So, you’ve hit the middle of your vacation and are looking for something a little tamer than the theme parks but aren’t quite ready to spend the day lazing around your hotel.  Why not consider spending a day at one of Walt Disney World’s two water parks?  Wondering which one is the best fit for your family?  This week we’ll take a day to chill out at Blizzard Beach, then next week we’ll blow on over to Typhoon Lagoon, so put your flippers on, and let’s take a dip!


Let me just start out this little two-parter by saying “I’m not a water park person.”  I saw a band-aid floating in the wave pool at my local water park when I was 10, and that was it. I never visited another water park again until we took advantage of Disney’s Water Park Fun and More option as part of the Salute to the Armed Forces offer one year.  Yes, I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s just how I roll.  And if you have stories about floating bandages at the Disney water parks, don’t tell me!!  So, as a non-water park person, I have to admit, I love the Walt Disney World offerings!  True to form, there are great details, fun theming and a general magical feeling at the parks, so don’t let preconceived ideas about water parks keep you from experiencing all Walt Disney World has to offer!

Family Friendly

Blizzard Beach is probably my pick for the more family friendly park.  Of course there are the big slides (more on that later), but Blizzard Beach is my pick because of their kids’ areas.  Tike’s Peak caters specifically to those water warriors 48 inches and under.  It’s a kid-sized water park with slides, pools, spraygrounds and more.  Although great, the kids area isn’t very unique.  We were most impressed (and spent lots of time) at Ski Patrol Training Camp.  Aimed at tweens, Ski Patrol offers a great place for those who aren’t quite daring enough for the big boys but are far too cool to play in the kiddie area.  With slides, a zip line, icebergs to traverse and more, this area is a hit for our family.  And if you can talk the kiddos into a trip up Mt. Gushmore, the whole family can hop into a raft and slide down Teamboat Springs, the longest family flume ride at 1200 feet of splashy fun!


Get Park Wise: Life jackets are available at no charge (a refundable deposit or collateral may be required) at Blizzard Beach.  Stop at Snowless Joe’s for more info!  Towel rentals are also available here, but if you remember to pack a few from the room, you won’t be out two bucks a pop.


Plummeting Slides

For those ready to ascend Mt. Gushmore, there’s no shortage of great slides to w(h)et your appetite for cool thrills!  Seven slides start atop Mt. Gushmore and plummet, splash and float down its sides.  The piece de resistance of Blizzard Beach is Summit Plummet, a 120′ slide that sends you down to the bottom of the mountain at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!  A close second is the Slush Gusher sending its riders down 90 feet of raging water.  Hold onto your bathing suits!  You’ll also find racing slides, as well as a few tamer options around the mountain.


Get Park Wise:  While the chair lift up Mt. Gushmore is fun and offers great views of the park, if you’re in a hurry, take the stairs. The lines here can get long.

Noshes, Lockers and More

Blizzard Beach offers lots of snack options and three locations serving meal food.  You are looking at counter service options at the water parks, but chances are if you’re swimming you’re not trying to load up at lunch.  Coolers are allowed, but be aware that glass containers and alcohol are not.


Get Park Wise: The water parks offer refillable mugs good for one day.  If you’d like to go more than one day, a discounted bar code sticker can be purchased for additional trip to the water parks.  Refills are unlimited in quantity.

Lockers are available for rent to store your gear if everyone in your party is planning to hit the slides.  We’ve both rented a locker and left our bags under a chair or near foliage without issue, however, I recommend a locker if you have valuables, as your items could easily walk out the front gate while you’re enjoying your day.  Lockers available near the entrance and a few are located further in, as well.


Be sure to check with your hotel concierge upon arrival or the official site prior to your vacation, as the hours of operation can fluctuate with the season.  Additionally, Blizzard Beach tends to close for its annual refurbishment during the winter months (which I always thought was slightly ironic, but I guess those escaping the snow don’t want to swim in it).

How do you (or would you) spend your day at Blizzard Beach?

  • Cory Gross

    Thanks for the review! I know we’re going to be hitting it at least once during our trip in September.

    Some questions though…

    How do the lockers – and for that matter, paying for anything else – work? Do they take MagicBands or should we be packing a pocket of spare change?

    How are the slides on your back? The thing I like least about waterparks are when the segments of the slides don’t line up exactly and it feels like it’s going to rip a strip of flesh off my back. Most big fast slides I’ve been on were a single piece and didn’t have that problem, but I also tend avoid fast-looking slides that do (and I sit up on the rest so I’m not even on my back).

    • pinstripes

      the locker (as of last october) were rented at the nearby desk. You can get towels there as well. They give you a key on an elastic “wrist” band. I believe we charged it all to the room (via room key) so I assume the magic bands would work the same.

      As for your back … Most of the slides at blizzard beach are tube / raft / mat based so not an issue, with the exception of the huge drop slide on top of mt wedgemore.
      At typhoon lagoon there are more slides that you ride on your skin but the gaps are pretty tight and I don’t recall losing any skin off of my shoulder blades. We always visit both water parks each trip.

      • BlahBlahson

        I know what you’re talking about, and none of the slides at Disney are notable Back slashers or have those terrible gaps, with the possible exception of Summit Plummet just because of the uncomfortable possibilities of 50+MPH skin/speed/water/plastic. I’ve ridden it before and been fine, and I’ve ridden it before in some other manner and have cursed it for leaving big red streaks.

      • Cory Gross


  • BradyNBradleysMom

    I wish they would retheme Blizzard Beach to “Frozen”. They could turn the whole place into the kingdom of Arendelle and have Olaf as the mascot instead of the alligator they have now.

    The big tower slide (looks like a ski jump) could be Elsa’s ice castle and they could make all the other buildings look like the village buildings of Arendelle. All the snow people and things could look like the ones from Frozen.

    Add little trolls everywhere and have meet and greets with Anna and Elsa and Kristoff and Olaf.

    How cool would that be?

    • BC_DisneyGeek

      That’s a great idea. That could be a huge draw (especially if the princesses are there for meet and greets), and the theme is already largely in place.

    • martinjbell1986

      That is an awesome idea

    • pinstripes

      ssssshhhhhh lets keep that quiet.
      While thematically it makes sense, I kinda like the gator. Plus its crowded enough at blizzard beach without the frozen hysteria. Perhaps as an addition to the park?

      • DisWedWay

        They should clean up and and re-open River Country the original Disney premier themed Water Park to cut down on the crowds.

    • BlahBlahson

      Blizzard Beach already has the most unique theme of any water park in the world, how DARE you try to make it better. 🙂

  • aaronc

    My favorite part of both water parks, and I think it gets overlooked easily is the small sprinklers on the paths exposed to the sun. It’s a pain in the but to walk around in sandals and then have to hold them on all the slides. Keeping the walking paths wet keeps them cool enough that we were able to toss our flip-flops in the locker and walk around barefoot comfortably all day.

  • DavePurz

    One of the snack bars at Blizzard Beach was a Disney Test Kitchen a couple of years ago and had food items not generally found elsewhere at WDW Resort. While we were there, they were selling Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches that were DEE-licious! I don’t know if it is still there or if the meal became available resort-wide, but it sure was a great lunch item at BB!

    Perhaps someone will check and update us, here.

  • BlahBlahson

    And for anyone who reads and might need a little advice on the Orlando Waterparks: The highlights.

    Food is pretty mediocre at all of them. Expect Burgers/Pizza/Hot Dogs in spades.

    Blizzard Beach: Most Unique overarching theme which adds a lot to the experience. Summit Plummet one of the world’s tallest still, the lazy river is really good, the kids areas are ok (with a really cool zipline for young kids), the chairlift is one of a kind. Good collection of slides and Disney service. Lots of trees.

    Typhoon Lagoon: Feels the most secluded and tropical of any of the waterparks. Best Wavepool ever. Cool and unique shark-swimming experience. The only watercoaster in Orlando…STILL. Biggest Flaw: The slide collection is actually quite weak and every slide feels or is super short. Maximum shade.

    Wet N. Wild: The best slide collection. Both high in quantity and quality. A few really cool themed slides. Biggest water play area for kids too. Loses some points for cramped, urban location, lack of overall theme, and lack of atmosphere/shade. Wins some points for being half the price of Disney.

    Aquatica: My pick for best. Some very unique slides, as this park is newer it has more recent and thrilling manufacturer offerings. Signature slide is the dolphin plunge, or the new Ihu falls. Good tropical atmosphere, not as secluded as disney but some interesting viewpoints. Additionally, has my favorite waterpark attraction I’ve ever been on, Roa’s Rapids, which is a 15 MPH body surfing river. Don’t worry, also has a lazy river and double wavepool. Much cheaper than Disney.

    Adventure Island Tampa: Like Aquatica but scaled back in theming and atmosphere. Everglides is really fun, and more bodyslides than the other parks. Multiple kids areas, spread out and bigger than Disney offerings. Nothing signature here though.

    Coco Key: Cheap groupons for essentially an indoor sized waterpark that is actually outdoors. If you want a heavily improved pool day experience for cheap I suppose.

    • BlahBlahson

      Oh, and I haven’t been to the Legoland Waterpark yet.

    • DisWedWay

      River Country is pending.

  • wdwprince

    Here is a day at Blizzard Beach from my last vacation traveling solo. It addresses the lockers, sprinklers on the ground, food, attractions and more. Enjoy.