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October 1, 2014

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Q&A with Tim Fisher of Wet ’N’ Wild:

Water park plans to blow away visitors with new attraction

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David Duprey / AP

Riders cool off on the Tornado water slide on a hot sunny day at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in Darien Center, N.Y., Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

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The Tornado water slide is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend at Wet 'N' Wild.

Map of Wet ’n’ Wild

Wet ’n’ Wild

7055 S. Fort Apache Road, 89148, Las Vegas

With warmer weather pushing out the cool, winter months, swimmers should prepare for a tornado at Wet ’N’ Wild Las Vegas – but not the weather kind.

Wet ’N’ Wild plans for its newest, multimillion-dollar thrill slide, the Tornado, to open on Memorial Day weekend. The slide looks like a sideways funnel connected to a straw. The slide drops four riders in a tube about 35 feet into a funnel and then whips them around its edges at a near-vertical angle, before draining them into the pool, according to park officials.

The Proslide-designed slide is made to make riders feel like they’re falling as they spin around, giving thrill-seekers a dose of adrenaline. The ride will become the park’s newest attraction, adding to a collection of towering, twisting slides with nicknames like The Constrictor and Zip, Zap, Zoom.

The Sun caught up with Tim Fisher, CEO of Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which owns Wet ’N’ Wild, to discuss the slide and what swimmers can expect when the park opens April 12.

What prompted you to add the slide to the park’s repertoire?

We felt that given the demand we had last year, it would be good to add a new attraction this year. We wanted to do something unique and give our guests something with a more broad demographic appeal, and I think the Tornado is a good fit.

How does the tornado offer a broader demographic appeal?

Even though it is intimidating to look at, I think it does accommodate most riders. It has a thrill component to it. It has a zero-gravity effect that really adds a lot to the ride, but it’s not so extreme that both young and old can’t enjoy it.

Have you ridden the Tornado? If so, what was your experience like?

What I like about the ride is it’s an exhilarating experience. It has a thrill component, but it’s not so extreme that you don’t enjoy riding it. I like the initial drop of the ride because it gives you that thrill.

As you continue to add slides, what water park trends are you looking at today?

What I’m finding is that you’re always pushing the boundaries in terms of innovation and technology. The rides are smoother, more thrilling; they look more intimidating, but they’re better ride experiences. That’s the beauty of technology.

How do they compare to 10 years ago?

When you think about 10 years ago, they were all body slides. Now when you look at them, there are fewer body slides, more rides with two vehicles, and they’re far more complicated. A great example is the “Aqua Loop.” Who would have thought 10 years ago you’d have looping rides (in a water park)?

What other changes can visitors look forward to next year?

We’ve increased the size of our parking lot. The top two things from last year was heat the water in the children’s area and add some more shade, and we’re doing both those things. The other thing we wanted to add was another great ride. We thought by adding another major attraction like the Tornado, we could not only add something from a marketing perspective, but it would reduce the lines as well.

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