Back in February we published a story outlining the early signs indicating to us that something notable was in development for the current site of Water Country USA’s Aqua Skoot, Rampage. In the months since, Water Country USA has reopened for the first time since 2019 and both Rampage, and its neighboring tube slide, Wild Thang, have been sitting, seemingly abandoned, behind tall wooden walls.
These attractions have also both recently been removed from Water Country’s website and park maps. As of opening weekend, both had been eliminated from directional signs and in-park informational materials as well. Needless to say, all of these things taken together paint a pretty grim prognosis for this pair of classic Water Country USA attractions.
That brings us to last week when longtime ParkFans member and friend of BGWFans, Adam, caught wind of movement on a project at Water Country USA—a project cryptically dubbed “Project Gemini.”
♊ Project Gemini
Yesterday BGWFans obtained the “Project Gemini” site plans which, as we originally predicted back in February, depict a new attraction slated to replace Rampage.
Lets start with the demolition plan. The shaded areas of the document below show the areas of the existing site that are marked for removal. Essentially everything is going to go—the slides, the toboggan lift, the tower, the pool, and even the existing queue. The only traces of Rampage expected to survive are the attraction’s pump house and an electrical transformer.
So, what is Water Country USA planning on building? Well, that’s where the “Project Gemini” documents we have get pretty vague.
As some of you may remember from our previous articles dealing with documents like this, we often rely on the layout and materials site plans to “solve” the yet-to-be-announced attraction in question. Below you can see the “Project Gemini” layout and materials plan.
Totally lost? That’s reasonable.
This article was on track to be published yesterday until I actually got eyes on this site plan. Compared to Vanish Point’s, Cutback’s, Pantheon’s, “Drachen Spire’s,” and so many other SEAS site plans I’ve published on previously, this has to be the vaguest yet. I spent all of yesterday evening trying to figure out how to identify the slide model for which these plans have been drawn up and, frankly, I still have no clue.
That’s not to say we don’t know a fair amount about the attraction in question though. Lets add some color and annotations to the parts of the attraction we can identify with a fairly high degree of certainty.
Still lost? Lets break down this down a bit.
The Pink Dots throughout the ride area are all foundations or, to use more attraction-specific language, footers. They vary by thickness fairly notably, which gives us some interesting layout context clues. The larger footers are likely for larger/taller slide support towers. There’s a good chance the smaller foundations are for shorter spans, for portions of the structure that will be closer to the ground, and/or for areas where a truss structure will be used (most notably around the “Overhead Structure.”)
The Brown Areas (Slide Tower and Staircase) are jointly labeled as an “Overhead Structure” in the site plan. Given the formation of small foundations under the “Overhead Structure” (suggesting a truss structure) and the way the “Overhead Structure” attaches to what is pretty clearly the attraction’s queue, we’re feeling pretty confident in our belief that we’re looking at a slide tower and staircase here.
Most of the other elements in the plan are pretty self-explanatory. The “Overhead Structure” overhangs northernmost side of the Splash Pool.
There’s a large pathway that leads from the splash pool out towards the existing pathway near Wild Thang. This is almost certainly the slide’s Exit pathway.
To the right of the exit, there’s a large concrete pathway with railings that pretty squarely betray it as the attraction’s Queue.
Between the exit and queue areas, there’s a narrow pathway that leads from the entry plaza area straight to the “Overhead Structure” that we believe to be a staircase up to the slide tower. Given these assumptions, that path is almost certainly the ride’s QuickQueue entrance.
Lastly, there’s a fairly large proposed building to the right of “Project Gemini’s” queue area—that’s the slide’s Pump House.
Beyond just the contents of the site plan, it’s important to have a sense for the scale of the elements depicted as well. Below is an interactive display of the planned before and after for the Gemini site. Slide the middle bar back and forth to see how the planned additions are laid out in comparison to the current Rampage ride area.
Note: If you can’t see the interactive graphic below, try disabling AdBlock.
The way all of these elements fit together hints at more detailed information about this proposed attraction, too. For instance, the shape of the pool suggests that the slide(s) will enter from the north end of the pool and send riders across the water heading south towards what we believe to be the exit pathway for the attraction. This likely rules out any full-circuit water coaster models.
The shape and location of the splash pool suggests another important data point as well: There doesn’t seem to be an obvious place for a tube lift from the splash pool back up to the tower. If you take a look at the ending pools for Colossal Curl, Cutback, or Big Daddy Falls (depicted below), you can see that they all have pools shaped in such a way as to accommodate their tube lifts.
The fairly simple, largely rectangular, splash pool for “Project Gemini” looks far more akin the ending pools of Malibu Pipeline or Jet Scream (pictured below)—neither of which have a tube return.
If this analysis is correct and “Project Gemini” does not have a tube return, it almost certainly rules out any large, family-sized raft rides. Ruling out those slide models still leaves us with a lot of possibilities though—body slides, tube slides, mat slides, etc. Lets go a little deeper.
“Project Gemini’s” splash pool is about 25 feet wide. That is substantially wider than even Colossal Curl’s splash down area (which is about 16 feet wide). Gemini’s 25 foot splashdown width is far closer to the pool width over at Malibu Pipeline (about 30 feet). This could suggest that “Project Gemini”may actually be a pair of slides—starting on the same tower and ending in the same splash pool à la Malibu Pipeline.
If that were true, wouldn’t we expect that Gemini’s pool should be at least as wide as Malibu’s though? Why is it a little narrower? What if Gemini’s “splash pool” is actually something a little different than we’re used to…?
Our Current Best Guess
After many, many hours pouring over these site plans and examining the footer patterns, slide towers, layouts, and ending pools of countless recent water slide projects around the world, I’ve only come to one really solid conclusion about “Project Gemini”: I’m not sure what Water Country USA is building.
That said, I have figured out a solution to the plans above. I don’t believe this is anywhere near the only option and I wouldn’t bet that this is what Water Country USA is building. That said, offering a solution to the puzzle is better than sending everyone home empty handed.
The splash pool depicted in the “Project Gemini” site plans appears to be incredibly similar in shape and size to the bisected splash pool troughs featured at the bottom of Aquatica Orlando’s newest waterslide complex, Riptide Race—a ProSlide Dueling PIPEline attraction that opened earlier this year. Pay attention to the first few seconds of this excellent Riptide Race video from AmusementInsider:
The shape of the splash pool looks like basically a perfect match to the splash pool in the “Project Gemini” plans. Pair that with the similar widths of the pools and there could be something here…
Something like a ProSlide Dueling PipeLINE would also explain the apparent lack of a tube lift. These slides use the same two person tubes that are currently used on Malibu Pipeline—meaning riders carry their tubes up the tower.
Further contributing some merit to this theory is that Riptide Race’s structure relies on a really small number of foundations (something that is also striking about the Gemini plan). You can see what I mean in the fantastic aerial photo of Riptide Race from @bioreconstruct embedded below.
Another juicy possibility: The codename for this project, Gemini, is the zodiac symbol for the twins. Could that be a hint towards a dueling slide of some sort? We don’t normally put much weight on an attractions’ codename, but this one was too obvious not to highlight.
Anyway, we’re certainly not saying “Project Gemini”is a ProSlide Dueling PipeLINE. It’s just a theory—a theory that checks out so far—but a theory we expect to make huge adjustments to as we learn more about the attraction.
So that begs the question: When will we know more?
We’re pretty confident that Rampage’s replacement has been in the works for a while now. Back before COVID hit, Aquazoid Supercharged/Amped was supposed to open in 2020 and, given SEAS’ recent one-new-attraction-every-year strategy, it’s likely that Rampage’s replacement was originally slated to open in 2021.
COVID delayed Aquazoid Amped by a year. From what I’ve been told by people familiar with the matter, the original intention was to open Aquazoid Amped in 2021 just like Aquatica debuted Riptide Race this season. Unfortunately, if the rumors are to be believed, unforeseen circumstances on the Aquazoid Amped site have led to delaying the debut of Aquazoid’s big overhaul again—this time to 2022.
So the real golden question here is whether or not SeaWorld would open Aquazoid Amped AND “Project Gemini” in the same season or if Water Country USA will opt to delay replacing Rampage all the way until 2023. Hopefully public records or site work will give us the answer soon.
What About Wild Thang?!
If, like many members ParkFans, you didn’t want to see Rampage’s demise be the death of Wild Thang as well, “Project Gemini” is likely very welcome news. No part of this plan impacts the Wild Thang site. Better yet, a big new attraction next door could breathe a lot of new life into this corner of Water Country USA—possibly further incentivizing the eventual reopening of Wild Thang.
So, is Wild Thang saved? Who knows. That will be up to the park. “Project Gemini” won’t necessitate its removal though—which is a real glimmer of hope for fans of this classic Water Country USA attraction like myself.