A new attraction at SeaWorld San Diego, the Emperor, named one of the nine most anticipated coasters of 2022 by USA Today, opened to the public Saturday.

The park commemorated the new attraction, billed as a “dive coaster,” with a ribbon cutting featuring Puck the Penguin, along with live performances as guests took their first rides. 

Named after the Emperor penguin, the world’s largest, the coaster mimics the species’ underwater diving ability. Riders climb to 153 feet with their feet dangling in the air while suspended on a 45-degree angle at the top of the ride. They then plunge down a 14-story facedown vertical drop while accelerating to more than 60 miles per hour.

Riders also experience inversions, along with a barrel roll, Immelmann loop, hammerhead turn and flat spin along nearly 2,500 feet of track. Each of the floor-less cars hold 18 riders in three six-person rows.

There’s also a new limited release from Mike Hess Brewing, Emperor Hazy IPA, which was created and inspired by the ride and is only available at SeaWorld San Diego. 

Guests will be encouraged to visit another park attraction, the Penguin Encounter, the only place in North America to view Emperor penguins in-person.

“Emperor brings all-new thrills to the park, being the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California and our first ever dive coaster at SeaWorld San Diego,” said Jim Lake, the park’s president. “We’re so grateful to our guests for their patience and we can’t wait to have them come take the dive and experience Emperor firsthand.”

SeaWorld San Diego partnered with penguin research and conservation nonprofit Penguins International for the opening of the penguin-themed ride.

As part of the partnership, SeaWorld San Diego will donate a portion of Emperor Hazy IPA and Emperor merchandise sales to Penguins International to support conservation, education and research.

“SeaWorld has been a longtime proponent of penguin research and education, providing important research opportunities for scientists at their facilities and generating awareness for these amazing birds through their presentations and learning opportunities,” the nonprofit’s executive director David Schutt said. “We see this as yet another way the company is helping advance the public’s understanding of this species and are eager to see where this partnership takes us.”

Note: Photo credit – A shot of the plunge on the Emperor, a new SeaWorld rollercoaster. Screen shot, Sea World San Diego, via YouTube