Aquatica Orlando opens Tassie’s Underwater Twist in time for Spring Break
Tassie's Underwater Twist

Tassie’s Underwater Twist opens March 15.

Aquatica Orlando’s revamped waterslide has an unexpected twist.

Tassie’s Underwater Twist is a water raft ride with video projections and a soundtrack. That means that all around you as you glide by are sharks, fish and dolphins in an underwater scene set in Australia’s Shark Bay.

Water park President Brad Gilmore called it “the world’s most immersive waterslide” during a media preview.

“When you guys ride it,” Gilmore told journalists, “you’ll think of things like, ‘never before’ or ‘one-of-a-kind.’”

Employees get ride previews before the ride officially opens to the public Friday.

For Aquatica, it is good news this week as temperatures warm up and schools across the country are letting out for Spring Break. The ride — which can handle a capacity of an estimated 400 to 500 people per hour, Gilmore said — will be busy during the Summer now that Orlando’s weather is getting dangerously hotter.

Tassie’s is a family-friendly thrill ride, meaning all ages can ride it. But those shorter than 48 inches must wear a life jacket. It’s entertaining for both adults and children.

The enclosed waterslide starts out with a quick drop before you end up in a dome with the realistic projections all around. You slow down, for a moment, and admire the animals around you. It’s almost peaceful.

“It’s not just a bunch of lights and lasers and loud music. It’s an entire experience that we’ve created, and I think that’s what’s important,” Gilmore said in an interview.

Then it’s goodbye to the dolphins and fish. You’re off again on the raft, feeling like you’re circling down a bathtub drain and then shot into a lazy river where the roughly one-minute ride ends.

Aquatica Orlando is a property of the Orlando-based United Parks & Resorts, which had formerly been named SeaWorld Entertainment. The company operates Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando and other parks across the country.

The company is aggressively adding new attractions at its parks.

What’s next for Orlando: The Penguin Trek roller coaster opening sometime this Spring at SeaWorld Orlando. No official ride opening date has been set yet.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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