Water Park Safety? Especially for heavier guests

At the request of my DD8 (and thanks to advertising on the Magical Express) my family is headed to Typhoon Lagoon this summer. While looking at what slides are available, one of them started the hairs standing on the back of my neck.

About a year ago a liner posted a link on chat to the final report on the Kansas City Schlitterbahn water park death. It is a horrific read, not (just) because of what happened to that child, but because of the criminal negligence and indifference that lead to his death.

As I was looking at the different water rides at Typhoon Lagoon, the Crush’n Gusher was creeping me out because is uses a steel ring and net system that looked eerily similar to the ones used on the water ride that killed the boy. I was then really surprised to read that the designer of the Crush’n Gusher is actually the same designer of the deadly Verruckt and that both are (were) water coasters.

I feel strongly that no ride should rely on netting and steel rings to keep you on the ride. The physics of the ride should be designed to do that. I was also surprised to see that there are no weight limits for rides at the WDW water parks. Both DH and I are larger and are usually very conscientious of weight limits at water parks (especially on group rides). DH was injured on a ride with an unadvertised weight limit and I have been pretty diligent doing research since then.

I appreciate any feedback people can give me on the following or anything else you want to mention:

  • Have you ever “caught air” on the Crush N’ Cusher?
  • If you are heavier - are there rides at the WDW water parks where you felt you were more likely to “catch air” in a way that felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Or rides you would recommend just not riding?
  • Even if you aren’t heavier are there WDW water parks rides you wouldn’t ride because they kind of hurt? (besides the usual small bumps etc)


  1. I appreciate WDW accommodating of guests of all sizes, at the same time I feel that water ride physics may make those rides harder to accommodate and safety should always be first.

  2. We know to keep our hands away from conveyor belts!

  3. I drive myself and my child everywhere and I know driving is the most dangerous thing we can do. However reading reports like the Schlitterbahn one reminds me that, in the end, we have to rely on our own judgement to make safety decisions. I appreciate your feedback in help me make these decisions.

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I have no experience at Disney, but after an uneventful but scary group tube type ride at a local water park, DH and I, both 300plus, stay in the straight slides, rivers and wave pools from now on. Again, that time, no weight limit advertised. So we made up on our rule.

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I can report scratched knees and butt from the wave pool, a massive wedgie from humunga cowabunga and a sore butt from gangplanck falls… way too rough.
But that’s about it. Nothing major at Typhoon Lagoon.
Have a great time!!
ETA: Yes, I’m on the heavy side…


KC resident. I seriously doubt Disney engineers would do as shoddy a job as they did on Verruckt. You have nothing to fear


I think if you have any doubts, I’d give it a pass. There are lots of other attractions there to keep you busy. Very strange that it would have been designed by the same guy that designed Verruckt. Like you, I have real issues with any ride needs an overhead safety net. I’m also a KC resident (@lochneffmonster :wave::wave:). Reporting following the accident at Schlitterbahn made it clear that,with that slide, there were a lot of other issues beyond the design of the ride. I wouldn’t necessarily reject it on that connection alone. I know I wouldn’t ride it, but different strokes…

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Having grown up in KC, and driving past Schlitterbahn each visit home, I agree with the previous posters. Schlitterbahn has had management issues since the beginning. The park opened incomplete and was never really completed. The rush to open Verruckt, and the maintenance issues are something I am guessing Disney would never allow. But, saying that, I am heavier, and I do not like group water coasters. It scared me as the rafts really climb the sides of the ride. So, I choose not to ride. I do think Crushin Gusher is probably safe, but you should make yourself comfortable. :slight_smile:

I know there is a difference for sure. Just looking at them shows you a difference!

Double checking, are you referring to Crush? Thanks!

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I like that Great Wolf Lodge has clear suggestions for individual and group. I find it reassuring! When in doubt I ride with DD and DH waits it out.

The cowabunga wedgie is legendary :slight_smile:

I’m not particularly large, but the first time I was at Typhoon Lagoon, I was sitting at the edge of the wave pool, got knocked back by the force of a wave and had cuts and abrasions all the way down my back. It was pretty sore for the rest of my trip, too stingy to swim and even a shower was impossible for a couple of days.

DH also hurt his coccyx coming off the water slide at the BLT pool, when he hit the bottom of the pool. He didn’t really put two and two together until we were pretty much coming home, but he was very sore for weeks after.

So when I went to TL last time, I stuck to the lazy river. I don’t see myself even trying the water slides to be honest. I used to go on tamer ones when my kids were young, and I’ve done the slides at Stormalong Bay and BLT. I think those days may be behind me now though.

It is a… uhm… memorable experience to be sure.

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I know! That thing’s like sand paper!! Sorry you got it all over your back, that sounds incredibly painful.


Yes. Just not my thing. :sunglasses:

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Think the ride where the accident happened was just huge and steep so v different from TL rides.
Dh is a bodybuilder- 5’8" w a 44"chest- don’t know his actual weight but it’s not low- I’ve followed him down some of the tube slides over the years & his path goes up high on the sides.
Have ridden C&G with him and never felt insecure at all tho.
Some water rides do have weight limits- think it’s aquatica where they weigh your group on one of the raft rides?

I have a general tendency to avoid tube slides. I don’t like the out of control feeling. At least on tubeless slides I can sit up and “V” my legs to give myself at least the illusion that I’m going slower. I’ve only been on CnG once but I don’t remember getting air. I think the uphill sections are pretty short distances. I’m sure you could find a few YouTube video ride through to get an idea.

Sorry this happened to you!

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Thanks that is very helpful!

This usually makes me feel safer as I know rhey have thought through weight limits!

My DD14 and I rode all 3 variations of C&G last month. She is very petite, me a size 12-14. I was a little worried that there might be a problem with the unbalanced weight in our tube but no problem. No air. Felt safe. Lots of fun. I have a bad knee so I had more of an issues with carrying tubes up the stairs. Luckily we had practically no crowds that day so I could take it slow.

We did Typhoon Lagoon on Thursday. I am a heavier person and at no point did I feel unsafe–even on the group rides. I only did one spin on the Crush N Gusher with my daughter, but it was that I was afraid of the drops. The incident you were referring to was at the back of my mind, but I did not feel that the raft was ever really “out of control”. There is one slide on the Crush N Gusher that you can ride on as a single, too, if that feels more secure. I definitely had some ungraceful moments getting in and out of the raft on Miss Adventure Falls, but I never felt unsafe (I know there is some level of risk involved in everything). It was our first time at TL and we LOVED it and all of us said we wanted to make it a tradition on each trip. Have a blast!