No Walt Disney World vacation would be complete without a trip to one of its perfectly themed water parks. (Let’s take a brief moment of silence for River Country – a third WDW water park that closed in 2001.) Being a cheaper option than the theme parks, my family always spends a day at the water parks, and after we dry off, we hit up Disney Springs for some dinner. We could literally stay all day on the lazy river-style attractions! We would love to go to both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon during our vacations, but when we head for our yearly pilgrimage to Florida during the winter, usually only one water park is open. We love both water parks for different reasons, and I thought I would highlight some of the differences between the parks.
Typhoon Lagoon opened its doors in all the way back in 1989! The theming for this park is intense and rather stormy. Legend has it that a typhoon wreaked havoc on a tropical paradise, leaving behind shipwrecks and coastal creatures in its wake. The centrepiece is Mount Mayday, on which the Miss Tilly tugboat has been, well, impaled. One of our favourite attractions was Shark Reef, where you can swim with real sharks! This attraction closed for good in October of 2016, but was replaced by Miss Adventure falls, which I can’t wait to try! There are also great areas for little ones to play, and for parents to soak up the sun on the beach.
- The massive wave pool! The Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool is North America’s largest wave pool! Catch the big kahuna with 6-foot-waves that literally sweep you off your feet. Did you know you can take surfing lessons (for an extra cost) before the park opens to other guests?
- Miss Adventure Falls opened in March of 2017 and is a raft ride the entire family can enjoy! Featuring animatronics and treasure abound, this ride is as pleasing visually as it is thrilling!
- Crush n’ Gusher is a thrilling “water coaster” that allows you to defy gravity by zooming upstream! The three fruity themed slides are different, so make sure you try each one!
- Humunga Kowabunga is the steepest slide at Typhoon Lagoon! Zip down 214 feet at a 60 degree angle through a dark tube, but make sure you fix your bathing suit before you stand up!
Food and Merchandise:
- Head over to Happy Landings Ice Cream for a famous Sand Pail Sundae: vanilla and chocolate ice cream, waffle cone pieces, Oreos, sprinkles, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry – served in a literal sand pail to be eaten with shovels!
- Typhoon Lagoon offers an all-day refillable mug that can be used throughout the park for 12.75! Resort mugs don’t work here.
- Singapore Sal’s offers great themed merchandise, and sometimes you can spot Lilo and Stitch outside, waiting for photos and autographs!
Blizzard Beach opened in 1995, and according to Cast Members, Florida that year had a freak snow storm, and with the snow melting away, Blizzard Beach was born! Most of the attractions here revolve around Mount Gushmore, a snowy-peaked pinnacle that guests can take a real ski-lift to get to! Once on top, there are multiple slides to get down. Blizzard Beach doesn’t have a wavepool like its tropical counterpart, but it does have Melt Away Bay, a relaxing pool with mini-waves that lets you float on inner tubes.
- Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher are two intense, high-speed slides that make your stomach drop! Summit Plummet is straight down a 120-foot slope, that’s 12 storeys! Slush Gusher is a little less intense, with a 90 foot slope and two bumps, but is also thrilling!
- Ski Patrol Training Camp is an area for 8-13, but I was still enjoying the rides when I was 17/18! With a T-Bar Zip Line, Thin Ice Training Course, and tube and body slides, preteens will never want to leave this place!
- The Toboggan Racers let guests race with their family and friends on sleds down a double-dip water slide track. Lift the handles of your sled to get an extra boost of speed!
Food and Merchandise:
- Blizzard Beach also has an all-day refillable mug! (Once again, resort mugs don’t work here)
- Stop by I.C Expedition for their version of the Sand Pail Sundae!
- Head over to Lottawatta Lodge for a Frozen Hot Cocoa to help cool off!
To summarize, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon have a lot in common: both offer lazy-river type attractions, family raft rides, body and tube slides, and areas for toddlers and kids to splash and play. Both offer a variety in quick service food options and merchandise locations. Where they differ are there theme. If you’re looking for tropical fun in the sun, then I’d suggest heading to Typhoon Lagoon. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, but also have little ones in your party, then Blizzard Beach is where you’ll find those death-defying attractions? What is your favourite water park to spend the day in? Let us know!