Not only does Disney World have four incredible theme parks and a fantastic shopping and entertainment district, Disney Springs, but they also have two fun-filled water parks, each with their own theme and exciting attractions.
The story behind Blizzard Beach is that there was once a massive snow storm in Florida and a ski resort was built. However, the cold weather didn’t last and it melted into what is now Blizzard Beach, a water park, but with the remnants of a ski resort like snow capped mountains and even a chairlift.
Typhoon Lagoon was also the result of a big storm, only this one was a tropical storm that hit the beach and turned everything upside. The typhoon tossed surfboards, and boats all over the place, it even put Miss Tilly, a boat, up on the top on Mount Mayday.
Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are just as full of those Disney details and immersive story-telling as the rest of Disney World, but are often overlooked by guests in favor of spending a day at the one of the theme parks. If you love water slides, thrills, relaxing lazy rivers and wave pools, consider heading to one, or both, of the water parks on your next visit. Here are 10 interesting facts and secrets about the water parks at Disney.
10. Big Waves
Typhoon Lagoon boasts the world’s largest wave pool. It takes 2.75 million gallons of water to fill it. To give you an idea of just how big it is, the pool is twice the size of two football fields. There’s also a 6 foot wave every 90 seconds in this pool.
9. For Families
The water parks are great places for families to have fun, in fact there are even attractions and slides for families and groups to enjoy together. Teamboat Springs at Blizzard Beach is the world’s longest raft ride, and it can fit up to 6 people in one raft. It also features a 1200-foot series of waterfalls.
During the off-season, each water park closes for about three months for refurbishment. There will always be at least one water park open, so if you are planning on visiting one, check to see which park is open. Blizzard Beach typically closes October through January, and Typhoon Lagoon January through March.
Animal Kingdom isn’t the only park with exotic animals. Typhoon Lagoon has a 360,000-gallon saltwater tank in Shark Reef. In this tank guests will find leopard sharks, bonnethead sharks, stingray and a few thousand tropical fish. And best of all, guests can snorkel among these animals!
If you’re visiting Blizzard Beach add having the mini donuts to your must-do list. The mini donuts are a delicious little snack that can only be found at Blizzard Beach. There are also three dipping sauces to choose from, chocolate, white chocolate or raspberry. The donuts are available from a little cart, so keep your eye out for the Mini Donut sign, otherwise you might just walk right by and miss out!
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5. Abandoned Park
Disney World’s first water park was River Country, which was inspired by the swimming hole from the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It opened in 1976, but closed for ‘maintenance’ in 2001, and in 2005 it was announced it would not be re-opening. It had a special filtration system as it used some natural water since the park was connected to Bay Lake. Rumors surface every once in a while that Disney will re-open the park, but I think that is mostly wishful thinking on the part of Disney fans.
4. Most Visited
Typhoon Lagoon is the most visited water park in the world. About 2 million people visit the park each year. Don’t let that dissuade you though from visiting Blizzard Beach, both are fantastic water parks with so much to do for guests of all ages.
Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach is a free-fall water slide that is 120 feet tall. Guests can reach 60 miles per hour when slipping down this slide. Summit Plummet is the second tallest and second fastest free-fall slide in the world. It is not for the faint of heart, but it does deliver big thrills and big fun!
Over the years certain characters have made appearances at the water parks for meet and greets, and each water park even has their own character. Ice Gator is the character at Blizzard Beach, and you might even hear him sleeping or sneezing in his little hut as you float down the lazy river. Lagoona Gator is the character at Typhoon Lagoon. These gators aren’t at the parks to meet anymore, but you will see them referenced throughout the parks.
Up until recently Goofy was at Blizzard Beach in his beach attire, but hasn’t made an appearance there this year. We’re hoping he’ll find his way back!
Lilo and Stitch make appearances at Typhoon Lagoon and guests can meet them and get a photo there. The only other place they typically appear is at Ohana.
1. Visit Early
Water parks are a lot like the theme parks in that they are quieter and less busy early in the day, so plan on going for opening. If you arrive early you should be able to tackle most, if not all, of the slides before the lines get long. It is not uncommon for lines to get very lengthy at both water parks, especially in the summer. It’s also a good idea to grab a lounge chair and find a shady spot right away, so you can retreat to the shade later in the day when the sun is hot. It’s also possible to experience a water park AND visit a theme park in one day, but that is really only an option if you arrive at opening at the water parks.