Seaworld San Diego & Belmont Park
Seaworld San Diego
This weekend I finally made it out to the last Seaworld park that I hadn’t visited already (just gotta get out to BGW to complete the SEAS collection). Ended up driving down from LA early on the Saturday morning to beat the traffic. We ended up getting to San Diego around 9:30 and after a quick stop for breakfast and finally got the park around 11:30. We debated getting a Quick Queue but figured that we were early enough that we could do everything we wanted, plus I had my 1 time Quick Queue from my platinum pass to knock out one of the coasters. Unfortunately we knew that Tidal Twister was not available for the trip but no worries, we’ll come back and get it at some point (and work in a trip to Legoland was well). So first off, we headed over to Journey to Atlantis, figuring that since the day hadn’t gotten too warm yet, we’d knock it out before the line got long.
Journey To Atlantis
So this was a weird ride. We ended up waiting about 30 minutes for it before getting picked out to skip the last part of the line to fill up seats. I saw the ride structure from the parking lot and figured that there’d be a lift, the coaster section and then the final, big splash drop to finish off the ride. Imagine my surprise when that drop was the first part of the ride after the lift hill. After the big drop, you get taken up a cool elevator lift before finally getting the coaster section and splashing down in a final, smaller pool. I ended up decently wet and although I was definitely faked out by the big drop leading off the ride, I was pretty happy with this coaster.
The new for 2022 Emperor was the next one on my plate. After waiting only 10 minutes or so (which is surprising considering it was noon or so at this point and the ride is the newest one at the park) I got on. And I was impressed with how different this ride is! I’ve ridden Valravn and Sheikra and I wouldn’t describe either of those rides as “fast” in the sense that they feel kinda loping with the massive trains. But Emperor felt “fast” and nimble. The drop was the great one you expect from a Dive Machine even if it was a little shorter. The rest of the ride was cool and different which I appreciate. I wanted to add my 2c to the issue around theming. Aka that the ride has none, not even some fake icebergs. My opinion? Meh. Of course I’d love for the queue to basically take over the current Wild Arctic exhibit but I think it’s fair to conclude that the Seaworld that built the Manta rides isn’t the same one that’s in charge now. And if you’re asking me whether I’d rather have Emperor or nothing, the answer is Emperor and it’s not close. But hopefully we can find a happy medium in the future with some theming even if we don’t reach the peaks of Manta.
What a great little coaster! I’m not entirely sure what I expected, probably something along the lines of Firechaser Express at Dollywood or Wave Breaker at SWSA but I walked away impressed. This little ride had some forces! The launches had some pop to them and some of the hills had some good airtime. I also didn’t realize that this ride was so long and stretched out back of the front plot. Plus, just like its big brother in Orlando, this ride had a very cool queue with plenty of marine life. I wish I would’ve had more time to ride this but I only got one ride. Next time!
I mean it’s a SR2, we all know how they ride. Comfort Collars are stupid but I don’t hate them with the passion of most enthusiasts, they’re just kinda there. Otherwise, the launch was fun, the roll at the top always gives great hangtime and the drop from the top into the smaller loop was intense as I expected. The one funny thing about this ride is that they are very strict about the no bag policy here. One woman that was supposed to ride in my train brought her small purse in line with her and got caught by the ride ops. They told her she had to leave the queue and couldn’t bring it on. She argued back and told them she wasn’t going to leave. When the op walked away, she passed the purse to the people standing behind her with the understanding that the person would just pass her the bag as she walked through. But the ride ops caught the person behind her who threw the first lady under the bus. The end result was the original lady being kicked out and verrrrry upset after waiting 60 minutes to ride (luckily I used my Quick Queue to skip the whole line).
After a quick photo taking stop at Emperor, we went and did the Dine with the Orcas experience. It was really cool! For $40-something a person with my pass, we had access to a big buffet of food and then an up close orca demonstration. We got put at a table directly in front of the orcas and I got to see them up close and personal in a way I haven’t before. In a park where a meal would probably cost $20 something a person anyways, this was definitely worth the money in my eyes.
After the dinner, I wandered around the park until it closed taking pictures of the rides. Overall, I was very happy with Seaworld San Diego. I was a little concerned that we’d run out of things to do in the park with only 4 coasters and not a ton of rides but there was so much more we left without getting to do. And having a season pass I’ll almost certainly be back when Tidal Twister opens!
After closing out Seaworld, we made the 5 minute drive to Belmont Park. After struggling a little to find parking, we made our way to the Park. First impression: it’s a lot smaller than I expected! But after getting our tickets, we headed over to the reason we came, Giant Dipper.
Oof, this one was a rough one. We rode in the back and although there was some decent airtime, the roughness was a little too much to enjoy it. I definitely don’t feel the need to come back to ride this one after getting the credit.
After riding Giant Dipper, we called it a night and headed back home! Belmont was a very cool small little park. I was expecting a little bigger, on par with something like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. But regardless, I’m very glad that the city has kept this coaster and it was a great way to finish off our day in San Diego!