Board your 8-man boat and take on the wild and raging waters of the Congo River Rapids
The Grand Canyon Rapids (as it was originally known), was built for the 1986 season, and took up 12 acres of space previously occupied by the car parks. Over 40,000 tons of earth and rock was excavated to create the channel that forms the 6 min. ride. It even required the installation of its own electricity substation, and the creation of a 1.3 million gallon reservoir to store the water. Great care was even taken during construction not to disturb the existing trees in the area. Back in 1985 during its construction, it was by far the biggest project the park had entered into, and was, and still is one of the longest water rides in the UK.
Passenger loading for the ride is done in a similar way to The Flume, with a large rotating platform, which the dinghies move around the outside of. Each dingy can hold up to six passengers, although during the 2000 season, nine passenger dinghies were trialled.
The very nature of the ride makes it difficult to describe, as every ride is different. Some days it can be quite calm, others a raging torrent. You leave the loading station, and it begins calm, although you will notice that you do pick up quite a lot of speed during this part of the ride. Soon you enter the rapids section, where large wooden logs under the water, and wave machines create the swirling waters.
If you have managed to stay dry so far, then you are the lucky one. Again, you enter stages where there is little to worry about, as you go run alongside the track for the Runaway Mine Train, and into the tunnel that is shared with the Mine Train. On leaving the tunnel, you find yourself around the back of the Explorers Restaurant, under the footpath, and towards the Parting of the Red Sea. This is literally two thundering waterfalls, releasing thousands of gallons of water every second, but don't worry too much. The dinghies travel straight down the centre, and you will only get a light spraying of water.
After emerging from the waterfalls, it is a quiet run to the end of the course, where the conveyor will lift you back to the station level, and you can carefully leave your dingy.
Other features of the ride include random water jets which will give you a good soaking, but these are usually only operational on exceptionally hot days during the summer.