FOR THE LAZY OR PEOPLE SHORT ON TIME AND NOT DESIRING TO READ AN ENTIRE NOVEL PLEASE SKIP TO THE END FOR THE OVERALL SUMMARY/GRADING PROCESS.
Let me start by saying that this trip report was written by someone who scrutinizes entertainment venues when I visit them. As a long time theme park enthusiast and an employee of a theme park, I have very high expectations when I visit a theme/ water park , especially if they have won any kind of award. BTW I will not even touch on the sunject of the thousands of Christmas Lights left from last year that are hanging out of trees,since I still have some up :O I already know that many of you will disagree with me about the Bahn, but this is my opinion of .....the BAHN.......>Start Dramatic Music<
...Living only 45 minutes away from “America’s #1 Waterpark” Schlitterbahn, It’s quite surprising that I have not been in 12 years. I like all of you guys am a Theme Park enthusiast, so Waterparks are generally up my alley. So I decided it was time to take a little trip to Schlitterbahn (really it was my late birthday trip) my family and few friends loaded up the car and we headed off to the Bahn (I will be using this name quite a lot) We got to the park about 1 hour after opening, much to my regret, I forgot that being a Club TPR member entitled me to the first ride of the day on MasterBlaster, If I would’ve remembered we would have been there a lot earlier. We drove past lot after lot full of cars, but somehow managed to find a spot right at the front gate to the Original Schlitterbahn section, we got to the front gate and much to my delight I found that all the ticket booths were open and there were no lines (this turned out to be the only time I was able to say that today) we quickly got our tickets and we’re greeted by a friendly employee who offered to put on our bands for us.
We then proceeded to enter the “Bahn” and spent the first 20 minutes trying to locate the lockers. One thing I found extremely aggravating today was the total lack of directional signs and maps. Not knowing we’re I’m going is something I’m not used too at parks, generally when visiting a new park for the first time I can study a map, and quickly get a layout in my head, but not here. We had to ask an employee to point towards the lockers, once we found them I asked the friendly lady behind the counter if my backpack would fit in it, she said yes, for sure. I paid and went on my way to find the locker, Much to my surprise the tiny lockers were not anywhere big enough to hold my regular size backpack. So I decided to return it to my vehicle (Thankfully we got that extremely close parking spot).
Once back inside we decided it was way past time to get on some rides, we are directed to the bottom of the hill to go pick up some tubes, and then we head on to get on our first ride of the day- “Der Bahn- Speed Slides” we left our tubes sitting at the entrance to the ride where everyone seem to have left there tubes while queuing for the slide. We had a short (compared to the rest of the day) wait, about 10 minutes. The slide was pretty cool, not as big as I remembered; mind you the last time I was here I was only 8. After exiting we saw an employee taking away our tubes, He was loading them all up on a barge, graciously he decided to give ours back when we asked.
We then continued on to the “Congo River Expedition” Schlitterbahns newest attraction/re-theme. The Queue time was a little over 30 minutes (when caught in the long queue try to find the nod to the American Coaster Enthusiasts Schlitterbahn has oh so cleverly hidden), the ride was pretty good, It was a good job on their part with the theming and animatronics. personally I would like to see a lot more rides themed/re-themed at parks, if done correctly it can give new life to a rather bland ride, and create a whole new experience. The finale to the ride was great. After the ride we made the long walk up to the front to try and find something to eat. As I’m walking down some stairs I get bumped into by a lifeguard, and my foot scraped along the edge of a cement stair, causing a pretty good cut to my heel that decides to start profusely bleeding. So after a trip to first aid, we got in line to eat. After waiting 20 minutes in line we finally got our food, I must say the food prices are pretty good at the Bahn. (2.99 for a souvenir cup? Really? WOW). You know I think it’s great in all how the Bahn let’s guest bring in coolers and food, but when people decide to claim entire picnic areas and tables for the whole day by leaving their junk there….it kinda becomes annoying.
After spending a few hours in the original section and only getting 2 rides in, we decided to try our luck over at Schlitterbahn East( If you don’t already know, Schlitterbahn it broken up into 2 different parks, about 2 miles apart). On our way to the front we happen to notice that the line for “The Hillside Tube Chute” has a line. Yes even their lines had lines, and this is a Monday! I don’t even want to know what a Saturday looks like. We quickly exited the park and took a short ride on one of their trams to the other park.
We decided to start off in “Surfenburg” with a few trips around the Crystal river (one of the better lazy rivers I’ve ever been on) after that we headed up the hill to find the Family Blaster water coaster, again Schlitterbahn’s lack of directional signage became an issue. A lifeguard quickly pointed us in the direction and we’re off. Once we got to the top of the hill we see a big castle with a sign over the entrance that say “Dragons Revenge”, at this point we’re confused because at the bottom of the hill was the Queue for Dragons Revenge and a sign that said entrance( come to find out it was the line for the tubes you need to wait in line for Dragons Revenge), but there is a long line stretching out of the castle we assumed was for DR, I asked someone what they were waiting for, they said the family blaster, okay so there was NOT a single sign that said anything about family Blaster anywhere in sight. This is something I’m not used to, seeing how over at SFFT we have directional signs EVERYWHERE!
After deciding we didn’t want to wait forever in that line, we headed over to “Blastenhoff” the other section at Schlitterbahn east, it’s a good 5 minute walk from “Surfenburg”. We got to spend a few hours over there, and probably the most fun that we had all day, riding Master Blaster (LONG line , torrent river , and just relaxing on the Beach. We then headed back over to Surfenburg to grab some dinner. This would be where I end up having the worst dining experience to date at theme/waterpark.
We choose to eat at “Hang 10” Pizza ,salads, and wraps. We place our order at 5:18pm( keep this in mind for in a minute) We immediately get our pizza, but are told that the wrap and salads will take 5 minutes. So we wait, and then finally at 5:30 they bring out the salads but still no wraps, at 5:38 I asked where the wraps were and I’m informed that the cashier had forgotten to tell the cook (yes there was only 1 cook) to make a wrap. So we wait some more, and finally at 5:54, a good 36 minutes after ordering, my mom finally gets her Grilled chicken Spinach wrap. But wait, it’s not a spinach wrap like she ordered, it’s a wheat wrap that is as hard as a rock and crumbling to pieces as she is trying to eat it. And what’s truly sad is there was no more than 5 people order after us, they we’re not swamped or extremely busy, which would make the situation more understandable. As a theme park employee myself I know how it feels to have guests griping at you, especially when it’s something that is not your fault, but when I can see employees really not even trying to do their best, I get very aggravated.
So after our mediocre dinner we headed back to the original section, and much to our delight find that the park is starting to empty out, we we’re able to get a few final rides in with pretty short queue times (10-15 minutes). One more thing I want to point out, the subject of cleanliness, Not once all day did I ever see and employee picking up trash, and trust me I was looking, I actually found myself picking up some trash (that’s what happens when you work at a park with cleanliness guidelines like SFFT) And there was plenty of it around. Actually a Styrofoam Sonic cup we noticed upon arrival this morning that was sitting right by the entrance to the park was still there when we left at 7:30pm.
All in all Schlitterbahn is a pretty cool park theming and rides wise, there is a great selection of unique and thrilling rides. But when it comes to things like line management and crowd control, food quality and employee attitudes, there is a lot left to be desired. I really don’t see how Schlitterbahn has remained the #1 waterpark in America; I personally much more enjoyed Water World in Denver. I may have been a little tuff on the bahn but my expectations we’re set extremely high with them being the best waterpark in America.
So now I am going to compare Schlitterbahn to my Favorite park-Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Water World Denver. (IMO)
I know it’s not really fair to compare a theme park to a waterpark, but With Schlitterbahn being the #1 waterpark, and SFFT being the #1 showpark, and Water World Denver being the largest water park in America. there should be a general expectation of quality and entertainment from parks with such hefty titles, plus it’s my Trip report anyway
1 being the lowest score, 5 being the highest.
Scored in the following order -Schlitterbahn - Six Flags Fiesta Texas - Water World Denver
Admission Prices v.s. entertainment value 4 - 5 - 4
Parking 5 - 3 - 4
Employee Friendliness 2 - 4 - 4
Waiting times 1 - 3 - 3
Food Quality 2 - 4 - 3
Food Prices 5 - 2 - 3
Cleanliness 2 - 5 - 4
Ease of navigation 1 - 4 - 3
Park Signage 2 - 5 - 4
Landscaping 2 - 4 - 5
Theming 5 - 5 - 4
Overall appearance 3 - 4 - 3
Overall Experience 2 - 4 - 3
On the More flags, More fun scale 2 - 6 - 4