Thunder Canyon is a river raft ride found at Cedar Point in Ohio, Dorney Park in Pennsylvania and Valleyfair! in Minnesota. The Cedar Point version opened in 1986 while the Valleyfair! one opened in 1987. Both amusement park water rides were designed by Bahr Manufacturing of Germany. At Cedar Point the rafts feature a larger twelve-passenger design, at Dorney Park, the rafts are slightly smaller and allow eight passengers, whereas at Valleyfair! the raft will only allow six passengers for its 20 rafts. All rides pump at least 600,000 gallons of water throughout the entire ride. All rides feature waterfalls, rapids, and geysers, but it is said that waterfalls at Cedar Point drench a person more than the ones at Dorney Park or at Valleyfair!. The Colorado River is supposed to be the inspiration for the layout and theming for these specific river raft rides. One may find these rides at Cedar Point along the Frontier Trail, at Dorney Park at the north end of the park or at Valleyfair! in the very back of the park after the tunnel after the waterpark. This is a family ride, but generally the height requirement for all three rides is around 46 inches (3 ft, 10 in) or accompanied by an adult but it is not as strict as roller coaster height requirements. In most models of the raft, only one adult can sit close enough to the child to ensure the child's safety, therefore it is a good idea to bring one adult per one child under 46 inches.

Due to hydrodynamics and the lack of a set metal under track in the rides, there is no way possible to guarantee that a person sitting in seat #4 will not get wet, no matter what the ride operator tells you. The only ways to minimize your exposure to water are to:

  • not ride at all.
  • sit by a larger person who will cover you or block all the water that comes from a waterfall (as 80% of water exposure should come from the waterfalls.
  • wear a large sponge as a hat.
  • wear a rain poncho, rainsuit or garbage bag (yes, some people do this) over your torso and upper legs.
  • lean backward as much as possible and when the waterfall hits you, lean forward quickly. This motion will still ensure water exposure, but the less time spent under the waterfall, the better.
  • take off all the clothes that you do not want to get except for some type of non-lycra/non-spandex shorts (swimsuit bottoms are not allowed to be the outermost bottom layer) and for women and men if you want, keep on at least a bikini top or t-shirt as everyone must be wearing some style of clothing top. Put all other clothing in a coin operated locker or keep it with someone that is not riding to keep it dry. Ride operators are not allowed to hold anything on the platform for you due to Cedar Fair policy. Therefore it is a very bad idea to have your bag of a change of clothes with you just before you board the raft. Exception: Dorney Park allows a person to board with only a swimsuit, but due to consistency, this rule may change in the future.
  • keep your safety belt buckled, your feet on the floor, your hands inside the raft and do not break any of the rules at the amusement park or Thunder Canyon in case karma or the Thunder Canyon deities wish(es) to deal revenge with torrents of water.
Sources: personal experience, www.cedarpoint.com, www.dorneypark.com, www.valleyfair.com

This is where I spent most of my time for more than three months.

Yes, you must take everything with you. Yes, I know this is the only ride in the park with that rule. Yes, I know you have cell phones; everyone has cell phones. No, I will not hold your cell phone for five dollars. Yes, you have to wear clothes.

Working here was not really work. Above all, I did nothing. You see, of the five to eight positions we could work at, three involved sitting still, watching the rafts go by, and under no circumstances were we to be doing anything else. Mostly I spent this time desperately trying not to fall asleep. One of the best things this job did for me was to give me a much higher tolerance for boredom.

Things I Learned:

If the line is short, people will ride. It doesn't matter that it's 65 degrees Fahrenheit, it's raining, they have six cellphones, and they don't want to get wet. They will ride, and will most probably come back with pure hatred in their eyes.

If things go in the water, we will (usually) eventually get them back, but you probably don't want them after that; that water is gross.

No matter how loudly or often you repeat something over a loudspeaker, people will ignore you, but talking to them directly almost always works.

SuperCat is super awesome.

And most importantly, when you spend every waking hour around the same people for months, you'll make some really close friends.

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