The Best Water Rides In The World

These long, dark nights and cold, wintery days has got me thinking...what are the best water rides in the world? At least according to me anyway. I have a weird relationship with water rides, there's something about them I find really endearing and there's something really novel about taking a thrilling watery jaunt by boat, but on the other hand I fucking HATE getting wet. Theme parks aren't exactly the most comfortable of days out as it is what with all the walking and sweating and eating shit food and feeling like a gross bloated whale, so add wet knickers to that equation and it's a miracle to me why anyone bothers. But I guess with good water rides, I mean really good water rides, the payoff is worth the soaking so you don't mind as much.

But yh, I talk about coasters a LOT on here (don't know if you noticed) but I am a theme park enthusiast at heart with a love off all different manner of attractions. And I have a pretty strong affection for rides of the water variety too, so wanted to spend some time this evening chatting about my favourites. Here's the top ten water rides in the world according to me!

Obviously there have to be some Disney rides on this list, so what better to kick things off than Pirates of the Caribbean. Now I'm strictly speaking here of the obviously superior in every way Paris version. This is a ride that manages to not get you wet but still pack in the minor thrill of a gentle gradient drop-and-splash. The Paris version is the best because you get all the standard POTC goodness - dead men tell no tales, dog with key, battle scene, town on fire scene, etc etc, but the transitions between the scenes just feel a little slicker and more thought out and overall the experience has a bit more of a kick to it. Plus, is there a person alive who doesn't adore the delicious bromine scent of the water?

Chiapas is probably the most stunning water ride on this list? I mean, it's at Phantasialand so obviously it's stunning but my god, this is one of those rides you could just gawp at all day because the detail is so amazing. I especially love the way the troughs weave in and out of the buildings and interacts with Colorado Express. Something about the way everything is layered up there is very satisfying to the part of my brain that salivates over theming. And then the ride itself - it basically does every single thing a log flume can possibly do and more. You've got steep, intense drops, airtime hills, backwards section, interactive water element, FUCKING DISCO TUNNEL?! It's just brilliant, a joy of an attraction from start to finish.

Tidal Wave isn't a ride I go on often I will admit. In fact, I think I've ridden it once in the last...decade. Not because I'm scared of it or anything, it's just the drenching is too much I can't deal with it. But is there any other water ride in the world that does what is says on the tin with such finesse and grace as Tidal Wave. We go up, we go down, drop is intense, we go splash, wave goes DRENCH. Done. It's perfection because of its simplicity. Plus a whole bloody land at Thorpe Park was essentially created to support the surrounding narrative of why the hell a Tidal Wave was there in the first place, and it's all these little details that help set it apart in the world of Shoot-the-Chute style attractions. Plus it has probably my favourite ride entrance sign in the world!

Bit of an odd one on this list I know because technically it's a coaster but let's face it, we're all in agreement that the less said about those 'coaster' sections the better. Vliegende Hollander at Efteling is ALL about the water ride sections in what is easily some of the most immersive theming found on any ride in the world. The way the lanterns provide an eerie glow that slowly guides you through the fog, the way the ships tower above you as you embark on your journey, the way shit absolutely kicks off inside once the ghost ship rises from the depths. The whole ride is utterly, utterly mad and wonderful for it. Plus the theming in the queueline is next level, I swoon a bit every time I have to climb through the torn open painting of the ship. So immersive!

Speaking of fucking insane rides, next up on my list is River Quest. This rapids at Phantasialand is one of those rides I love taking people on for the first time just to watch their reactions, because if you don't know what's coming there's nothing in the world that can prepare you for that elevator reveal, nor the utter madness that follows. The ride is probably the most unique water ride in the world in the way it plays with different levels, there truly is nothing quite like it in the world. And there's something in me that absolutely loves a rapids that goes for a slightly pff beat theme - the 'Mystery' land in Phantasialand is very off the beaten track when it comes to theming anyway but River Quest pushes it to the next level. I honestly don't really know what's going on narrative wise and frankly, the ride is so brilliant I don't actually care.

Bet you were wondering when an Islands of Adventure ride was going to show up on this list. And let's face it, they probably have the best water rides in the world and I'm not disputing that, I just didn't want a list consisting of just their rides, so I've chosen my favourite instead. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw falls is an exceptional log flume, in that it takes every element of what makes a log flume great and amplifies them to cartoonish extremes in order to satisfy the theme, and the result is excellent. The entire way round is filled with cheesy one-liners that utilise the ride's drops and splashes as its punchline and so many ridiculously soaking water effects that you can't help but crack up laughing the entire way around.

Of course there's a Splash Mountain on this list. Of course. Despite visiting the then-Tussauds parks as a kid growing up, Splash Mountain is my very first memory I have of a log flume and despite its upbeat soundtrack and bright, colourful theming I remember being utterly terrified. And for good reason - despite its feel-good styling, narratively things get pretty fucking dark on this ride for the most part before the twist ending, and it all gets very dramatic and intense at times. The only reason why the Tokyo version pips it for me over the Orlando version (which I much prefer to California's) is because of the queueline, which I remember being much more cartoonish and brightly themed as you wander around the inside of the mountain with roots dangling from the ceiling etc. As with everything in Tokyo, the detail is astounding so that sets it apart for me slightly. Plus Brer Rabbit is one of my favourite Disney characters so it'd be disrespectful not to include his ride on my list!

I won't bore you too much as I've gone on and on before about how much I adore this ride at Movie Park Germany. NeverEnding Story is one of my favourite films so the fact that this ride used to be themed as such and therefore still oozes NES vibes from start to finish is a direct line to my nostalgia bone is an absolute bonus here. The whole ride is just so, so magical - there's something really ethereal and other-worldly about being in a rapids boat in the dark and rushing past unicorns and wizards and scary ass goblin tree dudes and urgh, I LOVE IT. PLUS it has the huge bonus for me of not getting you wet AT ALL meaning I can go on it over and over again and still come off dry yay!

And of course, who could forget the indisputable, undeniable best water ride in the entire world and if you disagree you're wrong? I speak of course of Valhalla, that unassuming little water ride in the kitschy, retro Blackpool Pleasure Beach, tucked away in the corner of the park in such a way that one could quite easily not know it exists. But lucky for us it does because it is glorious in every single way. It is so ridiculous and over the top and excellent - it's got awesome, over the top theming with towering set pieces that come crashing down over your boat, an epic Norse-mythology style soundtrack, elemental special effects including snow and fire effects. Plus, an incredibly unique layout including intense backwards sections, ridiculously steep drops and the biggest drenching you'll get in the UK (maybe aside from Tidal Wave). It's a solid 10/10 attraction and a worthy contender for the title of best water ride in the world.

I guess what's clear from this list is I like water rides if some heavy theming is involved. Anything to offset the wetness!

Talk later xoxo,