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ONE WEEK AT UM: PAGE 3
by Gary Radice
Article: Added October 2004
Tutuki Splash & Grand Canyon Rapids
This park certainly has its fair share of wet rides.
Sadly the Silver River Flume ride was out of action for all the time we were there so we had to 'make do' with the above.
Intamin's Tutuki Splash delivered thrills and a whole load of water. The signs were ominous as we boarded the 20 man boats...the collection of water at the bottom of the boat was a dead giveaway.
First it was a short climb up into a cave and then the boat followed a track in a horseshoe around the back to the first small - but surprisingly wet - drop.
'Smile-time' for the flash photography.
The boat then made a left turn and the main incline stood before us. Now I don't know if the boats were timed as such but a whole load of us would often get drenched by the boat in front as it descended the final double drop. I'm talking Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach wet here and that's wet!
I'll leave it up to your own imagination what it is like as you hit the water on the final drop but to add insult to injury you then pass (slowly) under a bridge upon which several (sadistic) lurkers laugh and direct jets of water from mounted water pistols at you...They pay for the privilege by the way but chances are you won't be able to hear them laugh due to the excess of H2O within the confines of your ears.
I'm telling you this park has an edge to it.
The boat slowly meanders on its way back to the station with all riders proclaiming how wet they all are. I think most were genuinely surprised at HOW REALLY wet they did get.
Never mind, Wet Wednesday as I called the day, was actually very hot. By the afternoon though it had become much cooler and for some strange reason I decided to ride The Grand Canyon Rapids Ride.
It all started so well...a little splash here...a little splosh against the side of the Circular boat there...a waterpistol strategically placed on a hidden lookout point operated by some sadistic lurker with a bad aim...(she missed by a mile). Up to now, good, mild thrills...interesting ride...nicely themed, etc.
Neptune delivered a double whammy. Two waves that found their way down the front of my jeans and the back of my T shirt.
I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around like a mummy with stiff legs and outreached arms attempting to get dry in what was left of the sun...
Me cool? You must be joking...
Bloody freezing more like!
Templo del Fuego & Sea Odyssey
I was hoping that UM would deliver on dark rides. It didn't have any so I had to 'make do' with the Show Action Attractions like the above.
Tempo del Fuego is a "Stand-thru". You get herded into a small area and listen to an Indiana Jones type character talk about turning the rings on a stone. Room goes dark, wind jets around your ankles etc and then a door opens and off you all trot into the next room.
Actually this was pretty impressive stuff. If you have experienced Backdraft at Universal Hollywood then this is on the same lines.
Two words...Singed Eyebrows. 9/10 for this.
Sea Odyssey conjures up the biggest queues in the park but if I'm honest I really don't know why. Think the Star Tours (Disney) and Back to the Future (Universal) simulator rides. This ride however takes place under the sea where you befriend Sami the Dolphin and follow his encounters with a sea monster.
In all fairness I wasn't overly impressed. I was in the minority though judging by all the clapping from the audience at the end of the ride!
Here was the one attraction in my opinion where the ride ops did not manage the (long) queues well. Some people in the queues didn't bother as to the positions they were given by the ride operators before boarding the 'underwater sub' simulator which resulted in people wandering around looking for a place to sit down once inside. You had to be there but it just caused fustration.
Simulators are OK by me...but UM needs a Pirates Of the Caribbean type ride in my honest opinion to bring it up a level.