The curved transparent lid lowers around you and all to be heard is the slow trickle of water and your own increased heartbeat. Beyond the perspex, a grinning lifeguard counts down on his fingers…3…2…1 before reaching for a lever. Then suddenly, the world falls away beneath you…
Like a bullet from a gun, you shoot out into the sunlight a few seconds later, after a watery ride so exhilaratingly fast that you’re still holding your breath. Congratulations! You’ve survived the Goop Loop, the fastest waterslide at Amazone, the world’s first Cartoon Network themed waterpark, 20 minutes from downtown Pattaya.
Cartoon Network Amazone is Thailand’s hottest new “day-cation” destination, attracting families and thrill-seekers to ride the slides, meet their TV heroes or simply float on an inflatable in the sun.
It certainly looks fun, with sky-high slides colourfully curing towards the earth like a giant 3D snakes and ladders game. Grinning tube riders shoot into clear pools, looking joyously startled for a few seconds before clambering out to seek the next thrill. There are people surfing on a never-ending wave and countless costumed characters walking around.
Anyone with kids will be familiar with the characters from the Cartoon Network universe, and they’re all here, posing with visitors for pictures. The cable channel has been popular for over 20 years and a generation has now grown up the famous shows. But even if you don’t know your Johnny Bravo or Ben 10 from your Power Puff Girls, the attractions are no less thrilling, with 30 state-of-the-art slides and rides to enjoy, many unique in South-east Asia.
Dominating the skyline is the children’s zone Cartoonival. Kids can enjoy an aqua adventure as they play with the 150 water features and ride the slides. Cartoonival’s slides drop more gently than Amazone’s steeper and faster attractions, so they’re perfect for younger visitors and apprehensive adults. This family-friendly fun continues in the Riptide Rapids – a 335-metre river that winds its way around the park. Floating along on an inflatable is sublime, until an exhilarating blast of cold water is delivered by the “Ice King”.
The waterpark’s largest pool is Megawave, which offers a beach experience without the unpleasantness of sand in your hair, or crabs nipping your toes. You can bob on a rubber ring and await the machine-made waves, before riding the rippling swell in sunshine and safety. But if your idea of beach life means simply relaxing, rent one of the family cabana tents and gorge yourself on innovative ice cream creations available from Dexter’s Laboratory. Megawave also stages aqua-theatre shows, so you can be entertained without leaving the water.
Shows take place all over the park. Kids get the chance to see their cartoon heroes perform and dads especially will enjoy the antics of the talented dance troupe.
What about the big slides? You cry! The Goop Loop, mentioned above is part of the Ben 10-themed Omiverse zone. This is where you find Cartoon Network Amazone’s fastest slides, many built for double descents.
Cling to life on a double inflatable and experience an 8 metre, freefall finale plunge down the Humungaslide. Your heart is in your mouth but the ride isn’t over. Momentum thrusts your raft up another slope and you fall back again and again, taking several minutes to come to a full stop.
Why not slide competitively against friends on the Intergalactic Racers? On a mat, you plunge face-first down fiercely curved slopes. This is the nearest you’ll ever come to bobsleigh riding in tropical Thailand.
The Adventure Zone holds ever greater thrills including the Banana Spin. You and your companion shoot from the slide into a massive bowl which you circle round and round, heading down the drain via what at first seems an impossible gap.
These white-knuckle rides get your adrenalin pumping, which helps you bound up the many steps to the top of the slides. But when your energy flags, the Foodville dining area – selling international dishes, freshly prepared – serves extremely generous portions. But be sure to digest your meal before rushing back to the stomach twisting slides.
With its thrills and spills, Cartoon Network Amazone has upped the game for Thailand’s theme parks and it looks set to become a major regional attraction – so say you were among the first to ride the slides, grab your swimsuit and sunscreen to head to Amazone. You’d be Looney Tunes not to.
Cartoon Network Amazone’s Amazing facts
The Waterpark is currently in its soft opening phase and open to only 1,000 people a day. It will be fully functional will all rides up and running by February 2015.
Opening hours: Daily from 10.00-18.00 hrs.
Adults (13-64 years): 1,290 Baht for Thai resident and 1,590 Baht for tourist
Children (3-12 years): 890 Baht for Thai resident and 1,190 Baht for tourist
Seniors (65+ years): 890 Baht for Thai resident and 1,190 Baht for tourist
Annual family passes are available. Visit the website for more details.
Lockers need to be rented and cost 300 Baht for the day or 180 Baht for four hours or less.
For more information: www.cartoonnetworkamazone.com