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Island H2O Live!

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Kirmes & Park Revue English Edition - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 12/2019 vom 18.11.2019
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The new water park in Orlando fits perfectly to the new mobile phone generation

In a location like Orlando, where Disney, Sea World and Universal already own and operate five large and highly themed water parks, for a brand new water park to survive and be successful it is essential to have its own unique and distinctive identity. This is the case of Island H2 O Live! at Margaritaville Resort, an adult activity community resort with Jimmy Buffet inspired lifestyle.

WhiteWater West Island H2 O Life!

In particular, the chosen theme, is something that has become an essential part of our everyday’s life: ...

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In particular, the chosen theme, is something that has become an essential part of our everyday’s life: social media. This means that the slides have names like: “Live Streaming”, “Follow Me Falls”, “Hashtag Heights” or “Profile Plunge”. Even the shops and restaurants have similar names. For example, the gift shop, right near the entrance is called “Mementos” and the nearby fast food is called “Mega Bytes”.
Another important factor related to social media, which is also well implemented inside Island H2 O, is interactivity. Once inside the park, all guests immediately receive a wristband, which has to be returned at the end of the day, with an embedded RFID system and QR code printed on it. Using the Island H2 O Live! app or one of the many interactive screens around the park, it is possible to connect the wristband to a profile. This allows to take advantage of many features. For example, it is possible to customize the sliding experience by selecting the music and the lighting patterns on some of the slides . Then, for each slide there are points that can be collected just by scanning the wristband before experiencing them. These points can be converted into additional music and light themes or into food and merchandise items in the shops. Since these points are associated to the user profile, they will not get lost after leaving. This is very important because it takes more than one visit to unlock the main prizes . In addition to that, the wristband can be used to activate the “Selfie Shacks” and the “Be Live!” booths to take photos and live videos from around the park. It also automatically stores photos and videos , taken while riding the attractions, right on the app. All these contents can be then downloaded and, of course, shared on social media!
To give a general overview, Island H2 O Live! has a round structure, with the family and children water playgrounds right in the middle, “Pelican’s Paradise” with a giant bucket on top of its structure.

Right next to it, there is an area called “Level Up”, where guests of all ages can challenge themselves with water games, obstacle courses and other fun activities. All around, to mark the perimeter, there is the lazy river “Chat Creek”. Then, starting from the entrance, the main path leads directly to the large wave pool “Live! Lagoon”, featuring a giant video screen. A live DJ plays music and reads announcements like guests’ birthdays or special events throughout the day.
Right after the wave pool, there is the first slide complex. All slides at Island H2 O Live! have been supplied by WhiteWater West. This one has a six lanes “Reply Racers” and two body slides: “Drop Down” and “Live Streaming”. Both of them feature launch capsules, giving an additional thrill factor. The difference between them is that “Drop Down” is a red “AquaLoop” while “Live Streaming” is a “Flatline Loop” with a transparent tube. It is interesting to point out that, while walking up the stairs to the slides , it is possible to enjoy a nice view over some of the rides from the nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom like the Vekoma coaster “Expedition Everest” and the flying mountains from “Pandora”.
Up next, following the lazy river, there are three slides , featuring single or double rafts are: The “Down loader” is a “SuperBowl” going through an enclosed tube section with lights and music before propelled down a steep drop and into a large bowl. The “Reload Rapids” is a fusion between a “Constrictor” and a “Rattler” that features two tight 360° helixes and a larger diameter tube, where the raftes oscillates a few times from one side to the other, just before entering the final pool. The third slide is a “Blasterango” fusion called “Follow Me Falls”: the first part is from a “Master Blaster” followed by a “Boomerango” part, which is a near-vertical wall, providing a short moment of weightlessness right before splashing into the pool. The two biggest slides , using six passengers rafts are “Hashtag Heights” and “Profile Plunge”. The first one is a full size Boomerango. with a big drop, intense airtime and a surprise final bump right before splashing into the pool. The other one is well described by its model name “Family Raft Ride”. This traditional slide , with loads of over-theedge wall time, surprise drops, and twisting turns is a lot of fun for the whole family. For those looking for a quiet place, Island H2 O Live! offers what they call the “Private Domain”. En trance here is allowed only to people with age above 21. Inside there is a pool with chairs all around, where people can enjoy a drink from the adjacent bar: “The Tag Shack”.

Naturally there’s much to do for smaller visitors also

The attractions are named after music from a “real” DJ and Apps, instead of a real theming design

Overall Island H2 O Live! is a nice and colorful water park and a good addition to the Orlando entertainment lineup. The social media theme is well implemented and really gives a unique and distinctive image, making it stand out from the competition. The use of wristbands is also a great way to enhance the whole experience. With time, even more features will be added, like a skip-the-line service and the possibility to link the band to a credit card to be able to pay around the park without carrying around actual money.


The park uses Vantage’s guest optimization platform to help it stand out from the crowd in a fiercely competitive water park market. It works through the Vantage app that guests download either before they arrive or when they get to the park. Upon arrival, guests are given a Vantage Smart Band which allows them to utilize the park’s technology and engage their social networks through the app. If guests do not want to use their smart phones, there are kiosks located throughout the park where they can tap their Smart Band to create their own in-park experiences with customizable themes and playlists while on attractions, share memorable moments on social media instantly, locate their friends, find out which attractions have shorter queue lines, and also allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed throughout the park. All of the guest behaviour data that Vantage captures at the park can be seen in real time by the operations staff, allowing them to see current attendance, including total entrances and exits, dispatch rates, guest dispersal and dwell times, and queue times, all from their phones via Vantage’s operators app.
The genesis of Vantage was born out of other products that Vantage’s parent company, WhiteWater, had developed in their almost 40 years of creating water park products. By creating a digital layer over the physical guest experience and empowering to have more control over performance, Vantage is building a differentiator for each park. On the hardware side, it all starts with Vantage’s Smart Bands that use a combination of long-range and short-range RFID. The short-range functionality is not new to park technology, it’s what allows parks to track guest actions when they tag up on a reader. From the guest’s perspective, it means they can gain access to a ride or see information related to themselves when tapping a station. How Vantage differs however, is that it also uses long-range RFID: a park is also able to capture passive guest behaviour and see what direction guests circulate through a park, where they tend to dwell, heat maps of demographic clusters, and more. This is all tracked through a series of readers strategically located around a venue.
Vantage was designed with an open architecture to take advantage of systems and products already available on the market, as well as ones not yet developed.

Photos: Matteo Crepaldi