Inspired by a Mental Floss Instagram post, we started a journey to cross off a bucket list item and to set not 1, but 2 Guinness World Records. To reach our goal we had to travel to Wisconsin Dells, WI, A.K.A. “The Water park Capitol of the World”.
After the original inspiration, we immediately called around to all the water parks in Wisconsin Dells, trying to find out if the waterslide rumors were true.
The rumors seemed to be KIND OF true. We found about 100 slides via phone calls and set our goal. We would strive to slide 100 waterslides in 24 hours.
Next the research began, we looked into all the water parks in the area, trying to find the biggest bang for our buck. We settled on 3 water parks, close in proximity, and the total amount of slides would add up to almost reach our number.
A Google map was created with locations plotting our path. This helped us visualize the path and plan all the logistical pieces. Hotels, grocery store, order of the water park visits. We also had the variable of water park operating hours to deal with. We chose a date early in the summer before the parks got busy, and we chose a Thursday, hoping to dodge weekend holiday makers.
We made reservations and got all park and parking passes printed. Submitted an application to Guinness World Records. Submitting that application was an interesting learning experience, and we still have work to do to get an official ruling. Our documentation is on point, but our application still needs approval and review.
Next, we thought through a bunch of technology solutions to document our world record: waterproof camera, gopro, intern…we settled on taking our iPhone 7s, zipped in ziplock bags.
We know us very well. We know we’re not going to push our event like normal people. So, we created a design, printed 3 t-shirts each through Printful, and wore those t-shirts every day for the month ahead of the event. In this way, we acted as our own billboards, promoted our event, and did it in our own way.
We each bought 3 of these and wore them every day.
Once our shirts arrived, we started production on our music video. We used this as a fun way to promote what we were planning and a way to start getting people excited and aware. We had so much fun during production.
I’ve been waiting so long, these lines are too long.
We knew we wanted a way to keep our supporters (and ourselves) notified about the progress of our project. We created a landing page to house the description, the video, the maps, the temperature, the timer on the event and most importantly, the list of slides we’d be riding. We knew we didn’t want to invest the time to create exactly what we were envisioning, but we got the critical elements in place.
Flew to Wisconsin Dells.
Upon arrival we spent time driving around to make sure our plan made sense. We adjusted the plan where necessary and did a dry run. The night was topped off with an awesome root beer float.
Waited out in front of Mt. Olympus Waterpark for 2 hours with all the other 12 year olds. Rearing and ready to go, we trotted up to the first slide, and were immediately sent back to the bottom because we forgot to grab a tube. Off to a rocky start but we snagged a tube and we were off!
Guys, riding waterslides is really fun.
Or timeline was 11 slides every hour, 3 hours per water park. We knew lines would play a huge part in our day, so we had to make sure to capitalize on kids’ waterslides and slides that came in multiples. The slides that came in multiples (we coined them 6 packs), were the racers. This meant they were really tall, and the ride was fast. These were grueling because of the physical repetition, but also because we had to come up with a routine to keep track of who rode what slide. It was mentally and physically draining over time.
Pretty early on, we got noticed by a real jerk employee who was keeping us off the slides. This was very frustrating, but we adjusted our plan to make sure that he didn’t have the chance to waste our time again. He wasted about an hour of our time total, and we didn’t have much time to spare.
We quickly learned to take a minute to put our shoes back on after every slide.
Cam is afraid of heights, and there were some scary slides on the list, we all knew it was coming…we got stuck at the top of a very tall slide. We were stuck there for a good 20 minutes talking Cam into overcoming her fear. With the help of some very nice passers-by, thoughts of her little guy Declan, and the voice of miah in her ear, she was able to take the plunge. Cam was petrified, but conquered it!
31/100 slides down — on pace
We hopped in the car, fueled our bodies with gatorade and snacks, tossed on some sunscreen, and drove to Noah’s Ark Waterpark.
When we rolled into the park, we found quite a few of the slides turned off. We rode as many waterslides as we could as quickly as possible. We had studied the maps ahead of time so we were able to be as efficient as possible. The slides that were turned off were starting to add up, but we kept at it and were mostly on pace.
Cam got stuck scared again, but only took about 2 minutes to conquer her fear. We were drained and needed food and water. We skipped the last two scary slides.
59/100 slides down — on pace
We staggered to the car, drank allllll the drinks, ate our snacks and high-tailed it to the Wilderness Hotel.
Check-in took longer than we thought, but we learned that some of the water parks in the resort would be open until 10PM. 3 extra hours!
We ate a few more snacks and headed toward the most challenging slides first. We hiked up loads of stairs and crossed a precarious bridge and Cam had to do a walk of shame down the stairs because of the scary loop-de-loop slide. She rode a different slide while miah sat one out, then we proceeded to knock out the rest of the slides in that section of the resort.
This resort was broken up into 6 or 7 smaller water parks, all closing at different times, so we had to use our brains (running on fumes at that point) to work out a strategy as we sped to the section that was closing next.
When it comes time to execute a plan, STICK TO YOUR PLAN. Especially if your plan has you walking in the sun for hours on end, brain function and decision making skills dwindle with passing time. Even if you refuel your body, your brain will tire. We laid out contingencies for the likely scenarios and stuck to our plan.
68/100 slides down — a little behind pace
We hit the next park, and we had our routine for efficient sliding down pat. We were like Navy Seals storming the place. We rode two slides and hit the 70 mark, this was a real turning point in the mental game. All of a sudden the goal seemed extra reachable.
We busted our bums, hitting all the slides, documenting, and keeping our followers updated. There were a few supporters that were having a blast with us, so we made sure to send out as much info as possible.
97/100 slides down — on pace
All of a sudden we were in this long line with one more park to go and we were sliding slide 97. NOTHING could stop us. We put so much work into this goal, and both of us are so cautious, and such planners, that we were realistic about the fact that we were facing so many unknown variables. And now, variables or no variables, we were getting 100 slides.
We stepped outside to refuel our bodies. 1 water park, 2 hours, and 3 slides to go. A piece of cake.
Wha wha wha, the last water park only had 2 slides!!! OMG
99/100 slides down — out of water parks
Cam remembered seeing a Dino Slide while we were driving around the area. We found it and got our 100th slide in only 11 hours.
100/100 slides down — WE DID IT!
Weeee … did it! We can do anything! So can you!
Headed to dinner.
Commence SLIDE SCARE 2017. While we were looking back through our documentation to ensure our success, a photo was accidentally deleted and put us a slide down. We went to emergency contingency status.
99/100 slides down — Dinner ruined, but we were refueled and on a mission.
We went around to all the hotels near us begging to use their slides. No matter how Cam charmed, explained, begged…nothing. We tried all the angles. After being shot down at multiple locations, an awesome dude helped us out. 10 seconds into explaining, he gave us a room key to get into the pool. We crushed 5 slides in 2 minutes to make sure we were safe with our Guinness World Record. That dude (Chris) saved the day.
We headed back to the resort, cleaned up and stayed up to organize our evidence. We found our missing photo and realized we DID originally meet our 100/100 goal and the 5 extra were just a bonus and put us at 105 waterslides each.
105/100 slides down
SLIDE SCARE 2017 averted.
Slept hard. Headed to breakfast and to the airport. What an amazing day. We are so lucky to have each other, and have this amazing dream. We both work so hard at all moments of each day toward this dream. And days like this will live with us both forever.
Throughout the event, we kept our peeps posted on the progress through Instagram, Twitter, and our landing page. We worked hard to let people live vicariously through us. The challenges, the successes, the let-downs. They are our supporters and our buddies and they were invested in our goal.
The next day we spent the time to organize the list of slides to be in the order we slid on them. This was 1) because of Guinness World Records, and 2) because we worked so hard to get to this point. We wanted to remember our path and provide unquestionable documentation.
It was a bit disappointing looking at the maps afterwards and finding some slides we overlooked and finding a WHOLE park we couldn’t locate in the pressure of the moment.
Off to the next adventure, 1000 waterslides in 1 year.
What we learned
1. Let inspiration light your fire…for…waterslides
• Don’t be hasty, but find a way to quickly invest in your original concept.
• We commit to our ideas by adding them to our Trello board, which allows us to devote time and effort toward bigger, more obscure ideas, instead of moving past the concepts because they aren’t convenient.
2. Find any and all water park maps
• Anything visual keeps us motivated.
3. Make your game plan
• Sort out the logistics. Ask the big questions and start finding the answers.
• Our big question: How do we ride 1 waterslide every 5.4 minutes?
4. Gather your gear
• Hotels, tickets, passes, WATER SHOES, oh my.
• Prepare for everything ahead of time, that way all effort goes toward the goal, not the details.
• And! We got to Google the phrase ‘waterproof fanny pack’!
5. Strategize your marketing
• Make the most out of everything you do.
• Don’t be afraid to promote yourself.
• Don’t promote yourself in a way that isn’t you.
6. Keep your crew notified
• Set up a way for peeps to track your progress.
7. Hype the event
• Set yourself up for success in this arena by pushing your event/product in a way that works for YOU.
• Authenticity comes from you being yourself.
8. Go all in
• If you’re committed to a project, go all in, every time.
• Work to find smart ways to integrate a working project into your daily life and run with it.
9. Stick to your plan
• Research beforehand, and strategize well, stick to your plan.
• Changing your mind mid stream often causes time to be wasted.
• Smart moves instead of fast moves.
10. Share share share
• Let your supporters know how you are feeling, what you are worrying about, and what you are confident about.
• Let people know your problems and watch you find solutions.
• Work that Social Media.
• 3 water parks
• 105 unique waterslides each
• 156 flights of stairs climbed each
• 27,500 steps each
• 12.2 miles walked each
We did it!