After booking our Early Bird tickets for The CitySlider event at Rouse Hill we eagerly anticipated a fun session sliding at high speed along the 325 meter long water slide. When the day dawned we struggled to get out of bed, but managed to arrive at The CitySlider just prior to the 9am start time. I know the FAQs said to arrive early, but we expected that would mean that we would stand in the queue for a little bit longer.
When we arrived and first saw the slide we were excited and looking forward to having fun. There was a reasonably large queue waiting to get started with many excited children and families.
About The CitySlider
The CitySlider is a 325 meter long portable street water slide. It is 6 meters wide and there are two sliding lanes and the water is recycled throughout the day. The CitySlider sets up for single day events in a variety of locations. They have so far held events in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland urban and regional locations. People need to be 110 cm or higher to go on the slide. For smaller children a free mini-slide is set up which is accessible throughout the day.
Tickets typically go on sale up to one month prior to each event, with cheaper early bird tickets being available. Tickets enable access to the event for a 90 minute session. The sessions usually start at 9am and the final evening session ends at 8.30pm. Early bird tickets are currently $29 per person plus booking fee, and normal tickets are $35 per person plus booking fee.
Getting Started on The CitySlider
After arriving and getting our bearings we took our printed tickets to the desk at the halfway point of the slide to obtain our wristbands. We stood in a short queue which went smoothly, and were then directed to walk to the bottom of the hill to get our inflatable rings. We stopped in to drop off our bags at the cloak room which also went smoothly.
We were surprised when we reached the bottom to see a rather large queue with one person blowing up the inflatable rings – our expectation was that as they had pre-sold the tickets for the event that would mean that they should have sufficient equipment ready for use prior to the first session. We subsequently stood in that queue for almost 30 minutes before finally receiving our inflatable rings as they were inflated one by one. We were frustrated that it was taking so long, but this delay actually worked out to be a good thing.
The CitySlider commencement time was delayed and people finally started sliding around 10-15 minutes after the ticketed commencement time. But we were surprised to see people actually walking down the slide! We asked them what had happened and they advised that there was insufficient water on the slide for people to actually slide the full length, and also there appeared to be an issue with the camber of the road so that the water was pooling on the left hand side of each slide.
The first sliders in the queue did get started but didn’t actually get much sliding in. Also the slide was very slippery and we could see many people who were trying to walk were slipping over. In addition in the bottom pool the matting which had been laid beside the pool was obviously very slippery, and a number of people getting out of the pool were slipping over onto the ground.
We could see several staff and tradespeople working on the bottom pump and asked what was happening and they advised that they were ‘fixing it’.
We finally received our inflatable rings and were able to commence the long trek back up the hill to the top of the water slide. We joined the queue and then waited around 30 minutes before we were able to have our first turn on the slide. While we were waiting we could see the staff still working to resolve the issues. They placed soap onto the slide, additional sprayers along the slide and restarted the main water supply hoses at the top of the two sliding paths. We could see that people were still having issues with sliding the full length with many people still walking for parts of the slide.
Our First Slide on The CitySlider
We were excited when we finally got to have our first turn on the slide, around one hour after we had arrived. We started off and immediately had issues. I was accompanying my seven year old son and he needed my help on a regular basis to keep sliding. I would give him a push and he would travel around 5-10 meters before coming to a halt. I had to push him so often that I didn’t bother actually sliding myself. I walked along the slide, gave him a push, then kept walking and then kept repeating the process.
As we went down I realised that there were three phases to the slide experience. The first third was on a gradual incline, then the centre section was flatter, and the final section was on a steeper incline. Overall my first experience was not great. My husband and other two older children had a bit more weight and were better able to keep going, but still got up and walked in several areas.
We finally arrived at the bottom and were relieved to see that by that time that the staff had added an extra layer of fabric onto the side matting which meant that a lot less people were slipping over.
Our Second Slide on The CitySlider
We then climbed the hill to have our second slide. We again waited in the queue for around 20-30 minutes, and while we were waiting people started arriving for the second session. We were advised that once we completed our next slide that our session was finished.
While we were waiting it appeared that people were now going down the slide at a faster speed with less people walking, so we were hopeful that the set up issues may have been better resolved.
When it was finally our turn again we had a much better experience. There was noticeably more water on the slide, although it was still pooling on the left hand side. If you stayed on the left hand side you could use your hands and feet to keep some momentum and slide down the full length. My husband and two older children were able to slide down the whole slide with reasonable speed without stopping. Unfortunately my youngest son still needed to be regularly pushed as he would spin onto the drier section, and every time I pushed him I lost momentum and had to get up a few times to get started again.
The final third of the slide with the steeper incline was lots of fun and I was finally able to just slide without having to continually push myself along. We got out and got ourselves organised before heading home.
The Mini Water Slide for Small Children
When we arrived the slide for younger children had been lying on the ground at the top of the main slide but had not been set up. During our wait in the queue for our second slide a forklift could be seen moving this slide to a different location, and it appeared that they were preparing to set it up. By the time we left it was not yet in operation.
The Verdict on The CitySlider
The idea of a super long inflatable water slide is a good one but we felt that the execution was less than ideal at the Rouse Hill event. Our expectation (after paying $29 per person for a 90 minute session) was that they should have had all of the equipment set up, tested, and everything ready to go for a 9am start. It appears that this was not the case. Apparently an issue occurred overnight which may have caused a delay in setting up the slide, however to their credit the staff were working hard to resolve the issues.
I am not sure whether the staff conduct a detailed survey of each site so they can use this information to set up the slide. It appears that they had not allowed for the road camber which is tilted to enable rain runoff to go into the drains. The CitySlider installation includes a series of flat mats which are placed underneath the full length of the slide. Perhaps they should also consider purchasing some angled or wedge mats to use on cambered road surfaces. A proper pre-survey of the site and the right installation equipment may have avoided the issue of the water pooling to one side of the slide.
I believe that the people who had booked in for the second session and later would probably have a good experience after they worked out all of the issues in the first session.
As a result of the issues we experienced I have requested a full refund for our tickets and it will be interesting to see how quickly the company actions this request – I saw some comments on their Facebook page that some people have requested refunds for a previous event cancellation and have waited for 1-2 months and have still not received their refunds.
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Are you thinking about purchasing tickets for The CitySlider, or have you already attended a session? Please leave a comment below to share your experience.