Central Florida’s newest water park is now open. Island H2O Live! is located at Margaritaville Resort Orlando. You can’t miss the new water park if you’re on Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (US Route 192). It is located just a few miles from Walt Disney World. I drive by it all the time, and I have watched the water park spring up from nothing in a very short period of time. I’ve been curious about what it looked like inside, so when I was asked to cover the grand opening I jumped at the opportunity.
The past couple of weeks previews have been held at Island H2O Live!, but June 21 was picked for the official grand opening, since it is the first day of summer. They couldn’t have picked a better day for it; the morning was sunny and hot, and the water was just begging people to come in and cool off.
One thing that is unique about Island H2O Live! is that it takes the use of technology to a whole new level. Guests are encouraged to download the park’s app before they arrive. When you do, you’ll receive a Smart Band. You can link your credit or debit card to the band, and use that for purchases. You’ll also use it in the picture spots, there are places to take a selfie and then add it to social media. You can link with the other members of your party, earn points for perks, and eventually you will even be able to use it for front of the line access. Unlike MagicBands at Walt Disney World, you’ll have to return the Smart Band when you leave.
While the technology is a fun addition to Island H2O Live!, the attractions are what make a water park special. There are body and tube slides, family raft rides, a chance to race against your friends, and an attraction with a vertical drop. I was surprised by the number of slides that the park has. I remember when there was an abandoned hotel on the property, things certainly have improved.
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There are two areas for the kids. Candy Stripe Cove is for the littlest ones. The area is small, but there is plenty to do. There are several slides, and activities where the kids will have a blast getting wet. Pelican’s Paradise is for kids of all ages. It’s a play area that has slides, places to splash and play, and a giant bucket that fills with water. It would be easy to lose track of time here.
Any good water park needs to have two specific attractions; a wave pool and a lazy river. Island H2O Live! has both. The wave pool is called Live! Lagoon. The waves aren’t huge, but that’s okay. There’s a screen at the front of Live! Lagoon, which will sometimes show movies or other videos. The lazy river is Chat Creek. You can use a tube, but you don’t have to. They have made good use of the space, Chat Creek winds throughout the park nicely. If you think that you can just sit back in your tube and relax; you might be in for a wet surprise.
There isn’t much natural shade at Island H2O Live!. There are some spots where shelter has been added so that people who want to escape the sun can do so. There are also cabanas available to rent. There are different sizes available. The cabanas include extras such as a private locker, a refrigerator, and bottles of water.
If you would like to purchase a souvenir or two, there is a small air conditioned store called Mementos. They sell hats, towels, tumblers, sunscreen, and the like. You can also purchase a bathing suit if you arrived without one. Starting in August, there will be a refillable mug program. For one price you can refill the mug all day long. It is not good for repeat visits. The program is not yet up and running.
Parking is free for Island H2O Live! Just follow the signs when you arrive. It looks like they are in the process of adding a new parking lot that is closer to the actual park, but that’s speculation on my part.
Guests who are staying at Margaritaville Resort Orlando can visit Island H2O Live! for an additional fee. General admission is $49.99, under 48 inches and those 62 and older are $42.99, and members of the military with ID are $39.99. Prices do not include tax. There is a discount if you buy online. Annual Passes are available as well.
I have a feeling that Island H2O Live! is going to be a hit. It could help to fill the void that some locals have felt since Wet ‘n Wild closed three years ago. Tourists are going to love it as well. It’s affordable, it’s close to Walt Disney World, and there is a lot to do in the park. If you’re looking for a way to cool off on a hot day in Central Florida, Island H2O Live! could be the perfect solution.