Typhoon Lagoon vs Blizzard Beach
Whenever we plan a visit to Walt Disney World one of the things I look forward to most is a day at one of the Disney waterparks. We have so much fun tipping each other out of our tubes on the lazy river or racing each other to the bottom of the slides, only to get out and climb back up to the top and start all over again!
Both of the waterparks have so much to offer, so how do you decide which one to visit? (Hint: we visit both!)
Typhoon Lagoon is the result of a fictional storm that swept through Disney World and flooded the area. Our favourite thing is the wave pool. Roughly every half an hour Typhoon Tilly sounds her horn from atop Mount Mayday alerting everyone to the start of the waves. A few minutes later you hear the 'boom' of the first wave rising at the back of the pool, quickly followed by hundreds of screams and cheers! The waves are absolutely humungous and knock you for six as they crash past you, but it's so much fun you get up and swim back out for the next one. Top Tip - these waves are incredibly powerful, if you're not a strong swimmer I recommend staying closer to the shore. Top Tip No 2 - the bottom of the wave pool is very rough so you might want to wear water shoes.
The lazy river, called Castaway Creek, is another favourite for us. We like to grab a tube and gently float around the lazy river and make up silly games, tipping each other out of their tubes or pushing one another into the ice cold waterfalls! Top Tip - The waterfalls are quite strong and it can hurt a little if you get stuck under one, so if you have small children you might want to help guide them through as quickly as possible. Top Tip No 2 - rather than walking round the park to the various slides, take a more leisurely place and float round on the river, it will take longer but it's lovely and relaxing.
There are tons of great rides - our favourites are the Storm Slides, Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls. I have been brave and done Humunga Kowabunga, a near verticle 214 feet drop, but once was enough!
For little ones there is an area with small slides, called Ketchakiddee Creek we found it to be a little on the small side and very crowded. Other than this area, we didn't feel that there was much for toddlers and small children.
If you like winter and Christmas then you will love Blizzard Beach! The story for this waterpark is that it was once a bustling ski resort but the snow melted and turned it into a waterpark instead. We love the lazy river, Cross Country Creek, here too. It's as relaxing as Castaway Creek (minus the waterfalls!), but this one has Christmas music playing as you float round. There is something quite surreal about listening to Christmas songs whilst floating around in the searing Florida heat! Top Tip - there are a couple of areas around the river with small 'islands' which mean you can get split up from your group - don't panic as the river meets again at the other end of the island, but if you're with young children you may want to hold onto their tubes as you reach these areas.
We prefer the rides at Blizzard Beach, Our favourites are Teamboat Springs - a family raft ride and Toboggan Racers - race against your friends and family but our absolute Must Do is the Runoff Rapids, we could happily spend all day on these slides!
Blizzard Beach seems better suited for kids and ours have preferred visiting here as they feel that there's more for them to do. There is an area for toddlers and young children called Tikes Peak, with some small slides and a shallow pool area and for older children there's the Ski Patrol Training Camp. This is an area with some slides, a 'stepping stone' type of area and a zip wire. When our kids were younger this was the perfect introduction to waterparks for them.
There is a wave pool at Blizzard Beach too, however the waves are much smaller than those at Typhoon Lagoon. Top Tip - this pool gets very crowded as many people use their tubes to bob up and down on the water, this can make it hard to move around and it's very easy to lose sight of people not in tubes, so keep a close eye on children or weak swimmers.
Hints and Tips For Both Waterparks
- If you are staying at a Disney resort you don't need to take towels with you, you will be able to collect some when you get to the parks. If you're not staying at a Disney resort you can hire towels if you don't want to take your own.
- Lockers are available for everyone to hire and I would recommend putting away anything valuable as you may be away from your belongings for quite a while, especially in peak season when the queues for rides are long.
- There are plenty of places to eat and drink around the parks. Consider buying a refillable mug as you can top it up throughout the day (and it makes a nice souvenir to bring home).
- Life jackets are available from infant up to adult size at both waterparks. There may be a deposit required to use them.
- Get there early if you want sun loungers! In peak season the parks fill up very early in the day and you'll find it hard to spot some empty chairs. If you don't want to get there for opening consider hiring a cabana for your visit.
- Be prepared for everything to shut with no warning. Florida in the summer months gets incredibly hot and humid and this normally results in thunderstorms. All areas will close if lightning is detected within a certain radius, it's for your safety so please listen to the lifeguards and get out of the water as quickly as you can.
- Sunscreen!!!! It's so easy to get caught up in the fun of the waterparks but please remember to apply sunscreen regularly - you are in Florida and you will get sunburnt if you don't.
- Forgotten something? Both waterparks have shops that stock pretty much all of the essentials you might need.
- The showers are lovely and hot but they get very busy during the hour before the park closes. If you don't want to queue then consider getting out of the water a bit earlier and hitting the showers before the rush.
- Look out for the characters. Mickey's friends like to cool off at the waterparks and can often be spotted at various locations throughout the parks. We have seen Stitch and Goofy at Typhoon Lagoon and Olaf can be found enjoying summer at Blizzard Beach.
- Don't miss a photo opportunity. There are often Memory Maker photographers in the parks (especially in the summer months) and they can get some great photos. We've found them in the lazy rivers and by the exits to rides. Some of them have great magic shots too (when they add a character to your photo after it's been taken) so ask them nicely if that's a possibility. Both parks have great photo opportunities at their entrances, but skip past them and get your seats and then go back for a photo.
- Play a game of crazy golf. As you leave Blizzard Beach you will see Winter Summerland on the left. If you have time, go in and play a game of golf. There are two courses, one set in the winter and one set in the summer, both with Christmas songs playing! It's lots of fun and a great way to finish your day. Depending on which ticket you have purchased there may be an additional cost for this.
Whichever waterpark you choose to go to (or if you go to both), we hope you have a wonderful time!
Got a question about planning a holiday to Orlando? We've visited many times over the past 6 years and we would love to help you enjoy your holiday as much as we enjoy ours, so leave your question in the comments below and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can. You can also read our Top Tips For Visiting Walt Disney World.