peoplesí surprise, it is not Dragon Khan that is the most popular
attraction at PortAventura, but Tutuki Splash. This view though is
rather blinkered though, as on reflection not only does Tutuki Splash
suit a vaster range of people, but also Spanish summers can top 35
degrees, so an instant cool-down is something worth queuing for, and
that they do.
Careful planning can avoid
queues though. Fortunately most of the planning has been done for us
though in the form a brilliantly designed park. The path is designed as
a large circle meaning ridesí queues are normally quite short and
donít suffer from early morning and late evening rushes as people work
their way across the park. It should also be one of the first rides to
head for as most saunter over to Dragon Khan.
To get to Tutuki Splash you
hang a right so that you end up walking in an anti-clockwise direction
around the earlier mentioned path. Through the lush Polynesian
plantations Tutuki Splash will be virtually invisible, and as you
approach the cove in which the spectacular Polynesia show takes place
on, subtle gaps in the flora will invite you to Tutuki Splash.
The Tutuki Mountain on which
the ride is built is a smouldering, semi-active volcano. The dowdy and
dull mountain faÁade richly contrasts spectacularly with the fertile
and luxuriant green vegetation that fades into the lake that the path
looks out upon.
Scoring through the centre of
this volcano, plunging from behind the summitís crater, the drop that
dips midway before tumbling into the lake that encircles the base of the
You enter to the right of this
most enticing view, and the path takes you first through some more
plants native to Polynesia and then through a series of thatched huts,
all cooled from above by large fans, all a welcome relief from the
invariable Spanish heat.
As you get closer to the
volcano, it writhes in activity, a deep rumble profound and rich enough
to make the ground vibrate. You are probably right to question whether
it really is such a good idea riding this.
As you bunny hop between these
huts, you soon arrive at the station. Riders are let onto the platform
in boat-sized groups before boarding and having a single chunky lap-bar
lowered either by themselves or by operators.
Soon as the boats are loaded,
you are taken further into the fertile undergrowth. You make a turn to
the left before approaching the rocky base of the volcano. To your
right, a few pools of volcanic water and cascading down, a large
You enter the base of the
volcano, through a cavern. Above, stalactites, and as you continue to
round the same gradual left-hand turn, the resonant rumble of the
volcano swells to a roar before you go plunging down the first drop. The
drop is small, yet still large enough to tease and enough to at least
get you slightly wet in anticipation for the largest drop.
Back seat riders will get a
shock when the waves rebound off the banks splashing up the back of the
boat more often than not soaking at least your back. The scenery here
remains pretty much unchanged. Hidden in the foliage are more thatched
huts, and you pass under a bridge that crosses over to a pathway that
for a while runs parallel to you.
You soon turn back around to
face the volcano, the rather daunting lift-hill, and of course the
forthcoming drop. As you approach the lift, unfortunate timing could
result in more than you bargained for - as a boat comes plunging down
the plummet the wave created upon splash down will invariably come to
close for comfort.
And so the climb begins. The
lift is shallow, and gives you an opportunity to see another boat meet
its watery demise. You have more than enough time to admire the modest
view as you begin to climb the volcano. To your left you will see
Dragon Khan, which, reassuringly, is still far taller than you. To your
right, the station area and acres of tropical plants and trees.
As you rise, you will pass the
dramatic pools of water formed on the volcano, and as you level out,
look to your right and a dark pool bubbles aggressively. And at the top,
the boat coasts round on its wheels at a surprising rate, turning 180
degrees before dropping.
At the top of the drop you are
thrown up in a fit of airtime before hitting the bump halfway down. At
this point, the relevance of the bar dawns as your rear leaves the seat
and your legs hit the restraint, you tighten up your lower body in an
effort to stay restrained before the boat comes crashing to a near halt,
hitting the water as a wall of water rises way above your head and comes
thundering down like someone has just opened the hatch on a submarine.
There really arenít many
things to compare the impact and subsequent drenching on Tutuki Splash.
Not having experienced at close hand a dam burst in my face it is hard
to say, but the sheer amount of water that is dumped on you just defies
You will probably fail to
notice the bridge under which you pass, and the turn that takes you back
to the station. You will probably be raving to your friends about it,
wiping water from your eyes and at least trying to look composed.
The Giant Splash is hard to do
wrong. It is nice to note that even the first drop on Tutuki Splash is
impressive. The volcano is impressive, but probably not quite up to the
standard set by many of PortAventuraís rides and attractions. It is
also a nice length. Whilst Tidal Wave is perhaps too short, and Le Grand
Splatch is too long (by about seven miles), this takes you around the
back and front in a round about manner without you wishing the ride onto
Capacity seems to be quite
reasonable, another reason why the slightly longer circuit works in its
favour. The biggest design fault though is the bridge that crosses the
splash down area. On most Giant Splashes, the bridge is chapter two in
the aquatic saga that is subject to almost as much water as the boat
itself. Whether intentional or not, it is a shame that although the
water will appear to hit the bridge, almost always misses and goes
straight under. It makes an unevenly loaded boat more of a surprise
though, but such an occurrence is rare.
Mustnít grumble though, if
you ride the ride you canít possibly get wetter, but it would be a
nice way to finish off what is a superb ride.
▪ A good length of ride
with two good drops
▪ The double drop at the
end is very effective
▪ Very good theming
▪ Lots of boats = high
▪ Very wet (good
depending on your frame of mind)
▪ Bridge at exit never