Orlando’s Wet ‘n Wild Closes This Week For Good
After 40 years of laughter and splashes one of Orlando’s most popular water parks is coming to a close this week.
Wet ‘n Wild opened in 1977 and is now owned by Universal Studios Water Parks. The attraction will close on December 31st to make room for a new water park called Volcano Bay, which is set to open next summer.
Merry Christmas Eve! You have ONE WEEK before we close our doors forever!
Actually, they’re gates, but you get the idea.
— Wet ‘N Wild Orlando (@WetNWildOrl) December 24, 2016
George Millay developed Wet ‘n Wild and also founded SeaWorld in San Diego.
Though Walt Disney World had already opened a water park in Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild became the standard for the water park industry.
There are over 744 outdoor water parks in the United States today with three or more slides, according to Hotel and Leisure Advisors. Four of the world’s most-visited water parks are in Orlando, which includes Wet ‘n Wild.
Former Disney executive Duncan Dickson told the Orlando Sentinel that Millay’s combination of waves and water slides prompted competitors to become more creative.
“When we opened River Country, we thought it was fantastic because we had three slides and a big swimming pool,” Dickson said to the Orlando Sentinel. “Then along comes George Millay with Wet ’n Wild and we kind of go, ‘Oh, wait a minute.’ He really took the River Country concept and really stepped it up and went a lot further.”
Throughout the years the park has opened slides with sound effects and lighting and rides that accommodate more than one passenger at a time.
Oh, and on December 31st, we have a special surprise in store for everyone. 💥💥💥💥 #TheLastSplash
— Wet ‘N Wild Orlando (@WetNWildOrl) December 20, 2016
Universal bought the park in 1998 and added more attractions that took riders through tunnels with music and lights and offered features such as cabanas, family dining plans and a child-friendly area with a 60-foot sand castles, slides, soakers and jets.
Industry estimates reported that Wet ‘n Wild attracted 1.3 million visitors in 2015, per Florida Today.
About 250 Wet ‘n Wild employees are expected to transfer to other parts of Universal.