|Water Park:||Wet 'n' Wild Gold Coast (since 1986)|
|Cades County Wet'n'Wild (1985)|
|Cades County Waterpark (1984)|
|Oxenford QLD 4210|
|Operated by:||Village Roadshow|
History of the water park Wet ‘n’ Wild
Wet ’n Wild is probably the best-known brand for water parks worldwide. The concept was developed by George Millay, who previously established the SeaWorld marine mammal parks. Over time, there were eight water parks sharing the same ideas with the most prominent one being in Orlando. Most of the parks were sold and there are currently just three parks left in operation. Wet ’n’ Wild on the other hand is a popular brand of water parks by Village Roadshow Theme Parks, who licenced the Wet ’n Wild name.
Wet ’n’ Wild Gold Coast originally started as Cade’s County by the Herringe Group of Companies in 1984. Back in the days it was a state-of-the-art water park and the biggest one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere consisting of a wave pool, a kamikaze slide and a bunch of mat and body slides. Nowadays, it is pretty clear that Wet ’n’ Wild Gold Coast was heavily influenced by its namesake sharing most of the attractions once featured in Orlando.
Tour of the park
One attraction which is rather unique to the park is the Intamin half pipe roller coaster Surfrider. This LSM coaster features two revolving gondolas which are placed onto an oversized surfboard. Due to the small launches the ride more and more increases in height and the spinning just gets wilder and wilder. At the highest point you feel a great amount of airtime and, depending on your position, some very impressive views. This ride is fun and should not be missed when visiting the Gold Coast. But caution, the floor up to the ride’s platform can get very hot.
Mach 5 and Black Hole
In the area behind the Surfrider, there were only two of the four slide towers operational. The most impressive of these was the Mach 5 slide tower, which just got demolished to be replaced by a similar tower featuring two water coasters, two raft slides and a bodyslide racer. The Mach 5 had two large scale mat slides and some rather impressive looking kamikaze slides. It was a shame that I could not give it a try, as I was nearly one year too late for that. The neighbouring Black Hole tower was currently scheduled for maintenance, so we had to give the nice-looking tube slides with all its tight curves and jumps a miss.
Tornado and Kamikaze
The two slide towers which were open on the day of our visit in the Extreme H2O Zone were the Tornado and Kamikaze slide towers. Where the Tornado provides its usual large scale funnel slide experience, the Kamikaze is a rather oddly named Boomerang slide. Both slides are basically sharing the same experience, yet the Kamikaze is slightly steeper and provides a longer time swinging up and down in the slide’s main element. Both slides are great fun!
Calypso Springs and Mammoth Falls
Past the closed Whirlpool Springs and the still closed lazy river Calypso Springs, we now head towards the front section of the park. To the left we find the large wave pool, a flow rider, a sky coaster and the Mammoth Falls water slides. The two family raft slides provides a rather tame experience with no real surprises along its serpentine style path.
River Rapids and Constrictor
To the right there is the kid’s area Wet ’n’ Wild Junior, as well as a large selection of water slides. On an artificial mountain you can find the four River Rapids bodyslides offering two enclosed turbo slides winding down a curvy path and two open slides featuring a series of tight curves and great jumps. The nearby raft slide Constrictor is the first installation of a constrictor slide by whitewater featuring very tight helices along its path. Unfortunately, it was the best visited slide at Wet ’n’ Wild Gold Coast and after some minutes not moving forward in the queue, we had to give it a miss.
Super 8 Aqua Racer and AquaLoop
A slide we sure did not wanted to miss is the mat racer Super 8 Aqua Racer. This kind of slide is always a great experience, and it did not disappoint! I even won the race 😊. Enthusiastic, I would have given the nearby AquaLoop slides a try, but they were not opened, even through their maintenance was scheduled to end on the day before.
Pictures Wet ‘n’ Wild
Conclusion Wet ‘n’ Wild
As the number of attractions was extremely limited during my visit, Village Roadshow Theme Parks once again did not provide a great experience. I seriously cannot understand how on earth you can not manage to open your attractions on time after a rather long maintenance period. If you cannot plan it well, then increase your timing or hire more people. This is simply not very professional.
Wet ’n’ Wild Gold Coast surely offers a great selection of water slides and their Surfrider roller coaster is great fun, yet I would have enjoyed the park far more, if all their slides would have been open. Combined with a visit to Sea World or the Warner Bros. Movie World, you can have a great day off – just make sure you don’t visit the parks during the low season.
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|Water Park:||Sandcastle Waterpark Blackpool
|FY4 1BB Blackpool|
|Operated by:||Blackpool Council|
Sandcastle Waterpark Blackpool is the largest water park in the United Kingdom. The waterpark is located directly at the Irish Sea and offers great water fun even on rainy days. The water park has a large number of breathtaking water slides, which are also among the best of their kind due to their sometimes quite creative course design. In addition, the bath offers a large wellness offer.
The basic entry fee for the indoor water park Sandcastle Waterpark includes access to the bathing area with the adventure pools and some smaller slides. The four larger slides, Master Blaster, Sidewinder, Montazooma and Aztec Falls, which are grouped under the name Hyperzone, are subject to a surcharge.
We started the day on the Master Blaster of the same name. As far as I could see, it is a copy of the “original manufacturer” NBGS, which has an impressive length of 250 meters. We had to wait here for about a quarter of an hour before we were allowed to take a seat in the starting tub of this machine, which was obviously only used with single tires. While Tobias was sent off more or less immediately after the minimum distance, I received a particularly long instruction before the start – for whatever reason – of which I didn’t understand much in the general noise of the hall anyway, and which did not contain anything that could not be deduced from common sense or the signs. Tobias asked me at my final arrival in the exit area, where I had stayed so long.
The ride itself: wonderfully long, rocking and with considerable power on the uphill sections. Similar to the Dragon Blaster in Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, you experience the upward shots through the sliding tyres a little more forcefully than sitting in dinghies. Even the translucent blue tube part, which runs outside the building, is great fun. In addition, the surprisingly steep double down to the final is not to be underestimated – you gain so much momentum that you have to work hard during the subsequent braking process to avoid being thrown out of the tyre. This could be observed a few times. Definitely a very nice layout, but I’ve been spoiled too much by these LIM-rockets from Proslide – so the water jet version, even if it has a lot of power, as here at Sandcastle Waterpark, just looks a bit tired.
Next up: the halfpipe slide Sidewinder. We waited about a quarter of an hour. Like at the Stingray in Noah’s Ark, the lifeguard was roped up here and balanced barefoot in the start area – hats off! The slide itself is as usual super funny! Due to the low wetting of the surface, you can rush up to the edges of the construction without much effort – simply great fun!
According to the theming we are on an adventure island – it is obvious from the coasterfreak’s point of view that there are two Dueling Dragons here, too. In Blackpool, these are two parallel steep-helix turbo tubes, through which you’ll just get smashed. The red one (which, seen from above, starts on the right, but comes out on the left at the bottom) is noticeably more extreme, since the decisive “death swing” is simply much more abrupt than with the neighbour – Tobias also had to realize this with a laugh during a second comparison slide. In the green track the joints are also a bit worse finished – a rather unpleasant experience for your back. The red tube is without question the true winner.
The Thunder Falls are the oldest slides in Sandcastle Waterpark and consist of a yellow and a blue bodyslide. The yellow one is certainly the more interesting one, as it has some incredibly tight S-curves, which make you swing around, but also make you very slow – it seems that the slide suffers a bit from the Alpa-Run-Syndrome of Alpamare Bad Tölz. The blue side offers the rounder sliding experience with its wider curves and punctual speed ramps, but slides a bit more bumpy due to the more pronounced segment joints.
Aztek Falls is a funnel slide for double tubes and one of two slides that start from the highest point in the bath from a separate slide tower and come along in an Aztec theme. Here, the waiting time was a good half hour, but I would also say that it was fully worth it. In my opinion, this was the absolute highlight of the Sandcastle Waterpark. Judging purely from the shape of the bowl, this is definitely the best tube funnel I’ve ever slid – the starting pipe definitely provides the necessary momentum and with Tobias’ and my combined fighting weight we had four laps together in no time. By a courageous push-off manoeuvre from the one funnel middle wall I even managed a fifth, before we went down the corkscrew exit and the extremely crisp final chute back to the discharge basin. An amazing ride!
The second slide in the tower complex is a narrow turbotube called Montazooma, which is slid headfirst with mats. You can almost imagine a proslide mat racer, which never turns into a wave track – it’s absolutely crazy how you are partly pressed on your stomach and thrown up into the curves. Definitely another favourite at the Sandcastle Waterpark! And furthermore an insider tip: even on this full Sunday there were phases where mats were still available, while at the neighbouring Aztec Falls you always had to wait at the run-out for your tube. The queue situation in the uppermost part of the tower is a bit unfortunate in Aquatica terms (on the right you queue for the funnel, on the left for the mat slide), but in the queue-tested Great Britain with its somewhat more intelligent and also more communicative public, this was really not an issue.
Conclusion Sandcastle Waterpark
Besides the big slides we also tried the smaller Treetop Water Chutes (flat triple family racers) and the stream canal, after that it was time to move on and start the journey home. The Sandcastle Waterpark as a whole has not really excited me, but this is probably due to the Sunday crowds and the very loud and hectic atmosphere in the big hall. The Caribbean-tropical design is very inspiring, the slides are actually all good for something and with a little less crowd and therefore possible repeat rides I would have had a great time for sure. But because of the high entrance fee (especially compared to the neighbouring Pleasure Beach) and the limited the time of the visit, I will keep this pool in my mind with mixed feelings. But as Blackpool is scheduled for 2018 anyway, it will be almost self-evident that a return visit is possible in the near future if the the park is less crowded.
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