Chip Cleary has never been one to settle for ordinary. A lifelong dreamer, he has spent his career in the attractions industry conjuring up one revolutionary idea after another.
When water parks really started to take off in the late 1980s, “I started to daydream about what the future of that might be,” he says. “And I realized that water park rides are almost universal. Everybody can go on a water park ride.”
Inspired by industry giants
Inspired by some of the early parks, like the ProSlide®-powered Typhoon Lagoon by Disney, he was soon dreaming up his iconic Splish Spash water park on Long Island. An industry friend put Cleary in touch with Rick Hunter, founder of ProSlide®, and the connection was instant. “ProSlide® did the entire Splish Splash,” says Cleary.
Splish Splash was pure nostalgia-meets-novelty, and the concept was an instant hit. ProSlide® added a new attraction every year for the next decade. Eventually, Splish Splash grew to house over 30 attractions—almost entirely ProSlide®—and was named by the Travel Channel as one of the top three water parks in the country.
Thinking bigger, changing the game
But in Chip Cleary style, even in the early days of Splish Splash, he was already thinking bigger! With some savvy investing, he was soon helming 14 of the largest water parks in the United States.
“Chip totally transformed the industry!” says Rick Hunter. “And he hasn’t just been a client to ProSlide®. He’s been a friend to me and a friend to the water park business. This guy really gets it, and he’s out there changing the game every day.”
Propelled by ProSlide®
Why does Cleary choose ProSlide® time and again? Like everything, it’s all about quality. “ProSlide’s® products have really been right up in the top group there of things that are different, imaginative and safe,” says Cleary. “And I really believe that that kind of design and that kind of sweating the details is another differentiation in your product. And so it’s always been very, very easy to work with the ProSlide® team.”
ProSlide®, for its part, welcomed the challenge to create this iconic indoor park. Rick Hunter explains: “We’re driven by a vision of ‘setting the course’ that bests others. We create guest experiences and ride performances that absolutely exceed expectations! We know Rulantica is going to completely change the game. And of course we’re thrilled to be working with Chip and the Mack family.”
And so was born Rulantica, the indoor-outdoor Nordic water world adventure. 32,600 square meters indoors, along with 25 attractions and all the signature thrills of ProSlide® rides.
The park will include:
Dueling PIPEline™ slides for serpentine excitement
Two heart-stopping drop slides
The MAMMOTH®, ProSlide’s® original family raft ride
The TornadoWAVE® 60 wall ride for zero-gravity excitement
The CannonBOWL™ 40, the world’s first tubing bowl experience
“When it opens,” says Cleary, “I’m hopeful that it will be the iconic indoor water park.”
Cleary never stays in one place too long.
After selling his gigantic water park company, he continued to build the industry through other roles. He did stints as Chairman of the Board for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) as well as IAAPA CEO. After that, “People heard that I was just daydreaming about what might be next!” he says.
Enter the Mack family. These owners of Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, had big dreams for an indoor water park that would create an unbeatable water adventure. “And so they asked, famously, if I would come over for four months,” says Cleary. “That was five years ago. So I’m still there!”
Cleary brought his limitless imagination and together with the Europa-Park team began conceptualizing a completely transformative park. The idea was an immersive water experience inspired by Nordic adventure. Comprehensive theming and compelling storytelling were a must.
For Cleary, there was no question. Time to call Rick Hunter and bring in ProSlide®.
Shoot for the moon
The transformational park will open in 2019, and Cleary knows ProSlide® will be nearby for long after that.
“ProSlide® has always been there to make it perfect,” he says. “Not by long discussions, not by writing a lot of things back and forth,” he says. “I mean we live in a complicated—we’re making water slides now that 15 or 20 years ago, nobody would’ve envisioned.”
And what about Cleary?
He can’t say yet where his daydreams will take him after Rulantica, but he’s not planning on leaving the water park business any time soon.
“We’ve seen this industry evolving like crazy,” he says. “I’m kind of ready to see when ProSlide® will put a water slide on the moon. It might be interesting, gravity-wise, but I’m sure you guys will think of something!”