by Paul Ruben
While strolling through Aquatica recently, the shimmering new waterpark at SeaWorld Orlando, I was reminded of Sloppy Lagoon, an old ditty by Spike Jones:
Water Lu, she lives with the fishes, Water Lu, her kiss is delicious,
I love her with passion but she’s always busy splashin’,
Water Lu, drip, drip, drip
At Aquatica, everyone was busy splashin’, and on this hot and sunny day, enjoying every minute of it. Most of the major waterpark elements are there, of course, all tied together by a South Seas theme. But SeaWorld is known for its animal interactions, and Aquatica distinguishes itself from other waterparks by introducing guests to Commerson’s dolphins, exotic fish, colorful birds and even giant anteaters. I wonder where they find the giant ants to feed them.
The Aquatica experience should not be missed, so during the media day I jumped right in. The first waterslide I tried was the 250ft-long signature Dolphin Plunge, where you slide down through 50ft of clear tubing right through the dolphin pool. I don’t know what the dolphins were thinking as I slid past, but I was doing my best to avoid a wedgee.
My favourite part was floating through an adventure river known as Roa’s Rapids in an inner tube. It sends guests through 1,500ft of rapids, past geysers and under waterfalls. But I need to keep my thoughts to myself. As I was floating past this very shapely woman wearing a tight wet T-shirt with “Guess” on it, I asked, “Implants?”
Perhaps Aquatica’s most exhilarating ride element is Taumata Racer, which speeds guests in and out of tunnels and around a 360-degree turn before racing them down colourful eight-lane slides. It was here I met Jacqueline Vaituulala of Netane Entertainment, pictured above (Jacqueline’s the one on the right). Netane are the people responsible for the entertainment at SeaWorld’s Makahiki Luau dinner show. I think Jacqueline is entertaining any day.
Later I enjoyed an evening soiree at SeaWorld hosted by Busch Entertainment. For many, the highlight was the Shamu Rocks! show where the orca whales leap and splash to the music. For me, however, the best part was either the animal interactions or the abundance of adult beverages, I’m not sure which.
Not only did I feel a kinship with a giant sloth, but had my picture taken with a bald eagle and petted a Clydesdale horse, the beautiful animals depicted in US beer commercials pulling an Anheuser-Busch wagon. Unlike most horses, this one was particularly intelligent. It’s handler told me that it has learned simple math(s), spelling and even physics. Alas it had no aptitude for philosophy. Which just proves that you shouldn’t put Descartes before the horse.