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Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls features characters spun off from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle television show. Dudley is a cheerfully incompetent Canadian Mountie who pursues Snidely Whiplash, his nemesis, throughout the Great White North. Snidely inevitably tries to kidnap Nell, the girl of Dudley's dreams, and Dudley (with trusted horse, Horse) rescues her, usually in spite of himself. The original cartoons parodied everything from the implausible plots of early silent movie melodramas to the "friendly Canadian" trope, complete with really bad Quebecois accents. Being fans of the show, we think this attraction may have been inspired by Dudley's "Saw Mill" cartoon circa 1970.
Storyline aside, IOA's tribute to the cartoon is a flume ride similar to the Magic Kingdom's Splash Mountain. Riders sit single-file in log-like boats and bob along a man-made river, floating past mostly static scenes telling the story of Snidley kidnapping Nell, with Dudley's eventual rescuing.
As far as log flume rides go, Ripsaw Falls is pretty darn good. There are several medium-size drops during the 5-minute ride, and a heart-stopping 75-foot one near the end. Universal claims this is the first flume ride to “send riders plummeting 15 feet below the surface of the water”; you’re just plummeting into a tunnel but it's a nifty effect. The ride queue and loading area have some visual gags that would make the original show's writers proud, and the on-board ride audio is also good.
That being said, the theming and visuals of Ripsaw Falls aren't in the same league as Disney's Splash Mountain attraction, to which everyone inevitably compares it. Most of Ripsaw Falls' effects are non-moving statues, whereas Splash Mountain is loaded with moving animatronics, water effects and gorgeous scenery. Dudley's defects are partly intentional, in keeping with the cartoon's satirical spirit, like an exposed view of backstage following the "scenic overlook" that is cheekily labeled "overlooked scenery." But the flaws are mostly due to the ride's rushed completion (it opened a year earlier than originally scheduled), resulting in a potential classic that was never quite finished.
Riders will get wet, though not as soaked as on Bilge-Rat Barges or, say, the worst of Disney's Kali River Rapids. If you want to stay dry, however, arrive prepared with a poncho. If you're going to ride both Ripsaw Falls and Bilge-Rat Barges, see them one after another during the morning (if it's sunny enough to dry you off) or at the end of the day before slogging back to your hotel. After riding, take a moment to gauge the timing of the water cannons that go off along the exit walk. This is where you can really get drenched. Ride this after experiencing all of the Marvel Super Hero rides and Reign of Kong.
This is one of the few single-file log flues that uses lap bar restraints, and it makes for a mighty tight fit. Make sure you try the test seat outside the queue before waiting in line. If you don't want to ride, you can pump quarters into the water sprayers along the bridge leading to Skull Island, and amuse yourself dousing guests who just survived the big drop.
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