Who Wants to Ride an Interactive Water Slide?

August 12, 2022, 4:19 PM · Interactive attractions have been hits at theme parks worldwide ever since Disney popularized the genre with its original Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at Walt Disney World more than 20 years ago. Many parks now have interactive attractions, where riders can use simulated guns, props, or even just hand motions to score points by hitting targets on a screen or a stage set.

Up until now, interactive attractions almost exclusively have been based on dark rides. But could it be possible to make other types of rides into interactive attractions? How about, maybe, even a water slide?

Whitewater West Industries, a leading water attraction provider, thinks that is possible. It has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an "Interactive Amusement Attraction and Method." That's a pretty generic title, but the application description details a water slide attraction with multiple targets that riders could trigger, either alone or in teams.

Slide Boarder concept
Images from the Whitewater West patent filing

Riders would be tracked by wearing a device, such as a wristband, or by riding a mat or raft with an embedded tracker. Targets could trigger a variety of lighting effects in addition to potentially accumulating points for the rider or team.

Interactive water slide

It's hard for me to imagine trying to hit targets on most of the water slides I have been on over the years. Almost always, I have been instructed to cross my arms on my chest and not to dare to try to put my hands out, for any reason. That's not exactly compatible with an interactive attraction.

So I am thinking that this tech would work better on something like a water coaster or lazy river ride, where a rider's speed can be reduced and controlled, allowing them the time they need to see and react to targets. But a traditional water slide with a lower angle and lower speeds might work, so long as riders did not have the ability to stop or slow so much that it compromised operational efficiency.

What do you think? Would you want to ride an interactive water slide?

Here is the complete patent filing: Interactive Amusement Attraction and Method [USPTO]

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Replies (6)

August 12, 2022 at 5:35 PM

Meh. I feel like Disney's lame Spiderman ride signaled the death knell for shooter rides.

August 12, 2022 at 9:26 PM

It's all fun and games until someone loses their grip on the raft or their arm gets twisted.

August 13, 2022 at 7:23 AM

Slide speed would be gimped to make this even remotely possible without injury potential

August 13, 2022 at 11:56 AM

I'm a big fan of the spider-man ride at California Adventure ... but having just returned from a day at a water park (more to come) I can not imagine wanting to do anything on a water slide other than hold on for dear life.

August 13, 2022 at 1:34 PM

My issues with water slides is I'm so near-sighted that without my glasses, can barely see much beyond just blurs. Frankly, not sure how this can work so well as most folks trying to just keep on an even keel rather than hit targets zipping by in a second.

August 14, 2022 at 8:29 AM

Honestly, I’m really not even a fan of interactive dark rides. Those are always the first on my “skip if short on time” list.

As far as water slides go, I love them but the older I get the less I can handle while keeping things enjoyable. Too much flopping around, water spraying in eyes, and just a couple weeks ago I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I fell off my tube on a slide. The body slides I don’t even bother with anymore.

So I really can’t imagine doing well on an interactive slide, and as with the interactive dark rides, it’s really no big deal at all if you get the “high score”. At least not for me anyway…

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