Growing up there was almost nothing more exciting than a log flume at a theme park. The novelty of floating on water, the nonstop anticipation, and finally the big drop… It was the kind of thrill I would dream about, waiting patiently for that moment when I could once again leave my heart at the top and plunge enthusiastically into a fit of laughter and splashes.
I first rode Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls in Universal’s Islands of Adventure when I was 15-years-old and I knew instantly I’d met my match. Universal Orlando Resort had taken this relatively simple concept to new heights (literally) when they combined the rip-roaring fun of a flume with the action of a coaster, all themed to the wacky adventures of a cartoon Canadian Mountie. But the best part was that the final drop I constantly craved was a whopping 75-FEET TALL.
While it might be easy to say “I’ll skip the water rides” on your next vacation, I’m here to tell you that this one is worth the damp clothes. So grab your flip flops and favorite poncho… We’re doing this.
Dudley Do-Right was introduced to the public in 1961 as the animated protagonist of a segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Through parodies of the silent melodramas popular in the early 20th century, audiences delighted in his cheerfully dim-witted disposition and good-natured attempts to stop his nemesis, Snidely Whiplash, from kidnapping Nell, the girl of his dreams. He usually succeeded despite himself, the only problem being that Nell was less infatuated with Dudley and more interested in thanking his horse, appropriately named Horse (what else?). You’ll catch up with all four of these characters in the Great White North as we prepare to ride.
Enter the queue and find yourself in an old-fashioned movie theater where the dastardly Snidely Whiplash steals innocent Nell from her dressing room. Your journey will take you to the top of a saw mill as you accompany hero Dudley in his attempts to thwart Snidely and save the day.
Next, you’ll board a single-file log and stretch your legs out in front of your body (those who want to test the logs ahead of time can look for a sample seat at the beginning of the queue). The story will play out through a delightful series of animated figures both indoors and outdoors, and it’s worth noting that repeat rides are definitely rewarded. Fans will want to catch every punny detail!
Your ascent begins as you see Dudley and Horse riding to the rescue while Snidely runs off with Nell. You’ll then get a brief view of your eventual fate — keep your ears open for screams.
In Wontyabe Mine, Dudley appears characteristically unaware of a large bear lurking behind his back as he lights a match. But you don’t linger… You’re soon back outside noticing that Snidely has succeeded in tying three victims to the train tracks: Nell, Horse, and Inspector Fenwick (Nell’s father and Dudley’s boss).
Now, since you’re reading this synopsis, I’m going to assume you don’t mind spoilers. So, here’s a little advice: I find that one of the most entertaining aspects of taking family and friends on a log flume that you already know by heart is making them think every upcoming drop is what I’ll call “The Big One.” Get ready to earn your Academy Award because the first drop occurs as your log veers downward to avoid an oncoming train. You get a little hang time, but it’s a fake out for the most part, and your company doesn’t have to know that.
You arrive at the saw mill and Nell is now tied to a log that’s headed for disaster. Nearby, Snidely and Dudley fight for command of the lever that controls her fate. The music swells as we head for yet another drop, but surprise! We aren’t at the ride’s climax just yet… *twirls mustache*
It’s too late to turn back, but the literal warning signs are there to try and convince you otherwise:
Roses are rancid…
Bruises are blue…
Dudley’s a goner…
And so are you!
Ok… This has to be The Big One.
Your log climbs higher and higher as the anticipation builds. When you reach the top, you’ll notice you’re caught in an old-fashioned shootout. Snidely’s lair is full of dynamite and it looks like Nell finally has him cornered in a cannon. Dudley gets the honors as he confidently steps on the trigger.
The inevitable blast sends you plummeting a steep five stories downward, underneath the surface of the water, and out the other side of a bridge. Were you able to keep your eyes open? Just how soaked are you? Has your heart returned to your chest yet?!
Take some time to get ahold of yourself as you float by Alottapoopoo Prison, where Snidely is already attempting a breakout. Our closing image is reminiscent of the Dudley we know and love: he is awarded a medal as Nell gives what he really covets, a kiss… to Horse.
- Height requirement: 44” (112 cm)
- Children under 48” (122 cm) require a supervising companion
- Child Swap is available upon request
- Universal Express Pass is available
- Single Rider line is available
- Lockers are available to rent nearby to keep your belongings dry
- You can also purchase time in the People Dryer to air out after your plunge
- Due to the ride’s watery nature, I usually like to save it for either the end of the day (so I’m not walking around drenched) or the moment when the Florida heat is really catching up with me. Don’t think you won’t get wet, because you most certainly will!
- Get the most out of your locker rental by planning to hit all of the Islands of Adventure water rides in a row (see also: Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and Jurassic Park River Adventure).
- You can also consider what I like to call the “Wash and Dry” technique. Head to a thrill ride like Jurassic World VelociCoaster or The Incredible Hulk Coaster, both in Islands of Adventure, directly following this ride for some wind in your damp hair.
- If you decide to sit this one out, there are still a couple ways to engage. The bridge that overlooks the drop is an excellent spot to scope out your shrieking friends and family as they take a dive. Or if you really want to get into it, look for the water cannons you can use to spray unsuspecting riders.
- The view at the top of this ride is a beautiful one, spanning much of the park. If you can, take a moment to appreciate it! Or, ride it again just for the view.
Exploring Toon Lagoon
While you’re feeling — shall we say — animated, let’s take a look at what the larger Toon Lagoon area has to offer…
A quick stroll will reveal plenty of fun photo spots, visual gags, and laugh-inducing signs based on the Sunday morning comics made popular mid-century.
For merchandise paying homage to the funny pages, head to Toon Extra.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, you can find the famous Dagwood at Blondie’s, complete with layer on layer of turkey, roast beef, ham, cheese — this sandwich has it all.
And so, our journey comes to an exciting conclusion. You’re positively swimming in information. Water you waiting for? Adventure calls!