Private cabanas, premium seating and high-tech filtration systems are just a few of the products that waterparks today are incorporating into their businesses. Here is a look at some of the specific items that waterparks around the country have added.
Steve LooseGeneral Manager, Water World, DenverProduct: Mile High Flyer Water SlideManufacturer: Proslide (proslide.com)
We added an attraction last year called the Mile High Flyer, made by Proslide. It’s a water coaster ride and, for us, it’s the first time we’ve offered an experience where the rider actually goes uphill. The ride uses linear induction motors that take the boat up the hill and then you float when you’re going down the hill. Putting in the first water coaster ride had a big impact on our park.
It’s a ride that’s common in the industry, but not in our region. We worked with Proslide to design the ride to fit the hillside where we put it, tailoring it to the footprint of our park. We added theming and sound effects to give it the feel of an old-fashioned roller coaster. We opened it at the end of June last year and it’s our most popular ride. The Mile High Flyer typically has a wait time in excess of an hour. It’s so popular, it has changed where people go in the park.
Bryan EdwardsMarketing Manager, Soak City Cedar Point, IowaProduct: Safety and Risk Management ProgramSupplier: Ellis & Associates (jellis.com)
Safety has always been our No. 1 priority, and our partnership with Ellis & Associates, an aquatic consulting firm, has had the biggest impact on our practices. Their program, including audits and reviews, has helped us maintain our high level of guest safety. In addition to spot inspections, they train our lifeguard training staff. Our lifeguard staff has received numerous accolades and awards for our safety program.
Tim MorrowVice President, Aquatica San AntonioProduct: Atlantis Private CabanaSupplier: Tuuci (Tuuci.com)
Last year we opened Aquatica and it became a separate park within SeaWorld.One of our most popular features, from the standpoint of revenue and customer satisfaction, has been private cabanas. We chose the Atlantis Model from Tuuci. We’ve used Tuuci umbrellas for years and have found them to be high quality. They also provide excellent service if we have issues.
There are two tiers of cabana: Some are built right on the pool and have a private, submerged pool edge with chairs in the water. They come with meals, towels, chairs, loungers, a refrigerator and a locker. Then there are others that aren’t right on the water. Guests really like that private space. It can get busy and hot at a waterpark, and this way they have their own shade space where the parents can relax while the kids are out playing in the pool and slides. Those are reservation-based. You usually can’t get those at the park because we’re selling out a week to two weeks in advance.
We just added six more this year, so now we have more than 20. We don’t want to take up a lot of the guest seating areas, so we like to tuck these away in the shade, in the trees, and build pads to put them on. This year we put three alongside of our wave pool in some trees, two in the island of our river and one more by the pool with the private ledges on it. They’ve proven to be extremely popular. We can’t build enough of them.
Travis NelsonSpokesperson, Kalahari Resorts Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Product: Defender FiltersManufacturer: Neptune-Benson (Neptunebenson.com)
We recently installed three Defender Filters into our indoor waterpark. They are the most innovative filters available on the market, creating a noticeable effect because the filter makes the water more clear. In addition, the Defender saves water, mechanical room space fuel costs and energy.
The Defender Filters also are green building and sustainability approved, by registered LEED products.
George RohmanOperations Manager, Morey’s Piers, Beachfront Waterparks & Resorts Wildwood, N.J. Product: DCM5 Series ControllerManufacturer: ProMinent Fluid Controls(prominent.us)
Over the past year, we have undertaken steps to modernize our waterpark mechanical systems. This is a multiphase, multiyear initiative that will ultimately link all of our chemical control and monitoring systems, including flow meters, into centralized microprocessors. All of this information and data will be able to be accessed by staff via a work station or mobile device in real time. We’re very excited to be able to take advantage of recent technology advancements with waterpark mechanics and in our pump rooms.
We chose the ProMinent line of controllers and, specifically, the DCM 5 Series because of its ability to monitor and control a wide range of water chemistry and mechanical parameters and processes. We were also impressed with the ability to remotely access real time and archived data. For us to be able to look at data from a prior date and time is an important risk management tool to have.
Trevor WilsonDirector of Marketing and Sales, Wet’n’Wild, Phoenix Product: Constrictor Water Slide Manufacturer: WhiteWater West Industries (Whitewaterwest.com)
Village Roadshow Theme Parks looks for attractions that are new, innovative and what we believe would be well-received by our guests. At Wet’n’Wild Phoenix, we added the world’s first Constrictor, a water slide made by WhiteWater West Industries, for the 2011 season. It was the first in the world at the time. The slide was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Water Parks” and was voted one of Travel Channel’s Top 5 most extreme water slides in 2012. Constrictor was extremely well-received — so much so that VRTP has added it to multiple properties within the company.
John GannonGeneral Manager, Zoombezi Bay Columbus, OhioProduct: Zoompass Manufacturer: Lo-Q (Lo-q.com)A great addition for us this year has been a product we call the Zoompass. It’s a cool, new technology product that waterparks are starting to use around the country. It’s a way of allowing a guest to reserve a spot in line for one of the popular water-slide attractions. Many theme parks have similar systems and this is basically the same thing applied to a waterpark. Ours is made by an English company called Lo-Q.
Guests wear wrist bands that have digital timers on them. You are actually waiting the same amount of time as anybody else, but you are waiting in the wave pool or in the action river or anywhere else in the park. If the wait for the average guest on a water slide is, say, 35 minutes, your watch will say 35 minutes and will count down to zero. When your watch gets to zero, you get to go to a separate queue line and basically go to the top of the water slide.
We introduced the Zoompass in the middle of the 2012 season, so they are pretty new, but getting to be very popular. It’s unusual for a waterpark to have something like this. We’re trying to educate our guests on it. It’s been a good addition from the standpoint of customer satisfaction. We’re building the revenue. Last year it was about at break even, but we didn’t offer it until the end of June. This year we plan on making a profit, and next year we think it will really take off.