SeaWorld Orlando’s oldest roller coaster, Kraken, will reopen this Friday as Kraken: Unleashed, but the new name is the smallest change you should expect to see when the reimagined coaster is running again. Along with changes to the ride’s loading area and queue, there are several digital enhancements being made to the attraction, as well as a brand new theme and storyline.
Kraken, Orlando’s only floorless roller coaster, opened at SeaWorld in 2000. Based on a huge mythological beast from the depths of the ocean, Kraken was the adventure park’s only roller coaster until Manta was built in 2009. After 17 years of operation, SeaWorld announced that the thrill ride would be closed for enhancements to debut just in time for summer.
The extensive remodeling of the thrill ride includes a brand new custom digital overlay, creating a virtual reality adventure that connects the ride’s mechanics to a visual and auditory experience. The VR headsets will be tethered to each seat on the coaster, giving guests the option of experiencing Kraken in its original form or as a virtual attraction. The VR goggles act as a virtual submarine, submerging riders deep under the sea as they embark on a mission alongside both extinct and legendary sea creatures. The new story told throughout the ride is tied to the nearby Journey To Atlantis attraction, which was also recently updated.
In addition to the technological updates, there are several changes to the structure of the ride entrance, queue and loading area. The large eel-like Kraken that has previously landmarked the attraction’s entrance has been reimagined as a new creature, based loosely on the vampire squid.
Although some theme parks like Six Flags have unveiled digitally enhanced attractions in recent years, Kraken: Unleashed will be the first virtual reality thrill ride in Florida. Find tickets to SeaWorld and other Orlando attractions here.