Aquatica trip report - 9/23/12

Sea World Orlando: My first visit to Aquatica.

From Amy Smith
Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I just got home from my first trip to Aquatica and all I can say is: I want to go again! My friend and I were lucky enough to get free tickets and parking from a team member but we still wanted to get the most from the park as we could so we got there 20 minutes before opening. They played the national anthem and then we were on our way into the park.

We had looked up locker prices beforehand (small $12, large $15) and had decided to splurge on the Roa's Loungers instead. The lounger package is basically 2 lounge chairs, a shade umbrella, 2 towels and a locker all on a private island in the middle of the fast lazy river. How much did this cost you ask? $ for both of us! We both agreed it was well worth it.

After checking in and stowing our gear in the locker we took off to the racer slides...and hit our first snag of the day. I am terrified of heights. I made it up two flights of stairs before freaking out and walking back down to wait for my friend. I had known this might be an issue and was prepared to hang out at the bottom of the slides all day but thankfully I managed to make it up every tower but this one. Anyone who is afraid of heights (like the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse is the most terrifying attraction at WDW afraid - true story) should think about spending a lot of time in the lazy rivers or volunteer to be the picture taker at the bottom, fair warning.

After this we did one of the family raft rides where my friend awesomely carried the raft in such a way that blocked my view of anything but the stairs directly in front of me - a strategy that we repeated for the rest of the day. Both of the family rides are located on the same tower next to the larger kid's play area and the one we did was great. We also did Omaka Rocka, a funnel slide, which was the best slide of the day by far. Later on in the day we did Wanau way slides off the same tower which are two person tube slides that have double drops at the end.

My favorite aspect of Aquatica was not any of the slides though. My favorite part was Roa's Rapids. This is the fast lazy river where you where a life jacket and go zooming through the current so fast that you can't stand up without sliding away. We jumped into this river three different times and it was always fun even when it was crowded around noon. We did notice that small children had a tendency to catch the current better than their parents and saw many adults swimming after their kids, so if you've got small kids keep a good grip on their vests!

There is another lazy river called Loggerhead Lane where you drift slowly in a tube and then climb up onto the island in the middle to ride Tassie's Twisters, the toilet bowl style slides. We did this and it dumps you back out into the river, which is fun. The other fun part of this river is that it has viewing areas for fish and the dolphins.

Speaking of dolphins, we did do the dolphin plunge. I thought the climb to the top involving a swaying bridge was scarier than the slide itself to be honest. I did sit up in the slide when I went 'underwater' to slow myself down a bit and was able to see the dolphins next to me. It was fun, but I've also done the Leap of Faith shark slide at Atlantis and that was better.

We also spent some time (more time than we should considering we are both in our mid 20s and have no kids) in the kid's playground getting dumped on by the bucket and I went down the kiddie slides. (Hey, they're the only slides I don't have panic attacks getting to!) We probably should not have gotten such a kick out of aiming all the squirter guns and hoses at unsuspecting children below us but it was very funny watching kids get confused as to why the water was mysteriously following them everywhere they went.

My friend and I split up at one point so he could ride more slides and I could do the wave pools, but I ended up being disappointed. Their wave pools would be great if they had the lifeguard staff to fully open both. Instead, they had the deep end roped off at both pools. I don't understand why they didn't take all the guards and just fully open one pool and leave one totally roped off. This was my only real disappointment all day.

I should probably mention that we ate at the Banana Beach all you can eat all day buffet - they give you a wristband for $15 and you come and go as much as you like. The drinks alone made it worth it as they were $3 individually otherwise. We ate an early lunch and an early dinner right before the park closed so it was worth it for us. Plus, we stopped by to get water and sodas a few times.

Overall we both felt that if we had paid for the tickets we would've gotten our money's worth. We're actually waiting until January to buy the weekday passes good for the whole year so we can visit more often! Roa's Rapids alone made me want an annual pass. We managed to do pretty much everything by 4:00 and some things more than once. Obviously this would be different in peak season but I would consider an off season visit to Aquatica well worth the money.

Sorry this is so long!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Roa's Lounges and the Buffet sound like GREAT deals!

Aquatica's a place I don't see too much written about, so I'm glad you posted this and shared your day with us.

By the way, is Roa's Rapids a tubing ride or a multi-person raft? It sounds terrific. The lazy river is always my favorite attraction in a waterpark, but I prefer the ones with waterfalls and "rapids." Love 'em!

From Kelly Muggleton
Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:01 AM
Now I'm even more disappointed I didnt have time to get there this year! :-((
Next year for sure....the fast rapids sound great and not something I have experienced before in a water park.

From Amy Smith
Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:01 AM
Roa's Rapids is actually a lazy river. It moves very, almost dangerously, fast and they have free life jackets for everyone to wear available at both entrances to the river. Only children are required to wear them but most adults wear them too or take one with them to hold onto just in case. There are no tubes or rafts allowed at all. The current is crazy and the little islands that split the river in two in places have rapids on either side and then an undertow at the end created by both sides merging back together. Parents of small children would likely find it horrifying but as an adult and a strong swimmer I thought it was the best ride in the park.

From Brian Emery
Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Thanks for posting a TR… I always enjoy reading them…

Aquatica (In my opinion is the best water park in Florida). The Roa's Rapids is awesome. We went around it about 25 times one day…. No lifejacket needed. Just bounce on your feet, like being on the moon, you travel 10 feet each bounce.

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