Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Shoot! It’s the Rapids!

by Paul Ruben

It was off last summer to Cedar Point to check out the Ohio park’s new flume ride, Shoot the Rapids. “You will get wet,” I was told. We’ll see.

I brought along a plastic poncho to toss over me. It’s waterproof. You see, I’m a water ride weenie. I like water rides, but I don’t like to get wet when in street clothes. Who wants their wallet, money, clothes or shoes and socks wet? Not me. I love to ride when in a bathing suit and surf shoes (getting a nice picture are you?) but I get a little apprehensive when fully clothed.

A few parks have done it right. They group their water rides such as flumes, shoot-the-chutes and raft rides next to their waterpark, so guests in either the ride park or waterpark can climb aboard. Dorney Park, Hersheypark and Holiday World come to mind as good examples.

Most parks, however, place their water rides wherever they fit, wherever there is room. Cedar Point does this. But unlike many parks, Cedar Point also allows guests to roam the entire park in their swimwear. That’s a great idea. I think every park guest should be able to wear a string bikini. OK, maybe not every guest.

Many of the visitors at Cedar Point who had lined up to ride Shoot the Rapids were in their swimsuits. Robin Innes, the park’s long-serving public relations director, had an even better idea than my poncho. Knowing I didn’t want to get wet but did want to have the full experience, he gave me a beautiful heavy-duty rubberised rain jacket. Shown here in the photo, it’s even better than a flimsy poncho!

Now I was ready for whatever rained down upon me. I climbed aboard, front seat, for the full experience. Up the first 85ft hill and ready for splashdown. We ploughed into the water, nose-first. The bow of the ship was useless as water gushed over it, onto my feet, and into the seat. It’s like I’m on the freakin’ Titanic! This ship is not sea-worthy, it’s just an excuse to keep people locked in while the water engulfs them. Meanwhile, the rubberised rain jacket remained dry. Thanks a lot, Robin.

Then we approached the second 49ft hill and drop. I thought I knew what to expect. Sure enough, upon splashdown, my wet shoes, wet socks and wet pants were re-acquainted with the water. Then suddenly I’m getting drowned from above as a water cannon arches a stream of water towards me. Now at least the rain jacket caught some. My shoulders remained dry. Big deal. And there’s Robin, on the shore, gleefully feeding quarters into the water cannon to send another salvo in my direction.

“I know you wanted the full experience,” he explained later. Yes, Robin, and thanks for the rubberised rain jacket. It provided the perfect false sense of security.

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