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Waterparks and Cirque du Soleil: A Match Made for Fun and Increased Revenue
Thursday, January 17, 2019
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A new partnership was announced at this fall’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando, with WhiteWater waterpark operations forming a partnership with Cirque Du Soleil. The plan is to establish a unique combination of waterpark fun by day and rich entertainment concept by night. 

WhiteWater began operations in 1980, and handles every aspect of waterparks from master planning to installation. The company has worked with waterparks, theme park attractions, municipal water structures, and on cruise ships; the new entertainment concept is the first of its kind.

Cirque du Soleil is the largest theatrical producer in the world, with a wide range of exciting shows and concepts offered permanently in Las Vegas, New York, Riviera Maya, Orlando, and touring worldwide. 

The new concept is designed to share WhiteWater’s expertise in waterpark and water rides with Cirque du Soleil’s artistry. The plan is to create a new series of uniquely themed concepts and attractions at new and existing waterparks. The combined effort will entertain visitors day and night: during the day, guests will enjoy water rides and slides; in the evening, a time when most waterparks close, they will be able to experience a transformed festive environment featuring music, illuminated trails linking attractions, speciality food and drinks, and 15-minutes shows planned as one-of-a-kind attractions. The productions will take place at the same waterpark attractions guests splashed on during the day. Each will feature Cirque du Soleil performers and run several times each night to allow guests to choose which performances to see, and the order they see them. 

Both Cirque du Soleil and WhiteWater are creating a concept that will be appealing to guests and waterpark operators; encouraging repeat visitors and allowing venues to substantially lengthen operating hours. While the parks’ infrastructure will remain the same, revenue will increase with these performances, and make waterparks into true premium destinations. The vibe of the evening experience will be of a magical festival; and productions will be based around the same breathtaking skills and immersive performances that are a signature of Cirque du Soleil shows worldwide.

By maximizing park assets and guest experiences, the WhiteWater and Cirque Du Soleil partnership is a win/win for both waterparks and visitors. As WhiteWater asserts, the productions will serve as an ideal anchor for waterparks as “it seamlessly compliments hospitality, retail, and resort venues which welcome guests at all hours of the day.”

This re-imaging of the waterpark experience with dynamic theming and entertainment productions is an ideal match for the two companies. Martin Boudreau, president and executive producer of Cirque du Soleil’s Parks and Hospitality says “WhiteWater and Cirque due Soleil have always pushed the limits of what we can do.” He adds that, working together, the two companies will “redefine the waterpark experience” through the attractions and entertainment added to the venues. 

WhiteWater’s chief business and development officer, Paul Chutter notes that the company is already in discussion with two parties looking at the goal of franchising Cirque du Soleil parks at several locations worldwide. As the winners of multiple World Waterpark Association Leading Edge Awards, the company is well-poised to maximize this concept. Some of the company’s recent showpiece projects include the Playa Maya Waterpark in Wuhan, China; Lagua Waterpark at Le Mer in Dubai, and a new attraction at SeaWorld Orlando’s Aquatica. At the Dubai location, the waterpark has a “shanty town” theme with four distinct zones: splash, slide, surf, and relax. The centerpiece is a massive slide tower with five slides. The Aquatica attraction,

The Ray Rush water slide won a Golden Ticket for Best New Water Park Ride 2018. WhiteWater’s triple fusion slide was inspired by SeaWorld’s manta rays, featuring both intensely physical and visual sensations, allowing its riders to glide and spin through the water like the slide’s namesake. Chutter describes the ride as “A first-of-its-kind fusion water slide... An exhilarating combination of three unique slide elements seamlessly blended into a single attraction.” AquaLucent manta rays and stripes set the mood, along with a 22-foot glowing, fog-filled translucent AquaSphere. Thrills come from a 20-feet near vertical drop and an overall 60-foot height.

According to WhiteWater spokesperson Su Ann Quah, the company has created over 5000 waterpark projects, working with companies such as Cedar Fair, Six Flags, and Village Roadshow.

Waterparks themselves have the highest operating income of any amusement industry attraction; offering investors a stronger return on investment than theme parks, FECs or any individual attractions, according to WhiteWater.  The WhiteWater/Cirque du Soleil partnership is poised to increase the revenue stream at waterparks, as well as change how the industry operations these parks after dark, when they are typically closed. Guests will be able to visit the waterpark by day and enjoy the transformation into themed performance spaces in the evening.

Performances will follow the entertainment standards of any Cirque du Soleil production, with live actors, high divers, acrobats, and aerialists taking part in them. Known for their inventive, thrilling productions, each different performance will be a mini-show in line with the festive sensory experience Cirque du Soleil customarily mounts. 

WhiteWater, meanwhile, is committed to the concept of making waterpark visitors “wowed” through exceptional service, products, and theming. 

In short, the pairing of the two companies should result in a waterpark match made in a wild, wet heaven for visitors and waterparks alike.


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