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Dew the Waves

Three new caffeinated summer attractions

Wild Waves near Federal Way has expanded the fun this summer. Photo credit: Christian Carvajal

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The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for any theme park. That's especially true if the holiday's unseasonably hot or lands on a Saturday. Imagine the mayhem if a park boasts, not only roller coasters and thrill rides, but also a full-size water park. That was the perfect storm weathered by Wild Waves over the weekend. Adding to the excitement was the fact that Wild Waves only recently debuted its new, $3.5-million complex of three Mountain Dew waterslides, manufactured by the Vancouver, WA firm ProSlide. These slides are tinted (in descending order of length) Green, Orange and Yellow. World-famous amusement parks have descended into madness and savagery under far less daunting conditions; yet Wild Waves was orderly, with manageable lines of less than an hour for even the busiest of attractions. Consider that achievement in light of a peak attendance of up to 10,000 visitors of diverse ages, backgrounds and energy levels.

On the dry side, the Timberhawk Ride of Prey is a thoroughly enjoyable woody (wooden roller coaster) that blasts riders at freeway speed through 2600 feet of swooping, dipping track. The Wild Thing's a 1565-foot long steel coaster with three full inversions after a 64-foot initial drop. Landlubbers are treated to an antique carrousel, sprawling "Kiddie Land," bumper cars, a scenic "Enchanted Railway," and a log ride called "Lumberjack Falls."

Summer visitors tend to congregate on the waterpark side. The orange Mountain Dew slide is enclosed and warm, with a series of enjoyable dips and turns over 498 feet. Green's 12 feet longer, with a gentler course befitting an open structure. At 430 tightly coiled feet, Yellow's tight enclosed spiral culminates in a surprise splashdown. According to park manager Todd Suchan, each of these slides can handle up to 120 guests an hour. Then there are four Konga Slides, swirling Riptide, a relaxing Lazy River, a half-million-gallon wave pool, and Zooma Falls, a slide that launches up to four riders per raft through curtains of water.

According to Suchan, the greatest challenge in constructing Wild Waves' Mountain Dew complex was "the topography of the ground," specifically "building three large slides in a small area along a hillside." Indeed, these slides coil around each other to slot into one of the most crowded areas of the park, thereby taking advantage of its rise in elevation from Celebration Square to Pirate's Cove. I asked Suchan if more construction was expected for 2016. "We always look to add more for our guests to enjoy," he replied. "Potentially, we are looking at a Phase Two option to build onto the new slide tower, and the possibility of a new thrill ride."

A variety of sweet and savory food options are available throughout the park, but always wait 30 full minutes before hitting the water. This public service announcement has been brought to you by moms.

MOUNTAIN DEW SLIDES, 10-7 Sun.-Thurs., 10-8 Fri.-Sat., Wild Waves, 36201 Enchanted Pkwy. S., Federal Way, free-$39.99, 253.691.8000

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