Despite having a convention of rain clouds above our heads, I went along with my friends to Orlando’s now-one-year-old Aquatica. Although I walked with my nose to the sky expecting a thunderbolt to electrocute me any moment… but it NEVER RAINED!
And maybe that’s why it seemed that every tourist was there as well. Lines for every slide probably went for 30 minutes each– which pretty long when you’re in a swim suit. But there’s was still enough to occupy us. My personal favorite is Roa’s Rapids, a faster “lazy river” where the water PUSHES you around so you’re forced to run through rapids, waterfalls, and shooting water spouts. And it’s also great to just strap on a free life vest and relax while you drift on the current. There’s also a real “lazy river” called “Loggerhead Lane” that winds around “Tassie’s Twisters” and allows its drifters to also float by grottos that allows views of the famous Aquatica dolphins and a large fish tank. My only beef with Loggerhead Lane is that it only winds around one corner of the park. Something like that river should be more like a transportation in the park.
There’s a wave pool, naturally, but Aquatica decided to make two of them side-by-side and bordered with fake rocks. We swam through one pool, looked around and wondered, “Wow, this is a lame wave pool.” Then we realized the reason more people were at the OTHER wave pool. The waves in the OTHER pool were the results of hurricanes– and more fun.
Another great area is the Walkabout– a huge playground of water and slides. Every step contains ways to splash other people with water or be splashed. The best part are the twin, gigantic buckets of water that splash everyone below every few minutes.
The slides at Aquatica are typical. The partly transparent slide that descended into the dolphin tank was probably Aquatica’s most overhyped marketing tool. The slide was good, but that was no way to see the dolphins. Luckily, there’s other methods to see the adorable creatures. Of course, there are also slides were you can race other people (like Taumata Racer where you can race like 10 people!). And yes, there are slides where you go down in floating tubes. Of these, I really like “HooRoo Run.” Although it looks very simple– it’s a large open slide that just goes down in waves– the speed at which you go is insane and almost scary.
There are three main food places and I was only able to try the Waterstone Grill. The sandwich was yummy– theme park typical– and the line to get the food was very inviting with a large fire at the entrance. Next time I hope to try Banana Beach Cookout where you can get a wrist band that allows you to come back for more food throughout the day for one price. Believe me, swimming takes the energy out of you. It seems very worth it.
Admission for Aquatica is currently $44.95 for adults. The park is also open more days than any water park I know– supposedly the water gets heated during the colder days. I admit I’ve never been to a Disney water park so I can’t compare, but Aquatica was definitely a great play place for all ages.