Why Waterpark?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:45 AM
Since there is all the waterpark love on the board these days (is there a Playa in the house), I want to add my 2 cents to start a discussion. Please let me know what I’m missing.

I enjoy waterparks when it is warm enough and not too crowded. This basically means never in my experience (Schlitterbahn is excluded from all discussion due the exclusiveness of their product compared to every other run-of-the-mill waterpark).

I love waterpark rides for the first 15-45 minutes of each day. I get there early and try to stay one step ahead of the crowds so I can get my rides in. After that, the capacity usually dictates that I go to the wavepool or lazy river where I swim. I can swim at any pool (I’ve got one in the back yard), usually with less interruption and frankly, less pee.

Very few waterparks have enough slides/rides to adequately disperse crowds (I dare say none). Whereas I can almost always find a ride in a standard amusement park that has tolerable cues, this never seems to be the case at waterparks. All rides at waterparks back up and do so quickly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could spend 6-8 hours at a typical waterpark and be lucky to get 10 rides in. I can triple (at a minimum) this at the dry park, even in crowded conditions (not that I ever spend 6-8 hours at a park anymore)…

I cannot stand the operating procedure of a typical water ride where you wait until 1-4 people make the entire circuit and exit before the next group is dispersed. This leads to an entire day standing in a line that never moves. I've made it to the loading platform many a time, only to still wait another 15-20 minutes for those 10 people in front of me to complete their ride...? That is 15-20 minutes to move 8 feet! Do you waterpark guys really enjoy standing in line, and not moving for most of your day?

In conclusion…the typical day at a waterpark turns into a swimming session at the lazy river or wavepool. This is something anybody can do at a motel pool or public pool. While I certainly love the rides/slides, they just are not worth the hassle.

Short of looking at “hotties”, I can see no appealing reason to spend time at any waterpark outside the first 15-45 minutes of operation. I’m obviously missing something with the great popularity we keep hearing about. What is it?

P.S. I understand how parents with young kids are trapped into visiting the waterpark due to kids natural love of water (see any hotel pool), and inability to use good judgement when it comes to line length...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:54 AM
Your going to the wrong waterparks! Holiday World's waterpark has pretty good capacity, and darn fun slides that are worth standing in line for. SFNE's had good capacity and their interactive pool was amazing.

Locally my gf and I have a Sandcastle season pass (gets you into Kennywood after 6pm for $7) and we go after work a lot and ride the slides, or float in the lazy river. The only long line there is the Blue tubaluba, and that is about 20 minutes.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 11:16 AM
I agree with you. Most waterparks, especially the ones associated with or attached to a theme / amusement park, have terrible operating procedures. Like you, I try to hit the waterparks when they open. By late morning / early afternoon I get fed up with the long slow moving lines and leave.

There are a few exceptions. Schlitterbahn, as you mentioned is one, but even there, the lines can get really long for Master Blaster. After a few rides I generally leave Blastenhoff and head to the old section of the park. Noah's Ark had very slow moving lines for some of their key attractions but I found short lines at a lot of their older slides that were great fun but didn't attract large crowds. Hyland Hills also had long lines at their key attractions, but I thought they did a pretty good job of getting people through. And like Noah's Ark, they have some older slides that don't attract large crowds.

The above are probably the biggest three, but I agree, most run-of-the-mill waterparks do not have enough attractions to disperse the crowds.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 11:16 AM
Everytime I've been to HW, I get to SS---after 45 minutes I'm in the lazy river unless I want to wait 30-60 minutes per ride. In fairness, I've been there on Saturdays or Holidays the last few years. Their water rides are great. Their capcity is terrible like every other water park this side of Schlitterbahn. I've not been to SFNE...

I was able to ride all the coasters without too much wait though, even at these crowded times. The water rides, due to capacity issues, are off limits! Unless I want to swim!

I'd love to know the riders per hour fo a typical slide...? I could not be shocked if a lot of them are under 100 riders per hour...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 12:07 PM
Go to Clementon Park's Splash World. It's lines are always short, due to lack of crowds, always.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 12:46 PM

By late morning / early afternoon I get fed up with the long slow moving lines and leave.

So does everyone else. I've found slide waits at Soak City to be quite tolerable by 4:30 or 5:00, but you're still in the heat of the day. Many other waterparks have the same dynamic---first hour or so is good, and the late afternoon/evening is great. Between those two times, I'm more than happy to do other things. Often, a typical CP day is the amusement park until about 2 (with a stop for lunch), drop over to SC for wavepool, swim-up bar, and river fun for an hour or so, grab a slide or two, then head back to the amusement park.

Does the 'bahn really allow more than one rider on their body/tube slides at a time? I've always assumed that, since slides don't have brake zones, there's only one block, and therefore at most one rider anywhere on the slide at one time.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 12:57 PM
I know of only one park that had a water park that failed: La Ronde.

In the late 80's, they added a small water park where currently the Space Shot, Cobra (the stand-up), Vampire (B&M BTR) are. It only had 1 or 2 slide towers and a wave pool if I remember right. It had 3 problems:

1- It was a separate gate attraction, which didn't go too well with the people here.

2- Not enough to do. The lines were unbearable.

3- The park is on an island in the middle of a big river, so its always breezy and people complained it was cold due to the wind!

So, with that... La Ronde closed down the water park, took their losses and sold the water slides to Super Aqua Club. Strangely... they benefitted greatly from those water slides and since a few years, have had enough success to keep the La Ronde waterslide tower, remove the old slides and got Proslide to add 2 vertical drop slides, an enclosed spinning drop one (SFGAdv has 2 of those), a one person bowl and 2 family raft rides, using cloverleaf rafts. Not bad for one year?

Then this year... they build a Tornado, which I'll try to experience next week.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 1:29 PM
Brian Noble said:

Does the 'bahn really allow more than one rider on their body/tube slides at a time? I've always assumed that, since slides don't have brake zones, there's only one block, and therefore at most one rider anywhere on the slide at one time.

Their typical waterslides / body slides / tube slides operate like everyone else's. But those types of slides aren't the big draw at the 'bahn. Master Blaster has multiple blocks because it essentially has multiple lifts. In the event of a shut down or E-stop (which happened during our last ERT). All the rafts just slide back into their respective valley. They allow as many rafts on the ride as they have valleys. In the old section of the park the tube chutes are more like fast moving lazy rivers that work their way slowly (and sometimes fast) down the hillside. There may be hundreds of tubes in the chute at a time. In some sections they have lifeguards to help keep the tubes spaced out, but in most cases even if you wipe out after a drop, the moving water moves you out of the way of the next tube coming down. Collisions are pretty rare

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 1:35 PM
Dorney Park's Wildwater Kingdom on a hot, humid summer day. Ugh, forget it, I'll pass. I don't need to go down the speed slides that bad. The lines in the waterpark by far exceed any queue time in the amusement park for any of the coasters. Its not uncommon to wait up to an hour or more for a waterslide.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:03 PM
I'm not a waterpark person either.

When I go to a park, I like to travel light. I loathe the idea of packing a change of clothes, towels, etc. and lugging them halfway across a park (and back again). It was enough of a hassle for me to wear water shoes and bring along sneakers and socks to Knoebels in case we rode Skloosh. And I was parked in the 3rd or 4th row so it was a quick dash to the car to make the change.

The paranoid in me doesn't trust leaving wallet, keys, etc. in lockers.

Waterparks, toddlers in bathing suit/diapers, and oblivious parents do NOT mix.

Hearing all these stories about hot, extremely crowded waterparks conjures up images of a National Geographic special about sea lions on the beach.

If it gets that hot, I'll just hook up the lawn sprinkler to the garden hose and run back and forth.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:37 PM
When I talk about Schlitterbahn being unique...I am talking about the old part. They have a ton of old chute rides that are fast/slow/rapid type river rides that hold tons of people. They have one chute that takes 30-45 minutes to complete. I know of no other park that has ANYTHING like old Schlitterbahn. Hundereds can be on these chutes at the same time. Loading is limited only by how fast the next guy in line can get in the tube and float down the river...

In my opinion, I throw the new Schlitterbahn (2 sections) in with all other typical waterparks. Yes Masterblaster is unique, but it does not justify the typical wait. As per normal waterpark conditions, the capacities of the new rides are flat out terrible!

I guess my whole beef with waterparks boils down to terrible capacity. If TTD, Beast, Raven, etc ran like a typical water ride---one person in a single seat car---wait until the cycle finishes---send the next guy in line---so on and so forth, then I would not think much of coasters either!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:44 PM
I would say, "Great! Fewer people in line!" except we all know that really isn't true. Damn those popular waterparks and all those people that love 'em.

When are coaster dorks gonna figure out it actually isn't about the slides? I know you guys love standing in line to sit on something and all...but the beauty of a wavepool or a lazy river is that you're wet, cooled off and having fun NOW.

Of course, they're a lot more fun with a buncha friends...ooh, wait. I think we might have found the problem here! :)

-'Playa

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:07 PM
That is the beauty of the pool in my back yard too Playa! I also get the added benifit of friends and beer without the pee! :-)
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:17 PM
Yep! Just the usual stray dust, leaves, grass clippings and poop from birds, bats and other small indigineous animals!

And of course, you're intimately familiar with each visitor's backside cleansing habits...right?

-'Playa

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:21 PM

Brian Noble said:
Does the 'bahn really allow more than one rider on their body/tube slides at a time? I've always assumed that, since slides don't have brake zones, there's only one block, and therefore at most one rider anywhere on the slide at one time.

Actually, yes, they DO allow more than one tube at a time down the slides. There ARE some obvious caveats, such as "blasters" cannot have more than one rider per *block*....but since MANY of their slides have "blocking" (a flat section of trough where an op catches/holds/releases as needed), the capacity of their slides becomes ridiculous....MORE than adequate for even a busy day in June. Should note that there were MANY slides of various types along with the blaster slides (3 in total), the "lazy" rivers, the pipeline surfing thing, the "hot tub WITH wet bar", etc., etc.

bill, still wondering how come Heath wasn't as impressed as I was, LOL...and how *I* could've fallen SO hard for a WATERPARK?!!?
*** Edited 8/10/2005 9:23:23 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 6:51 PM
I totally agree with you Jeffrey.
Waterparks are great, as long as you don't have to wait ages in lines.

Whenever I walk up to a ride entrance, be it coaster, flat ride or a water slide, I try to weigh up how long I'm going to have to wait with how much 'thrill/fun/buzz' I'm going to get out of it. With amusement parks, usually, the thrill is worth the wait, whereas with waterparks, it's not.

I was up at SFNE 2 weeks ago... the water park there is awesome, one of the best I've been to. I got into the water park at 11am, went straight to Typhoon: what a ride! Great fun! But as the crowds gathered, and I had to wait longer and longer, I began to enjoy myself less. I KNOW Tornado is a fun ride, I've been on Zinga, but it wasn't worth a 20-30min wait! So I simply decided to quit the water park and spend my time in line for Superman ROS, where the thrill is worth the wait everytime!

The same applies to Splashin' Safari at Holiday World. Simple rule with waterparks is get there early, do the rides, leave.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 8:05 PM
You said that themeparks have tolerable cues. I think you're thinking of the wrong type of pool:) Anyway, I do agree with Jeffery to an extent. The payoff versus the wait for the slide is often times not that worthwhile. For example, I believe we waited about 45 minutes for Pipeline Peak at PKD in 2001. So I pick a slide that's over in 15 seconds or less, and my back can feel every seam on the way down. That's not fun.

There can also be a thing as too many people in one area at one time as was the case on my visit to Splashin Safari at Holiday World in 2002. I know they've added more slides, and will add more stuff next year, but sometimes adding more stuff has the effect of having a bigger home--the bigger the space, the more stuff (people) you add.

In general though, I'm usually having a much better time in a waterpark than in the themepark. You're cooling off, people are in a better mood, and in general the waterslides aren't maintenance nightmares like their themepark breathren.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:20 AM
I like to go to the parks when it's real hot so I don't have to waite inline for all the coasters too long, because everyone is at the water park getting cooled off.
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Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:46 AM
My take on this issue is for all the people who have a waterpark either nearby or adjacent with their themepark and don't like it ...Please forward your comments to the parks administration and tell them that the New Orleans area residents would love to have a water park !!! Hot and Miserable down here..Toasted like a piece of Bread and Humidity extremely low, hell the only thing that cools you off is afternoon shower and as far that has been few and far between..Still holding out hope that SF will throw us a bone and build a water park adjacent to SFNO..Don't have to worry about long lines as they have been non existant in the trips I have made to SFNO this season,,Our park needs a B-12 Shot !!!
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Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:56 AM
I would love to get to Schlitterbahn on South Padre Island. Many of the complaints about traditional waterparks were addressed when this park was built in 2001. For most of the attractions in the park you never have to get out of the water to wait in line.

From their website:

"The centerpiece of Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark is the Rio Aventura. It's both an attraction and a transportation system. In fact, it's the world's first Transportainment system. Rio Aventura has both slow flowing sections and whitewater rapids. Plus it will carry you from ride to ride and from beach to beach without ever having to get out of the water.You enter at Rio Beach then float to the nearby Aqua-veyor, a conveyor that carries you to the headwaters of the Rio Aventura. The first section of the river is a lazy float. If you wish you can detour off the river and onto two tube chutes: the Agua Blanca or Toribio's Tube Chute--both of which begin and end in the Rio Aventura. Or you can float into the in-water line for the Gale Force, Storm Chaser, or Sea Blaster uphill water coasters or you can step out of the river and climb to the start of the Tempest uphill water coaster. All of these rides also return you directly into the main stream of the Rio Aventura.Just past the start of the Tempest, the Rio Aventura tumbles over a waterfall and the whitewater section of the river begins. Eventually the river calms down and you float through the rest of the park to Rio Beach where your adventure began.Rio Aventura is a Red Diamond attraction. High thrill and/or deep water attractions requiring great rider control, swimming skills, and/or physical condition. Can be stressful to those who fear heights, high speeds, or enclosed places. Do not use if you have health limitations. Requires great rider control, swimming skills and/or physical condition."

I don't know that current waterparks could be retrofitted to include something like the above but you might see this type of thing coming in newer waterparks. It sounds really interesting. *** Edited 8/11/2005 12:56:41 PM UTC by wahoo skipper***

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