A Fantastic indoor water park ride
- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3
(Prolonged darkness, some raft spinning, moderate drops)
- Type: Family raft ride in an enclosed tube
A family raft water ride that sends passengers spinning in a darkened, enclosed tube is a relatively common water park attraction--make that a common outdoor water park attraction. But this is no common ride, and the Wilderness is no common water park. Fantastic Voyage is an indoor mega-thrill ride, and the Wilderness is one of Wisconsin Dells--and the world's--largest indoor water parks.
It's astonishing to consider the sheer magnitude of the attraction. An enormous Fantastic Voyage banner hangs at one end of the Wild West water park (one of the Wilderness' three indoor parks). Behind the banner, a lift contraption carries the circular rafts about six stories straight up to the loading station in the cavernous building's rafters. Instead of hitching a ride on the lift, guests need to climb a bunch of stairs up to the loading area.
Depending on their weight, as few as two and as many as five passengers can pile into the yellow rafts. After the ride operators get an all-clear signal from below, they give the rafts a gentle nudge...and they're off.
Is it really indoors?
It's a bit of a misnomer to call this an indoor water park ride. True, it starts and ends indoors, but most of the enclosed tube is actually outside the building. Even when it's snowing and the air temperature dips below zero, the water temperature and the warm air from the building help keep the ride comfortable.
Not that you would know it's snowing. The enclosed tube blocks out all light. Soon after leaving the station, it's a "dark" ride in the literal sense of the word. Twisting and dropping, sometimes precariously, in complete darkness adds to the thrill quotient. The ride is fast and very disorienting. Anyone who is claustrophobic or especially scared of the dark may want to steer clear of Fantastic Voyage. The rest of you will have a ball.
The 500-foot long tube provides about a 30-second experience. It's shorter than some similar raft rides at outdoor water parks, such as the 102-foot-tall ZOOMbabwe at Holiday World's Splashin' Safari in Indiana. But it's long enough to pour on the thrills.
Towards the end of the ride, passengers see a hint of light entering the tube from the indoor park. Rounding a final curve, they crash through a curtain of water and speed into the splashdown pool to disembark the rafts. Once they get their sea legs back, many of them head right back up the stairs for another Fantastic go-around.