It helps to go into Splash Country with a sense of what you’re getting into. The first thing to know is that the water park is busy during peak summer months – extremely busy. While that’s to be expected, particularly in a tourist area like Pigeon Forge, we were surprised by how long the lines were at some of the more popular attractions, and actually wondered if the park had a limit on the number of guests they would allow in at one time.
If you’re comfortable standing in line for everything, from water rides to concessions, you are probably going to have a fine time. We certainly did. One thing that helped us go with the flow was renting a cabana for the day. When, after a few hours, the lines seemed irritatingly long, we retreated to the cabana to eat lunch, relax, and visit.
Every attraction is unique and offers something a little different, which probably helps explain the popularity of the park. What we found unique about Mountain Scream is the way it’s nestled into the Smoky Mountains, as though it’s supposed to be there. If you’ve ever been to a water park in Nebraska or Kansas, you know there is rarely any enjoyment to be found climbing to the top of an attraction. With Mountain Scream, the views are spectacular. We found ourselves stopping on our climb to the top, just to breathe in the scenery. Even standing in line seemed more pleasant, simply because we were surrounded by such raw beauty.
The best way to explain Mountain Scream is to say it’s “old school.” It’s the kind of body slide we remember enjoying when we were much younger and water parks were still a novelty. In fact, as we climbed to the top for our turn to swoosh down the attraction, we discussed the different ways we were told to hold our arms when we were kids. It seems that everyone has a different opinion regarding how body position impacts water slide aerodynamics.
We’ll admit that part of our group was quite nervous once we reached the top of Mountain Scream. From the ground, it looks innocuous. After all, if an 11-year-old can do it, it can’t be that bad, right? It was only once we reached the top that we realized that Mountain Scream is rated as “thrilling” for a reason. It’s actually terrifying to look down and estimate just how far you are from the ground.
Of course, it was at that moment that we noticed how relaxed the surrounding youngsters appeared. They swung onto those slides like they’d done it a thousand times before. While it didn’t help calm our nerves, watching them did distract us for a moment.
There are three slides to choose from. Two are tunnels, and one is open. All three twist and turn in crazy configurations, winding their way down the mountainside. Two of us decided that we were too claustrophobic to slide through the tunnel, so we opted for the open slide. Honestly, as much fun as it was to experience the sudden turns, it was over quickly and not particularly thrilling.
The second time we went up, we decided to be brave and try one of the tunnels. There is something about being enclosed that makes you feel everything more keenly. The winding corkscrews felt sharper as the tunnel twisted down the mountain, the drops seemed far more aggressive. Combine that with the fact that we spent much of our time trying to remember to stay calm and take breaths between sprays of water, and we began to really appreciate the “thrilling’ rating.
Truth be told, we were both glad when it was over. It didn’t help that the rest of the group laughed at our descriptions of the ride down, and generally found the entire experience more enjoyable than we did.
Again, one of the best things about Splash Country is that there’s something for everyone. While Mountain Scream was not for all of us, enough enjoyed it to make it worthwhile.
– Leave your shirts and cover-ups at your seat, as each can pose a risk on the ride down. Leave footwear at the bottom of the attraction before climbing the stairs for the same reason.