Crush ‘n’ Gusher Competition

This is Part II of our coverage of the Disney Water Park Wars.  Last month, we were on hand with a Facebook Live Event at Miss Adventure Falls. You can see our post here. Today we’re doing a Facebook Live Event from next door at Crush ‘n’ Gusher. You can see a replay of the Facebook Live Event here.

Summary:

Water Mania struggled to compete after Disney’s announced the construction of Typhoon Lagoon. Part of that problem was that the park was built inland away from US 192, and difficult for travelers to see from the road. It was important that they built some attractions that could be seen by tourists going to and from Disney. So after a few years of barely making it, Water Mania pulled off a very clever feat. It introduced the Wipe Out, which was based on technology created by the Schlitterbahn park/organization in Texas. This was essentially enough motors that could throw a sheet of water so intense that you could surf or body board in place. And it as thrilling as any roller coaster Disney could put up.

Why Disney’s water park operations didn’t embrace this technology first remains to be seen. Perhaps they were more focused on building another park than adding water park rides at that time. But that said and done, Water Mania not only got the technology first, but it included a 10-year license keeping any other parks in the Central Florida area from being able to use it. It would be at least another 10 years before Typhoon Lagoon would build the Crush ‘n’ Gusher ride, a water roller coaster that would utilize the same “master blaster” technology that made the Wipe Out succeed. This would help Disney not just compete with a small water park like Water Mania, but a much bigger fish in the form of Aquatica, which opened a few years later as part of the SeaWorld corporation.

Water Mania

Here are photos of the trigger that started this round of Disney Water Park Wars: Wipe Out at Water Mania:

Disney Water Park Revenge
View from the air of Water Mania.
Disney Water Park Wars
View of Wipe Out, designed to lead riders out into the lazy river.

Subtract the lazy river component, and you’ll find the same technology on board the newer Royal Caribbean ships.

Crush ‘n’ Gusher

In time, Water Mania would go away, and Disney would take away the rights to the technology as much as they could. They introduced the technology into a new attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in the form of a roller coaster water slide. Here are some images from Crush ‘n’ Gusher:

Disney Water Park Wars
A queue sign spells “Tropic Calamity”. Photo by J. Jeff Kober
Disney Water Park Wars
A web of roller coaster slides. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney Water Park Wars
Splash down for all three slides. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney Water Park Wars
A much needed quiet pool accompanies the attraction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Introducing AquaDuck

But Disney didn’t stop with adding Crush ‘n’ Gusher. They also took that same technology and applied it to the AquaDuck on board the Disney Dream and Fantasy. Here are some images of this attraction:

Donald is the mascot for this attraction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney Water Park Wars
The big curve coming out of the gate on the AquaDuck. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney Water Park Wars
The AquaDuck frames both sides of the pool area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

By the time Disney had incorporated the water slides onto the cruise ships, Water Mania was fading away. But at the time Water Mania started building Wipe Out, Disney responded with further competition. Stay tuned next month where we take our next chapter to Blizzard Beach, and then on a few weeks later when Volcano Bay opens at Universal Studios.

Souvenirs

Disney water park competition can teach us a lot about how we view our competitors. And those can be souvenirs you can take back to your own business. Consider the following:

  1. Do you have competition? How do they compare to you?
  2. What do they do better than you do? What you do better than them?
  3. How do you keep competition at bay or from keeping up with you?
  4. How do you use technology to stay ahead of the competition?

We’ll have more about Disney water park wars in the weeks to come, so be sure to be sure to “Like” our Facebook page. Also, sign up to follow Disney at Work on Twitter. And look for an upcoming Facebook Live Event when we broadcast from Blizzard Beach.

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