With Summer “officially” starting later this week, teens, adults and drifters staying at the Biltmore Hotel on S. Meridian will be flocking to White Water Bay for some summertime fun. To prepare for your next adventure, here are the 13 stages of a typical visit to White Water Bay:
Get talked into going
FACT: Every year 93% of people in the metro have at least one buddy/extended family member who loosely makes plans for the friend/family group to go to White Water Bay at the beginning of summer. Usually by Labor Day, most of these float by, unexecuted. But not this year. Nope. That one person will create a group text, promising to select the one weekend you’re off work and in town this month for the adventure.
Pack a lunch
Sunscreen? Check. Water-resistant Ziplock baggie for your phone, keys and wallet? Check. Four peanut butter and jelly sammiches? Check. Because you know for damn sure you’re not spending money on the waterpark’s overpriced food. Not today, Satan.
After finding out White Water Bay sadly stopped giving you free admission for specialty-marked Dr. Pepper cans back in like 1997, you sadly fork over your debit card for the price of general admission. The teenager behind the counter tries to talk you into buying a season pass, so you can attend Fright Fest at Frontier City for free later this year. But upon realizing this is your first time back to White Water Bay likely since before your cashier was born, you decline.
Find your first band-aid
The first one is usually neatly rolled up and lying on the sidewalk next to the showers. They still have showers, right?
Go straight to the Acapulco Cliff Dive
Anyone over the age of 22 knows they’ve only got so much time and energy in the day before a stiff joint starts acting up, so knock out the big thriller right off the bat! After 17-22 minutes of waiting in line behind what appears to be a youth group and two really hairy adult sponsors, you finally climb your way to the top of the slide overlooking I-40 before riding down for that 4.7 seconds of pure, adrenaline-filled bliss. Then — like a magician with a sleeve full of hankies — you’re surprised and a little intrigued at just how much of your swim bottoms you’re pulling out of your ass crack.
Get water in your mouth
It may look blue and refreshing from afar. But when you come in a little too hot out of that Acapulco Cliff Dive and are rewarded with a mouthful of the human broth you and 3,700 other parkgoers have been stewing in all season, suddenly you want nothing more than to jump out of the pool on a hot summer’s day.
Ride the boring rides
Let’s be honest – most of the rides at White Water aren’t all that exciting or thrilling, which oddly enough, makes them more enjoyable. I think they’re endorsed by AARP.
You’ll be tempted to be a responsible adult and go to an actual bathroom, but remember: The water you’re swimming in is likely more chlorinated and clean than the water on the floor of the bathroom.
Find your second band-aid
The second band-aid usually floats around the Lazy River, taunting you like an out-of-shape middle school bully. It is also unrolled and open, so you can see the ombre, red-to-brown-to-gray fade that colors the inside of the gauze.
Give up and buy food
Weirdly, you still have an appetite after finding that second band-aid. And somehow despite double bagging them in your Aldi off-brand Ziploc bags, your peanut butter and jelly sammiches are soaking wet. Being that you’ve already consumed enough of the pool water human stew today, you break down and blow the rest of your budget to buy some wings and pizza from Sharkey’s.
Cheat death in the wave pool
Did you know an average of 27 people die in the White Water Bay wave pool each season? Neither did we! It’s basically the Mt. Everest of swimming pools. You don’t feel to sorry for the people who perish — because they knew what they were getting into — but the people who survive are treated like legends and heroes.
You may have only fully experienced two rides, but the fatigue of wading through water and consuming three days worth of sodium at Sharkey’s has got you beat. So you retire to the Lazy River to wait out your friends and kids, wondering why you didn’t spend all day here in the first place.
Leave to treat your sunburn
This technically doesn’t happen until after you get out of the shower at home. You always thought the sunscreen’s instruction to “apply every two hours” was just a marketing ploy to get you to use and thus buy more sunscreen. As evidenced by this weird farmer’s tan (farmer’s burn?) you have going on now, you were mistaken.
Hayley has a wicked sunburn. Her dermatologist is going to be pissed. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek