New Rides and Attractions 2020: Making a Splash
Candyland at Vogue Hotel Supreme Bodrum
The name speaks for itself. The new “Aqua Candy” water play structure at the Vogue Hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, is designed as eye candy for both bathers and observers alike. Polin Waterparks designed “Aqua Candy” as a multilevel water play structure full of bright colors, watery treats, and surprise splashes. Standing more than 17 meters tall, “Aqua Candy” features 10 candy-themed water slides, nine waterfalls, two huge tipping buckets, and almost 150 additional interactive elements.
“Included in the extensive structure are interactive features, like valves, water cannons, and blasters, which are designed to complement each other and enable guests of all ages to interact and play,” says Söhret Pakis, director of marketing and communications for Polin Waterparks. “This inclusive structure has something for every member of the family.”
Next door to “Aqua Candy,” Polin Waterparks installed what the company calls “the world’s first fully transparent composite Looping Rocket water slide.” The transparent nature of the slide will showcase riders and increase their adrenaline levels.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
Santa Claus, Indiana, United States
Not one but two launching water slides opened as part of “Cheetah Chase” at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. The new structure features two intertwined ProSlide RocketBlast-powered slides, using targeted water nozzles (rather than linear induction motors) to propel rafts forward at 30 feet per second. At several times along the 1,700 feet of flume, “Cheetah Chase” rafts come head to head and whiz past each other. “The three-person rafts allow families to race face to face,” says Holiday World President Matt Eckert.
Riders also experience two of ProSlide’s FlyingSaucer elements along the course, designed to maintain speed along tight turns. “With a first-of-its-kind flat launch and dueling features, we’ve seen how this ride is a hit with families,” says Eckert. As each slide is a mirror of the other, Splashin’ Safari can double the ride’s hourly capacity.
Located next to “The Voyage” wooden roller coaster in Holiday World’s Thanksgiving section, “Cheetah Chase” sports the traditional autumn colors of gold, orange, tan, and brown. The new complex opened in July with social distancing efforts in place. “Cheetah Chase,” along with other slides at Splashin’ Safari, used the park’s inLine Reservation System this summer. Guests made virtual reservations on their smartphones or at the slides’ entrances, thus reducing the number of people waiting in a physical line. “Cheetah Chase” represents a $7 million investment in Splashin’ Safari, bringing the park’s number of launching water slides to four.
Hermitage, Tennessee, United States
When Nashville Shores reopened in June after a pandemic-induced delay, the park made a splash. Located on Percy Priest Lake, 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville Shores introduced the world to “Mega Mayhem,” a new family raft ride made by ProSlide Technology Inc.
“This massive, five-person family raft slide is like two water slides in one. It is a hybrid slide featuring two distinct elements with a tornado funnel and a giant four-story wave wall,” says Daniel Strobel, Nashville Shores’ director of marketing, of the six-story-tall slide. “It is the only slide of its type in Tennessee, and one of only six in the world.”
Nashville Shores decided to build “Mega Mayhem” based on popular demand. “We installed a family raft slide in 2015 that quickly became one of the most popular attractions at our park,” says Strobel. “We annually survey our water park guests and season passholders, and one of the most requested additions would be another family raft slide.”
“Mega Mayhem’s” planning and design phase began in mid-2019, while construction started in January. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we faced several unexpected delays with securing labor, shipment interruptions, and other issues which we could not account for and had to overcome,” Strobel says. “Mega Mayhem” was completed in early June and opened just two days after local authorities gave approval to open Nashville Shores.
“It immediately became the most popular ride in the park,” Strobel says. “People often comment that ‘Mega Mayhem’ is one of the best water slides they have been on because it is exciting, and it provides such a smooth and breathtaking ride.”
Shankus Water Park
Located on the Ahmedabad-Mehsana Highway near Gujarat, Shankus Water Park gained the reputation as India’s first water park upon opening in 1993. “Shankus is now embarking on a journey of a complete transformation into a brand-new water park matching international standards,” says Ruchi Chaudhary, director of Shankus Water Park and Resort. “Our goal is not just to be the first water park, but the best water park of India.”
To make this happen, Shankus installed a number of new rides from WhiteWater, including the “Whizzard,” a six-lane mat racer water slide that has proved popular with guests. The water park also installed fresh attractions, including AquaTube, Constrictor, Freefall, Pool Sider, Champagne Bowl, and AquaSpray Toys, plus a new splash pad for toddler-aged children and up. The new design was done by Forrec, with “gold standard filtration systems installed from Neptune-Benson,” says Chaudhary. The water park’s footprint has quadrupled in size from 7 acres to 30 acres.
“The attractions were selected to cater different age groups, their safety, and security,” Chaudhary notes. “Our original water park rides were from WhiteWater back in 1993, and even now, we trust the quality of WhiteWater and hence selected all rides from them.”
Shankus’ park-wide refresh took 18 months and cost $30 million. “We were supposed to launch on March 29, 2020, but could not open due to nationwide lockdown declared in India due to the pandemic,” says Chaudhary. The lockdown has since eased, and Shankus Water Park—with all its new attractions—is open for guests to enjoy.
Tampa, Florida, United States
When the time came to launch the new “Solar Vortex” water slide this spring, Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida, caught a break.
“We were very fortunate to be able to launch a couple of long-awaited attractions before our parks’ temporary closures,” says Jonathan Smith, corporate director of rides and engineering for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “In addition to ‘Solar Vortex’ at Adventure Island, we also launched ‘Tonga Twister’ (the first ride in Texas to have two distinct body slides featuring AquaLucent tubes that create special effect lighting patterns) at SeaWorld San Antonio.”
Adventure Island bills “Solar Vortex” as the first dual-tailspin water slide in North America, and it features two distinct tailspin elements, three dynamic AquaLucent sections, high-banking rotations, and rapid descents. Yet thanks to a minimum rider height of just 42 inches, “Solar Vortex” allows the entire family to ride together.
“It’s a perfect family-friendly raft ride. I saw some children come off the ride, and their reactions were awesome,” says Brandon Thom, vice president of Adventure Island.
“Solar Vortex” is built using the support framework of “Key West Rapids,” a retired water slide at Adventure Island. Recycling the structure provided cost savings with fabrication and transport.
“We think about the entire guest journey: from their drive in, passing through the front gate, and then moving all around the park. We opened in 1980; we had to take a critical look at that and ask, ‘What can we freshen up that lets guests know we’re taking an active part to keep us new and exciting?” Thom says.
Adventure Bay at OCT Fabland
Adventure Bay at OCT Fabland is a new ocean exploration-themed, family-friendly water park in Xiangyang, China. Its “Turbo Shuttle” slide tower, which is based on WhiteWater’s Orbiter, allows a raft of six people to experience all kinds of spins and thrills—including a complete 360-degree loop before a high-speed drop down into an exit pool.
“Guests will experience a screaming journey from eight stories high into a high-speed twist, sliding down a thrilling slide,” says Xu Li, marketing director of OCT Xiangyang Company Ltd. Tourism Branch. “The tower, which reaches up to 20.1 meters, has two slides 212 meters long and 177 meters long, respectively.”
OCT Xiangyang selected “Turbo Shuttle” to be the backbone of this water park. “Adventure Bay, OCT Fabland, Xiangyang was planned and constructed for the purpose of meeting the entertainment needs of all-age guests, including the family,” says Xu. “In the selection of attractions, the water park fully considers the play needs of the family and young people. It is equipped with about 60% of the attractions suitable for family and about 40% of the attractions for young people who love thrilling attractions.”
Upon opening in June, “Turbo Shuttle” instantly became one of the park’s most-popular attractions, with 70% of guests mentioning the ride as a reason for their visit. “Every day, long queues could be found in the waiting area of ‘Turbo Shuttle,’ and the screaming and shouting there is the loudest in the park,” Xu says.
James Careless is a Canada-based writer who covers the water park industry for Funworld.
Funworld Managing Editor Scott Fais contributed to the annual water park roundup.