Monday, June 1, 2015

Akaonekana pili Kalahari

The Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio was another great waterpark, although the good rides require multiple people. I wasn't traveling alone this time, so I was able to do them. Like their property in Wisconsin, it has an African theme.

The water slides are indoors, although there is a small selection of pools outdoors. The Kalahari resort offers plenty of other things to do as well.

The water rides include:

Flowrider - didn't do this, but it's a body-boarding simulator.

Victoria Falls - A large, 2-3 person raft ride, moves pretty fast.

Zip Coaster - a water coaster, but it was surprisingly dry compared to other water coasters, especially if you're sitting in the back.

Tanzanian Twister - a body slide that spins you in a bowl and drops you into 9 feet of water. I skipped this one, it looked too scary.

Rippling Rhino - A tame 2-4 person raft slide.

Elephant's Trunk/Wild Wildebeest - A fast one person tube slide. Very fun.

Zig Zag Zebra/Zimbabwe Zipper - Body slides - despite the slide not exiting into a full exit pool, the water at the end was still very deep and got up my nose.

Swahili Swirl - A 2-4 person bowl slide, probably the best ride in the park.

Cheetah Race - a mat racing slide, a bit smaller than mat racing slides at other water parks, but still fun.

The water park was a bit crowded, but I was there on a weekend.

Food: Plenty of food around the water park, including full-service restaurants, sweet shops, and typical water park food.

Transportation: If you're staying at the hotel, you can fly into Cleveland, OH (CLE) and the hotel will provide a shuttle, but otherwise you'll have to drive.

Overall: A good water park but it may not be as enjoyable on your own.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"It's a system of transportation!"

What I said about the lazy river when I first rode the lazy river here, at age 13.

I haven't blogged this water park as I didn't remember it well until now.

Typhoon Lagoon is Disney's other water park. Unlike Blizzard Beach, it has a tropical theme, almost like it's the opposite water park.

Typhoon Lagoon is part of the Walt Disney World Resort, so if you plan to go, you can simply buy Disney World tickets with the Water Park Fun and More option, which will allow for days in the Disney water park.

It includes the following attractions:

Castaway Creek - the lazy river, the "system of transportation" as it has many exits across the park.

Crush n Gusher - a water coaster. It was exciting, although wait times can be long (but not as long as Double Dipper in Blizzard Beach). Also, if you're riding solo, you have to carry a double tube all the way up the stairs which can be heavy, and you can only ride one of the three slides. Still, perhaps the best slide Disney's water parks has to offer.

Gangplank Falls - a family raft ride - didn't ride it as I was traveling solo.

Humunga Kowabunga - a steep body slide. Intense but very fun.

Mayday Falls - a tube slide, but with rough rapids, an interesting ride.

Shark Reef - didn't get a chance this time, but you can snorkel and look at fish here.

Storm Slides - typical body slides, but I didn't like being pushed into a pool at the end of the ride.

Surf Pool - a wild wave pool - this is no ordinary wave pool, as the waves are ocean-sized and will knock you off your feet. Don't worry, it's fresh water.

Food: Same as Blizzard Beach, mostly fast food, and great soft serve ice cream.

Transportation: Fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO). If you're staying at a Disney World hotel, which I recommend you do if you're planning to visit Disney World, there is free transportation from the airport (Disney's Magical Express). You can also fly into Orlando-Sanford (SFB) but it is farther away and you'll probably need to rent a car. Transportation from the Disney resorts is a little more tricky - there are rides to the water park from the hotel, but you have to make a connection in Epcot if you stay the whole day on the way back.

Overall: I liked Blizzard Beach overall a bit more, but Crush n Gusher was probably the best ride out of both water parks. A very good water park. Somehow wish one of the water parks had a bowl or a topsy-turvy slide.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Ski at a Water Park!

Disney's Blizzard Beach is basically a ski resort themed water park. An interesting idea! Don't worry, the water is not freezing. Still, it's a great way to cool down on a hot day.

The water park essentially is built in the shape of a mountain, with light and steep rides. In fact, there is a 'chairlift' like one at a ski resort to lift you to the top of the mountain. The lines are rather long for this, however, even in May.

Blizzard Beach is part of the Walt Disney World Resort, so if you plan to go, you can simply buy Disney World tickets with the Water Park Fun and More option, which will allow for days in the Disney water park.

The rides are thus:

Cross Country Creek - a lazy river with multiple exits across the park.

Downhill Double Dipper - a tube slide that goes straight down (with one bump) - a pretty unique ride. The lines are pretty long for this ride, so do this ride near the beginning or end of the day.

Melt-Away Bay - a wave pool

Run-off Rapids - A tube slide, but probably the longest tube slide I've been on.

Slush Gusher - a vertical body slide with a few bumps, moves very fast.

Snow Stormers - A mat slide with curves, simulating a ski obstacle course.

Summit Plummet - a straight, vertical body slide, going down a 120 foot slope, according to Disney's website. I skipped this ride as I was too nervous for this.

Teamboat Springs - a water family raft ride. Skipped this ride as I was traveling alone.

Toboggan Racers - a straight mat slide. A little different than other mat slide rides I've been on, as there were no curves or enclosed tubes to start with. Lines can look intimidating, but move quickly.

The water park was more crowded than other May-season water parks, but that's probably because it's at Disney World.

Food: Mostly your typical fast-food served at a water park. They had good chicken nuggets if you don't want a burger. Additionally, there was great soft-serve ice cream. If you leave the park, there's many fine restaurants around Disney World.

Transportation: Fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO). If you're staying at a Disney World hotel, which I recommend you do if you're planning to visit Disney World, there is free transportation from the airport (Disney's Magical Express), and there are busses from the Disney hotels to Blizzard Beach. You can also fly into Orlando-Sanford (SFB) but it is farther away and you'll probably need to rent a car.

Overall: While somewhat crowded even during the "off-season", a very enjoyable and good-looking water park. Recommended!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Howl of the Great Wolf Part II (Kansas City, KS)

The Great Wolf Lodge water parks are a nationwide chain - in Kansas City, Kansas, I visited my second Great Wolf (the first being in Charlotte, NC) - it was small, but had very exciting rides and was an indoor park, which is great for a rainy day, and you can easily walk in and out of the park as you wish. Great Wolf requires that each customer stay at the hotel to use the facility - which cuts the crowds, but makes the park more expensive. This can be a little tricky, as if you're flying, a taxi from the airport can cost up to $60 each way, so a trip here can be rather pricey.

That being said, it's certainly worth it - not only do you have access to another waterpark (Schlitterbahn) and other things in Kansas City, Kansas, but the indoor water park Great Wolf offers is very fun.

The rides:

Triple Twist - one of my absolute favorite rides ever. The rider sits on a raft and is thrashed around in three funnels, for a very thrilling experience.

Alberta Falls - A tube slide, moves fast and dumps water on the rider.

Howling Wolf - a 1-3 person raft ride, which moves into the dark.

Totem Towers - two exciting body slides. You have to navigate a kiddie playground to access them, but are great body slides - best of all, they don't empty into a pool where water gets up your nose. One of them felt similar to the Maui Wowie ride in Erie, PA.

Food: Great Wolf offers lots of food - there is a place for burgers and the like inside the park, but as it is easy to walk in and out, you can go out to some restaurants near the hotel such as Famous Dave's or Lone Star, and the hotel offers it's own restaurant as well as a fudge shop.

Transportation: If you're staying at the hotel, and coming from the airport, a taxi is your best bet - it's $60 each way. Fly into the Kansas City, MO airport (MCI).

Overall: Small, but exciting, and has plenty to do nearby.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It's Transportainment!

Schlitterbahn has a number of waterparks in Texas and one in Kansas City, Kansas - I went to the Kansas park. The water park was unique in many ways.

"Transportainment" refers to the unique layout of the park - many rides can be accessed from the lazy river. In fact, the Storm Blaster ride has a line that is right in the water. This is very neat, especially on a hot day where the line might be long. There are also a number of "rapids" rides.

There's a new ride called the "Verruckt", which is supposed to be the tallest water slide in the United States - riders will ride in a raft, and it is a water-coaster type of ride. It was not open yet when I went.

Other rides include:

Bahnzai Pipeline / Black Knight / Wolfpack - tube slides, from enclosed to open - all were good tube slides.

Storm Blaster - the line is in the water, and is a "water coaster" ride - while fun, it was disappointing, as it was considerably shorter than other water coasters.

Whirlwind - another exciting tube slide ride.

Mighty Mo - this is one of the more unique rides I have found in a water park - you sit on a tube in a river, and rapids push you in one direction, creating the experience of floating down river rapids. However, large portions of the river just involved floating, meaning there's quite a bit of waiting before the exciting parts - but still a great concept.

Food: There is your typical water park food place, with burgers, hot dogs, and fries. There is also a sweet shop with ice cream and cookies.

Transportation: It is located in Kansas City, Kansas - if you're flying, the airport is in Kansas City, Missouri. I stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Village West (so I got two water parks for one trip!) which is very close to the park. To get to the water park without driving, take the #101 Bus - very short trip. There's no way to walk to the park from the Village West area.

Overall: A fun water park, but could be better. It may be because it was a cool day, but it wasn't that crowded even in June. The crowds increased as the day warmed up and the sun came out, so crowds may be relative.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The WET and WILD of Vegas

In May of 2013, Wet n Wild opened a third park in Las Vegas, NV. I just went out to visit in August. (Their other U.S. properties include Phoenix and Honolulu, both of which have been reviewed previously.)

Before I get into the rides, there is one neat feature that this park includes: For $35, you can buy a rubber wristwatch. Around the park, there are some computer kiosks that allow you to select which ride you would like to go on next. If you have one of the park's wristwatches, you can use this feature, and the watch will tell you when the ride is ready - this way you won't have to wait in line, and the watch is also useful in determining when it is time to put on more sunscreen. I haven't seen this before, but I have read that Wet n Wild Phoenix added it after I have visited that park.

The park was somewhat busy in terms of crowds, but the wristband made it seem like the park was only lightly filled.

The rides include:

The Rattler - this ride looked exciting, but required multiple riders - the Wet n Wild Las Vegas site didn't exactly make this clear.

Royal Flush Extreme - A bowl slide - it was fast and exciting, but the color scheme here seemed a bit bland. Clever title, though, especially for Vegas. Still, a very exciting ride.

Constrictor - A very exciting tube slide. There are parts of the slide that are wider to speed up your riding experience.

Hoover Half Pipe - a ride that would push you up a wall, I didn't do this ride as it required multiple riders, but I would likely be apprehensive about this ride even if I did have other riders, it did look a bit scary.

Canyon Cliffs - a steep body slide, skipped as this didn't really interest me. Note that this ride cannot be reserved in advance with the wristwatch.

Desert Racers - a mat racing slide - I actually didn't like this one as much as similar types of rides in other parks, as the beginning did not have me entering an enclosed tube - I don't know why this matters to me.

Zipp Zapp Zoom - a standard tube slide, it actually felt a bit slower than other tube slides elsewhere, but it was still fun. If you go down the correct tube (the green one), there are interesting light designs throughout the tube.

The park additionally has a wave pool and a lazy river, although only one of them appears to open at a certain time.

Food: Pricey, as with most water parks, and very bland choices such as hot dogs and burgers (interestingly you can only buy the food packages here, e.g. hot dogs and fries, as opposed to just one hot dog.) Unfortunately, there are no other places for food even in the vicinity of the park.

Transportation: Obviously, you'll want to fly into Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Unfortunately, if you don't have a car, you'll need to take a taxi from the Strip, as there are no public busses that move you close to the park, and the park does not have it's own transportation. This could change, however, as the park only opened in 2013. A taxi from the Strip is about $40 each way.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars; this is subject to change if more features are added to the park.

Wisconsin's Kalahari Maji Hifadhi Ya

Hujambo, wenzake msomaji,

Wisconsin Dells is one of the water park capitals of America. The Dells are an interesting place, as, aside from the water parks, the town would seem like a standard place to pull off the highway for an overnight hotel stay - most of the restaurants and hotels are generic brand-name hotels. But this blog is about the Kalahari water park. I visited my brother who was spending the summer in Milwaukee, WI, and one day we drove up to the Dells for some water park fun - it was surprisingly cold for a July day, so we went to the Kalahari water park, the largest indoor water park in the Dells. There is a smaller outdoor section - I went on some of the rides, but it was too cold to stay out for long.

It was built in to it's own hotel - unlike Great Wolf, however, they sell a limited number of day passes.

The rides include:

Victoria Falls - a raft ride, I didn't go on it.

Master Blaster - a water-coaster type ride that propels you up and down the hills. When I was reading about this ride before, the site said "no single riders", but that turned out to be a blatant lie (note that it no longer says that on their website.) Be careful where you position your feet however, you don't want your ankles to be rubbed by the grills. This was probably the best ride in the park.

Screaming Hyena/Sahara Sidewinders - body slides that involve being dropped through a trapdoor at the start. I didn't go on this - as adventurous as I can be sometimes, this seemed way too scary for me.

Rippling Rhino - a tube slide with where you go down with a long raft.

Elephant's Trunk - a body slide. It is exciting, until the end where I would be thrown into a pool and get water up by nose.

Tanzanian Twister - a bowl slide where you are dumped into a pool of water at the end. I didn't do this ride - I've done a similar ride at Splash Lagoon (Erie, PA) but had no desire to do it again.

Zig-zag zebra - your standard tube slide deal - get an inner tube and have fun!

The Outdoor section of the park includes:

Extreme Rush - a mat slide, but one with twists and turns, unlike the straight mat slides in other parks. I personally didn't care for the twists and turns while I was on my stomach.

Swahili Swirl - A bowl slide, where you would be Swahili Swirled in an inner tube and then dropped into the exit pool.

Wild Wildebeest - An inner tube slide - it had parts that would drop water on you, and was more exciting than Zig-Zag Zebra, but as the weather was colder this day, it was harder to enjoy.

Anaconda - a raft ride outdoors, I skipped this ride.

The water park had a number of hot tubs, a wave pool, and a lazy river inside. One hot tub would be entered from the indoor park but went outside.

Food: Everything was pretty standard as far as water parks go. There may be more restaurants on the hotel premises, but I didn't want to get too far from the park. As much as I enjoy water parks, eating at them is becoming my least favorite part of the experience - the food offered is always along the lines of poorly-prepared burgers, hot dogs, and fatty fries.

Transportation: Wisconsin Dells doesn't really have any public transportation. I got up here by driving up with my brother from Milwaukee. The closest airport is Madison-Dane County (MSN), and the Kalahari hotel does have a shuttle from MSN (about 50-60 mins in distance), but that's pretty much it. Wisconsin Dells isn't easy to get around if you don't have a car or a friend with a car.

Overall: It was a very nice indoor water park. Some of the rides are pretty intense, so if you enjoy the more extreme types of slides, you will love this place. It's probably the largest indoor water park I've been to. It was crowded, but this was a Saturday in July, whereas I usually try to go in May/early June/late August/off-season.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.