A big surprise announcement came this morning when SeaWorld Orlando sent out a short press notice that the theme park would be building a large new roller coaster for the 2016 season. Very brief, here's the release from the park:
"Something is stirring beneath the surface at SeaWorld Orlando, preparing to rise from the ocean depths and soar to thrilling new heights. Get ready for the frenzy of SeaWorld’s new 200-foot-tall coaster. In 2016, this thriller will take its place atop the food chain as Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster. More details on the new addition will surface in late-May. SeaWorld is a one-of-a-kind theme park with a variety of attractions including awe-inspiring animal encounters, thrilling rides and spectacular shows. Follow #nothingfaster as the frenzy starts."
The new ride, looking at the statistics on RCDB, will have to be longer than Expedition Everest, which is 4,424 feet, and faster than the Incredible Hulk's 67 mile per hour top speed to meet the claims in the release. Obviously, 200 feet is taller than any ride, with Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit the tallest in Orlando now, at 167 feet.
There have already been recent rumors of site work and markings inside SeaWorld Orlando, around the Shark Encounter building. Above is an aerial of the park with an orange dot where a station for the coaster might go, with Shark Encounter on the left and the Nautilus Theater on the right. This area would give the ride the ability to go out into some open space along a retention ditch in the back of the park.
The orange area highlighted, which seems more likely to me, would give the ride plenty of space to travel out and back. The pink is smaller, which to me makes it less likely. Perhaps a combination of both will end up being used.
As for the type and theme, well it sounds like a hyper coaster based on height and speed - perhaps B&M as the park already has two, or the greater SeaWorld company has used Mack recently as well. The park's release hints at sharks - top of the food chain (after killer whales which I refuse to believe they would name a coaster after right now) and also the word "frenzy" - often used to describe shark's "feeding frenzy." Plus they already have Great White as a coaster name in Texas.
We won't have to wait too long to know what's being planned, since more will come at the end of May!