Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are Disney’s two themed water parks in Florida. Coming from Disneyland as our home park in California, this was a real treat. If you are already doing the Park Hopper option, for only an extra $25 USD you can upgrade to the Park Hopper Plus option. This allows you access to the two water parks, two mini golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. However many days you have in the parks, you get that many days in the water parks or golf courses. We had eight days, which meant we had eight entries to the water parks. We planned one day at Blizzard Beach, and one day Typhoon Lagoon. On our days off we chose to go back to the water parks instead of hanging out at our resort pool. If you can make it work, we highly recommend doing it. Especially considering that all Disney resort hotels have free shuttles, as we have mentioned before, which made transportation to and from the water parks super easy.
If you don’t want to add this option, you can also just add a water park day. This will cost you, though. An adult one day ticket is $65, and a child is $59. It’s $5 cheaper if you do it with blockout dates. This means that there are certain dates that you cannot use your ticket (typically peak days). You can see all of the details here. As Canadians, you can also benefit from buying four days or more right now. You can get a 4-day ticket for $316, and then add the Park Hopper Plus option for only $88. This means that you can go back and forth between the parks in the same day, and also have access to the water parks. For all of the different pricing, make sure to check the actual Disney website here.
Personally, I was blown away by this water park. The theme, the attractions, the food, the music… literally all of it! Even as an adult I found it really exciting. Erica and I had the oldest kids of the bunch (age 3-8) at the time of our trip. I would say these are optimal ages for this particular park. There were lots of options for us to do as a larger group and also different areas to explore for the different age groups. This was the one we went back to four times. We couldn’t get enough of it! As Heidi mentioned, the theme is incredible… but also it was just really good for our kids ages. There was Christmas music playing, and it looked like a winter wonderland, but with bathing suits and water slides!
Chair Lift: (height 32 in) This was such a fun way to get up to the top of Mount Gushmore. This gives you access to all of the “green” slopes. Our kids preferred to wait in this line over walking up the stairs (which is an option… but we recommend the chair lift at LEAST once).
Summit Plummet: (height 48 in) For those of you that are daring enough to try a 120- foot free-falling slide, this one is for you.
Slush Gusher: (height 48 in) Another one for the risk takers of your group. This one isn’t a straight drop, it’s more of an up and down gully-style speed slide.
Teamboat Springs: (no infants) This is an amazing slide to do with the whole family or group. This is where we were thankful for the chairlift. Our kids requested it over and over. It’s a large circular raft tube that you all sit in together and slide down in. I think this was our favourite because my family of five could all do it together, and I can still hear Lexie giggling away (she was just three).
Toboggan Racers: This is an 8-lane “toboggan” race. You pick up a mat at the top (thankful that Disney thinks through how to make it easiest for families) and it’s a race to the finish. This is another ride our kids enjoyed doing multiple times. Even the three year old was able to participate.
Snow Stormers: Switchback style mat run. We are always amazed being from Canada how relaxed the American water parks are with rules. In Canada, they don’t even let you lap sit with a small child on water slides anymore. Here, I sent my newly three year old down a huge water slide face first on a mat… not knowing if she’d get scared, or flip, or anything! But of course, she was totally fine, and beyond being fine, she absolutely LOVED it. Biggest smiles ever. One of us went before her and another went behind her to help her get onto the mat and make sure she was good at the bottom.
Downhill Double Dippers: (height 48 in) Here’s another thrill ride for older kids, teens or adults. This tube ride attraction is another race style slide with two side by side slides.
Runoff Rapids: These are the slides you would find at any water slides. There are three to chose from and no height restriction.
Melt-Away Bay: This is the big wave pool. They provide tubes and life jackets. The waves were not too intense at this pool but you still need to be within arm reach of your kids, especially under seven.
Cross Country Creek: The ultimate lazy river. You can either float around on tubes or swim. With lots of water spraying all throughout I wouldn’t necessarily consider it relaxing but the kids loved it. As you can see from the slides listed above, so far there hasn’t been anything for infants (and rightfully so, they are just so little). Our parents took the two littlest babes (just under one) and floated around the lazy river. The littles found it so relaxing that they fell asleep and napped! Beware of the face sprayers, though. There was some frantic maneuvering fo sho.
Ski Patrol Training Camp: This area was great for the middle-aged kids. It was an obstacle course with lots of fun challenges to try. There were also some smaller slides here. Our kids enjoyed exploring this area. Addie decided to do a giant zipline in one of the obstacle courses. She was just turning six. My first clue that it wasn’t a good idea should’ve been that she couldn’t actually REACH the zipline. She was wearing a life jacket, so I just lifted her up, let her grab the bars, and swung her down. Well it was a good drop down, and she didn’t let go in time so she ended up hitting the end, did a FULL somersault in the air, spread eagle. All of the parents watching did a GIANT gasp, and as she came up out of the water, they all started to spontaneously clap for her. I’m so glad that she didn’t get hurt, and also a little mad I didn’t get it on video!
Tike’s Peak: (48 in and under) If you are at the waterslides with infants and toddlers this area is for you. With a wading pool, a fun character spray park and small slides, it’s a great option. My son really enjoyed this area. There were some little slides that he could go down, and fun things to help him stand in the water.
The food at any given Disney resort is an experience all on it’s own. We didn’t get to try everything but will give you the run down of a couple notable food places. All of the food was quick service… because let’s be honest, who would want a sit down at a water park?
Avalunch: ($10- $15 USD) This was a quick service stand that served specialty hot dogs, salads, dessert, chips, soft drinks and craft beer. I had the bacon mac and cheese dog and my husband tried the chili dog and they were both really good. They also had great kid friendly options for the smaller crew.
Lottawatta Lodge: ($15 USD and under) Another quick service option, this was the main lodge close to where you come in. You can find anything from a rice bowl, to flat bread, to burgers or a bratwurst. A little something for everyone, including vegetarian and vegan options.
I.C. Expeditions: All types of delicious ice cream treats. This is one of those things that we didn’t try and I later regretted. You can get a Sand Pail Sundae for $13 that looked unreal. A sand pail filled with ice cream, waffle pieces, sprinkles, sauces, topped with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Save room in your budget (and your tummies!) for this treat.
Warming Hut: Wraps, sandwiches, loaded potato barrels and the world famous turkey leg. Enough said.
Mini Donuts at Blizzard Beach: Because who doesn’t need mini donuts while they are walking around in their bathing suits?
Joffrey’s Kiosk: This is the coffee company you can find throughout the Walt Disney World resorts. If you need an afternoon pick me up, this is the place to go. Oh, and they also have the best giant donut I have ever had in my life. It was a must do for us to have a latte mid afternoon every time we were at the water parks!
We found we didn’t get many pictures at the water parks for obvious reasons. I do wish that PhotoPass had some options in the water parks and golf courses. It’s a missed opportunity in my opinion, because you don’t want to bring your camera to a water park.
Typhoon Lagoon was a bit of a different matter. I think if our first experience was as adults only or with older kids and teens we would have loved it. But doing it with little kids was a bit stressful for us. Absolutely. Between the two, if you have kids six and under, we hands down recommend Blizzard Beach. I didn’t particularly love Typhoon Lagoon, but I know of families that have only been to this water park and love it. I definitely preferred this water park over Blizzard Beach as an adult. Ultimately, they are both incredible. But if I could only choose one to go back to, this would be it. I loved the sand, and the water slides were more thrilling than the other park (gimme dat adrenaline).
Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool: This surf pool feels like the real thing. With waves that can get up to 6 feet high, it’s no joke. We found this a little too intense with the ages our kids were. Even now, three years later, I would feel much more comfortable with my kids splashing around in the waves. I really didn’t love it with littles. I watched several grandmas and parents in ankle deep water get pulled down into the current with littles in their arms. As adults, body surfing in this pool was the real deal. Our dad used to take us body surfing in California, so this took me back to those days. Thankfully, this water was definitely warmer than the Pacific Ocean!
Castaway Creek: Another lazy river, it goes around the entire water park. We found this one a little more splashy. One of the fun things about the lazy rivers, though, are that you can take just a section of it to get to the other side of the park, or you can ride it around (and around, and around).
Ketchakiddee Creek: (48 in or under) Typhoon Lagoon’s version of the play area for the smaller kids. This includes smaller slides, a ship wreck themed splash park and a small raft ride. This was great… but it was really, really packed. I think because the other pool is so intense, you really are going to find all of the parents with littles here.
Keelhaul Falls: This is a tube ride that felt more familiar… only with a little extra Disney magic. You know the type, down hill thrills and little pools to get trapped in.
Mayday Falls: Another tube ride, this is the longest slide in the park. It’s a really beautiful ride through caves and water falls. This is a single tube ride, which my kids didn’t really love… or maybe I was the one that didn’t like that. As an extrovert I would have loved to have the option of a double tube.
Gangplank Falls: (no infants) Another group raft ride but this one only fits 4 people. We liked the raft ride at Blizzard Beach better but it was still fun. My 3 year old did NOT like this one. She was constantly being dumped on by water in the face… if you have kids that don’t like to take showers, maybe skip it.
Humunga Kowabunga: (height 48 in ) For the daredevils among you, these slides are a 5-story drop… in the dark. Yikes! My 9 year old went on this… twice. I didn’t love it, but she did!
Storm Slides: These are three 300-feet curving body slides. Good for all ages, not too intense.
Shark Reef: This was hands down my favourite attraction in this park. There was a saltwater pool with real fish and sharks (don’t worry, they were harmless!) that you snorkeled across. This freaked some of the kids out but I found it extremely enjoyable. I had a clinging 6 year old on my back the whole time, but she and I were both glad to have done it. It’s really an incredible experience, one you can’t do everywhere. Heads up, this pool is much much cooler because of the fish. The life jackets helped (everyone gets one), but it was also a cooler day, so getting in was very chilly; but like they’ve said, it was so cool. Unlike snorkeling in Hawaii where the coral reef is right there, the pool was deep so there was space to slowly tread water. You basically swim in a “C’ starting out on one side and then getting out in the other. It was unforgettable. Not going to lie, this one freaked me out a little bit. I have snorkeled in Hawaii but anytime the fish got too close I would freak out, and seeing as this pool had Nurse Sharks and Blacktip Reef Sharks I was even more nervous! Also in order to not scare the fish away, you have to swim and try to remain calm (did we mention the sharks?) Little hard to stay calm if you’re like me! 😬
Bay Slides: (60 in or shorter) Two side by side water slides. Good for smaller kids, but I would recommend doing them when the waves are not on. They feed into a wading area of the bigger pool and we found the current a little too strong when the waves were going.
Crush ‘n’ Gusher: (height 48 in ) Single, double or triple roller coaster style tube ride. This ride uses water to push you up a hill and then back down again… so prepare to get drenched! (Duh… it’s a water slide!) This was unreal. We split up girls and guys, and my girlfriend and I just flew on this one! It was by far the coolest water slide I have ever been on. Each run was so different we found ourselves lining up again and again to get to experience them all!
Water Slides and Babies
The parks are definitely not for the babies. They have done an excellent job of making sure that there is an area they can splash and play in, but ultimately having other people there to trade off with made it fun for the parents. This is in no way a “just for kids” water park. I would love to go back with adults only and tear up this place. Or I could just wait for my boys to get a little bigger as well.
Typhoon Lagoon had sand and wading pools which the toddlers really enjoyed. If you have room in your suitcase, bring along some sand toys. This little lady featured above was very timid and didn’t like the commotion of the kids area. She was content to play in the little tide pools and sand. We set up for the day in an area that had chairs close to the little river of water.
One of the things that I was really worried about with an infant was the sun. We were coming from “Rain-couver,” so they hadn’t ever really had the chance to be in the sun. We snagged some Babyganics sunscreen at Target before we left and made it a habit to put it on right in the morning before we dressed him. We also had rash guard bathing suits with full sleeves and bucket hats. This meant that the majority of their body was protected without having to worry about re-applying sunscreen. Bucket hats made sure that their ears and the backs of their necks didn’t get burnt. Make sure it has a chin strap so that they can’t pull it off. Luckily they also had cabanas to sit under which provided great shade as well, with plenty of pool chairs to enjoy. I spent a lot of time under the cabana with my pasty white skin that never tans.
Tricks and Tips
One of the things I need to mention is my kids didn’t respond overly well to the chemicals in the water parks or the Disney pools. They got red and splotchy, and it wasn’t awesome. If your kids are sensitive that way, have some soothing topical cream like Aveeno Anti Itch, and an Antihistamine if you desire. Make sure to rinse off at the end of the day, don’t skip that step.
Life jackets are supplied at both parks (and the hotel pools as well). I packed a life jacket on the plane so that would’ve been nice to know ahead of time. Towels are also available at the water parks. You use your Magic Band to sign them out then leave them there. Speaking of your Magic Band, they are waterproof, and you are fine to wear them… but heads up, our dad did have his pop off in the lazy river which wasn’t awesome. It eventually did get returned to him though. (Thank goodness we had personalized them all when we ordered them with our first names. Definitely recommend!!!)
Remember that at the water park you spend a lot of time outside of the water soaking wet. On nice, hot days, this is a welcome way to cool off. Our days were on the cooler side (24 C or 75 F), which is fine if you’re out in the sun and dry. Half of us found that we needed to warm up in the sun throughout the day to warm up.
Most Disney resorts (if not all) do not have direct bus access to the water slides. Our bus went to one of the theme parks first and then to the water park. We did not have to transfer buses, but it is nice to mentally prepare for a slightly longer bus ride (depending on which resort you are at).
You are allowed to bring snacks and drinks into the water park. Some foods that we like to bring to the water slides are chips, salsa, pre-cut veggies, hummus, pepperoni sticks, cheese sticks, yogurt and canned pop or juice. There’s something about being at the water park that makes you want a can of bubbly, and buying drinks in the parks can get expensive. Save your money for the good stuff, and bring in cans or juices. A quick Uber to the nearest grocery store once you arrive in Orlando will help set you up for your vacation.
The water parks do close annually for refurbishment, so be aware of those times. You can see upcoming planned closures here. Also with seasonal weather or shifts in weather they may close as well. Be warned, if you have purchased a day in the parks, and they need to close early due to a storm or other extreme weather patterns they will not refund you for the remainder of the day. When we were there last year, they had to close the park an hour after opening. Generally if they have to close within the first four hours of opening you may be eligible for a rain check. They did end up giving us a rain check so we could come back another day. For that trip, we had only purchased a one day water park pass so we appreciated the rain check!
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Have a magical day!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle