In the past decade, an unfortunate trend has begun in the amusement industry.

Log rides have been a long time staple to many amusement parks, originating in the 1960’s with Arrow’s El Aserradero log ride at Six Flags Over Texas. From the launch of El Aserradero, the concept of the log ride took off, spreading globally to amusement parks all around the world. Some of the more notable log rides in the world include Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure, Splash Mountain at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.

At the beginning of the log ride era, the concept of a log ride began with the idea of guests floating in an actual log along a river. However, as technology has progressed, the concept is beginning to lose its original steam, with more innovative replacements such as Log FlumesPilgrim’s Plunge at Holiday World, and Shoot the Rapids at Cedar Point.

While many log ride enthusiasts favor the old time log style flume rides, these newer types of log rides are sweeping the nation. Why is it that such a classic amusement park concept is becoming an outdated ride of a past era? There are most likely many explanations, however there is one that is quite obvious; the capacity issue.

Typical log rides such as El Aserradero and the many old style flume rides that are still around at parks all around the world today feature logs that hold four to six people at maximum capacity. In comparison, newer flume rides such as the popular AquaTrax model by Intamin or the Super Splash model by Mack Rides can hold anywhere from eight to 16 people per boat. On top of a higher capacity, rides like Pilgrims Plunge at Holiday World can reach heights of up to 135 feet, and speeds much higher than that of a traditional log flume.

In the past decade, an unfortunate trend has begun in the amusement industry. The removal of traditional style log flumes did not start at any specific time, but in the last a five years, more and more flumes are beginning to disappear. Earlier this year, it was announced that Log Jammer at Six Flags Magic Mountain would be removed in order to accommodate room for future attractions. Along with Log Jammer, some of the other log rides that have been removed or replaced in the last ten years include White Water Landing at Cedar Point, the Flume at Valleyfair, Texas Splashdown at SeaWorld San Antonio, and Wild River at Luna Park, Coney Island.

With technology evolving to make more high capacity and more thrilling log rides, it is no wonder that traditional log rides are being removed or replaced with other rides. Fans have their opinions on whether or not Shoot the Rapids is a worthy replacement of White Water Landing, and whether or not older log rides should stay. Change, however, is inevitable within the amusement industry, and all good things must eventually come to an end.

Photo Credit: Lee Haywood

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2 Responses

  1. Kurt Dahlin

    I’m not sure that I agree that low capacity is the top reason that flumes are disappearing. With enough logs, well trained ride ops, and dual loading stations like we had on Log Jammer here at Six Flags Magic Mountain, you could push a lot of people through the ride. I think economics is the more likely culprit. Most flume rides are getting very long in the tooth. Log Jammer was original to Magic Mountain, hitting its 40th birthday last May. Rides that old require a lot of expensive maintenance. Add to that the cost of running the water pumps non-stop during the day, as well as the cost of the constantly evaporating water in the hot, Southern heat, and it’s not a cheap ride to operate. Many theme parks have since built water parks next door, that not surprisingly requires an additional fee, for people who want to cool down in water. By removing the flume rides, parks free up space to install a new coaster or thrill ride that not only attracts more people to the park, but should also be less expensive to run and maintain. I honestly believe it’s purely a matter of economics.

  2. Erin

    My personal opinion of log flumes is that I’m not that keen. they make you very wet and you end up sitting in wet clothes for the rest of the day which is very undesirable and can let you slip around on roller coaster seats. I know many of my friends do enjoy log rides but to me it is just wetness for very little thrill.


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