Whatever happened to the classic log flume? Time was you went to pretty much any theme park and they had a log flume ride where you floated round aimlessly in a log boat before going over the edge of one or more waterfalls and ending in a splash pool that got everyone soaked, which was most of the fun and uniqueness of riding. It seems that the traditional log flume is nearing the end of its life, with several parks in the UK alone either retiring or abandoning their classic log flumes this year. But like the mythical phoneix, there are some places where, out of the ashes of the old, the new will rise.
Say ‘Hola’, then, to Chiapas – Die Wasserbahn.
Chiapas debuted at Phantasialand in 2013 as a replacement for former log flume attractions Stonewash Creek and Wildwash Creek, which were removed due to age and safety reasons. It’s clear from the amount of marketing that is still going on for Chiapas that Phantasialand are immensely proud of this one: a modern log flume that still has all the features and signatures of its forebears while bringing these into the 21st century and incorporating new and exciting features that simply wouldn’t have even been dreamed about 20 or 30 years ago. Take the super-speedy lifts, for example, or the turntable, switch track and backwards section. And most imporantly, the 53-degree final drop with roller coaster hump that caps off this truly spectacular ride.
Chiapas deserves the adjective ‘spectacular’ because it really is something special. The themeing and the attention to detail around the ride is amazing. The way it intertwines with Colorado Adventure is a great tribute to its predecessors and helps to embed it in the Mexico themed area of the park. The music is simply awesome, consisting of a full cinematic score where each scene has its own rendition and the soundtrack follows you throughout the ride, barely leaving any time where you’re not hearing it. And yes, there are plenty of quirky features in Chiapas too – I have to take a moment here to give special mention to what I assume was intended to be a ‘Día de los Muertos’ inspired scene. In all reality this consisted of floating backwards through a cave with dancing skulls, disco lights, lasers and the most upbeat part of the music. Truly bizarre, completely unexpected, and yet just so perfect for the ride that it actually enhanced the experience for me.
It’s hard to pick flaws with Chiapas because it really is a great ride all the way through. I think the storyline possibly could do with a little more embellishment for those who walk straight through the queue and don’t have to stop and read every poster, though there’re still enough hints even with that for you to get a basic idea of what’s going on. I also think the restraints in the boats are a little strange and not wholly comfortable – although the boats are easier to get into than similar designs, having restraints that squash you if you lean on them isn’t really a nice feeling. But these are only tiny gripes, as the ride itself is just way too much fun to dislike. And if you’re not a fan of water rides then I can say that, by and large, we didn’t get all that wet on this one, just enough to enjoy the sensation.
Chiapas may not be a true ‘watercoaster’ as the title may have you believe, but it is without a doubt one of the most fun water rides I’ve ever been on and definitely one of the top rides at Phantasialand. The themeing and music will leave you entranced, and the thrills from the drops and direction changes will keep you excited and on your toes. There really is no excuse for missing out on this one.
See you around =] x x