In the Shadow of the Mouse

Secrets of a theme park obsessed local who lives next door to Mickey, with annual passes to every Central Florida park

Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at Aquatica kicks off new Orlando water park rides

2014 is a great year for Orlando water park enthusiasts, as our fair city is welcoming two all-new thrill-packed water park options. Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is the first one out of the gate, with its official opening scheduled for May 9. I had a chance to check things out early, and the ride most definitely delivers on the hair-raising experience that Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park, has been promising over the past several months.

Ihu’s Breakaway Falls lives up to its name

bb2Ihu’s Breakaway Falls puts two interesting twists on the typical drop slide. First, on three out of the four slides, you step into a clear “capsule” and stand in terror waiting for your plummet. You don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen, so the anticipation adds to the thrill, as does a pumped-in heartbeat sound that speeds up as the wait time increases. If that’s a little too much for you, there’s a fourth slide that lets you launch yourself in the typical manner.

The second twist is that you don’t just drop and hit the end. You plummet 40 feet into a traditional enclosed tube that zips you around for a while before spitting you out. Each of the four slides is different, so ambitious souls will want to try them all.

If you’d like more information on the differences between each of the four slides, you can hear it right from Aquatica Orlando Vice President Bryan Nadeau in the video below:

Aquatica has lots of thrill rides, but also places to kick back and relaxing, including a lazy river, a more active rapids river, two wave pools, and cute little kiddie areas. The video below shows some highlights of the park, which is located right across the street from SeaWorld Orlando.

bb1Wet ‘n Wild will soon debut the Aqua Drag Racer

Meanwhile, a little farther down the road, Wet ‘n Wild is preparing for its own new thrill ride. The park, which is on International Drive near Universal Orlando Resort, will debut its Aqua Drag Racer later this summer. There’s no firm opening date yet, but the extremely loopy racing slide looks like it’s going to deliver a lot of speed and wall action.

Like Aquatica, Wet ‘n Wild is big on thrill rides, with options for those who like a tamer experience, too. The video at the bottom of this article takes you on a quick tour of the park.

One thing I like about Wet ‘n Wild is that it’s the only Orlando water park that offers an express pass. You can buy one on busy days and whisk through the lines, even when the stand-by waits are long.

Locals’ Secret

Get to the water parks right at opening time, hurry to the back, and work your way forward. The crowd tends to stay in the front as people jump on the first rides they see, so the lines for the farthest rides take a while to build. It’s also nice to come to the water parks during the last couple of hours they’re open. By then, many people have fallen victim to too much sun and two many staircases, so the drop-out rate is high. It’s common knowledge among locals with annual passes that the lines get very short just before closing time.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

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