Many people have been wondering exactly much how virtual reality is going to improve their experience on SeaWorld Orlando’s Kraken Unleashed. Now is the time to find out, as the attraction was opened to the public today. Select annual passholders already got a preview of the ride on Tuesday, June 13th; here is what you can expect on your next visit:
Although Kraken Unleashed uses the same real world track as the 17-year-old Kraken, the ride experience is quite different. Passengers will first be seated as normal, pulling shoulder restraints down to secure them. The next step is something new though. Guests will have a headset with speakers and a display visor to put on their ears and eyes, respectively. The V-R gear is linked to the steel crossbar attached to their shoulder restraints. Once the headset is on, riders are transported to a completely new environment to look around freely.
The scene starts in an underwater loading station. As the ride begins moving in reality, so does its virtual counterpart. Guests are seeing things from the viewpoint of a submarine, so the attraction’s ascent seems to them like a slow drift towards the surface. Once the first fall happens the submarine races through the water, allowing brief glimpses of a wide array of real, and mythic, undersea life. This culminates in a run-in with the titular Kraken. The beast is no longer the eel-like creature from before, but has been reimagined as a tentacled squid-like monster (as you may have noticed by the change at the queue’s entrance). The ride ends with a surprise in the virtual world, and a standard return in the regular world.
The ride runs around two minutes, and the headsets are sanitized before the next loading.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil reviewed the experience, and notes that you may want to secure your headset slightly tighter than is comfortable, as it can feel less secure at high speeds. The headset will not fly off and hurt someone, however, as it is attached to your restraints. Riders do have the option of going without virtual reality for a more traditional experience.
SeaWorld has a promotional video on their site that gives you a preview of some of the sights you may see on your underwater (in the air) excursion:
Source/Images: The Orlando Sentinel