SeaWorld’s newest coaster, Tidal Twister, dogged by operational problems, has now been closed more days than it’s been open since making its May debut.
The San Diego park so far has said little about the ride’s latest closure, explaining that the now month-long shutdown is related to an “operational issue” that it is working on with the ride’s manufacturer, Skyline Attractions.
SeaWorld San Diego spokesman Dave Koontz said the park is “optimistic” about reopening the family-friendly coaster by early August. Within the park, a sign is posted stating that “Tidal Twister is temporarily closed for an operational improvement” and will “reopen as soon as possible.”
Pressed for more details about the ride’s issues, Koontz declined to offer any further explanation.
Although technically a thrill ride, Tidal Twister is designed more for younger children. Situated within a relatively small space, Tidal Twister was billed by SeaWorld as the first coaster of its kind in the world, featuring a nearly 300-foot-long single-rail figure-eight track, elevated 16 feet off the ground. Designed as a horizontal ride, the coaster’s 16-passenger trains reach speeds of up to 30 mph.
So far though, the coaster’s operation has been spotty. A little more than a week after its May 24 opening, Tidal Twister was shut down with no explanation other than it was experiencing an “operational issue.” A week later it was deemed safe to reopen, SeaWorld reported at the time. By July 1, though, the coaster was shut down yet again.
When reached by phone Tuesday, Jeff Pike, president of Orlando-based Skyline Attractions, said he could not discuss anything beyond what was contained in SeaWorld’s statement.
Technically, SeaWorld is not required to notify the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, of the closure because it didn’t stem from an accident resulting in any injuries. Cal/OSHA spokesman Frank Polizzi said Tuesday his agency had been informed by the theme park that the coaster was closed in July in order “to work closely with the manufacturer to address the same issues” that forced the temporary closure in June.
Once the ride reopens, no subsequent inspection by the agency is required unless a major modification is made to the ride, Polizzi said.
Tidal Twister is essentially a prototype ride from Skyline. Just one other ride similar to it has been produced by Skyline — The Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, which opened last year at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.