Wet ‘n Wild Orlando closing in late 2016

America's first waterpark folds, making room for new Universal waterpark Volcano Bay, opening in 2017.

Although+the+park+continues+attracting+visitors%2C+Universal+insists+on+closing+Wet+%27n+Wild%2C+making+room+for+their+new+park+Volcano+Bay+in+2017.+The+park%27s+current+lot+will+likely+be+used+for+increased+hotel+development+in+the+future.

photo by My Fox Orlando

Although the park continues attracting visitors, Universal insists on closing Wet 'n Wild, making room for their new park Volcano Bay in 2017. The park's current lot will likely be used for increased hotel development in the future.

Sarah Gibson, Opinions Editor

Whether you are a fan of Disco H2O’s 1970 nightclub vibes or the feeling of free-falling six stories straight down on Bomb Bay, America’s first waterpark Wet ’n Wild has served as one of Orlando’s most thrilling tourist attractions for all ages. A trademark of I-Drive since 1977, this longtime favorite of both residents and tourists is expecting to close on December 31, 2016.

In a fast-growing industry, parks are forced to constantly renovate and keep visitors engaged, which is something Wet ’n Wild has fallen short of. An ‘old reliable’ for Florida residents, the park failed to present new attractions, causing tourists to look to other parks in the area.

In a report from the Themed Entertainment Association, Wet ’n Wild attracted about 1.3 million visitors last year. The number seems stunning until you look at Disney’s waterparks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, which both topped 2 million. Even SeaWorld’s Aquatica beat the park with 1.6 million guests, leaving Wet ’n Wild in the dust at fourth-busiest in Orlando.

Luckily for employees- and fans of the park- Universal will be opening a new park called Volcano Bay near the Cabana Bay Beach resort in 2017. Current Wet ‘n Wild employees will receive new job opportunities at the park, and fans will be able to experience new thrills.

“We’re grateful to our countless fans and team members for making Wet ’n Wild such a special place for so very long,” Universal Orlando spokesperson Tom Schroder wrote on Universal’s official blog.

The current 52-acre lot Wet ’n Wild sits on is projected to be used for increased hotel development in the future.

“I’m disappointed the park is closing because I never got to experience it to the fullest,” sophomore Samantha Thue said. “Regardless of the closure, it’ll be exciting to see bigger and better things come from Universal at Volcano Bay.”

Will you visit Wet 'n Wild before it closes in 2016?

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