In 2004, Sea World added what came to become the park’s new icon.  Journey to Atlantis, a Mack water coaster, is a thriling, wet family ride that takes you through immersive theming and incredible effects.  Slow at times, and fast at others, this wild adventure features a 60 foot drop and features speeds up to 45 mph, concluding with a thrilling splash down.

The experience begins before the ride even starts.  Instantly, as you approach the ride you begin to notice the detail, the immersion that puts you into the lost city of Atlantis.  You can see the giant splash down leading into a splash pool, the exciting water bombs that explode and can hear the suspenseful music as rider ride to the top.

Once in line, you pass by several clues that hint you into the story of Atlantis.  Sea life can be seen in the giant aquarium tank, the sounds of a legendary kingdom echo through the halls before you exit the covered area into the exposed air.  Once outside, a employee will assign you your row as a raft awaits you.

Journey to Atlantis begins by climbing up the first lift hill.  Covered by mist, this eerie ride to the top is not what you expected.  Before you know it, you reach the crest of the incline and turn to find yourself looking at an incredible drop.  A water fall hides the train from outside visibility until it stops right before you drop revealing a group of screaming riders as they plummet into a splash lake below.

While I am not sure how it always was, on my visit to the park, we sat in the front row and got absolutely soaked.  However I have heard from others that they did not get wet at all on the ride so it really depends on the weight of the train.

Once the boat comes to a slower speed, it dips further into the water and begins its journey back towards the drop to the elevator lift.  On your way, water bombs go off shocking voyagers, fountains go off to everyone’s surprise.  As the boat enters the next tower, it stops and a distressed conversation is blasted through the speakers before water rushes in from the walls and you race into a chamber.

This is where the ride is cool and fails at the same time.  Rafts are paired in two as they enter the elevator chamber and prepare to rise.  On the two side walls, huge screens project imagery that would be very impressive if the wall in front of you was not an exposed interior.  Black stucco and rebar does not remind me of being under the sea.  However the actual rising action itself is very cool.

Slowly, boats exit the shaft to encounter a huge 60 foot, winding drop.  As rafts drop, they also turn 270 degrees.  This swooping effect is seen from the park’s parking lot and is very impressive.  After boats complete this feat, they glide through a mid course break run before dropping yet again into an S-Bend and splashing into the final pool.

While I was impressed with my ride, after seeing videos of the version in Orlando, I wonder why San Diego’s didn’t get the indeapth story and theming?  Journey to Atlantis is San Diego is good, and popular, but without a doubt it’s popularity, and in my opininon, the park’s attendance would be higher if we got a quality, show like the Orlando version.  I am not saying that the theming of this version is bad, it just isn’t up to par with its cousin.

I give Journey to Atlantis 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.  What do you think?  Leave your comments and park thoughts.