In 1999, Six Flags Great Adventure spent $42 million on new attractions including a prototype Floorless Coaster by Bolliger & Mabillard, Medusa (later Bizarro). The immediate popularity of the ride, led to SeaWorld Orlando and three other amusement parks to announce plans to install Floorless Coasters in 2000; aside from the announcement of Kraken on May 6, 1999, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom announced Medusa, Geauga Lake announced Dominator, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas announced Superman: Krypton Coaster. Kraken was announced as costing approximately $18–20 million. Kraken's announcement more than one year out from its opening was an attempt by the park to drive international attendance.
Construction for the ride was well underway in January 2000. During construction, Superior Rigging & Erection was responsible for erecting the supports and track of the roller coaster. On June 1, 2000, Kraken officially opened to the public. At the time of opening Kraken held the record for the tallest and longest roller coaster in the state of Florida. It held this record until 2006 when Disney's Animal Kingdom opened the 4,424-foot-long (1,348 m) Expedition Everest.
On September 27, 2016, it was announced that the ride would go under an extensive refurbishment and reopen in 2017 with virtual reality.
The 4,177-foot-long (1,273 m) Kraken stands 153 feet (47 m) tall. With a top speed of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), the ride was the fastest roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando until the opening of Mako in Summer of 2016. The ride features seven inversions including two vertical loops, a dive loop, a spiraling camelback ( zero-g roll ), a cobra roll and a flat spin ( corkscrew ).
Kraken operates with three floorless trains. Each train seats 32 riders in eight rows of four. This gives the ride a theoretical hourly capacity of 1500 riders per hour. The open-air trains feature seats which leave riders' legs dangling above the track. Riders are restrainted with over-the-shoulder restraints (OTSRs). As the trains are floorless, the station has a retractable floor for safe boarding.
Kraken is themed after the mythological sea monster of the same name, kept caged by Poseidon. Much of the ride is located above water, with three sections featuring subterranean dives. The ride's station and surrounding area are themed as Kraken's lair. Eels are said to be Kraken's young and therefore feature throughout the ride's queue. A SeaWorld Orlando spokesman stated "although it's a roller coaster, the theme of the ride brings it back to the sea, and to our (SeaWorld Orlando's) core".
Ride experience Edit
After riders have boarded the station floor is retracted and the front gates open, Kraken departs with a right U-turn out of the station. This leads directly to the 153-foot-tall (47 m) chain lift hill. At the top, the train crests the lift hill and follows a fairly level turn to the right before dropping 144 feet (44 m) towards the ground. The ride then enters the first vertical loop followed by the dive loop. A spiraling camelback (zero-g roll), where riders experience a feeling of weightlessness, is followed by a cobra roll. A banked turn to the left leads into the mid-course brake run. The exit from the mid-course brake run drops down directly into the second vertical loop. A subterranean dive into Kraken's lair is followed by a flat spin The ride concludes with a final brake run and a short path back to the station.