Midwest Tallest Family Raft Ride – The Hurricane – Opens Friday, May 27, 2005

CONTACT:
Heidi Fendos, PR Counsel, 414-778-0766 or [email protected]

WISCONSIN DELLS – In honor of its 10th anniversary, The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort will be open the Midwest’s tallest four-person family raft ride today, Friday, May 27!

This exciting waterslide takes four thrill seekers down a long dark tunnel ride that plummets 58 feet before dropping into a funnel. There, guests spin around several times and then splash into a pool below. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the summer tourism season.

CATCH IT IN ACTION – The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort is conveniently located off of I – 94 in Wisconsin Dells. Exit 92 and follow Hwy 12 west.

10 Years Have Been Witness to Major Growth

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — In 1994, approximately $1.6 million of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau (WDVCB) annual budget was generated from room tax revenue. Then in 1995, a 75-room hotel, Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort opened and introduced a new concept – the indoor waterpark. What happened next is history, as other hotels with waterparks quickly followed (Great Wolf in 1997 and Kalahari in 2000) and the Dells region quickly turned into the “Waterpark Capital of the World.”

Today, the bureau’s annual room tax revenue is approximately $5.8 million, and the number of tourists staying at hotels, motels or resorts in the Dells region has increased from 1 million in 1994 over 1.8 million in 2003. The Dells region has become a year-round destination, with tourists spending over $840 million annually, as compared to $275 million in 1994. In addition, nearly 22,000 jobs in this region are directly tied to tourism.

While the numbers are staggering, they are also a true testament to the success of the waterpark industry and to the fact that the Wilderness Resort has been a major catalyst for change and growth in this region.

Today, the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, which is still family-owned, has over seven football fields of indoor and outdoor waterparks. It has earned the distinction by many of its guests, as being a cruise ship on land with so many family activities that one doesn’t know where to start having fun.

It is the only hotel in the region with two separate indoor waterparks (totaling over 135,000 square feet), one which is home to the Midwest’s only interactive wave pool and the Dells’ only 5-person family raft ride. A second area is home to the Dells’ tallest indoor 4-person family raft ride and a relaxing lazy river.

The resort also has two outdoor waterparks (totaling 135,000 square feet) and a new outdoor wave pool (15,450 square feet) which opened in 2004. A 30,000-square-foot, four-story, dry foam play park called Timberland Play House, Little Links executive par three course, perfect for teaching children the game of golf and Wilderness Woods, a championship 18-hole golf course.

In addition, the resort now has 443 wilderness themed guest rooms to choose from, as well as a variety of upscale lodging options such as 40 two-bedroom villas, 76 three-four-bedroom condos, and 19 four-five-bedroom deluxe cabins. In 2003, the resort also opened Wilderness on the Lake, an upscale 108-unit two-three bedroom condominium resort overlooking beautiful Lake Delton.

According to Joe Eck, sales and marketing director for the resort, “Over our past 10 years, we have truly grown into one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the Midwest. And, more recently we’ve captured national attention with appearances on Good Morning America and news coverage in USA Today. Through it all, we’ve learned that in order to stay popular you have to be responsive to your customers’ concerns and requests. And, you have to constantly add more fun activities for families to enjoy.”

This summer in celebration of the resort’s 10th anniversary, the owners will be adding two new heart-pounding waterslides, the Hurricane and Cannonbowl, geared more toward teens, an important target audience that strongly influences where their parents select to go on vacations.

“We have also been quick to respond to national trends, such as adding more lodging options for extended families and groups as well as upscale options,” said Eck. “Every family, no matter what their budget, wants their vacation to be memorable and it’s our job to make sure that we accomplish that at all levels.”

Located on 310 acres of pristine woodlands in Wisconsin Dells, the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort is easily accessible from Interstate 90 and 94, and located just minutes from popular attractions such as Dells Boat Tours, the Original Wisconsin Ducks, Ho-Chunk Casino, and Devil’s Lake and Mirror Lake State Parks.

For more information on the resort or the Wild Perks frequent stay program, or for reservations, visit their Web site at www.wildernessresort.com or call 1-800-867-WILD (9453).