This is a fiendishly clever little speed slide. Two steeply inclined enclosed tubes are twisted around each other like braided hair. As you descend, you pick up speed until you are deposited, slightly disoriented, in the long deceleration pool. Holding your nose is highly recommended for this one.
Riptide adds the thrill of competition to the speed slide concept. A pair of twin enclosed speed slides, one red, one blue, take off from a single high platform. One pair of tubes swerves left, the other right, before rejoining for parallel splashdowns. No one knows who’s winning until the final moments of the ride.
Right next to Riptide, these two slides offer a toned down speed slide experience and, by comparison, the ride down is leisurely. If you’re uncertain about tackling Riptide, test your mettle here.
Aruba Tuba shares a tower with the Calypso Coaster. As with Key West Rapids, you pick up your single or double tube at the entrance and climb to the top. This ride, as the name implies, descends through a tube that is mostly enclosed with a few brief openings to the sky. Periodically, you are plunged into total darkness, adding to the excitement generated by the speed, sudden turns, and sharp dips of the ride. All in all, one of Adventure Island’s zippiest experiences. You emerge into a pool with a convenient exit into Ramblin’ Bayou, just in case you feel a need for a marked change of pace.
Unlike its sister ride, Aruba Tuba, Calypso Coaster is an open flume. It is also wider, allowing for more side-to-side motion at the expense of speed. But there’s no drop-off in excitement as you are swooped high on the sides of the flume in the sharp turns you encounter on the way down. Of the two, I give Aruba Tuba slightly higher marks in the thrills department, but it’s a very close call.
Here’s an interesting twist on an old idea. It is a slide — a speed slide in fact — but instead of descending on your back or in a tube, you sit upright on a heavy yellow, molded plastic gizmo that’s a cross between a boogie board and a sled. As you sit in the ready position, held back from the steep precipice by a metal gate, you might start to have second thoughts. But then the gate drops, the platform tilts, and you are sent zipping down the slide. The best part of the ride is when you hit the water. Instead of slowing down quickly, you go skimming across the surface for about 20 yards before slowing to a stop. If you’re doing it right, you’ll hardly get wet. The major error to be made on this ride is placing your center of gravity too far back. If you do, you’re liable to be flipped over backwards for a very unceremonious dunking.
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