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Islands of Adventure – Toon Lagoon:
Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

Rating: * * * * +
Type: Raft ride
Time: About 5 minutes
Short Take: Super soaking good fun

You may get spritzed a bit on the Jurassic Park River Adventure and on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, but for a really good soaking, you have to come to Sweet Haven, home to Popeye, Olive Oyl, and the gang. The barges of the name are actually circular, 12-passenger rubber rafts that twirl and dip along a twisting, rapids-strewn watercourse.

Just as Dudley has his Snidely, Popeye has Bluto. Their lifelong enmity and rivalry for the affection of Miss Olive form the basis for the theming on this ride, which involves Olive, Wimpy, Poopdeck Pappy, and all the rest. Water splashes into the sides of the raft in the rapids and pours in from above at crucial junctures. And at least one person in your raft is sure to get hosed by the little devils (actually someone else’s kids) manning the water cannons on Me Ship, The Olive (see below) before the raft is swept into an octopus grotto where an eight-armed beast holds Popeye in its tentacled grip, preventing him from reaching his lifesaving spinach. Before it’s all over, the hapless rafts have been spun into Bluto’s fully operational boat wash, which is just like a car wash except it’s for boats.

This is the spiffiest raft ride in town and the ride to take at the hottest, stickiest part of the day. Because the free-floating rafts spin and twist as they roar down the rapids, how wet you get is somewhat a matter of luck; you certainly will get damp and you may be drenched. The rafts have plastic covered bins in the center in which you can store things you’d rather not get wet. They do a pretty good job, too. Many people are smart enough to remove and stow their shoes and socks since plenty of water sloshes into the rafts along the way.

Tip: The heavier the raft, the faster the ride. So if you want a little extra oomph in your ride, get in line behind a bunch of weight lifters or opera stars.

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Universal Orlando 2011


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