Fandom is a great thing. It gives you something to look forward to on a regular basis. It provides a sense of connection and a feeling of exhilaration. And it’s a built-in for bonding with family and friends. Not talking sports here folks, but rather waterpark fandom. If there’s one place in the world where die-hard waterpark fans can experience nirvana it’s Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World!® and home to more than 200 waterslides and rides.
Each year, some four million visitors converge in the Dells, many to get their fill of the ultimate in waterparks. In turn, the owners of said waterparks love seeing the affinity visitors have for their properties. So, in the spirit of fan appreciation, we asked the experts – the waterpark GMs – to tell us the traits of their most loyal fans.
Let’s just call this the “You Know You’re a Waterpark Fan When” list.
You head to the waterpark even before you check in to your hotel room.
According to Adam Makowski, general manager at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Parks, 90% of their guests are in the water before they ever set foot in their rooms. To streamline the process, they stop at the front desk to pick up their waterpark wristbands wearing swimsuits instead of street clothes. Sally McDowell, general manager at the Polynesian Water Park Resort, adds, “When the kids already have the floaties on their arms, you know they can’t get out to the waterpark fast enough!”
You wear your waterpark wristband long after your visit.
Joe Eck, general manager at the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, said it’s a point of pride for some waterpark fans to keep their wristbands on for months, sometimes even until they visit the resort the next time. “It’s like lift tickets on a ski jacket,” explained Eck.
You request a specific suite based on proximity to the waterpark.
At Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, waterpark director Nic Huebing says that, not only do experienced waterpark fans want to get as close to the action as possible, but that “the kids are already in line for the indoor waterpark, bedhead hair, groggy eyes and all, when the doors open at 9 a.m.”
You choose the waterpark over dinner with the rest of the family.
“Remarkable that teenagers would be willing to give up eating for a few more hours in the waterpark, but they do!” said Eck.
You don’t mind when it’s a little cool outside.
At Noah’s Ark Waterpark, that just means shorter lines and free wetsuits, two bonuses for the die-hards according to Amy Muller, director of marketing.
You tell anyone who will listen how many times you rode your favorite waterslide. James Anderson, general manager at Great Wolf Lodge, said kids get so excited about their waterpark experience that at check-out they’ll often report their stats to the front desk staff. “Sometimes kids will even stop employees in the hall to share their waterpark accomplishments!”