Why We Love Water Rides

As much as my first love will always be roller coasters, I do love most different types of rides that involve forward motion (rot in hell, spin n spews!) And among those rides I hold so dear to my heart are water rides. I have a love/hate relationship with water rides - I really do love riding all kind of different water based attractions, but I also really hate to get drenched because I don't like walking around looking like a drowned rat for the rest of the day post-splash. But yh, there's a weird love for water rides and I do usually go out of my way to make sure I tick off all the water rides when visiting a new park.

So, I've been pondering...what is it about water rides that we so love? They don't have the same kind of obvious thrill factor that coasters do, nor the kind os instant pay-off you get with something like a drop tower. So what then? Here's some of the things I think contribute to why we love that splash so much!

First and foremost, I feel that there's no more social a ride than a water ride. When you get off a water ride you'll all stand around laughing for a minute, either in disbelief that you managed to stay dry or pointing and laughing hysterically at the fact that a good dousing with a wave means your mate now looks like he pissed himself.

This phenomenon extends further on rides like rapids - I always think these things are the ride equivalent of Russian Roulette - you're at the wicked mercy of the spin of the boat and one slight jolt against a well-placed rock can mean it's you who gets dunked under the waterfall. And there's just SO much fun in that, everybody tensely watching on and wishing and hoping that it's not them - everybody cheers and whoops and yells when the waves come and can't help but laugh when the inevitable soaking happens, even on the crueller rides like River Quest or Bilge Rat Barges.

Those of us who've played RollerCoaster Tycoon are well aware of the fact that there's no ride some clever rockwork and a huge water feature can't improve upon aesthetically. Water, for some reason, just makes things look better. Rocks? Cool! Rocks with water effects? FUCKING MIND-BLOWING OMG!!! There's just that added layer of beauty that makes theming all the more pleasing to the eye, so when the water of a water ride is used as a natural feature to enhance a ride's appearance, all the better!

Look at rides like Splash Mountain or Walrus splash and imagine those drops encased in a crashing waterfall being replaced with plain old coaster track. It'd be nowhere near as impressive!

We all love the twists and turns of a rollercoaster, but there's definitely something to be said for essentially being left to the will of the elements when you step on board a water ride. Yes, I know of course that there are safety measures in place to ensure we're not actually swept away by some mischievous current to our untimely watery doom, but water rides do a damn good job of making you think that that's about to happen.

There's definitely something truly thrilling about the relentlessness of the tide, the way the water sweeps you along its chosen path and there's not really a lot you can do about it. I'm thinking here of things like the Log Flume at Liseberg - one minute you're peacefully floating along the hillside and the next you're crashing down a series of soaking drops, and at no point do you feel even remotely in control. It's wonderful!

For some reason, narrative driven dark rides always feel way more immersive to me when I'm sat on a boat. I can't put my finger on why - maybe it's the fact that the track or guiding mechanism is submerged, giving the illusion that this isn't a ride at all. Maybe it's the way the water slowly pulls you seamlessly through scene after scene, giving just enough time to soak in all of the little details. Whatever it is, there's a reason why parks even to this day choose a narrative boat ride style attraction to immerse guests into their story.

And then there's the way you can mix up the story and the thrill. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland uses slow pacing to build up the story based element then quickly switches out for the fast and loud crash of waves to speed up the action later on. It's such a versatile medium for both storytelling and delivery varying levels of thrills!

At the end of the day, sometimes we just want to get wet (well, not me, but I'm sure there are some of you out there!) It's a hot day, you're sweaty from being stuck in queues inhaling some cretin's blueberry vape clouds, and all you want is to get on board a boat and let yourself be engulfed by the waves. There's a certain kind of euphoria that comes after that kind of a soaking, or else why the hell would people still be queueing up for the likes of Tidal Wave in the middle of October?!

Do you enjoy water rides? What's your favourite? Can you think of any reasons I missed out? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,


  1. If you live in the Uk and want to get wet quick - Tidal wave > I love the delay after you hit the water. If you just want a great Water ride there is only one place to visit and that's Blackpool Pleasure beach, they have 2 crackers. Don't just get lost in Valhalla but make sure you always have a sail in the River Caves ( Never really mention much ) but a great little gem.