Summertime heat and humidity sent me out on a quest this week to find a way for my 5-year old son to keep cool and have fun. Sure, we have a public pool membership, but as temps rise the pool packs until you feel like you're mingling in a bowl of vegetable soup - give me a C for CROWDED Alex.
I'd been eyeing a variety of summer stay cool water toys at various dept. stores in my area and happened up on the Banzai Double Drop Falls inflatable water slide. Originally priced at over 300.00, Walmart had marked it down to 199.00. I was still hopeful for a further price reduction, but the manager indicated he didn't think they were coming down soon. I thought what the heck, it's hot, summer's going fast and we want to have some fun.
I lugged the thing home (it's a big box, and about as heavy as a little giant ladder) and took it to the backyard to set up. The first thing you see when you open the box is a big red WARNING sign that says YOU CANNOT RETURN THIS TO THE RETAILER, if you have problems, call this 800 number. That made me a bit nervous because I don't want to be out 200.00 if the thing is flawed, etc., waiting on call center to troubleshoot my problems.
Undaunted, I proceeded to unpack the various components, motor, ripstop material slide, stakes and directions (which I hopefully wouldn't have to read.) I must say, the thing goes up in a snap - the directions were pretty straight forward, I didn't even have to draw upon my rocket engineering background.
Despite the fact that the behemoth is "made in China" from the ground up, quality and workmanship seems solid and the rip-stop fabric "slide" portion appears durable and well crafted. I attached the motor, drove in the stakes, filled the water bag anchors, plugged in the motor and fired up the hose. The motor whirred, the hose and sprinklers whizzed and the thing sprang to life about 9 ft. tall in my backyard.
My son and his buddy looked on in awe as the giant leapt to its full height and inflated in about 2 minutes. Anxiously they climbed the 7' climbing wall in the back and slid down the slide into a watery splashdown at the bottom. Over and over, all afternoon they went up and down that thing - a veritable water park attraction in my own backyard! I'd have to say at around 200.00 or less if you can hold out for clearance this Banzai Double Drop Falls is a great deal and a lot of fun. It says "for 5 years and up," but I'm certain that under supervision, younger kids would love it too. It looks solidly built and tough enough for a number of seasons of use.
PIRATE POINTERS: 1. This thing is big, you better have a bit of a yard to contain it and the kids that are going to be buzzing up and down it. 2. You're likely going to have trouble returning it to a retailer if you don't like it or are having problems with it - so keep that in mind. 3. Put down a mat or pad of some kind around the egress portion of the slide or you're going to have a mud puddle really quick once the thing gets going. 4. It's a load to put in and take out of your car. If you're not fit enough to shove around a 50 lb. ladder in you're home, you're going to need a buddy to lug this to the setup site. Enjoy.
WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND -- My son was really looking forward to having a go on his water slide which he just got for Christmas. We live in New Zealand. Our xmas is in summer and very hot. We opened it up to find that it is soooo small and nothing like the picture on the box. It looks like the slide has been enlarged and or the kids have been made smaller, it is so unfair that manufacturers can get away with this blatant trickery. My son's bummed and I'm out of pocket 45 bucks cheers for that!
PORTLAND, OREGON -- We purchased an inflatable water slide (Banzai "Side Winder") in July of 2008 for a summer toy for our children. The vendor, Toys R Us, promised us that the product was guaranteed by the manufacturer. When the product failed within two weeks, Manley/ToyQuest denied our request for a replacement. They told us we "might" be eligible for a replacement in the summer of 2009. We sought help from Toys R Us, but they refused any responsibility.
Finally we went to the credit card company, who after looking into it, determined that both parties were within their rights to lie and not back up their guarantees. Amazing how these big companies can do that to their customers and get away with it. We were treated poorly and rudely by customer service representative from Manley, and Toys R Us gladly took our money without providing us with any service or guarantee on a faulty product. Beware of buying anything from Toy Quest and Toys R Us. (We also purchased the extended warranty but it did us no good because the product failed before 30 days.)
NEWBERRY, SOUTH CAROLINA -- We purchased the Banzai Falls water slide late one summer. We took very good care of the slide. Making sure that it was located in a shaded area, all the water was drained and it was folded up and stored for the winter. When we put the slide up the next summer (9 months later) it had a HUGE split right down the seam line (approx. 3 ft. long). I immediately contacted the company and they refused to do anything about it. I still had the original receipt when we purchased it. The only thing I could get from the company was to gorilla glue it back together, that did not work either.
Basically we paid $250.00 for something that was used maybe a dozen times. This product is totally not worth the money and disappointment.
MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- Bought the banzai falls Six Flags waterslide for a pool. Great invention --unfortunately the one I purchased for $300 at Walmart has defective materials. Made in China. Imagine that, on the top side panels. Used it for a few months last summer. Brought it out this summer and after a few weeks, big holes blew out on the sides, first one then the other -- material is just breaking down. The rest of the slide is fine -- just those two sides.
I've called Toy Quest 5 times, on hold forever. Talked with 3 different people - the supposed boss, won't return emails or phone calls. Bottom line nobody expects to pay $300 for a one summer pool toy. It wouldn't have been that hard for them to just say "OK. You're right." And send me one without the defective panel. Beware Toy Quest not up to the challenge so far.
HONG KONG, WASHINGTON -- Here is the Deal, Manley toys are Hong Kong based. They source their products direct from China, not your usual China where products are being tested, but the real China where materials are low grade and potentially can harm consumers! Remember this, each toy or product is from one manufacturing warehouse, and there are thousands of manufacturers!!
So basically they find the manufacturer that costs the cheapest, so one product may pass US tests, then the product is changed according to where they can find the cheapest of course, you can see this on each item, look up MC codes, they are different each month on each item, now that is dodgy right! Manley toys also produce the banzai waterslides you see on websites Target and a lot more!
Buy the waterslides if you dare, the customer service department used to be US based, now they had to cut costs so now it's Hong Kong based, they under pay their staff as usual in HK, and the service you get when the waterslides break is damn shocking, how do I know? Because I know a person that worked there! Stories of customers' kids getting damaged or injured on these things are common, and customers getting ripped off trying to claim their warranty is even more common.
All I can say is "buy" from Manley toys please, because you will have a roller coaster ride with their products and service.
SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA -- I purchased a simple Banzai ring sprinkler but there were multiple holes in the seam when I pulled it out of the box! We had to duct tape it just to make it semi-work so my kids weren't too disappointed. Customer service will not replace it without a receipt. I don't have a receipt because I bought it months before summer and it Sat in the box and waited for it to get hot out. So I'm out $10. Yeah, it was inexpensive but more importantly my kids were so excited for this and for what? A piece of junk. I would still like my money back on principle but based on other reviews I get the feeling this company is more about ripping people off. Don't buy from this company!
TORRINGTON, CONNECTICUT -- I bought this new 3D dolphin lagoon pool by Banzai for my granddaughter's birthday. We opened the box and blew up the pool and gave my granddaughter the goggles which were supposed to have made the 3D graphics appear big and real but that is not the case here! The goggles did nothing to make the dolphin and the turtle look 3D. I tried them on myself and had the very same effect, NOTHING! I paid $25.99 plus tax and believe me, it is not worth a penny! I could have bought a pool for less money and had the same effect as this 3D pool!!!!!!
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Okay this is just downright cruel and misleading. The Soak 'N Splash from Toy Quest is a waste of money. You would think that this company would double check all of its products especially ones intended for kids. The water slide was set up just as the directions stated. We turned on the water and it just came apart right at the seams. Not just a tiny bit, but about a good foot. My kids were very angry to say the least. The customer service is a joke, I could not get anyone to answer the phone or could I leave a message. I would recommend that everyone stay away from any products this company makes. Total rip-off.
Hello, my name ** . I live in Fresno, Ca. I purchased a waterslide from Toy-R-Us for 544.00 dollars, and before completing the transaction I asked about the warranty. The gal said "oh, it's 1 year" I was satisfied and made the purchase. Five hundred dollars is a lot of money when you're not working, but the kids really wanted the slide, so we did it. May 29th 2010, is when we got it didn't use till June 12th. Now I live in Fresno and weather permitted we used the slide only a few times through June and July. Come August we wanted to use it for a party, on August 21st, I set it up and it was ready to go and boom! ...it ripped a huge hole on the side. The seam tore apart.
I contacted the customer service, they said send them e-mail. I sent the receipt, pictures of the damage. They e-mailed back and said "Sorry, it's past 60 days." I wrote back not understanding what 60 days meant. I said "Toys-R-Us said 1 year." They wrote back "well Toys -R-Us is wrong it's 2 months warranty." I wrote back "What kind of scam is this? My slide blew up in less than 75 days and we didn't even use it that much cause of the weather..." They didn't care. I sent them 3 e-mails, they said "Sorry, but thank you for buying Banzai waterslides goodbye." I'm pissed what can I do????