Riyadh: Smart design is central to any plan meant for boosting profitability or a brand image. When it comes to a water park, a good design increases the length of time the guest stays in the park and boosts its overall profitability, thus enhancing the overall user experience.
WhiteWater, the leading designer and manufacturer of aquatic amenities, gathers top experts, including architects, engineers, and mechanical specialists, to help water parks achieve the delicate balance between creativity, safety, and efficiency.
While so doing, WhiteWater values factors like capacity — appealing to diverse demographics — sustainability, traffic flow, guest circulation, and revenue generation. It helps establish a strong foundation for long-term success. These design elements are crucial in shaping the success of a water park.
Stringent Safety Standards
The key to a good water park design is safety. Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) established a series of standards for the construction and operation of water parks — covering ride design and operation, water quality, lifeguard training, and emergency procedures — to ensure safest projects under Vision 2030.
To meet these standards, WhiteWater’s in-house team of engineers looks at how to optimize a water park’s safety before rides are in the ground. The only supplier that invests in ride path simulations for each new design, WhiteWater uses proprietary software to ensure that riders are kept safe within prescribed thresholds. Additionally, the rides are designed with a low center of gravity to keep the rider near the riding surface.
“Safety is non-negotiable at WhiteWater,” says Jeremy Gray, VP of Business Development of WhiteWater.
He said: “We are involved with organizations such as ASTM International, European Standards (EN), and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and work actively to support the standardization of international guidelines that govern the development of attractions worldwide. We choose to not only meet the standards but to exceed them and help shape the future of what safety means for our industry.”
Creating Fun for Everyone
In Saudi Arabia, 1 in every 30 citizens has a disability, making it important for water park design to take accessibility into consideration to promote inclusion. If one member of the family finds the trip difficult, they all go home, resulting in a lost opportunity.
Accessibility and inclusion are a growing trend in parks across the GCC, with Aquaventure recently receiving the Certified Autism Center™ designation. By redesigning all in-park signage to include sensory ratings for attractions, Aquaventure is helping guests to understand the sensory intensity for each slide or attraction, such as noise level, lighting, and water temperature, so visitors could make informed decisions prior to entering an area.
WhiteWater has been helping parks improve their accessibility since 2017 as demonstrated through its work on Morgan’s Inspiration Island.
Named TIME Magazine’s 2018 one of “World’s Greatest Places,” the park utilizes many innovations to enable different abilities to play together. These include using warmer water temperatures for those with muscular issues and audio and visual cues to signal the imminent drop of the tipping bucket. While the water park is highly specialized for inclusion, it also serves as a case study of easy steps other parks can take to boost their accessibility. This could be as simple as using a zero-depth pool entry or adding deck-level interactives, so toys are easier to reach for a broader spectrum of abilities.
Themes for Immersive Environments
Escapism also plays a crucial role in the success of theme and water parks as it allows guests a temporary reprieve from the stresses of daily life. According to a survey conducted by IAAPA, 90% of guests said that they visit theme parks to escape reality and have fun. This idea of escapism is typically achieved with theming, where the designer creates a story or atmosphere that reflects a new world or transports the guest to another place or time. This can be seen in Desert Falls, a water park connected to the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas in Qatar near the border of Saudi Arabia.
“The WhiteWater team worked closely with the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas team on the creation of Desert Falls to create a water park that reflected the local animals of the region,” Jeremy said.
“We wanted to create a place where guests could fully engage. With a talented team of designers, visitors can feel as if they are on a quest spiraling down the Spinning Rapids Ride attraction or exploring endless pathways on the play structures. The resulting water park is a place where guests can challenge themselves in ways that they might not be able to do in their everyday lives. Especially for children, they can use their imagination and creativity to fully engage with the immersive environment.”
Crafting Designs to Boost Profitability
Good design can make a significant difference in the success of a water park, not only by enhancing the overall guest experience but also by promoting safety and accessibility. With more and more consumers looking for easy getaways, the need for a good design with immersive environments will become even more important for venues to be profitable. As WhiteWater continues to work with its partners to drive innovation in the water park industry, it is helping the country to take one step forward in achieving the goals set forth through the Vision 2030 projects.