Written by: Andrea Shockling Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 .
Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur is consistently ranked by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) as one of the best waterparks in the world for its extreme pools, slides, waves, and rides. The park is celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and what better way to mark the occasion than with the opening of Vuvuzela, the world’s largest water ride? After almost six months of construction delays, this attraction should finally be making a splash early next month.
Designed and built by WhiteWater West, the Canadian firm known for their innovative waterpark and theme park attractions, Vuvuzela towers 11 stories above a splashdown pool and features rapids, a zero-gravity water funnel and an LED display that will literally light up the night sky.
WhiteWater prides itself on being creative and fun while designing the newest, coolest attractions. Their “think-outside-the-pool” mentality has won them numerous IAAPA awards, including a Brass Ring in 2012. WhiteWater West is also no stranger to Sunway Lagoon; the design firm created the world’s largest surf waves for Sunway’s Surf Beach using hydraulic pumping systems to generate waves over nine feet tall. The attraction has proved incredibly popular in the 13 years since its completion, and remains the largest wave pool in the world.
Recently, Sunway Lagoon has added and improved upon a number of park features. Assistant general manager Adron Leow said the new and renovated attractions are part of the year-long birthday bash, and Vuvuzela is obviously the centerpiece. Visitors will ascend the ride in an elevator before tackling the rapids – and the 11 story plunge – in specially-designed rafts for four or six passengers. The river rapids continue for almost 500 feet of twists and turns before launching thrill-seeking guests into the water funnel “vortex”, where Leow promises “zero gravity” oscillations before the final descent into the Vuvuzela’s splash pool.
“This is what makes the Vuvuzela the world’s largest and most awesome water ride. Other rides just cannot compare,” he said.
Vuvezela’s opening date was originally scheduled for October 2012 but has been pushed back repeatedly due to construction challenges and weather delays. With extreme rides, safety is of the utmost importance for designers and parks alike, and a ride like this one featuring a “zero gravity” vortex goes through considerable planning and testing stages before it can open to the public. Still, it seems likely that Vuvuzela will be another popular success for WhiteWater at Sunway Lagoon. As the March opening date nears, promotional teaser videos like the one below also continue to build excitement and hopefully temper any concerns.
And if you’re wondering about the name “Vuvuzela”? The vuvuzela is a popular plastic horn used by spectators to cheer on their favorite soccer teams worldwide. It generates a long, loud tone when blown. In the case of the water ride, it’s a reference to the funnel shape of the water vortex, similar to that of the bell of the plastic horn.
It might also be similar to the sound the wind and water make in your ears as you shoot down hundreds of feet of rapids before careening into and around a 72 foot funnel and landing in a splash pool below. But you’ll have to go try it out in person at Sunway Lagoon to know for sure.
Image source: sunwaylagoon.com, whitewaterwest.com, youtube.com