I’m certain many of you know that IAAPA’s annual Exposition started this past Tuesday and, like always, companies and businesses left and right are popping out new, innovative, and creative creations as well as announcing new installations coming to parks inside and outside of the United States.
In case you don’t know or forgot, I went with family on a 3 day voyage onboard the Disney Dream cruise ship out of Port Canaveral, Florida, down to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. You can click here for a review of the ship and for Castaway Cay Island. In this post, I will be talking about the Atlantis Paradise Islands Resort and the Aquaventure water park.
On the third day of the cruise, I had woken early enough to see the ship slowly backing into it’s place at the docks facing the colorfully vibrant city of Nassau, Bahamas. Joining us later on was the Carnival Sensation cruise ship that docked on our side of the ship, and afterwards spotted the huge Norwegian Gem pulling into the opposite side of the ship.
The Atlantis resort is very closed-in (but free to walk through), and offers higher quality amenities like the many high quality shops offering name brand clothing and accessories, as well as a casino that is required to walk through if you’re heading towards the water park. The main floor within the hotel is very spacious and gives a sense of how wonderfully themed the entire resort is due to the heavy amount of artwork and sculptures located everywhere.
I should probably mention that the price for a single day non-guest adult admission to the water park is roughly the same price for a single day’s admission to Disneyland, so I would strongly suggest to anyone to plan ahead if they would ever like to consider making a visit to the water park and are not planning on staying at the resort. But with that said…
Atlantis Resort’s backyard water park, Aquaventure, is one of the highest ranked water parks in the world due to the sheer amount of theming found within every crack and crevice of this brilliant water park. The details come all the way down to the rock walls within the lazy rivers, to the intricate details inside the Mayan temple slide complex, to the dark atmosphere and sounds emitted within the Power Tower slide complex, to the many shark and manta ray tanks beside and around water slides and pools, to the incredible length and features of the action/rapids river, and so on. The level of detail within this water park makes this one of the highest detailed water parks in the world, among the ranks of parks like Aquaventure or Wild Wadi in Dubai, or Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida.
Starting with the park’s first and better-known slide complex, the Mayan Temple houses five water slides that ranges from beginner to extreme. Starting with the easiest slide: Jungle Slide is a lengthy slow body slide that starts about 1/3 of the way up the stairs leading to the top of the Mayan Temple and consists of a few easy left and right turns before dumping riders into a pool. Further up the stairs and completely hidden within the temple itself is the Serpent Slide, which is a dark enclosed inner-tube water slide that completes a few turns and helixes before emptying into a lazy-river like section within a long translucent box submerged within a shark tank so that riders can float forwards while seeing all types of sharks and mantas fly above and below them.
The second and more outstanding complex goes to the Power Tower, which is a 121 foot tall tower that opened in 2008 themed to the Atlanteans’ need to generate electricity to power their city, and is complete with dark ambient noises of gears creaking and voltage hums being emitting from within. The slide complex houses four of the water park’s biggest slides, starting at the top with The Surge and The Abyss. The Surge is an inner tube master blaster water slide that consists of a high speed double-down before rocketing riders back uphill with the assistance of water jets propelling riders all the way, then they enter a tunnel to complete multiple helixes and turns before ending in its own river section. The river brings riders past water falls and rapid sections before spilling them out into the larger main rapids river.
The next slide located beside it at the top is a body slide longer, faster, and darker than Leap of Faith. The Abyss is a high speed enclosed body slide that begins with an initial 50 foot drop into darkness before re-emerging into light for a fraction of time, only to go back into darkness and drop further into the ground. A water curtain rains over the end of the slide, where riders are dumped into a pool inside a hidden underground cave next to tanks with alligator gars and other fishes that swim above.
Both The Abyss and The Surge water slides tend to take the lead with guests and visitors in being the favorites at Aquaventure.
One level below the top sits two more slides that were only accessible via a conveyor belt that brought riders from the lazy river and into the tower (the stairwell that originally led to these slides was blocked off during my visit, possibly to control the flow of crowds). Once inside, you float in your tube down a slim lazy river to either one of two master blaster slides. The Drop starts riders with a 50 foot drop in total darkness before eventually re-emerging and shooting them up-hill via water jets to complete a few more turns and dumping riders into the river. The Falls begins riders with a similar drop, but not enclosed, before blasting them up two back-to-back uphill sections, completing a few turns, and dumping riders into the river as well.
Ratings for slides ridden (N/A= Unavailable):
Challenger Slide: 8/10
Jungle Slide: 6/10
Leap of Faith: 9/10
Serpent Slide: 8/10
The Abyss 9/10
The Drop: 8/10
The Falls: 8/10
The Surge: 10/10!
Overall Water Park Rating: 10/10!
For the past couple of months (as I tackle on a few college summer courses), I have made a few weekend trips to Kentucky Kingdom. From those visits, I’ve gathered some photographs and video of the park, and some tips on making the most of your visit. All will be posted in a review of the water park eventually. Until that time, feel free to enjoy the videos being posted to the Water Slide Database YouTube channel of the water park and the various slides within!
Furthermore, you can view more pictures and other tidbits of info about the park on the Water Slide Database website as well!
There was one part of the island that blew me away and required a separate trolly of its own. It took you down a lush trail before speeding down a long airstrip, coming to a stop at the opposite end to drop folks 18 years of age and older to a secluded corner of the island. This area included its own beach, plenty of cabanas and loungers, some hammocks, and a few stands to buy drinks at. What amazed me the most about this area was how the water was far more calm and somehow looked bluer than it did on the other location. For cruisers looking to get away from the crowds, this spot is definitely for them!
Aquaduck (Disney Dream Ship): 8/10
Pelican’s Plunge (Castaway Cay Island)(2): 7/10
Part of Norwegian Cruise’s newest fleets, the Norwegian Breakaway is one of the latest and most unique cruise ships ever built. Having first set sail in May of 2013, the Norwegian Breakaway has been making many voyages in and out of New York City to destinations such as Bermuda, Orlando, Nassau, and multiple private islands. The ship itself is decked out to give the appeal and atmosphere of New York City itself, with many shows, restaurants, bars, clubs, and other areas of the ship themed to the big apple.
First, the family slide is the smallest water slide on the ship, and consists of an open flume figure 8-like layout before coming to the shutdown lane on deck 16. The slide is nothing special, though if one slides down it correctly, they can reach some impressive speeds and come flying high on the curves! This slide has the lowest height requirement, so little kids can enjoy it the most, while many of those who are tall enough can brave the more thrilling slides.
The next couple of slides start many stories above deck 17 and has a very quick spiral all the way down. The Whip slides are two dual yellow and purple tunneled body slides that consist of a few left helixes downward, starting from opposite ends and meeting in the same area side-by-side with their own shutdown lanes. The turn on both slides become tighter the further down the slider goes, giving the illusion that one is significantly increasing speeds, but the feeling of pulling more g’s. This is especially noticeable in the purple flume due to it having a slightly longer course and the tightest radius near the bottom, allowing very impressive g’s to be reached for those that go down fast enough!
The last of the slides is one of the tallest, fastest, most intense, and most spectacular on a ship. Free Fall are two dual aqualoop water slides, the first of its kind ever built on any cruise ship. The slide consists of a trap door beginning, where a countdown is given by a speaker in the capsule before the floor gives way and allows the sliders to come to a freefall start in the tunnel and reach very fast speeds, before rocketing up an upward incline (an angled loop) and coming to an end in the splashdown lane. These very fast water slides are definitely the most spectacular to ride, but also to watch due to the translucent tunnels that allow people on and off the ship to see riders go up the “loop” portion.
Oftentimes, people would valley on the slide (not make it all the way through the inclined loop) due to reasons that range from being too light, to wearing certain clothes, like shirts, that slow down the rider. (I, myself, have valleyed once on one of them) Luckily, the escape hatch at the bottom of the drop is left open so the slider can climb out and wait for an operator to come and get them from a platform before resetting the slide.
Along with the slides, there are two bars, multiple jacuzzis, and two pools for people to enjoy, plus an area for the very small children to play in with a small slide and large Spongebob Squarepants figures placed around.
The Aqua Park on the Norwegian Breakaway definitely has one of the most unique water park complexes ever built, especially considering the fact that it was placed on the top of a cruise ship. The best part is that plenty of fun can be had on it by not only kids, but teens and adults seeking something to satisfy their taste for extreme and thrilling. The Norwegian Breakaway is one of the only few ships that can offer this kind of experience in addition to sailing to the multiple ports offered.
Splash Adventure water park was previously known as Alabama Adventure amusement park which included not only the water park (which was known as Splash Beach at the time), but also a few roller coasters and other flat rides placed nearby. Management recently decided to close the amusement park side. Today, the amusement park side still stands with the towering Rampage wooden roller coaster standing off in the distance on the side of a hill, an S&S Space Shot closer to the park entrance, a Vekoma boomerang sitting at the side, and many more rides that are available for sale to other parks that may be interested in buying them.
Splash Beach (now known as Splash Adventure water park) is a nice medium-sized water park with a few water slides. It’s sizeable enough for a group to spend at least 4 hours within the park to experience enough of it (depending upon crowds). The collection of water slides at the park isn’t big, but it’s enough to have a fun time. There are two standalone body slides, four inner-tube slides, one WhiteWater West Boomerang slide, a water playground with two body slides, and a kids splash area. The park also has a wave pool near the entrance and a lazy river that circles the Salamander Bay kids area.
The first water slide I rode was Upsurge. This was a WhiteWater West Boomerango water slide that sits past the wave pool on top of a hill, and it the first water slide you see when you are in the parking lot entering the park. It starts with an easy figure eight curve before dropping you towards the quarter-pipe wall and sending you and your partner backwards, up over a hill, and through a powerful water curtain. It doesn’t pull as much action as does half-pipe slides like ProSlide tornadoes do, but it is a pretty exciting slide for what it does.
This slide was also the most popular due to how it had the longest line in the water park during my visit.
The second slide to ride was Acapulco Drop, which was the park’s tallest water slide. Acapulco Drop is a standard freefall body speed slide, but this slide is much different due to it’s wider than usual sliding surface, the sharp downward turn into the drop making it feel like you are sliding off of a cliff-side, and the spectacularly abrupt end in the shut-down lane at the end. The slide is a great thrill, but can leave you a little sore after a few re-rides on it.
The water slide below it, and the third slide I rode, was the Splashdown body bowl slide. This slide starts with an easy and quick bank to the left as you plunge into the darkness of the tunnel. After that, you bank down even further and pick up speed, before giving a sudden right turn and shooting out into the bowl section where you swirl a few times before falling through the hole in the middle and into the 8ft deep splash pool.
It was a very enjoyable slide. The surface was a little rough on my back, but that didn’t keep me from re-riding it.
The next, and last slides were the Neptune’s Plunge water slides. These were four dark tunneled inner tube slides that wound around each other after beginning in the same station platform. They would complete a series of left and right banks and helixes before splashing into a pool at the end. This slide is a great choice for those who were too scared to ride any of the other thrilling slides in the park. Keep in mind though that the line for it may take a while. During my visit, the park only had one lifeguard sending riders for all four tunnels down one at a time, which seemed to lower the capacity the slide could have had.
Those were the only slides I experienced at the park, and were the only major rides in the water park aside from the water playground. The park also had dual zip lines and a brand new (and first of its kind in the world) water maze course, but I didn’t find the time to try either
The Aqua Maze course did look like fun though, and something I should try should I return here. It consisted of elevated bright blue and green walls that were placed so patrons would try to find their way through it. During the course, You would be handed a voucher that they would need to stamp at four separate locations within the maze so it would spell out “MAZE” once completed. While traversing through, guests would be bombed with water buckets from above their heads, and sprayed by watching patrons standing on the viewing platform, making this maze that much more worth trying out!
Splash Adventure, as a whole, does seem like a park where a group could spend a few hours relaxing, splashing on the slides, and trying out other water attractions. It is a nice clean park with nice park staff and a good collection of rides and attractions. For running it’s first year as a water park only, it does have plenty of potential to be come better.
I can only hope that the park puts in a new water slide someday, and I can highly suggest a family raft slide. Those slides are very popular with family and groups in other water parks, and would fit in greatly in this park.
Overall Water Park Rating: 7/10
Wildebeest is a hit with any roller coaster enthusiast who rides it, and it is definitely a must-ride if you ever visit the park. But of course, it’s not the only slide one must experience if they ever come here.
Mammoth is absolutely amazing to ride, and is beautiful to look at. Wildebeest will provide more thrills, but Mammoth is probably more fun to ride with friends because of how you are facing each other and how Mammoth has a higher capacity.
Still, even with the frigid water that morning, everyone who rode Mammoth seemed to love it!
After that, I made my way to Black River Falls. This was the longest I waited that day. After waiting 30 minutes for an inner-tube, I head to the top to wait another 20 to get on the slide. It takes quite a while for the light to turn green and let the next slider down the chute. After the light does turn green and you start down the slide, you immediately enter a tunnel and hit a left turn helix. The water slide consists of multiple left and right turns in a pitch black tunnel filled with air holes punched out of the top of the slide. The slide also consists of jagged trims to slow down your inner tube along the course, and they can hurt if you do not lift your butt while riding! Soon the slide ends with a drop finale into the pool, where you disembark your tube and hand it to the awaiting rider.
Next in line was the Bermuda Triangle and Caribbean Plunge (which also meant I skipped Gulf Screamer, this was because Bermuda Triangle had a much shorter wait. Well get to Gulf Screamer soon.). Bermuda Triangle was practically a walk-on once you retrieved your double inner-tube. After climbing the stairs, getting on your tube and pushing off, you move slowly around one turn, take a dip and then complete a helix in the opposite direction. Along the course of this slide are a few trims as well to slow down your inner tube. Soon you go down another small dip and enter a tunnel where you make another complete helix in the opposite direction. Eventually you will exit the tunnel, go down a bigger dip and splash in the pool. Caribbean Plunge (Not Pictured) was a little more intense than Bermuda Triangle because of it’s very steep double-down drops. Both slides okay in my opinion, but none of the inner tube slides I rode this day were as good as Gulf Scream.
Gulf Scream was another inner tube water slide with a couple dips and many turns. What makes this slide stand out? It has wilder turns, no trims, and it ends shooting you outwards 3 feet above the pool! This slide has one of the most spectacular finales of any water slide I’ve seen. Being that you just came out of a turn and are still swinging left and right, you can hit the pool sideways causing you to fall out of your inner tube!
That was all for this day. The last slide I was able to hit before they closed the water slides and the entire water park was Dragon’s Tail for a second run. It’s now my favorite water slide in the water park!
As for the Flash Pass system? I think it would really sell at a water park like this. Lines usually get pretty long during peak seasons and a way to skip the lines would totally catch my eye. Today, though, was a very slow day. The longest I waited felt about 30-40 minutes (Black River Falls), at least 20 of those minutes were waiting for an inner tube. The Fastpass system for inner tube slides is that you get to go through a separate and obviously shorter line to get an inner tube, but then you will have to wait to get on the actual slide. For body slides like Dragon’s Tail, the normal line was big enough to have a rope split it into two; thus allowing Fastpass-ers to virtually skip the line.
I only saw one person use the fast pass system that day and it was for getting on Dragon’s Tail. I didn’t mind the Fastpass system that day since there was a smaller crowd, but on a busy day where lines back up all the way to the entrance, I would feel pressured to pay extra to use the system. I’m not saying that I dislike the Fastpass system or how Six Flags uses them, I think they are very useful when you don’t want to wait in long lines. I will try the system one day just to see how much of a difference it can make on a busy day.
Water Slide Ratings (N/A = Not Available)(* = Updated/Changed)
Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool: 7/10
Buccaneer Bay: N/A
Little Hooch River: 6/10
Tree House Island: N/A
*Overall Water Park Rating: 9/10
Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach water park is one large iconic artificial mountain containing dozens of heavily themed water slides and rides. Blizzard Beach is, of course, themed to a melting ski resort with snow and snow related scenery found everywhere, including a fully operational chairlift to the top. The park also features different sections of the mountain as “slopes” (Green, Purple, and Red slopes). The water park is hard to miss when you are driving near it since the mountain has an elevation of 90 ft., and one of the world’s tallest water slides sits 30 feet higher on top of it.
Summit Plummet is the park’s most notorious water slide and can be seen from almost anywhere inside and outside of the water park. Summit Plummet is the United States’ tallest freefall body slide, and one of the tallest freefall slides in the world. Riders simply scoot themselves towards the edge until gravity pulls them up to speeds of over 50 mph. The slide experience is like any other freefall slide, but it’s height and the theming around this slide helps it stand out above others.
Beside it would be the Slush Gusher speed slide. This water slide isn’t as famous as Summit Plummet, but it provides a slightly bigger punch with it’s three drops that provide a comfortable amount of airtime. Depending upon how heavy you are and how fast you are moving will depend on if you actually come off of the slide on the third drop.
The Downhill Double Dipper water slide is a double-drop inner-tube slide. This water slide is mostly known because of the speed it picks up on the two drops and the splashes created at the pool area. The slide also uses a system where riders do not have to push themselves towards the edge to go, but instead rest on a stopper that releases that and the other rider at the same time so they can race. This ride is fairly popular and has a slower loading capacity compared to the other slides, so you can find yourself waiting about 30 minutes to ride.
Toboggan Racers and Snow Stormers are the park’s two belly mat water slides. Toboggan Racers is an 8-lane mat racer slide with three drops. The drops are pretty large so you pick up good speed, but they are not as steep as other mat racers. Because of the slide’s shortness, I wouldn’t say that the slide is as exciting as the other slides in the water park. Snow Stormers on the other hand is a little more exciting because of it’s slalom-style flume. This mat slide has three lanes that repeatedly go left and right and has a few small drops to help pick up speed. This slide is a little more exciting and usually has a shorter wait than Toboggan Racers.
Runoff Rapids are three normal inner-tube water slides that sit behind Mount Gushmore. Two are open-flume slides and one is an enclosed-flume. The slides are just like any other inner-tube slide, but these slides last longer than average because of it’s higher starting area. The open-flume slides can only be used with double tubes and the enclosed-flume can only be used with the single tubes, so you will need a partner if you want to ride the open-flume slides.
Teamboat Springs is a very long family raft slide that also acts as a slalom with it’s long left and right S-bend turns into a final U-turn into a small lazy river section. This water slide also starts at the top of Mount Gushmore and works it’s way to the bottom. One great fact about this slide is that the rafts are large enough to fit 6 people at a time, and the slide’s loading capacity is very fast because of it’s continuous conveyor belt moving the rafts at the top.
Blizzard Beach is an amazing water park that is known in many places around the world and attracts people from around the world as well. But with this much popularity, you can expect lines to be pretty long for many slides. I myself had to wait well over an hour to get on Summit plummet and couldn’t bother getting in line for Slush Gusher because of the limited time I had in the park. Fortunately, this was the only problem I saw with the park. Everything else about the water park was great, especially the fact that there were sprinklers placed all over the water park to cool the hot ground from scorching people’s feet in the hot Florida weather.
Blizzard Beach is one of the many must-dos if you are visiting Walt Disney World for a few days. It is one of the amazing parks to be experienced with your family and friends. The next time I return, I’ll be sure to pay a visit to Walt Disney World’s other water park, Typhoon Lagoon.
|Sign pointing to different slopes.|
Water Slide Ratings (N/A= Not Available)
Downhill Double Dipper (2): 7/10
Runoff Rapids (Enclosed): 7/10
Runoff Rapids (Open)(2): 6/10
Slush Gusher: N/A
Snow Stormers (3): 7/10
Summit Plummet: 9/10
Teamboat Springs: 7/10
Toboggan Racers: 6/10
Ski Patrol Training Camp (Area contains multiple unnamed water slides): N/A
|A cave leading towards Purple and Red slopes.|
Cross Country Creek (Lazy River): 8/10
Melt-Away (Wave Pool): N/A
Tike’s Peak: N/A
Overall Water Park Rating: 9/10