Sunday, 10 March 2013

Orlando Water Rides

During our 2012 holiday in Orlando we got our first taste of the various water rides on offer at the theme parks.

As we walked passed the entrance to Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom the wait time for the queue was 5 mins, so we decided to give it a whirl. About 10 minutes later Jessica was hooked and the water rides at the various theme parks became a big part of our holiday this year.

Jurassic Park River Adventure (Island of Adventure)
The entrance to the River Adventure
As you probably guessed this is a dinosaur themed ride, in keeping with the Jurassic Park movies. Like most of the water rides, the wait times were virtually non existent, you could virtually walk straight up to the boat and get in. This was surprising as it was the week leading up to Christmas and it was supposed to one of the busiest times of the year. Once you board the boat you are soon on your way, but beware! There is a hungry T-Rex on the loose. As you enter the park a pair of large gate open as the Jurassic Park theme music plays in the background.

First dino up is an Ultrasaurus, a huge plant eater, so no danger there we are informed. The next sighting are a couple of Psittacosaurus, I've never heard of them either. As we head deeper into the park there are a couple of Stagasaurus eating some plants and leaves. As we travel slowly through Hadrosaur cove these dinos emerge suddenly from under the water. Still no sign of the elusive T-Rex.

On to the raptor containment area. We go past a boat wreckage with two Compsognathus fighting over a blood stained shirt. As we push onward a large crate can be seen above, inside it sounds like a snarling raptor and it nearlly falls onto the boat.

We enter a dark tunnel with a steep climb, we can just make out some raptors moving at the side of the boat. As the boat continues on through the darkness, several Dilophosaurus are jumping up a spitting venom (water actually) at the passengers.

Whats that up ahead, it looks like a large carnivore, Yes its the T-Rex, roaring and snarling at us. Just as we approach him he lunges downward to take a bite, just then the boat plunges down a near vertical drop before splashing into the water below. Nearly everyone gets wet, however after several goes on this ride we figured out the further forward you sit, the wetter you get.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls (Island of Adventure)
Duddly Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls
From a spectators viewpoint this has to be one of the most dramatic water rides as the flume plunges down through a shack and then some rapids. As you make your way to the ride entrance you notice the sign 'You will get wet, possibly soaked'. Another thing you notice are the people dryers adjacent to the ride. I guess we really are going to get soaked on this ride.

The walk to the flume seems endless, maybe it seemed a long way as the queues were so short. Once we strapped ourselves into the flume we are soon on our way. The setting for the ride is the Canadian North Woods. Whats happened here is the villain Snidley Whiplash has kidnapped the maiden Nell Fenwick and it's up to our hero Duddly Do-Right to rescue Nell and save the day.

As the ride slowly twists and turns and goes up and down the story gradually unfolds with the predicable outcome, with Duddly Do-Right saving Nell. The climax of the ride is the steep drop into to the shack full of explosives and through the rapids as it reaches 45mph (see picture above).

The ride then heads back to the start (with us absolutely wet through). The spectators also have had chance to squirt you with water cannons, as you pass under the final bridge back to the boarding area.

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges (Island of Adventure)

Just a stones throw away from Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls in the Toon Lagoon area of the park, this is the final water ride in the Island of Adventure. Once again the wait times were very short as we made our way to the raft. However the queues did get progressively longer during the afternoon period when it got very hot.

Once you have strapped yourself in you are on your way. This ride is very similar to the Kali River Rapids ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The raft used for this ride is very similar, however this ride is quite a bit faster and bumpier as the raft churns and bounces it way through the white water rapids.

Of all the water rides we went on during this holiday, we probably got wetter on this one than any other, maybe were we just unlucky, or lucky. It's quite amusing watching people hopelessly trying to remain dry as the water splashes into the raft. Many people buy a poncho for these type of rides to keep themselves dry, but as the weather was nice and warm most of the time we didn't bother with them, as it didn't take long to dry out.

The ride is of course based on Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oil, the highlight being a large 18ft Octopus Grotto with 10 tentacles.