Florida Guide > Other Parks
Busch Gardens – Water Rides
As a family, we consider Busch Gardens a really fantastic day out. It takes a little travelling to get there, but it is definitely worth the extra driving time. Each time we have visited, the queues have been insignificant compared to Disney/Universal, so lots more time spent on the rides and less time queueing.
One of our favourite activities are the water rides and our family favourite of all time is Congo River Rapids (more about the actual ride later). The fun starts even before you get on the ride as, set up along the beginning of the water course, there are machines which spray jets of water at the unsuspecting passengers of the 12 person raft. For just a quarter, spectators can totally soak the riders before they even get to the first water obstacle. With a well aimed shot, you can drench at least 4 to 6 of the riders in one go, and with about 8 machines set up along the start, with good planning all 12 riders can look like drowned rats before they even build up a bit of speed on the course (the kids think this is hilarious and can easily bankrupt us if we don’t limit the amount of change we carry).
So on to the actual rides:
Congo River Rapids
There is normally a queue for this ride (mad aren’t we?!) but it usually moves pretty quickly and you are soon sitting on board waiting to get past the first bend in the course. Part of the fun for us is trying to find out if any of the other riders are first-timers on the ride, which soon becomes evident as the first water jet is launched and splats down on us. There is normally one out of the four of us who manages to reach the other end with hardly a water mark on them (it was me last time, even after three goes – the fourth time I got totally drenched – we were not allowed to stop until we all got soaked). There is a lot of white water along the course and as the raft spins around while negotiating the course, you cannot tell who will get splashed next. Near the end of the course there is a geyser that sprays out and soaks the unlucky rider in its path. Worse to come is the waterfall – you can hear it before you see it in all its glory and you start praying that the raft will spin around so that you are not directly under its path. If you are, there is not a chance of escaping without being seriously waterlogged at the end of the ride. But it is such great fun and the weather is usually hot and dries you out very quickly (after the initial John Wayne impressions when leaving the ride).
As we are already wet from this ride, we naturally progress to the
Tanganyika Tidal Wave
The height restriction on this ride is 48 inches and only two of our family are daft enough to go on it – me and our 6 year old, Josh. The eldest son and husband wisely wait this one out near the bridge and watch the splashdown. I have never seen any queue at all for this ride so it is straight on the 20 person boat and you meander around the course for a couple of minutes. This part is pretty boring and causes Josh to start his ‘are we there yet?’ chant. Then we start the ascent which takes us (after a little more meandering) to the top of the 55 foot drop. The journey down is great and the front two rows of riders end up pretty soaked with the splashback from the descent. Also good fun is watching the unsuspecting people walking across the bridge when a boat is at the top of the plunge. They usually stop to watch the boat come down, and suddenly realise that if they don’t move pretty quickly they will end up being totally drenched. The kids and other idiotic people (like me) once wet from the rides take to standing on the bridge on purpose and seeing how much water they can be sprayed with from the huge wave made by the boat without being knocked off their feet. Great fun.
This is a Log Flume ride and the height restriction is only 46 inches or a minimum of 2 years old and accompanied by an adult. We have always had to queue for this ride as it is quite slow to load and unload and is quite tame. The 40 ft drop at the end is fine and you don’t get very wet. A good family ride.
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Page added on: 30 July 2005
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