Wet 'n Wild Orlando

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Wet 'n Wild Orlando
Wet 'n Wild Orlando logo.svg
Wet 'n Wild Logo
Slogan "The Recognized Name in Family Water Fun!"
Location Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Coordinates Coordinates: 28°27′39″N 81°27′53″W / 28.460943°N 81.464841°W / 28.460943; -81.464841
Owner NBCUniversal (Comcast)
Opened March 13, 1977 (1977-03-13)
Closed December 31, 2016 (2016-12-31)
Previous names Wet n' Wild FunPark
Operating season Open all year long
Area 30 acres (120,000 m2)
Water slides 17 attractions water slides
Website www.wetnwildorlando.com

Wet 'n Wild Orlando is a water park located on international drive in Orlando, Florida. It was founded in 1977 by SeaWorld creator George Millay and is considered America's first water park.

The park was featured on Travel Channel's Extreme Waterparks and was also the setting for the music video for "Se A Vida É", by the Pet Shop Boys.

History[edit]

Development and ownership[edit]

While developing SeaWorld, George Millay realized the need for a water park, later recalling "being in Florida, with all its heat and hot sun, you naturally think about cooling off in water". In the mid-1970s, he directed his time and money towards the project. The idea of it stemmed from the splash pad at Ontario Place in Canada and the wave pool at Point Mallard Park in Alabama. Millay aimed to combine these two elements and build upon it in order to achieve a good return on investment. Due to his prior success with SeaWorld, he was able to form a team of investors to fund the project.[1]

The park opened in Orlando, Florida on March 13, 1977. Although it opened to rain and suffered a $600,000 loss in its first year of operation, Millay kept it open. He later claimed it "started making money the second year and never looked back".[1] The success of the park spawned several other Wet 'n Wild-branded parks across the Americas.[2] He was given the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Waterpark Association who named him the official "Father of the Waterpark".[3]

In 1998, Millay sold off his interests in his parks. The Orlando one was purchased by Universal Studios Recreation Group who continued to lease the land on which it is located.[4] In mid-2013, Universal purchased the 50 acres (20 ha) of land for $30.9 million.[5]

It was announced on June 17, 2015 that the park would permanently close on December 31, 2016.[6]

Expansion[edit]

Brain Wash

In 1998, the Hydra Fighter was added to the park.[7] Riders were able to control their suspended gondola through the use of high-powered water guns.[8]

In 2000, the park renovated their Kids Park children's area. The original aviation theme was converted into a sandcastle theme. The renovation saw three ProSlide Technology "Kidz" slides added as well as a castle with a tipping bucket which dumped 250 US gallons (950 l; 210 imp gal) of water every three-and-a-half minutes. With the exception of the three slides, it was manufactured entirely by Integrity Attractions.[9][10]

In 2001, the park began a multi-year expansion plan with Canadian water slide manufacturer, ProSlide Technology.[11] It added The Storm, a pair of ProBowls, in 2001;[12][13] The Blast, an inline tube slide, in 2003;[14] Disco H2O, an enclosed Behemoth Bowl, in 2005;[15][16] and Brain Wash, an enclosed Tornado, in 2008.[17][18]

In 2011, the Kids Park was demolished. In 2012, it was replaced by Blastaway Beach, a larger children's water play area, also themed around sandcastles.[17]

In 2014, the Bubba Tub slide was removed and replaced with the Aqua Drag Racer a four lane race slide.

Attendance[edit]

The park was the most-attended water one in the United States for the eight years until 1999, when Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach surpassed it.[4][19] At the time, it was averaging around 1.3 million visitors for several years.[2][20]

Attractions[edit]

The Storm
Disco H2O
Name Type Manufacturer Opened
Aqua Drag Racer Four racing mat slides ProSlide 2014
Black Hole Two enclosed inline tube slides 1990 [21]
Blastaway Beach Children's area ProSlide 2012 [22]
The Blast Inline tube slide ProSlide 2003 [14]
The Bomb Bay Freefall body slide [23]
Brain Wash Enclosed Tornado ProSlide 2008 [18][17]
Der Stuka Freefall body slide 1986 [24]
Disco H2O Enclosed Behemoth Bowl ProSlide 2005 [15][16]
The Flyer (originally Fuji Flyer) Two inline tube slides ProSlide 1996 [22][25]
Lazy River Lazy river 1977
Mach 5 Three mat slides 1986 [24]
The Storm ProBowls ProSlide 2001 [12][13]
The Surge Mammoth ProSlide 1994 [26][27]
The Wake Zone Water sports 1977
Wave Pool Surf Lagoon Wave pool 1977

Former attractions[edit]

Name Type Manufacturer Opened Closed
Hydra Fighter Suspended ride 1998 2007 [7][8]
Hydra-Maniac/Blue Niagara Two enclosed corkscrew slides 1986 2007 [24]
Kids Park Children's area 1992 2000 [28]
Kids Park Children's area ProSlide, Integrity Attractions 2000 2011 [9][10][17]
Mach 5 Two inline tube slides 1986 1995 [24]
Kamikaze Freefall body slide 1986
Raging Rapids Inline tube slide 2002
Bubba Tub Family Raft Slide ProSlide 1992 2014 [22][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (November 16, 1998). "George Millay: From Sea World to Wet'n Wild, the father of the modern waterpark has definitely made a splash". Amusement Business 110 (46): 19. 
  2. ^ a b Guier, Cindy Stooksbury (November 16, 1998). "Wet'n Wild". Amusement Business 110 (46): 23. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, Tim (October 8, 2001). "Waterpark officials address variety of industry concerns". Amusement Business 113 (40): 18–19. 
  4. ^ a b Zoltak, James (October 12, 1998). "Universal dives into waterparks industry". Amusement Business 110 (41): 1. 
  5. ^ "Universal Orlando buys Wet 'n Wild land". Orlando Sentinel. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FANS FOR DECADES OF WET ‘N WILD ORLANDO". Universal Orlando Blog. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Powell, Tom (July 6, 1998). "New ride, promos keep Wet 'n Wild at the top of waterpark industry". Amusement Business 110 (27): 13. 
  8. ^ a b Thomas, Rebecca (10 April 1998). "Hydra Fighter Makes Splash". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (March 18, 2002). "Orlando Waterpark plans to let kids get 'Wild'". Amusement Business 114 (11): 6. 
  10. ^ a b Mooradian, Don (April 8, 2002). "M&S news". Amusement Business 114 (14): 4. 
  11. ^ O'Brien, Tim (October 29, 2001). "Riley talks 'Circle of Life' at WWA confab". Amusement Business 113 (43): 21. 
  12. ^ a b Zoltak, James (April 2, 2001). "Parks & fairs: Tourism season bodes well". Amusement Business 113 (13): 21–22. 
  13. ^ a b "The Storm (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Swain Vadnie, Rebecca (April 25, 2003). "Watery Fun At Full Blast". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Barbieri, Kelly (January 2006). "Waterparks catch a nice wave". Amusement Business 118 (3): 12. 
  16. ^ a b "Disco H2O (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d Bevil, Dewayne (7 June 2012). "It's playtime at Wet 'n Wild's Blastaway Beach". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Brain Wash (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  19. ^ O'Brien, Tim (November 6, 2000). "Waterparks growth rate leads industry". Amusement Business 112 (45): 1,20. 
  20. ^ O'Brien, Tim (March 15, 1999). "Ogden Corp. purchases Wet'n Wild". Amusement Business 111 (11): 1. 
  21. ^ Weiss, Devi (February 16, 1990). "Black Hole Water Slide Makes Debut At Wet 'n Wild". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c "Rides on Every Continent". ProSlide Technology. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "The Bomb Bay (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c d Gilbert, Paul (August 3, 1986). "Wet 'n Wild Water Park An Orlando Oasis". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Thomas, Rebecca (March 22, 1996). "Fuji Flyer: A Wild New Way To Get Wet". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  26. ^ Shrieves, Linda (29 April 1994). "Worth Wading For". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "The Surge (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  28. ^ a b "The Bubba Tub". Orlando Sentinel. 14 February 1992. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 

External links[edit]