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Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids is a whitewater raft ride through the Indian forest on the Chakranadi River, complete with the requisite turns, bounces, and drops.
The backstory for Kali River Rapids is that guests are embarking on tours provided by Kali Rapids Expeditions. They board rafts with names like Sherpa Surfer, Kali Bumper Car, and Manaslu Slammer after being warned of possible illegal loggers in the area. The queue area retains the theme of the surrounding village of Anandapur, as guests walk through decaying temple areas and past prayer flags before boarding the rafts.
Kali River Rapids is a FASTPASS attraction. The ride often does not open until 10:00 AM, and is seldom available during evening Extra Magic Hours, especially during the off-season.
Kali River Rapids debuted on March 1, 1999 as the original Asia land was finally opened.
In Sanskrit, the words Chakra and Nadi mean, loosely, "circle" and "tube." Thus you can imagine that your raft is a circular tube, or that you will be going in circles while being washed down a tube. It is doubtful that Imagineering was referring to yoga, where chakra refers to an energy center of the body, while nadi is a conduit through which the energy flows.
While it was on the drawing board, even after the bulk of the park opened in April 1998, Kali River Rapids was to have been called Tiger River Run. The name change probably was done to couple the turbulent nature of the ride with the destruction of the forest. Kali is the Hindu goddess traditionally associated with destruction (the work kali is the feminine form of "black"), but more modernly she is considered the goddess of time and change. Interestingly, when Disney created their second raft ride at Disney's California Adventure® park, they kept the form of the original name and called it Grizzly River Run.
Kali River Rapids is an enjoyable ride, but is too short. There are really only two opportunities to get very wet, and the intervening turns are tame when compared to similar rides in non-Disney parks. In fact, Kali River Rapids does not stand up well even when compared to Disney's Grizzly River Run in California.
Nonetheless, it is a superbly themed ride, and given the right circumstances you
can look forward to getting soaked - just hang out by the exit and see the state
of some of the guests as the leave. We recommend trying it on the hot days,
skipping it when the weather is chilly or overcast.
You embark on a round raft via a rotating platform that does a reasonably good job of keeping the queue moving. Your ride vehicle holds 12 people in six pairs of seats. There is a "dry" well in the center. If you have anything with you that should not get wet, you can place it here, but be forewarned - we have seen people halfway through the ride put their wet shoes into the well, which in our opinion rather defeats the purpose.
Leaving the station, you immediately begin ascending the hill. At the top, a fountain sprays straight up. If you are moving backwards up the hill, you will probably stay dry, whereas if you are at the bottom of the raft you will catch a plume as the raft passes over the fountain.
You then go down a gentle slope, with a few minor curves, past the logging station. Here is the point of the ride: non-conservative use of the environment has dangerous consequences. You pass a burned out area of rainforest with a truck teetering close to falling on you.
Now comes the one big fall on the ride. If you are backwards heading downhill, you will get a solid wet surge as your raft dips into the basin below. If you are up top and facing forward, you may escape almost completely dry.
You then follow a meandering river path with some very tame rapids. Your best bet to get wet again is if the water guns on the bridge are operating. Other than that, you'll just get jostled a bit by the dips and turns.
From the time you are released from the loading carousel until you return to it, the ride lasts about four and a half minutes.
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