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Are Water Rides Worth the Investment?


SonofBaconator
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There's always certain rides that people want at their park: coasters, high thrill flat rides, family flat rides, etc. The rides you don't see a lot of demand for, however, are water rides. You don't see the GP or even enthusiasts say, "we need a new water ride" very often; if at all. Recently we've seen some water rides come to parks across the US like the Snake River Expedition at CP, Mystic River Falls at Silver Dollar City, and even the delayed Aquaman Power Wave at Six Flags Over Texas, but this has been arguably the most we've seen in a long time.

So what happened? Have they lost their novelty amongst park guests? Have they become too maintenance heavy? Do they just require too much upkeep? Is the idea of getting soaked in the dry park unappealing? All of these questions can be answered but of course the big one remains....  "Are Water Rides Worth the Investment?"

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10 minutes ago, silver2005 said:

I said non-capsizing. ;)  :P 

I figured you were trying to make some joke about that and assume you're referring to Shoot-the-Rapids at Cedar Point? Not to downplay the severity of that situation and how horrible it could have been, but are there any other flume rides that have had issues? I know they had an issue on their rapids ride at Six Flags Over Texas in 1999, but I'm not familiar with anything past that.

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Mystic River Falls was really a lot of fun. We went for two days at the start of August and had two rides. Not a soaker, but unique and super popular. Two hour wait during the peak of both days with one party per boat (max 8) due to distancing rules. It did break down a lot, we observed a party stuck near the top of the lift tower for about 30 minutes. That would have been interesting. It looked like it cost a fortune with the ride, theming and surrounding area. 

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WhiteWater West took over the old Hopkins company.  Something like Daredevil Falls at Dollywood would be a nice way of bringing back KCKC but still be well themed. 

The thing I would say is that people seem to not like getting soaked as much as they did 20-30 years ago.  Obviously getting their technology (be it phones, watches, etc.) wet is the big difference.  I do think a bigger flume in Rivertown could be successful though.

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6 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

You don't see the GP or even enthusiasts say, "we need a new water ride"...

We need a new water ride.

Boom.

Said it.

 

On a serious note, water rides are worth the investment if they work well with the park they are in. An amusement park farther north probably won't have water rides to the same degree as parks farther south. If anything, parks more north probably don't have any water rides (if they do, I would imagine they are a small number) whereas parks farther south probably have more than one or two water rides. Climate (probably) plays a big role in water rides because parks farther north have a limited time span for operation, especially with water rides. Look right here at Kings Island. I personally wouldn't consider our park to be a "northern" park, but look at some of our water rides. WWC is only open from about Memorial Day to sometime in August or September. RFYLCB closes (if I remeber) for the season in September.And tbh idk about Congo Falls. Imagine if you sent these three rides south or north. If you sent them south, they would most likely have a longer operating period. Send them more north and its more limited. 

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It is shocking to me that Carowinds is running without a water ride in park. In a perfect world I'd say they should renovate their SBNO rapids ride like Knotts recently did and then add a new modern flume in the Dinos Alive area but I highly doubt either would occur. If any major park in the chain could use those investments, it's that park. All 3 of our summer trips there in 2016, 18 and 19 it was VERY hot. 

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7 hours ago, JimParker85 said:

Mystic River Falls was really a lot of fun. We went for two days at the start of August and had two rides. Not a soaker, but unique and super popular. Two hour wait during the peak of both days with one party per boat (max 8) due to distancing rules. It did break down a lot, we observed a party stuck near the top of the lift tower for about 30 minutes. That would have been interesting. It looked like it cost a fortune with the ride, theming and surrounding area. 

Is there anybody here who could explain why some of these soak you? Like the ones at King's Island and Cedar Point. But then the other 3 I have rode at Dollywood, Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom barely got me wet.

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The one thing about rapids rides is that they are EXPENSIVE to operate. The cost of running the pumps and filtration systems all day is absurd. I know when I worked at Cedar Point they said their raft ride was the most expensive ride in the park from a maintenance perspective and I can confirm similar things here at Animal Kingdom.

Financially, parks generally spread the costs of operations over their ridership. If rapids ride X costs a million dollars a week to operate and 70,000 people ride it that week then the cost per guest is around 14 dollars. (these are made up numbers) The ridership for water rides are generally not high compared to your regular E ticket attractions. 

So what I am saying is the VALUE for most water rides is just not there, at least not for rapids rides. Log flumes may be different. 

I would like to see parks take a more innovative approach to cool down guests during those hot summer months (or all the time in Florida). More indoor queues, large misting fans that aren't moldy/disgusting scattered all over the park pathways, etc...

 

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