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Manta concept art

SeaWorld San Diego has begun testing its new multi-launch roller coaster, Manta, ahead of its opening date on May 26, 2012.

Having completed Manta's track in March, the park has now begun running trains around it for the first time. This is likely to lead to a "soft opening" period in late April or early May, during which guests will be able to try out the coaster ahead of its official debut.

Manta combines elements of a traditional roller coaster with those of a water ride, and will include two launch sections and more than a dozen twists and turns. Unlike the identically-named Manta coaster at sister park SeaWorld Orlando, it will not be a "flying" coaster. Instead, it will be a traditional sit-down steel coaster that hugs the ground closely due to height restrictions placed on the park by local authorities.

YouTube user pyttius caught Manta in action during one of its test runs in the videos below:

Like SeaWorld Orlando's Manta, SeaWorld San Diego's version will feature trains that are themed to resemble Manta rays. An aquarium will be located alongside it, enabling guests to see the real-life marine creatures up-close.

You can read more about SeaWorld's San Diego's new addition for 2012 in Theme Park Tourist's in-depth Manta preview.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

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