SeaWorld San Diego's tallest roller coaster with a 150-foot-high ascent, an inverted roll and speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour, debuts at the theme park Thursday.
The California Coastal Commission granted SeaWorld permission last year to build the roller coaster that will feature loops, twists and an upside-down view of Mission Bay.
"We remain committed to long-term investment in the park and will continue to strive to provide new reasons to visit SeaWorld by giving our guests experiences that matter," said SeaWorld San Diego's Park President Marilyn Hannes.
According to SeaWorld, the adrenaline-filled ride will propel riders forward and backward, accelerating more than 60 mph in seconds.
The coaster's announcement last August garnered mixed reviews from residents. Some looked forward to the ride and a chance for SeaWorld to start anew after fall out over the documentary "Blackfish," which criticized conditions of the park’s captive killer whales. Others said SeaWorld still has work to do on its overall reputation before focusing on thrill rides.
The city's Tourism Authority sees the roller coaster's opening as a potential boost to the local economy and SeaWorld's revenue stream, which took a dive after the release of Blackfish.
"Their first quarter, January through March, is one of the best quarters they've had in a long time," San Diego Tourism Authority Joe Terzi said. "They've seen revenue up almost 30 percent. They've seen attendance up significantly, and they've done a good job getting back to their core values."
On Tuesday, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. said its total revenue increased by 16.5 percent to $217 when compared to last year. Attendance was up by 3.2 million guests. But the company had a net loss of $62.8 million, slightly higher than last year.
But SeaWorld and the Tourism Authority officials are hopeful the Electric Eel coaster will attract a thrill-seeking audience and develop a new revenue stream for the theme park.
"[SeaWorld] also has to innovate. They have to be able to attract people that want other than the education experience," Terzi said. "They want to be competitive with people that want those thrill rides and many different aspects of a theme park."
Electric Eel is SeaWorld San Diego's third coaster. It joins the coasters Manta and Journey to Atlantis.