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Monday Top 10: The Top Flume (and Raft) Rides in America

October 13, 2014, 9:42 AM · Wanna get wet? Millions of theme park fans do, and that's why flume rides remain among the most popular in any theme park, especially during the hottest days of summer. (And year-'round in Orlando and Southern California.) Here are Theme Park Insider readers' picks for the Top 10 flume and raft rides in U.S. theme parks, presented in one, easy-to-read page instead of some annoying slideshow. Don't agree with these picks? Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether you agree or not, because by the end of any of these rides... you're all wet.

10. Escape from Pompeii
Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Escape from Pompeii

A traditional chute-the-chutes ride plussed with special effects. You'll feel the heat of the erupting volcano and evade the deteriorating city before splashing down.

9. Journey to Atlantis
SeaWorld Orlando

Journey to Atlantis

This Mack water coaster debuted in 1998, as SeaWorld's first thrill ride. Set in the mythical city of Atlantis, a Siren transforms into a demon and expels riders down the ride's signature waterfall. After a turnaround, riders return to the temple for a final encounter with the demon... and another thorough soaking.

8. Congo River Rapids
Busch Gardens Tampa

Congo River Rapids

Twirling along the Congo River in circular rafts, guests are randomly splashed and plunged in the water as they bounce off surrounding banks, creating an unpredictable and often sopping-wet adventure.

7. Daredevil Falls
Dollywood

Daredevil Falls

Take a ride through an abandoned logging camp, but hold on for the finale — a 60 mph plunge down a 60-degree, 60-foot drop.

6. Grizzly River Run
Disney California Adventure

Grizzly River Run

"GRR's watery course is absolutely beautiful and quite stunning (although it would be so cool if there were a few animatronic bears along the course). The raft winds around and though Grizzly Peak, passing though dark caverns and along the peak's edge before it takes its final plunge (there are two) spinning down a 22-foot drop to a big splash down."

5. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

Ride through a classic melodrama where the inept Dudley Do-Right tries to save dear Nell from the clutches of the wicked Snidely Whiplash. Of course, it's Dudley's trusty steed, Horse, who's the brains of the team here, and all ends well — after a drenching double-dip final drop, of course.

4. Jurassic Park River Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Jurassic Park River Adventure

You'll float outdoors through an impressive collection of Universal's animatronic dinosaurs before... well, as Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm said in the movie, "Oooh, ahhh... that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming." Sure enough, the velociraptors escape, the meat-eaters are running loose, and, oh, is that a T-Rex trying to eat you? Hang on, because it's all downhill from there.

3. Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

Arch-enemy Bluto is up to no good again, and there's no escaping an underwear-soaking drenching on this adventure, where on-lookers can get in on the action by spraying you as your tub raft washes by.

2. Timber Mountain Log Ride
Knott's Berry Farm

Timber Mountain Log Ride

Knott's and Garner Holt Productions last year completely refurbished and revamped Bud Hurlbut's classic themed log ride, adding dozens of new animatronics and more richly detailed setting throughout. This is the attraction that defined what a log flume could be, and the one that inspired Disney's Imagineers (including Tony Baxter) to create...

1. Splash Mountain
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain

Find your "laughing place" in this iconic retelling of the story of Brer Rabbit from Disney's Song of the South. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, "Zip A Dee Doo Dah," some great views of the Magic Kingdom and that requisite drenching, Splash Mountain might be the world's most popular flume ride. And deservedly so.

What is your favorite theme park flume ride? Tell us, in the comments.

Replies (21)

October 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM · I would rank Knott's Log Ride #1. I wouldn't include Atlantis because... that ride is bizarre and not very good. No love for Bigfoot Rapids?
October 13, 2014 at 10:26 AM · I'd go with the top pick of Splash Mountain all the way, though I want to ride Timber Mountain at some point. Dudley Do-Right is fun, but I've never be so drenched on any ride in my life. That's saying a lot too.
October 13, 2014 at 10:55 AM · I am proud to say I have ridden ALL of these multiple times! Timber Mountain since the redo, however, is my very favorite!
October 13, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Yep, Splash Mt. is my number one also. Timber Mt. video looks great. And Jurassic Park, Popeye & Bluto, & Dudley are the Big Three at IOA that can't be beat on a hot Florida day. Guaranteed you will get wet on those three from IOA. Usually I only get a bit of a spray on Splash Mountain, so I don't really rate it as a "wet" water ride, but it is a great theme park flume attraction.
October 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM · I used to go to IOA with a pocket full of quarters so I could squirt people with water as they came around the final bend on Dudley Do-Right. Unfortunately, they changed the nozzles so that instead of a stream of water, it now fires a fine mist.
October 13, 2014 at 12:41 PM · I have ridden most but Ripsaw Falls makes me laugh the most
October 13, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Jurassic Park at Universal Hollywood > Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure.
October 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Awesome, Brian! This may be my favorite theme park activity. And the water squirters on Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges still put out a nice soaking stream. Love to call out "hey!" and hit them right as they turn around. Always good for a laugh.
October 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM · Another good list. As usual with these, I've been on all the non-Florida rides (and have done equivalents where applicable). Daredevil Falls, Jurassic Park, Splash Mountain and Timber Mountain Log Ride are among my favorite non-coaster attractions period, though Daredevil Falls is actually my favorite flume ride (Splash Mountain is a little more dark ride than flume ride IMO, so it loses points compared to flume rides).

My personal top 10 flume rides:

1. Daredevil Falls (Dollywood)
2. Jurassic Park-The Ride (Universal Studios Hollywood)
3. Splash Mountain (Disneyland)
4. Timber Mountain Log Ride (Knott's Berry Farm)
5. Frightful Falls (Holiday World)
6. Blizzard River (Six Flags New England)
7. Escape from Pompeii (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
8. Grizzly River Run (Disney California Adventure Park)
9. Coal Cracker (Hersheypark)
10. Raging Rapids (Holiday World)

October 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM · Splash mountain the ride is fun, but it needs to be rethemed. Song of the South osso full of antiquated racial sterotypes. I cant believe a company like Disney still has a ride related to that movie.
October 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM · splash mountain and always will be! Zippe do da stays in your head throughout the whole day!!!
October 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM · "presented in one, easy-to-read page instead of some annoying slideshow." Since I think that's the tenth time you've said that Robert, I take it you're not a fan of slideshows.

Have to agree with Court E. Jurassic Park may have a better setting at IOA, but the ride at USH is better.

October 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM · The two Jurassic rides are *very* close in the ratings, but Florida just edged out Hollywood. Perhaps that's because the USH version has seemed in deep need of some refurbishment in recent months. I suspect that if it had enough votes, the Singapore version might beat them both, though!

As for "Song of the South," I think it's useful to see Splash Mountain as Disney's *replacement* for that movie, which will never again see the official light of day. Splash Mountain is now Disney's home for those songs and those characters, where they can live completely free of any stereotypes or associations that people find in that film.

October 13, 2014 at 6:50 PM · As much as I enjoy Daredevil Falls, I can't agree with it being so highly rated due to the state of the ride at this point. The mountain facade is breaking down significantly in some places, and the old tent is looking extremely bad. There are a lot of things that this ride could do better if it were just updated somewhat. Maybe 10th in my eyes but no higher
October 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM · Nice list Robert. I have no problem with the rankings at all. It's like trying to rank pizza - you'll never get agreement there!

I also appreciate that it is not a slide show. Few things on the internet are more annoying than those!

October 14, 2014 at 12:13 AM · Nice List Robert but I've got to put a shout in for Storm Force Ten at Drayton Manor Park in the UK. In an otherwise underwhelming park this ride stands out.The theme, (life boats), fits the ride perfectly and it's the only flume I know that starts with a drop - you pull out of the loading bay onto a tilting section and you are then released down the first drop - 'launching' your rescue mission. It featured one of the first backwards drops on a flume and the one thing it could guarantee to do was get you soaking wet... a brave move for the UK!
October 14, 2014 at 5:12 AM · Just out of interest - where would Maelstrom have placed had it not been closed down? Or was this simply classified as a dark ride?
October 14, 2014 at 12:25 PM · Maelstrom is no more of a flume ride than Pirates of the Caribbean or It's a Small World. I think this list was to rank the best water rides (i.e. get you wet).
October 14, 2014 at 2:05 PM · i think that the IOA ones should go before splash mountain
October 14, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Splash Mountain is my favourite, at least in part because while I don't mind a splash on a flume a drenching is just a nuisance. This is also why I detest Dudley Do-Right. That ride doesn't so much get you wet as attempt to drown you. Repeatedly. And then encourages other park visitors to spray water in your eyes once you dared imagine it was over just to twist the knife. There's so much water being thrown around that I think it actually gets you more wet the moment you take your seat than Splash Mountain does in its entire ride time because the logs themselves are permanently flooded.
October 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM · Atlantis is so cheap and corny on the inside....but the actual movement of the flume itself and the drops are actually pretty darn good...it just needs to be completely renovated on the inside.

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