One of the most famous water slides in the world is the Leap of Faith slide at the Atlantis Resort. Chances are you’ve seen this slide on some YouTube video, Travel Channel show, or the Amazing Race. This slide has been on my bucket list for quite some time. And I was able to tick that item off in Dubai.
I believe the Bahamas location is the more famous of the two considering it’s the original. While I haven’t been to that location, I was blown away by Dubai’s Aquaventure. After a decade plus reign, Blizzard Beach has finally been dethroned. This is the best water park I have ever visited.
For one, the park is gorgeous. I think the only water park that can compete is actually right down the road in Wild Wadi. If you aren’t looking at the iconic Tower of Neptune, chances are you are looking at flowers or palm trees. Everything about this park is picturesque.
Without hesitation, my first stop was Leap of Faith. There are definitely taller and steeper body slides out there, but very few have the presentation of Leap of Faith. The pyramid looks amazing and you drop into a shark tank. You travel a bit too fast to actually notice the sharks on-ride, but it still sounds cool.
The slide itself was quite the thrill. The initial descent had that terrifying moment when you feel yourself life off the slide. That’s the sensation I crave on speed slides. The slide was perfectly smooth, but I was surprised to be dumped into a pool. Usually these speed slides have a runoff trough. 9 out of 10
I was able to appreciate the sharks on Shark Attack though. This tube slide begins as your everyday tube slide. This one is in total darkness and has two solid drops, so it’s good on its own. But it’s the finale that deserves the most attention.
Water slides that pass through aquariums are quite the visual off-ride, but it often doesn’t translate to the on-ride experience. See Leap of Faith or Aquatica’s Dolphin Plunge. But it worked on Shark Attack. Why? They slow you down. The splashdown occurs just before you enter the shark tank, so it feels more like a lazy river at this point. It was much appreciated because the visuals were stunning. 8 out of 10
The rest of the Tower of Neptune is filled with water coasters. But these are no ordinary master blasters. No, these ones allow single tubes. I underestimated just how awesome that would be. Without fail, my tube would start spinning when blasted by the water jets.
The three water coasters on the Tower of Neptune were Stinger, Falls, and Plunge. The three slides were comparable. All three started with very steep plunges and were really short. While they’re among the weaker water coasters I’ve ridden, they still beat 90% of water slides out there. 7 out of 10
The water coaster that did not disappoint was Storm. However, I almost missed it due to its location. While all the other water coasters load on the Tower of Neptune, you board Storm at ground level. This in itself isn’t an issue. However, the queue is just asinine.
Even though the slide takes place on and around the Tower of Neptune, the queue starts on the complete opposite end of the park. You then need to walk back towards the tower through shin-deep water. I wasn’t expecting to get such a leg workout, but it was worth it for Storm.
I was ever so grateful for the conveyor belt lift since it let my feet rest. But once I crested the lift, the slide went berserk. Most water coasters are formulaic- drop, uphill, turn, drop, uphill, turn, etc. Storm has four straight drops immediately followed by uphill segments. It was a chaotic sequence where I was getting quick pops of air, spinning uncontrollably, and being blasted by torrents of water.
The ride seemingly ended on the Tower of Neptune in a lazy river. That seemed odd. But Storm is a two part slide! After a quick intermission, you float into the second slide. The second half is your average tube slide, but this was just gravy after that epic first half. 9 out of 10
All of the master blasters dump you off in lazy rivers. That in itself is neat. But Aquaventure has multiple different lazy rivers. You have your garden variety one or you can choose the two wilder ones in the River Rapids or Torrent.
If you could ride a single tube through a river rapids ride at a theme park, that’s exactly what you get with River Rapids. Torrent was a bit more interesting. Every 10-15 seconds, a massive wave would roll down the river and give you a turbo boost. It was like catching a wave while boogie boarding.
Across the park was the Tower of Poseidon. The best of the bunch was Poseidon’s Revenge. Having one awesome speed slide wasn’t enough, so Aquaventure built an AquaLoop.
This one wasn’t as tall as the one at the West Edmonton Mall, but the drop was just as thrilling. As with Leap of Faith, I felt myself come off the slide momentarily. That was followed by a speedy inclined loop. If only the one at Six Flags New England was like this and not that Splashtacular garbage. 9 out of 10
The other body slide was considerably less thrilling. Slitherine was odd. Most water slides are either fast or slow throughout. Sliterhine would go decently fast, but then I got stuck at 2-3 different points on the slide. For those who are claustrophobic, this would have probably been your nightmare. 4 out of 10
The tower also included two tube slides. The better of the two was Zoomerango. It was a jumbo halfpipe slide. As with most slides of this type, the big drop offered some nice airtime and the halfpipe gave a momentary feeling of weightlessness. 8 out of 10
Aquaconda was the more unique of the two. It wasn’t thrilling, but it was a visual spectacle. The slide dumps you off in this giant U-shaped bowl. Picture one of those bowls at a skate park. We didn’t slide too far up the wall, but I felt like Wayne Szalinski’s kids in there. 6 out of 10
Aquaventure excels in every area- slides, atmosphere, landscaping, customer service. The only thing that could be improved is Storm’s queue set-up. Aquaventure has raised the bar for water parks. If you’re a water park fan, Aquaventure needs to be a top priority on a visit to Dubai.