Preflux' Big Day at Splish Splash - Someone Saved His Life Today

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Sunday, July 30, 2006 11:43 PM
Sunday, July 30 (Temps in the 90s with high humidity)

I anticipated big lines and lots of crowds - which for the most part, was what we got.

Since I spent the entire day with the family, And Preflux is still below the 44" mark, I will only report on the attractions that we did.

The park was overall - very clean, with a few gum-encased branches on the que for Barrier Reef. The water quality was very good, but not heated, which really wasn't required for today.

Got to the park by 9:30 and stopped for a pit stop. At that time, a pre-recorded announcement was made, and I missed the "running of the bulls." No matter it's a family day. Most of the stampede was heading for the new Alien Encounter ride (Tornado funnel) and Dragon's Den (Tube bowl slide)

Our first stop was a 20 minute wait for Splash Landing. Preflux hadn't been there for two years, but he loved the ride. Nothing fancy, a basic tube slide. It always feels good and you always wish it would last longer than it does.

Next - Kiddie Cove Area. Splish Splash has a very strong assortment of children's areas that kind-of connect to each other. They are well patrolled by the guards. We did a few runs on the kiddie slide. My progeny loves to swim and he especially loves to go under water, which was a bit hard to do in that pool, though he bumped his head trying.

Next, up was the wave pool. The program at Splish Splash is 10 minutes on 10 minutes off. Mrs. Flux also got into the water and we told our son not to go past the 4 foot line. We were with him all of the time, but I'm not the greatest swimmer, so I felt comfortable at that mark. The bell sounded and slowly the waves began. HE LOVED IT! Unfortunately too much. When the cycle ended and the pool stopped bouncing, he got more daring and he darted away, ran to the side of hte pool and jumped in. (THis is a clear rule violation) and whistles were going off left and right. Due to his impusivity, we removed him from the pool which brought a flurry of tears.

Next up was Soak City. This is sort of like a sitting area in a pool with waterfalls and run off from The Abyss. The water was too cold for him in there and he started to run out and go to the splash pool in the Abyss. Again the whistles sounded. Again he was removed by us.

Realizing that there was too much stimulation here, we opted for a regular ride. We waited 30 minutes for The Abyss and had a nice double tube ride. This is a fully enclosed, though a bit translucent curvy slide. Lots of fun...good echo in there...but as always...too short.

The regular slide thing was a good idea, so we headed for Barrier Reef. This is just a fun fast twister slide. I thought it was a bit intense for him, but he likes speed, so I risked it. (20 minute wait) When it was our turn, Pre had an issue with the water being too cold. He ran back and forth between the two slides. I thought that we would have to walk back down, but he finally chose a slide and went down. HE LOVED IT!

Lunch - was well VERY BAD. Splish Splash has one main food area and while shade is a premium, we were able to find a table. Mrs. and Jr. had pizza that was similar to reheated frozen stuff. I had a hot dog special. For 5 bucks, you get a kosher hot dog and fries. (Drinks extra). I wanted two hot dogs, but was told I would have to order another special. I hate that. When I think about customer requests, I always consider if it is reasonable. This time I thought it was. Only one hot dog. It's not brain surgery.

(I wonder if brain surgens train each other by saying, "come on, it's not hot dogs.")

Now it was mid afternoon and the park was really filling up. In order to get the most bang-for-the-buck, we headed for the interactive play area, Monsoon Lagoon.

By first looking at it, it looks like a beautiful play area. Once you really examine it, you realize it was poorly designed and badly executed. The pool is anywhere from 0 - 1.5 feet deep. The center of the "island" is a play area with two stair cases, a normal one and a rope (kill your feet) bridge. On top is a replica of half a ship that fills and spills. Both set of steps lead to one slide that takes most guests about 4 seconds to decend.

The problem here is that there are 2 guards in the pool. One is at the head of the slide. The other is walking around the pool. Since so many kids are crowding up there, line cutting was required to board the slide. There was no que, no order, no logic. Push, squeeze in, hop on and hope for the best. I asked the lifeguard about it, and she said, "I can't do anything about it, i have to watch the slide." Which she did well, as did the guy after her and the guy after him.

It was pandemonium. Parents were getting upset, and then we were told that adults were no longer allowed to use it. Well, one guy started arguing with the guard who gave in and said, "OK mister, you win, go ahead." Which had more adults trying to cut the kids.

Keep in mind, everyone was expected to nudge thier way in. It was the only place where I saw line cutting. In a sense...there was no line.

A few kids in the pool were also getting dangerously close to the end of the side and it was a bit like bowling to see how many kids you could take out on the way down.

When the platform became so crowded that you couldn't even make it up the steps, we went to the Hollywood Stunt Rider for one last run.

For those of you who have never seen this thing...it's basically a four-person tube ride with an animatronic "pre-show." You literally see a life guard take about thirty people from the que and line them up in front of a ground level platform. He pushes a button and the puppet on the top of hte set (Mr. Fabrizio) tells a story of how we are movie extras and how the last group was a "bunch of losers." We are "auditioning" for a role in his next movie. He tells about fog (cue the misters) the rain (air-blown misters) and I think, cannon balls (Cue the water flash pots).

This is not something that Splish Splash does well. They have a nice slide collection, but to most people, it just doesn't work. The line for this was about an hour and most of the cue was in the sun. Next is the long journey up the platform which shows the parking lot, a view of the tree tops and then a glimpse of CLIFF DIVER.

My son and I Were paired with a young couple. It was a fun ride, but not nearly worth an hour. We did laugh and then we splahsed down into the pool.

And that's where the trouble started.

Compulsivity took over. Preflux didn't want to leave the pool (which was about 2 feet deep) and he was doing his underwater swimming bit. I was making my way out of the tube, and all 39 pounds of him sprinted and lunged to swim up the return ramp for the tubes.

I was screaming! People were screaming! My wife was screaming! Just as he was about to lose his head and limbs to the internal mechanics of the raft-lift machine, two guards ran over and grabbed him. (I heard applause.) Everything happend so fast and yet in slow motion. I thanked them profusely.

I hope none of you ever have an experience like that.

That was it. Too much stimulation for the little guy. We went home. (Even though he was crying and begging us not to).

Here are a few side comments:

The Alien Encounter (the new one that I didn't ride) had a VERY long line and looked as though it was well-themed.

Even before it was profiled on the Travel Channel, Splish Splash is a good time.

The atmosphere is much more laid back than at Great Adventure. There are many little winding roads (and a few noticeable hills) between some of the attrations.

They have built correctly. They add attractions from time to time, but don't remove older ones. The original slides are still there and are maintained very well.

There is still a lot of room to expand. The entire area from the back of Stunt Rider and the parking lot can be used for new attractions.

They have a nice collection of slides, but could use a few more people eaters. They are begging for an 8 to 12 lane raceway. (I would also like to see a wedge, a flow rider and a water coaster, but that won't eat too many people). They also have more than enough stuff for "tweeners" to do with their parents. The only thing we couldn't do was Dragon's Den, Cliff Dive, and Alien Encounter. The only thing closed today was the Frog Slide (Really only for toddlers)

The wave pool can be better patrolled like Dorney's original pool another set of guards on a central platform would help this, as the pool is quite wide.

Food could be better. Much better. It wasn't Great Adventure pricey, but they were a bit high for the quality you get.

Bathrooms were a bit filthy, especially the stalls. Mrs. Flux said the ladies' restrooms were clean and had attendents.

If you go, Go on a weekday. Get there early. The park opens at 9 and the rope drops 9:30. Expect camps to visit, but most of them will leave by 3 PM.

You can save a few bucks buy going to P.C. Richard (Electronic Store Chain). The have three dollars off coupons. You can save time by printing online tickets, but you can't get the discount that way.

You can save a few more bucks but hiding your "stuff" under a chair in the kiddie area instead of a locker.

All in all, we had a nice day, despite the crowds and we were able to come back with all family members in tact.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2006 9:53 PM
Wow that's very scary about the little one. Glad to hear it turned out alright. It seems very odd and quite dangerous they have the raft lift set up that way.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2006 10:25 PM
Thrillerman - To be honest, and I'm sure most of you would agree...the park's attractions (except for the already mentioned MONSOON LAGOON) are very well planned out and supervised for 99.99999 percent of the people.

I will say though that even with the best planing in mind, you can't plan for EVERYTHING! My child has touches of ADHD and behavioral issues. Most poeple, at water parks, after a slide would exit the pool and leave. He wanted to swim and his impulsivity said go up the hill where the rafts are going. So that's what he tried to do. He didn't think about the potential danger. Or anything else. Kids like my son don't hink all of the time which leads to trouble.

Did he WANT to get into trouble? No. He wanted to play. It's very hard and painful for me at times. He loves parks, but can't always follow the rules - so I have to watch him like a hawk - which often diminishes MY good time. Which is another reason besides his limited height that I go it alone.

If I may veer off topic a bit...

I will never forget the first ride on a coaster. (Vapor Trail at Sesame). We were climbing up the lift hill and I was watching his eyes. Boy was he nervous. As we crested the lift and started down, he started to laugh. He loved it. His first words after the train came to a stop were the best words he ever said to me. "Daddy...again!" Later that day we lost him on the climbing ropes.

Anything can be a trigger. Any monet can lead to a disaster with a stranger. And it kills me.

Thank you for understanding/

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