SeaWorld’s Kraken will close Monday to evolve into a virtual reality coaster that will take riders on a deep-sea mission to the ocean’s floor.

The floorless roller coaster is jumping on the high-tech train. Riders will don headsets that cover their eyes and ears to see and hear mythical, bioluminescent-colored creatures with tentacles that seem to reach out and grab their sea capsule.

The original Kraken looks like a giant eel but Kraken Unleashed is a combination of a vampire, alien and other legendary sea creatures that guards Atlantis.

The 149-foot-tall coaster has seven inversions and two vertical loops. When it opened in 2000, it was the tallest and longest roller coaster Florida.  It held that disctinction until 2006, when Disney’s Expedition Everest opened at nearly 200 feet.

“The story of SeaWorld is evolving and changing,” said Brian Morrow, vice president of theme park development, who added that the new ride would bring legendary sea stories to life.

The makeover is part of the $175 million in new and upgraded attractions CEO Joel Manby announced last September for SeaWorld’s American parks. The company is moving away from animal entertainment toward conservation and education, following protests from animal rights activists and a drop in revenue

Kraken Unleashed opens June 16th.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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