Cool Off This Summer with These Top Flume and Rapids Rides
Weekly Top 10:
We're just a few days from the start of another summer — so how are you going to keep cool on your next theme park visit? Theme Park Insider readers have ranked these as the Top 10 flume and rapids rides at American theme parks. Next time you're burning in the summer heat, cool down with a ride on one of these top-ranked soakers.
10. Escape from Pompeii
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
9. American Plunge
Silver Dollar City
8. Daredevil Falls
7. Congo River Rapids
Busch Gardens Tampa
6. Grizzly River Run
Disney California Adventure
5. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
Universal's Islands of Adventure
This flume ride sails you through a classic melodrama where the inept Dudley Do-Right of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police tries to save his 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 ultimately ends well — after a drenching double-dip final drop, of course.
4. Jurassic Park - The Ride
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal's Islands of Adventure (as Jurassic Park River Adventure)
We talked last week about what these rides could have been. But what they are today provides plenty of cool fun while you enjoy spending some time with Hollywood's hottest franchise.
3. Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Arch-enemy Bluto is up to no good again on this river rapids ride, and there’s no escaping an underwear-soaking drenching, especially since on-lookers can get in on the action by spraying your raft as it washes past.
2. Splash Mountain
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland
Fans love this musical romp with fun characters, some nifty twists and bumps in the middle of the mountain, and a big, soaking wet, 40-miles-per-hour, 52-foot drop into the Briar Patch.
1. Timber Mountain Log Ride
Knott's Berry Farm
This Bud Hurlbut classic inspired Disney's Splash Mountain and is enjoying the benefits of a multi-million-dollar 2013 refurbishment that gave it new animatronic characters and show scenes. With just the right mix of show and thrills, you just need to add, well, water to make this perfect attraction for a summer day.
Remember, you can rate any of the rides, shows and restaurants from top theme parks around the world. Just visit our Park Reviews page and click the links of the parks you've visited to get started.
Bilge Rat Barges are definitely my favorite on this list. I love riding with unsuspecting souls who have NO idea just how wet they're gonna get :-).
Um... Journey to Atlantis? The theming, coaster section, having 3 drops, having at least some sort of storyline means it BLOWS the first 5 on this list out of the water. Errors in the rating system?
+1 for Melanie's comment. This is why I love having my hotel within walking distance of the park. Whether it's Universal Orlando or Disneyland, it's great to know that you can enjoy the drenching water rides, then have a fresh, warm, dry change of clothes waiting for you... with a private room to change into them.
I have planned park days around "Bilge Rat Barges" many times. The ultimate cool off and the best way to get wet in Orlando.
Melanie: That's also how we do Universal's big three water rides. We dress accordingly and do two or three rides on each, and it's an easy cooled off walk back to the hotel. Though we will ride JP River Adventure without our wet gear since you only get half wet on that ride.
Heh, Rob, I think a lot depends on when and where you ride JP :-)
Just wear board shorts and oiled leather boat shoes. Bring an extra t-shirt perhaps. You'll be dry in under an hour.
I can't believe Splash got edged out for the top spot...
As for Journey to Atlantis (Orlando version), I think that many TPI readers are disappointed with the loss of features and the general level of upkeep on that ride over the years, and have reduced their ratings of it accordingly.
Great list with a nice variety of outstanding rides, though I am surprised Splash Mountain got edged out. Timber Mountain Log Ride is an excellent all-around attraction, but I personally feel it isn't great as a water ride since there is very little wetness. Everything else I've ridden that made this list has definite soaking potential, and since I wear quick drying clothing to theme parks that doesn't bother me one bit.
My wife and I have reached the age where we no longer have any shame, so we wear ponchos. Yes we look ridiculous, yes we get mistaken for Japanese tourists, but we emerge from the water rides having laughed ourselves silly and yet still having (mostly) dry clothes underneath... :)
Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges is the best water ride if you want to get wet...
What about Kali?
I would not be surprised if some of the Disney Loyalist here say there is a misting station in MK that is to die for... hahahahahaa....
Why go on a water ride if you are going to wear a poncho? If you are afraid of water, do something else.
People wear ponchos on water rides because they want to experience the ride itself... The scenery, music, the drops, without getting wet. I dont see anything wrong with that. Anyway, my top ten:
I just can't understand the love for Grizzy River. It's not themed worth a damn--certainly no grizzlies anywhere to be found--and there's no real action. Even the final drop is neutered by the way that the ride "catches" your boat, stopping everything cold, and then releases you into the drop.
Of all the circular splash machines (Grizzly, Popeye, Six Flags Roaring Rapids), the Kali River Rapids is the best to me due to the specific theming. I like feeling like I am on a river in India. Otherwise, all of these types are exactly the same. To me, if you have been on one, you have been on them all. I like the unique ones like Splash Mountain (in the dark) and Jurassic (with monsters wanting to eat you). Those last two are also unbelievably great the first time. I wonder if you will get wet on Avatar, or will it be a tame water ride like Pirates?
I really love Splash Mtn, but have never gotten terribly wet. I just leave my camera and phone in my pocket, and don't even bother getting a plastic bag from the shop anymore. If I get the front I cover it with my cap. It is true you don't get very wet onTimber Mtn, but it's a great themed ride. Whem I'm at IOA I wear a swim suit if I'm going on their water rides. The amount of water on me after the small drops on Dudley shows remarkable engineering. I once saw what can only be described as a fist of water comi gat my face, and there was mo way to dodge that punch.
At first, I wasn't going to do my personal top 10 water rides as I thought I haven't been on enough...until I counted and realized I've been on exactly ten! (Technically eleven if you count this one small flume ride at my local zoo.) So, here's my personal list!
Splash Mountain #2? I've been on Splash and Timber Mountain log Ride both many times and I think SPlash is better. It has more drops and a better story
I'm a huge Disney geek and feel that they do virtually everything better than any of their competitors. However, you were correct in placing the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm at number one. It's the rare instance where Disney is trumped by another park.
I'll echo what Robert said about Journey to Atlantis. I rode it way back in 2003, and it had a lot more effects than it did more recently.
Dan: They do have the water cannons on the bridge overlooking the ending & you will certainly get soaked from a direct hit coming from that direction. I find that I generally get completely soaked three or four times. I love that ride, & the Dudley cartoons throughout bring back some good memories. But when I go in the spring & fall it's generally 85 + degrees, so that helps the enjoyment factor.
Last time at USF, rode Jurassic Park and soaked so bad, I had to buy a new T-shirt immediately. Naturally, I decided to avoid the Popeye ride after that, got drenched to my socks the last time I rode it.
I'm somewhat surprised that Knott's Timber Mountain Log Ride was the top-rated flume or rapid ride on the website. Don't get me wrong-- it's a landmark ride, really well themed with great storytelling, but better than Splash Mountain at nearby Disneyland? If you've never been on either attraction and look at both rides purely objectively, I'd say the quality and variety of animatronics, the detail of the storytelling, and the music of Splash Mountain make it a far better experience than Timber Mountain, and twice as immersive.
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