There’s Something About Super Flumes

Twenty years is a very long time. Especially, in the world of theme parks. From new attractions and parks to new stories, settings and characters, there is a lot that has changed in the industry. New rides have come and gone, parks have been visited and re-visited, stories have told and retold, and guests have grown-up.

In 1998, when Daredevil Falls, the super flume water ride in Dollywood was installed, it was billed as the highest and fastest waterfall ride in America at 60-feet tall with speeds up to 96 km/h[1]. Today, two decades later, it continues to thrill park guests with it’s iconic freefall drop at Craftsman’s Valley, Dollywood. Quite literally standing the test of time, the water ride has witnessed the changing trends of the industry.

Created by Hopkins Rides[2], Daredevil Falls takes you through a journey in an abandoned logging camp, where you get into a log flume and begin your boat expedition by passing through a cave. As you exit the cave with bat wings flapping around you, there’s a bear which comes out of a tent to scare you away. You voyage your way up to the top of the ride in the recreation of the lumber mill with old disused machinery. Next, you make a free-falling plunge at a heart-racing 50 mph as you hurtle down from the top of the slope.

Amidst so many new-age immersive attractions, Daredevil Falls stands out for the classic water-ride experience allowing guests to sit in a log flume together and enjoy the journey through the old west narrative, Dollywood has created. The timeless pleasure of this ride experience continues to satisfy guests as it always has, unchanged and true to the classic water-ride journey. A guest favourite, the water-ride continues to entertain guests young and old, across generations, even today, twenty years since it was installed.

In the words of Barry Stiltner, Director of Rides Maintenance, Dollywood, “Besides the regular maintenance work to prevent wear and tear, we haven’t made any changes to the ride ever since it was installed. But if given a choice to upgrade the ride, I would like to increase the duration making it longer, add more boats and may be also add a splash element.

The Water Ride Advantage
An iconic super flume, Daredevil Falls exemplifies the need for water rides for parks and why every park must have one. Here’s how:

  • An icon of the rich heritage and past of theme parks, flume rides like Daredevil Falls offer the unique opportunity to preserve the classic log ride experience people continue to seek out.
  • While most of the other rides soak you down with water, water rides continue to be a guest favourite enabling just the right amount of splash with their clothes on.
  • The water ride component has been an industry staple for decades and log rides are some of the few rides for cross-generational family entertainment that appeal to the young and old, alike.
  • With immersive tech-driven attractions gaining popularity, log rides offer a break from the bizarre, entertaining guests with their simplicity and effortless ease.

Next time you visit a different park, look at the length of the queue line for the water ride, it speaks for itself that families ‘love’ sharing the simple pleasure these rides provide. Offering good throughput and capacity, the extra benefit is that these classics are a fraction of the cost of a roller coaster or dark ride and is certainly worth considering in your expansion plans, if you don’t already have one.

Reach out to us to find out more about how we can help you get the water ride advantage through an underutilized area of your park.


[2] Acquired by WhiteWater West (