraction set to open in summer 2018.
The latest numbers show the park is struggling with failing attendance numbers and a $50 million drop in revenue. Theme Park executives have blamed Hurricane's Irma and Harvey for low attendance. Executives are betting on a twisted water ride to bring people back to Orlando's theme park next summer. A "Sesame Street" land for kids is also planned, but an opening date has not been announced.
The IAAPA expo at the Orange County Convention Center showcases ideas not only for a major platform like SeaWorld, but also smaller parks and fairs. More than 32,000 industry experts attend the week-long conference, which puts everything from rides, bounce houses and games to more practical needs like turf, towel warmers and special drinking cups on display.
“What they want to do is decide what can we add for our guests, what is new, what is something we don't have, is there a new ride, is there a new climbing structure?” IAAPA spokeswoman Susie Storey said.
The expo runs through Friday, but is only open to paid industry officials.