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Looking for refuge from the intense Florida heat? Allow me to introduce you to- – –
Disney Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
We’ve just returned from our favorite Florida summer destination!
If you remember my post Disney World: Top 10 Travel Tips with Kids, I’m pretty adamant about visiting Walt Disney World outside of the summer season. Crowds, heat, and long lines are a recipe for cranky husbands and bickering children. Disney Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are the exception to the summer theme park rule. With reasonable wait times and refreshing waters these parks really take the edge off. I highly recommend taking the plunge if you are looking for a fun getaway this summer.
No matter which Disney water park you choose, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, a fun time will be had by all. There is something for everyone at each park. High throttle rides for adults and teens, family raft rides for groups. Life vests for non and nervous swimmers. I was even impressed to see a so many attractions that gave wheelchair access, including the ski lift gondola. My little kid had a blast in the preschool areas at both parks.
Both parks offer a really good selection of dining options from the typical chicken fingers and hot dogs to pulled pork and very fresh made to order salads. We found extra value in having our kids split an adult meal. Kids meals about $7 adults $10-$12. Frozen adult refreshments are available throughout the park and you will find it very hard to resist the aroma of the fresh mini donuts or sand pail FILLED with ice cream. Seriously, they sell those. That bucket is easily shared with a family of 4.
2017 Update! Typhoon Lagoon adds Bigger, Better, Faster Family Raft Ride: Misadventure Falls. I don’t know why we are so in love with the group rides. The giant raft, swoops and turns, sharing the exhilaration, the chance to kick each other. Mostly the last one. Either way, the family rafts are our favorite. We were super excited that Typhoon Lagoon opened a bigger, better, faster family raft, Misadventure Falls. The newbie is so much better than the original AND you don’t have to hoist the giant raft up several flights of stairs! Holla!!
Typhoon Lagoon Vs Blizzard Beach. How does each park stack up?
Typhoon Lagoon is just gorgeous. Imagine a tropical setting, massive rock walls, sandy beaches, and shady trees. Enter the Disney drama with an enormous shipwreck at the mountain peak and tattered sails in keeping with the typhoon struck storyline. This park is home to our favorite water slide, Crush -n- Gusher, and an awesome play area for the little kids. Typhoon Lagoon also has a wave pool aka deathtrap. Duhnnn, duhnnn dunnnn. Last summer we learned it the hard way. The description reads 6 foot waves. Well I’m 5’5. A good swimmer, I typically love wave pools. My preschooler can swim and is also wearing a life jacket. Lifeguards are on duty. What’s the worry? So we get in, the alarm sounds, people scream with excitement and we wait for the waves to start. Waiting, waiting, waiting. . . I realize I don’t see many littler kiddos around and maybe we should stand back and watch first to make sure it’s cool. I start to rush my way back out with her on my hip then hear the crowds gasp and look over my shoulder. The friggin tsunami behind us was easily 6 feet above water level. Try as I might, we did not make it to shore before being overtaken by the wave. I have never felt like a shittier parent. No less than two feet of water over our heads. My kiddo was ripped from my arms and away we went. It was the longest 3 seconds of my life. She was fine but clearly pissed. Tweens and teens seemed to love this attraction, me uhh- not so much!
Blizzard Beach is exactly that. A faux snow enhanced water park. The decor at both parks is above par, just as you would expect from Disney. Here at Blizzard Beach the mountains are covered in snow and the decked out ski theme adds a refreshing advantage. At least for this Floridian. There is a ski lift that will bring you to the top of the mountain avoiding a few hundred stairs. The family raft ride is three times the length as the one at Typhoon Lagoon which was a blast and a unanimous family favorite. They of course also have a lazy river and rockin wave pool.
Blizzard Beach also has some elements that Typhoon Lagoon does not. First, the one way 90 foot chair lift that takes you to the top of Mount Gushmore. Next, Ski Patrol which is a climbing obstacle and zip line for bigger kids. And finally, this summer Blizzard Beach is hosting Frozen Games with Kristoff and Olaf. The games are included with admission and are carried out throughout the day including Ski Pole Limbo, Snowball Toss, Ice Pail Relay along with character greetings.
Blizzard Beach has plenty to offer kids of all ages but I do have a peeve with Tikes Peak – the tot area of the park. The area is amazing, so much fun to be had with a small design flaw. The majority of the slides enter on the top of the hill and exit at the bottom. Which presents a problem for boarding and picking up your child. Not a deal breaker for me because my kiddo is nearly five but for younger kids with one adult this would be a nuisance. Just something to keep in mind.
Winner, winner – – chicken dinner! Ultimately I’m awarding Blizzard Beach as our family’s favorite. We had a blast at each park, and plan to return to both again this summer. For the same cost of a second day we ended up upgrading our tickets to annual passes.
What to pack for Disney Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
- Buckets of waterproof sunscreen- Even on overcast days you must reapply every few hours. Don’t be like the boneheads you will see all over the park with awful sunburns. Our favorite is Neutrogena Wet Skin
- Water shoes- Even though the parks have these nifty little feet sprayers, the concrete is super hot, and some of the ground coverings are surprisingly rough. My very favorite pair is the Pooluly from Amazon, they also come in other colors once you click the ad. The shoe’s sole drains water and is rugged like a sneaker. Our Walmart pairs from last year were okay for a day but we had soggy feet and the sole wore down to nothing after a day. The Pooluly from the ad kept our feet dry and cool. Highly recommend!
- Hats and sunglasses because it’s Florida!
- Change of clothes. Both parks have showers and locker rooms with shampoo and body wash. So much better than riding home wet and sunscreened.
- Bring your own towels – or rentals are available
- Cash or credit for lockers and refreshments
- Water camera or GoPro- The water camera posted in the ad is the exact one I used for the videos and images in this post. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!
HOT TIPS : Visiting Disney Water Parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
- Gates open about 30 minutes before the attractions do. Perfect timing for a great parking spot, time to sunscreen and secure your crap in a locker.
- With my family of four, we skip chairs and basically roam all day. I strap my water camera around my wrist and hubby carries a refillable water bottle. We visit the locker to reapply sunscreen and grab $$ for lunch.
- By visiting Disney’s Guest Relations you can easily make upgrades to any Disney ticket by paying the difference before your current ticket expires. One day is about $60 for both parks. An annual pass for both parks is $125.
If you are planning a trip to the Orlando area, I highly recommend Disney Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE fo’ free for more awesome summer hot spots and activities!