Wet ‘n Wild is generally considered to be the first major water park in the United States. Opened in 1977 by George Millay, one of the founders of SeaWorld, Wet ‘n Wild has been in continuous operation ever since. Millay actually received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Waterpark Association, which named him “Father of the Waterpark.”
After the SeaWorld chain was sold off to textbook publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1976, Millay focused on ownership of Wet ‘n Wild. Wet ’n Wild branches opened in both Garland and Arlington, Texas as well as Las Vegas, Greensboro, North Carolina, and three locations in Brazil. Gradually the other locations were sold and many of them closed permanently or were completely re-themed. This left Millay with only the Orlando park. In 1998, Millay finally sold his last park to Universal Orlando and retired to San Diego. George Millay passed away on February 7, 2006.
One of the reasons for Wet ‘n Wild’s enduring success is the park’s willingness to change with the times. The park that became the model for the modern water park had a lot to live up to. Wet ‘n Wild’s early success laid the foundation for imitators everywhere, all competing to be the biggest and the best and the most well-known. Wet ‘n Wild has done an admirable job of growing and changing over the years in order to remain competitive, and still manages to hold its own against such gargantuan competitors as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Indeed, Wet ‘n Wild continues to win awards, such as its recent title as America’s Number One Water Park given by Amusement Business magazine.
Part of the secret to Wet ‘n Wild’s success is the excellent blend of attraction types. World-class thrill slides exist harmoniously with more laid back attractions, and the children’s area is top notch. You should, of course, be a swimmer to visit a water park, but Wet ‘n Wild offers a full day of fun for those who do not feel comfortable with the high-speed, high-energy thrill rides. Thrill seekers can enjoy a completely different experience, challenging themselves again and again on Wet ‘n Wild’s most punishing attractions.
For pure thrills and spills, advance word has it that Brain Wash (opening spring 2007) will top them all. Tubes holding 2 or 4 riders will experience a 53 foot vertical drop into the center of a spiraling tornado. The funnel is 65 feet high, and you will experience every twist and turn as you make your way down. This will truly be the new ride to beat in the water park world. Height restrictions have not yet been released.
Don’t miss Der Stuka. This six story solo slide is all about the speed with a nearly vertical drop that transitions into a gliding runway. Riders must be at least 48” tall.
Another solo ride, The Storm, may have been the inspiration for Brain Wash. The Storm sends you down an elevated chute into a spinning, turning bowl below. Minimum height is 48”.
Mach 5 is also designed for solo riders. Be sure to ride all three of the twisting and turning head first slides, as each follows a different course.
In The Bomb Bay, you are the bomb! A trap door opens suddenly underneath you, launching you down 75 feet of nearly vertical terror. Height requirement for Bomb Bay is 48”.
In The Blast, a two person raft careens through a broken pipeline. You must be able to work together to control your raft, and both riders must be strong swimmers.
Disco H2O is a true blast from the past. Your four person tube will careen through a groovy world of light and sound. The slide is great, but the true thrill comes from the funky Disco overlay. Riders must be 36” if accompanied by an adult, or 48” to ride solo.
The Surge places four riders in a raft for a thrilling 600 feet of banked turns, sudden dips and surprises. Riders must be 36” if accompanied by an adult or 48” to ride alone.
Take the plunge into the Black Hole. Covering 500 feet of track through total darkness, this two person tube ride is heavy on the thrills. Riders need be only 36” to ride with an adult or 48” to ride unaccompanied. Make sure, however, that your little one is up to the thrills. Even some adults become unnerved by the combination of water, tunnels, and darkness.
The Flyer is a four person toboggan ride focusing on tight curves and hairpin turns. Riders must be 36” tall to ride with an adult or 48” to ride alone.
The Bubba Tub brings your family closer together on four person tubes that careen through a six story triple drop. The height requirement is 36” to ride with an adult or 48” to ride alone.
Easy and Relaxed:
Wet ‘n Wild’s Lazy River replicates old Florida with boat docks, aged billboards and a variety of waterfalls. Grab a tube and float the afternoon away.
In the Wave Pool, comfortable four foot waves roll gently past as you bob and bounce. Play under the breathtaking waterfall or grab a comfortable poolside seat to relax and enjoy the sun.
Beach Volleyball courts are also available for your convenience
Wet ‘n Wild boasts one of the best children’s areas in any water park. Kids’ Park features miniaturized versions of Wet ‘n Wild’s most popular slides. This keeps little ones from being jealous or upset that their older siblings can ride certain things, and also builds confidence in the water. Only children under 48” tall are permitted to ride. There is also a play area with an inflatable bubble bounce known as Bubble Up and other child-friendly features.
Visit the Wake Zone for Knee Skiing, Wake Skating, and the mysterious “The Wild One.” Wake Zone attractions require riders to be 56” tall (51” for The Wild One) and strong swimmers. Additional fees may apply.
Wet ‘n Wild is a wonderful experience for those of all ages and levels of water experience. Prices are quite reasonable and there are an incredible number of price specials running at any given time. No Orlando vacation is complete without a visit to the water park that started it all, Wet ‘n Wild.