Friday, June 4, 2010

The Great Water Park Debate

The "Master Blaster" at Schlitterbahn

We recently visited the Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels, Texas. Years ago I spotted the Texas water park in the #1 spot on the Travel Channel's best U.S. water parks, and I've been wanting to visit Schlitterbahn ever since! I've always had a minor obsession with amusement parks and water parks, and I was really looking forward to visiting the #1 water park in the country. Amusement Today Magazine voted Schlitterbahn the #1 water park in the country for, I think it was, 12 years in a row. We thought, who the heck is Amusement Today Magazine anyway? Upon returning home, I did a little bit of online research to find that AT Magazine is located in Arlington, TX. That might help explain Schlitterbahn's #1 US rating for so many years, because, to be honest and frank, we were really not that impressed with the water park. Compared to other parks, especially Denver's Water World, Schlitterbahn didn't seem to stack up. I am sure the fact that the weather was sprinkling on us and that it was a chilly 78 degrees (it was forecast to be 95 degrees before we left Colorado) were not enough to make us dislike Schlitterbahn, but I think the hype and our expectations combined with a lack of real thrills left us a bit disappointed.

Have you ever heard of a water coaster? Well, that was one of the things I was most excited about experiencing on our trip to Schlitterbahn. They have a water coaster called the Master Blaster, and it was supposed to be thrilling and one of the most popular rides at the park. No one warned us that you should lift your butt high off the bottom of the raft to avoid the plastic bumps where the water shoots out to propel you up the hills. Would have been nice to know. Nate bruised his tail bone a little bit on their most popular "thrill ride" in the park, the Master Blaster! To top that off, the ride really wasn't all that thrilling. Master Blaster ended up being rather disappointing in our books.

While at Schlitterbahn, we experienced some very poor "special effects" on the Dragon's Revenge and Congo River Expedition rides. We dubbed their Raging River ride the "Not So Raging River", because there were few locations with a thrill and many spots where the current caused you to be stuck in place until someone came along and bumped into you or you freed yourself by standing up off of your inner tube. Not to mention, we ate some of the worst pizza we've ever had for lunch. Things weren't exactly going well for us at Schlitterbahn, so we left a little after lunch time and relaxed in our comfy condo.

Amusement Today magazine may have been a bit biased. I do get that some things are bigger in Texas, but the water park thrills are not one of those things. For goodness sake, Schlitterbahn had signs warning you what the thrill level of each ride is, and they rated their Lava Lagoon hot tub as a moderate thrill. We both laughed at the sign located beside the hot tub, and here is the description for the Lava Lagoon hot tub on Schlitterbahn's website: "Warm, soothing water, relaxing bubbles, and a Volcano fountain make this pool a great way to spend an afternoon." Does that sound like a moderate thrill to you?! It surely was relaxing, but not so thrilling. And who would want to spend their entire afternoon in a big hot tub at a water park? Oy vey!

It you're looking for a great water park, visit Water World just north of Denver! (Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World is pretty great too!) I've been to Water World multiple times, from when I was in 4th grade up until my 20's... and it's fun at every age. After our Schlitterbahn disappointment, we're really looking forward to a Water World visit this summer.

Here's a picture of the Ragin' Colorado River ride at Water World:

Other than our water park blues, the rest of our Texas trip was fantastic! We spent a little time in Austin and accidentally discovered a great little historic town called Gruene (pronounced "green"), Texas. Our rooms were nice in both Austin and New Braunfels. We ate delicious food in lots of local places, and we both want to tube the Comal River next time we visit New Braunfels. We'll be back again, but we'll be better prepared.

More from our Texas trip later....

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