a.k.a Aqua Coaster, Liquid Coaster
The first water coaster opened in 1996 and paved the way for a whole range of water coasters in the following decades. Water coasters are characterised by gentle layout with big drops and, not surprisingly, big splashes! Some water coasters turn into log flume style trains once they hit the water, with the traditional coaster rails ending leaving the train floating in a trough. Other types of water coasters have fixed rails all the way around the coaster.
E&F MILER INDUSTRIES WATER COASTER
E&F Miler Industries produced the first water coaster in 1996 at Enchanted Forest in Oregon, USA. This coaster is still running today, however unlike more modern water coasters, this one has the majority of it’s layout like a log flume. The boats run down water troughs just like any other log flume. It’s only at the end of this ride where there is a small lift hill and a drop that resemble a coaster. Then there’s only one turn left before the final main drop. In 2004 E&F Miler also built Dive To Atlantis at Mt Olympus Water & Theme Park in Wisconsin, USA. This coaster shut down in 2007, but it resembled the more classic roller coaster look. With one big lift hill, a small drop and then the final drop, Dive To Atlantis was only a short ride that would give guests a nice relief on hot summer days.
MACK RIDES WATER COASTER
Currently Mack Rides Water Coasters are the most popular water coasters out there. The first installation was Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida, USA, in 1998. This coaster has an extensive theme, with a long preshow section before the coaster completes the first (and biggest) drop. With a ‘secret’ coaster section at the end too, Journey to Atlantis has become the benchmark for water coasters.
In 2003 Mack Rides developed a variation of their Water Coaster called SuperSplash, which first opened at TusenFryd in Norway and has
turntables mid-ride so riders experience drops backwards. The first turntable at the top of the lift hill spins counterclockwise 45° so the car drops backwards down and up on to the second turntable, which spins another 45° counterclockwise so the car drops forward into the splash down section of the ride.
SuperSplash at Plopsaland De Panne in Belgium is the exception, with an elevator lift taking the place of the turntables and reverse drop.
INTAMIN WATER COASTER
Intamin designed their water coaster around the record breaking Pilgrims Plunge at Holiday World in Indiana, USA. The 135 feet (41m) tall shoot the chute attraction was the world’s tallest water ride when it opened in 2009, but was plagued with reliability issues and was removed in 2013.
The year before Pilgrims Plunge (renamed Giraffica) closed Intamin opened Divertical at Mirabilandia in Italy, which uses the same tilting elevator lift system but replaced the shoot the chutes trough with roller coaster track. They also made it 62 feet (19m) taller and added a splash track, two airtime hills and a 360° helix, with the splash down at the end of the ride.
In spite of the continuing reliability issues, Intamin has built several additional variations of Divertical that includes a shorter 141-148 foot (43-45m) lift hill drop and a 540° helix.
Premier Rides calls their version of the Water Coaster a Liquid Coaster. The coaster train is replaced with a boat, but sits on rails as expected. The ride begins as a traditional roller coaster with a lift hill and a few turns and drops. Towards the end of the ride, the boat travels down a drop and into a large splash down, soaking all of the riders on board.
Premier Rides also basically created a clone of the Setpoint model (see below), but use an elevator lift instead of a traditional lift hill. Only one was manufactured, Slippery When Wet at Hard Rock Park in South Carolina, USA, which opened in 2008. Renamed to Soak’d when the park reopened the following year as Freestyle Music Park, the coaster was eventually sold to Asia Park in Vietnam following the park’s permanent closure at the end of the 2009 season.
Although not technically considered true water coasters, Setpoint used the same basic design as their Pteranodon Flyers at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Florida, USA, to create a water interaction version of the ride. Flying Super Saturator opened in 2000 at Carowinds in the Carolinas with Roller Soaker at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania, USA, coming two years later. Both coasters featured interactivity with onlookers having the ability to shoot water at riders and riders able to splash water on anyone below. However the coasters suffered capacity issues as well as lengthy downtime and closed within a decade.