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Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, Texas - July 2011

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Schlitterbahn - Part 2
Reviewd By: Lance Hart
 

 

    A quick bus ride will drop you off at Schlitterbahn East, where the cool swift waters of Surfenburg and the tower of Blastenhoff await you. Each of these two parks is smaller than the original Schlitterbahn, but they also each feature their own very unique attractions. Right as you enter Surfenburg, you will come across the huge Boogie Bahn, the world’s first stationary surf wave, complete with stadium seating for an audience to gather to watch your gnarly exploits followed by your killer wipeout as you exit the wave. The Boogie Bahn also has a great “side effect” which the park turned into an attraction. All the water rushing up the wave surface and out the back end has to go somewhere, so they’ve channeled it all into another fun walk-up attraction called the Blacksplash where you get flushed down a raging river and deposited into the park’s swift moving Kristal River.  Surrounded by tubes and funny looking large floating alligators with various riders latched on tight, you will pass around Schlitterbahn’s largest kiddie attraction area, as well as the entrance to the areas one big unique slide… Dragon’s Revenge.
    Taking on Dragon’s Revenge you will get your first taste of a Schlitterbahn original, the unique Blaster technology enhanced slides, making it possible to go uphill on a waterslide. In fact, Dragon’s Revenge, loosely themed as a very leaky medieval castle with a serious Dragon problem, starts out at ground level. Your double-person tube takes a small dip to gain speed and then enters the first of many ‘Blaster’ uphill sections, where you are shot to the top of the hill by a high speed stream of water directed at the bottom of the tube… and your own bottom. You’ll go up a hill, turn and dip a bit, up another hill, turn, up yet another hill, and another, and another. Along the way you pass by little bits of castle themeing, a fun rotating tunnel illusion effect and in the final tunnel you find yourself heading right into the angry face of a fire-breathing dragon thanks to a mist-screen projection effect, before taking a final huge plunge back down and out of the castle. I was joking afterwards that with each uphill blaster of water, I found my own swim trunks being pulled lower and lower, allowing the Blaster water and shoot down the back of my trunks. By the time it was over I was thrilled, laughing hysterically and I felt very clean. HA!

    Across the way you can’t ignore the massive Blastenhoff tower that beckons you to take on it’s trio of challenges, as well as it’s own huge Skycoaster, two more kiddie attraction areas (Kinderhaven and Han’s Hideout) and surrounded by the very fun and relaxing Torrent river. I’ll talk about the Torrent River first… because imagine it as if someone built a lazy river that went around this entire section of the park. Then imagine that this lazy river would pass sideways through a large wave pool style beach area at the front of the park. Then imagine some crazy mad scientist with a addition to surfing decided to inject an endless torrent stream of water into the lazy river, creating both a very swift current and large waves that pass through the river channel, pushing your around and back to the front very quickly, where you can do it again and again. That’s the Torrent River, a fun experience for those with a tube and for those without, as you are sent through an endless series of laps around Blastenhoff. Pure bliss.

    Now to address the massive Blastenhoff tower, adored with castle spirals at the top, which is home to Blastenhoff’s three big attractions: Wolfpack (Family Tube Slide), The Black Knight (a pair of side by side dark tube slides) and the slide who’s reputation has become synonymous with Schlitterbahn… the Master Blaster. The Master Blaster is the big one… part roller coaster, part waterslide… a towering slide creation that features huge drops, twists, dark tunnel turns, and uphill Blaster sections.

    Unfortunately the Master Blaster is also the single most popular attraction in all of Schlitterbahn, featuring a line length of 60-90 minutes all day long. All of the Blastenhoff tower attractions are so popular that resort guests are actually granted access into Blastenhoff one hour early, giving you your one and only chance to get in line for the Master Blaster before the huge crowds descend upon it. But you REALLY need to be there early to make this work… as I attempted my own early entry, arriving in the lot just 5 minutes late only to already see a huge crowd forming at the top of the Blastenhoff tower. Another 10 minutes later we climbed the stairs to the Master Blaster, which was already teeming with people and a 45 minute wait. As I spied the long line of non-resort guests lining up outside the park waiting for their own chance to get into the park I had to wonder if Blastenhoff could be loosely translated into “Tower of Frustration”. It’s the one ride everyone wants and the only way your going to get it is to wait… and wait… but when you splashdown at the bottom, you’ve got to agree that it was worth the wait as it is incredible. (Now if only they could build two more Master Blasters to launch off the same tower to help bleed off the crowds, since the Master Blaster has been open since 1996 and is just as popular today as it was 15 years ago!)

    As of this writing, Schlitterbahn East was also in the middle of a huge expansion called Tubenbach that will feature The Falls, the world’s longer river tubing adventure attraction, 3,600 feet in length. The Falls, while longer that the Raging River Tube Chute, will only take 30 minutes to make a lap due to the more speedy flow of water involved here. Unlike the other tube chutes, The Falls is an endless experience, as when you get the bottom, you will be lifted to the top again, in your tube, by what Schlitterbahn calls an AquaVeyer. The Falls will run all the way from the far back section of Blastenhoff all the way over to the front of Surfenburg, and then back again. The entire run is built into the hillside looking over the Comal River once again, and lined along the way with new TreeHaus structures, serving as highly themed special resort rooms that look like an awesome place to stay in the middle of the action at Schlitterbahn East.

    Speaking of staying at Schlitterbahn, we stayed in a room at the Original Schlitterbahn side, where the back of the room overlooked the big finale plunge from the Cliffhanger Tube Chute. In addition to being able to stay right in the heart of the action at Schlitterbahn, you also get a few bonus perks that may be of interest. I already mentioned that resort guests are given early access into Blastenhoff one hour ahead of the public, which is a great way to jump start your day. Resort guests (at least on our side) were also given access after park close to the Biergarten Hot Tub pool area, which featured a swim-up bar in the warm pool as well as access to the arcade and pizza restaurant (which also had ice cream) until Midnight. It’s also worth mentioning that the pizza prices do get reduced for resort guests after the park closes, which is also a great perk, and the fresh baked pizza and mozzarella sticks we ate were very tasty. This reminds me… the food in general at Schlitterbahn was actually quite good all around. While the hamburger a friend had was reported to be just “ok”, I ended up trying a ginormous hot dog that was fantastic, as well as biting into some excellent roasted corn cobs sprinkled with some garlic salt. Schlitterbahn also had a great option to purchase a souvenir drink bottle with unlimited free refills for the day was quite handy.

    Wrapping up this review of Schlitterbahn, I also have to say that this waterpark resort is really like no other. You won’t find the same carbon-copy waterslides and attractions that you’ve seen at countless other waterparks here. Schlitterbahn also has got to have one of the biggest staffs on hand that I’ve ever seen for a waterpark, which once again only served to reinforce the Disney comparison. On every attraction, and everywhere you look in general, lifeguards are plentiful.

    It was also refreshing to note that there are very few size restrictions on the attractions at Schlitterbahn, especially in the Original side where free lifejackets and special kiddie-tubes (with bottoms) are in ample supply and you can take your little ones with you on those epic tube chutes across the park, which is a wonderful change of pace, as far too often at “other waterparks”, groups are forced to separate to experience the attractions due to size restrictions.

    So do yourself a favor… do your entire family a favor, and get everyone down to Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, stay a night or two and take in everything this ultimate waterpark has to offer. Not only will you not regret it, you’ll start planning your next trip back as soon as you leave.  We are!!!

Missed the beginning? Go Read: Schlitterbahn Pt 1

 

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