Detailed WCUSA History from 1984 to 2013

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May 14, 2011
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Alright so with the rumors of a new ride coming in 2014 (and the confirmation that it actually is coming) I looked up a good bit of info about the rides and the history of the park. Gavin and his seemingly limitless fountain of knowledge also provided some other facts about the park pre-dating the days of Anheuser Busch, InBev, and Blackstone. This doesn't cover absolutely everything since there isn't much information about the park predating 1993, especially concerning the opening years of quite a few water slides.

Water Country USA opened in 1984 on about 700 acres of property. Yeah that sounds like a lot, and it is. As of today the park's property currently stands at 222 acres, much smaller than what it once was. The reason why it shrunk so much in size simply was because Anheuser Busch sold chunks of the property (and still are) between their purchase of the property in 1990 to today. The shopping center right next door was once apart of the property, along with the presidential heads attraction and the Days Inn hotel across the highway.

When Water Country opened in 1984 it wasn't all that large, especially considering the property the owners had. The only confirmed ride to have existed between 1984 and 1990 is Jet Screamer, which once was actually a body slide complex but was later changed to a single-rider tube slide complex at some unknown date. This is pretty much all of the information about WCusa I could find predating 1990, and I do not know if any other slides were built between 1984 and 1994 (that year will be explained soon).

Anheuser Busch purchased Water Country USA in 1990 for $8 million USD, and started expanding rapidly between 1993 and 2000 to bring WCusa's name to the forefront of one of the best water parks in the country. In an article from the New York Times in 1994, the journalist mentions that the water park is 40 acres large and that Malibu Pipeline recently opened. Other interesting facts are that tubes can be rented for a fee ($5 single, $8 double), food cost $5 and it was 'standard fast-food fare,' single day admission cost less than $20, and a 3-day pass for WCusa and BGW was $42.95.

Other rides and attractions that were around in 1994 that were mentioned in the article were the park's famous high dive show, the wavepool, Adventure Island with Peppermint Twist, Lemon Drop, and its Lazy River, Rampage, Runaway Rapids, and a slide similar to Malibu Pipelines called 'Amazon.' I do not exactly know which slide was previously called Amazon but I have reason to believe it's Wild Thang since both it and Malibu Pipeline are two-person tube slides. The other slide named Runaway Rapids likely is the now defunct Atomic Breakers (which is still my favorite slide) based on the writer's description detailing a slide "where visitors alternatively float and then cascade down a waterway."

Malibu Pipeline was built in 1993, and is currently the first known slide built during WCusa's "AB-era." After Malibu Pipeline came a slew of attractions that I'll list by the year they were added:
-Big Daddy Falls in 1995
-Aquazoid in 1997
-Nitro Racer in 1998
-Meltdown in 2000
-Hubba Hubba Highway in 2003

Volleyball courts also existed in front of Jet Scream (now the lockers) and where Hubba Hubba Highway resides now.

Nothing much changed between 2003 and 2007, and in 2007 and 2008 some aesthetic changes happened in the park. Atomic Breakers was closed in 2007, while Adventure Island went through an overhaul into Rock n' Roll Island. Peppermint Twist and Lemon Drop were removed in 2007 and replaced with Jammin' Jukebox and Little Bopper, respectively. Little Bopper was previously across from Lemon Drop and known as Little Twister but got moved into Lemon Drop's spot, and Jammin Jukebox uses the same tower as Peppermint Twist.

The only attractions that currently do not have confirmed opening dates are Jet Screamer, Atomic Breakers, Rampage, Adventure Island, the Wave Pool, and Wild Thang. All of these attractions basically fall into the rift between 1984 and 1994, where only Jet Screamer is confirmed to have operated before the year 1990. If anyone else can confirm the opening dates for these attractions please post them with any source of information that can confirm it or a closer range of an opening year or specific date.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

So, once again I am reaching back into the dark recesses of my childhood memory, and I can't swear that this story is real.

Anyway, I have a vague recollection of an advertisement for an attraction at a water park, which I thought was Water Country. It showed people hanging from some kind of zip line and then dropping into the water. It would have been mid-80s.
 
May 14, 2011
4,050
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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

Zach gave me a new article that details more slides and a closer scope of their opening dates. The article can be found here and gives me the ability to list and detail all the slides in the park by year and their past names.

1984:
-Water Country USA opens
-Property occupies more than 700 acres of land and was the first stage of a resort area similar to Kingsmill called "Whittaker's Resort"

pre-1990:
Jet Scream
-Previously known as 'The Jet Stream'
-Operated without tubes as early as 1989, was converted to tubes at some point.

Rampage
-Previously known as 'Double Rampage'

Rambling River
-Still operating in Rock n' Roll Island

Wave Pool

Sonic Whip
-"a narrow tube where you rocket down a quick 180-degree turn before shooting out into daylight"
-Closed and removed

Atomic Breakers
-Previously known as 'Runaway Rapids'
-Closed and removed in 2007
-Remnants still visible today

Amazon
-Similar description to Wild Thang
-"a long slope on an inner-tube down a winding chute with tunnels and a waterfall."
-Dual-rider tubes
-Opened in 1989

1990:
-Water Country USA purchased by Busch Entertainment Corporation for $8 million USD
-Grouped with Busch Gardens as a package park

1993:
Malibu Pipeline opens

1995:
Big Daddy Falls opens

1997:
Aquazoid opens

1998:
Nitro Racer opens

2000:
Meltdown opens

2003:
Hubba Hubba Highway opens

2007-2008:
Adventure Island retrofitted and updated over offseason into Rock n' Roll Island
-Peppermint Twist and Lemon Drop removed
-'Little Twister' moved to Lemon Drop's footprint and renamed 'Little Bopper'
-'Jammin Jukebox' replaces Peppermint Twist using the same tower and featuring three different slides

2011:
Vanish Point opens

Unknown opening dates:
-Lemon Drop
-Peppermint Twist
 
May 14, 2011
4,050
5,450
113
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

Ticket prices and hours by year:

1989
General: $14.95
Evening: $8.95
Under 3: Free

Hours:
June 17 - Aug 10: 10am - 8pm
Aug 21 - Sept 4: 10am - 7pm
Sept 9 and Sept 10: 10am - 6pm

1994
General: $18.95
Children (3-6): $15.95
3-day group pass: $42.95

Hours:
before Aug 22: 10am - 8pm
Aug 23 - Sept 11: 10am - 7pm
 
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Jul 15, 2011
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Salisbury, MD
RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

If only there were a year-by-year record of the park, perhaps with individual pages for each hamlet, ride, and event....

I know!!!

a WIKI!!! that's the answer!!!
 
May 3, 2011
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Richmond, Va
RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

Well we still have it... it's just needs to be updated and such then brought back online. And from my understanding, it's harder than it sounds.
 
Aug 25, 2012
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RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

If anyone has that "Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware" book, WCUSA is in there. It has some interesting information, and confirmation of previously mentioned info. I have it, but I am unable to get it this week. If you can wait until next week I'll put some stuff up, but if someone else has it and wants to do it, be my guest. :)
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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RE: Detailed History from 1984 to 2013

I'm posting these here for lack of a better place.

 

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MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
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Richmond
Those slides in the top picture were flat out awesome! They dumped you into a 10 foot deep pool. The one on the far left was the most fun. You could grab the above the tube, swing from it, and launch yourself into it! There was just enough up angle at the end to shoot you up and out of the tube. With a good launch, you fly for 15 feet or so in the air before hitting the water.
Run away Rapids is in the bottom picture. I got most of my injuries from that ride. The walls of the pools were fairly rough concrete, so coming out of your tube while sliding down the ramps meant you were going to end up with road rash somewhere. It was usually my elbows and knees. I would ride it all day anyway!
 
Sep 20, 2013
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Virginia
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The last few years of Atomic Breakers they would only allow one person per pool and there was a lifeguard in every pool. I heard they took it out due to the cleanliness of trough as animals and leaves loved getting in the water and there was at least one semi-serious injury everyday.
 
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