Wet 'n Wild Orlando
|Wet 'n Wild Orlando|
Wet 'n Wild Logo
|Slogan||"The Recognized Name in Family Water Fun!"|
|Location||Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|Opened||March 13, 1977|
|Previous names||Wet n' Wild FunPark|
|Operating season||Open all year long (water heated in winter)|
|Area||30 acres (120,000 m2)|
|Pools||A single pool|
|Water slides||17 water slides|
Wet 'n Wild Orlando is a water park owned by the Universal Orlando Resort and 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. It is slated to close on December 31, 2016, to be replaced by another water park named Volcano Bay.
Development and ownership
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. He 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.
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". The success of the park spawned several other Wet 'n Wild-branded parks across the Americas. He was given the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Waterpark Association who named him the official "Father of the Waterpark".
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. In mid-2013, Universal purchased the 50 acres (20 ha) of land for $30.9 million.
Expansion and later years
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.
In 2001, the park began a multi-year expansion plan with Canadian water slide manufacturer, ProSlide Technology. It added The Storm, a pair of ProBowls, in 2001; The Blast, an inline tube slide, in 2003; Disco H2O, an enclosed Behemoth Bowl, in 2005; and Brain Wash, an enclosed Tornado, in 2008.
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.
In 2014, the Bubba Tub was removed and replaced with the Aqua Drag Racer, a four lane race slide.
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. At the time, it was averaging around 1.3 million visitors for several years.
|Aqua Drag Racer||Four racing mat slides||ProSlide||2014||Replaced the Bubba Tub.|
|Black Hole||Two enclosed inline tube slides||1990||Replaced the original Corkscrew|||
|Blastaway Beach||Children's area||ProSlide||2012||Replaced the Kids Park.|||
|The Blast||Inline tube slide||ProSlide||2003||Replaced Raging Rapids.|||
|The Bomb Bay||Freefall body slide|||
|Brain Wash||Enclosed Tornado||ProSlide||2008||Replaced the Hydra Fighter and Hydra-Maniac/Blue Niagara.|||
|Der Stuka||Freefall body slide||1986|||
|Disco H2O||Enclosed Behemoth Bowl||ProSlide||2005|||
|The Flyer (originally Fuji Flyer)||Two inline tube slides||ProSlide||1996||Replaced the original Mach 5 Beta.|||
|Lazy River||Lazy river||1977|
|Mach 5||Three mat slides||WhiteWater West||1986|||
|The Wake Zone||Water sports||1977|
|Wave Pool Surf Lagoon||Wave pool||1977|
|Hydra Maniac||Two enclosed slides||WhiteWater West||1986||1994||Replaced by the Surge|
|Hydra Fighter||Suspended ride||1998||2007||Replaced by Brain Wash.|||
|Blue Niagara||Two enclosed corkscrew slides||1986||2007||Replaced by Brain Wash.|||
|Kids Park||Children's area||1992||2000||Replaced by the new one of the same name (now Blastaway Beach).|||
|Kids Park||Children's area||ProSlide, Integrity Attractions||2000||2011||Replaced the original one of the same name, closed and replaced by Blastaway Beach.|||
|Mach 5 Beta||Two inline tube slides||WhiteWater West||1986||1995||Replaced by The Flyer.|||
|Kamikaze||Freefall body slide||1977||1992||Replaced by the Bubba Tub|
|Raging Rapids||Inline tube slide||1986||2002||Replaced by The Blast.|
|Bubba Tub||Family Raft Slide||ProSlide||1992||2014||Replaced by the Aqua Drag Racer.|||
In popular culture
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.
- 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.
- Guier, Cindy Stooksbury (November 16, 1998). "Wet'n Wild". Amusement Business 110 (46): 23.
- O'Brien, Tim (October 8, 2001). "Waterpark officials address variety of industry concerns". Amusement Business 113 (40): 18–19.
- Zoltak, James (October 12, 1998). "Universal dives into waterparks industry". Amusement Business 110 (41): 1.
- "Universal Orlando buys Wet 'n Wild land". Orlando Sentinel. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Powell, Tom (July 6, 1998). "New ride, promos keep Wet 'n Wild at the top of waterpark industry". Amusement Business 110 (27): 13.
- Thomas, Rebecca (10 April 1998). "Hydra Fighter Makes Splash". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- O'Brien, Tim (March 18, 2002). "Orlando Waterpark plans to let kids get 'Wild'". Amusement Business 114 (11): 6.
- Mooradian, Don (April 8, 2002). "M&S news". Amusement Business 114 (14): 4.
- O'Brien, Tim (October 29, 2001). "Riley talks 'Circle of Life' at WWA confab". Amusement Business 113 (43): 21.
- Zoltak, James (April 2, 2001). "Parks & fairs: Tourism season bodes well". Amusement Business 113 (13): 21–22.
- "The Storm (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Swain Vadnie, Rebecca (April 25, 2003). "Watery Fun At Full Blast". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Barbieri, Kelly (January 2006). "Waterparks catch a nice wave". Amusement Business 118 (3): 12.
- "Disco H2O (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Bevil, Dewayne (7 June 2012). "It's playtime at Wet 'n Wild's Blastaway Beach". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Brain Wash (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FANS FOR DECADES OF WET ‘N WILD ORLANDO". Universal Orlando Blog. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Bevil, Dewayne (June 17, 2015). "Universal closing Wet 'n Wild Orlando at the end of 2016". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- O'Brien, Tim (November 6, 2000). "Waterparks growth rate leads industry". Amusement Business 112 (45): 1, 20.
- O'Brien, Tim (March 15, 1999). "Ogden Corp. purchases Wet'n Wild". Amusement Business 111 (11): 1.
- Weiss, Devi (February 16, 1990). "Black Hole Water Slide Makes Debut At Wet 'n Wild". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Rides on Every Continent". ProSlide Technology. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "The Bomb Bay (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Gilbert, Paul (August 3, 1986). "Wet 'n Wild Water Park An Orlando Oasis". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Thomas, Rebecca (March 22, 1996). "Fuji Flyer: A Wild New Way To Get Wet". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Shrieves, Linda (29 April 1994). "Worth Wading For". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "The Surge (Wet 'n Wild Orlando)". Parkz. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "The Bubba Tub". Orlando Sentinel. 14 February 1992. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Media related to Wet 'n Wild Orlando at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Wet 'n Wild Orlando on Facebook