There are a handful of things in this world that I can always turn to when I need a mood boost — a quick walk in the sunshine, complimentary bread at a restaurant, and a ride on Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
This ride is pure, simple, laugh-out-loud fun. So if you’re in any way on the fence about riding this impeccably themed and raucous-good-time water ride on your next visit to Universal Orlando Resort, I’m here to tell you — just do it. Here’s a quick rundown of everything you oughta know about this Toon Lagoon staple in Islands of Adventure.
The story is as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Boy has to face an 18-foot octopus to rescue girl from longtime nemesis. At least, that’s the story here when Olive Oyl, Popeye’s best girl, is taken by Bluto. On the ride, you’ll join Popeye as he embarks on a whitewater rafting adventure to save his love.
TO CATCH YOU UP: Popeye and Olive Oyl are comic characters from the early 1900’s. He was a sailor, she was a flapper, and they both often gained superhuman strength by eating spinach! As for Bluto, he’s your standard big ol’ bully who is cruel and constantly vying to swoop in and steal Olive Oyl from Popeye. A nemesis if there ever was one.
This is a truly perfect group experience in the parks as the ride seats 12 riders at a time. You’ll be seated in a circular raft that will meander down a canyon of rapids and waterfalls — twisting, turning, dipping all the way to the finish. Have I mentioned yet that you WILL get wet on this ride? The team that designed it made certain of the fact! You’ll be sprayed from above, splashed from all sides, and pretty much drenched all over.
If you’ve got a kiddo or two that may be concerned about the amount of scary drops in this ride, let me assuage your/their fears now. While there is a ton of water involved, there’s no scary drop or plummet on this ride. Trust me, you’ll laugh a lot more than you’ll scream on this one.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR: The multiple people who will be trying to get you even more wet with water cannons! Located at both Me Ship, The Olive playground and the bridge to the Sweethaven area are multiple water cannons for guests to splash you with.
- Height requirement: 42 inches or 106.7 cm
- Offers Child Swap
- Accepts Universal Express
- Lockers available
- There is a covered center section of each raft for you to place any belongings in. But I also definitely recommend putting any electronics in a locker or a bag to protect from water.
- There is a People Dryer located nearby if you want to purchase some time to dry off.
After you ride, be sure to head over to meet Popeye and Olive Oyl! They’ll be thrilled to hear that you joined Popeye on his quest to save Olive Oyl and you can capture a picture with the couple to commemorate the adventure.
PRO TIP: Download the official Universal Orlando Resort app for details on when Popeye and Olive Oyl will be available for meet and greets.
Whether you’re thinking you need to buy a new, dry ensemble for the remainder of your day or just want to stock up on some Popeye’s merchandise, head to Toon Extra after your ride. The spot has plenty of souvenirs and items that pay homage to classic cartoon characters and even a few new ones.
A TIP OR TWO, WHILE I HAVE YOU:
I, personally, like riding this ride at the end of the day in the parks. That way I can get soaked (you are GOING TO GET SOAKED), and then head out for the evening without dealing with Very Wet Clothes. You could also just wear water-friendly clothing for your day in the parks. I also think if it’s an especially hot day (which Florida is prone to have), you can use this ride as a mid-day cool off. Your call.
- Just, if I haven’t made it clear yet: It is a fact that you will get wet on this ride.
- Popeyes & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is one of the original rides in Islands of Adventure. It opened on the same day as the park, May 28, 1999.
- The ride takes a total of 7 minutes, making it one of the longest durations at Universal Orlando Resort.
Once you and your crew have had your spinach and feel strong enough for the task at hand, join Popeye to rescue Olive Oyl and laugh a whole lot while you do!
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Don’t forget after Bluto misdirects you at the beginning of the ride, there is a hidden Popeye carved in the top of the rockwork on the left!
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