You know my frog family loves nothing more than to ribbit about Walt Disney World’s four main theme parks — but our Orlando trip isn’t complete without a splash at one of the resort’s two magnificent water parks. No matter when you're hopping to the parks, at least one of Disney's popular Orlando water parks will be open! Disney's Blizzard Beach reopened March 7, 2021, after closure due to COVID-19, and we couldn't wait to hop back over to check out what it's like now at this blizzard-themed water park. Before you dive in on your next trip, we've got the full scoop on what you need to know about Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, including what changes have been made since reopening after its COVID-19 closure.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park Overview and Hours
Blizzard Beach opened on April 1, 1995 — fittingly on April Fool’s Day — to go along with the contradiction of a snow-covered waterpark. The story here is that Blizzard Beach was meant to be a snowy ski resort that didn’t exactly find success as such. Instead, Blizzard Beach transformed into a wintry-themed waterpark with focal point Mount Gushmore at its center. It's toadally clever, right?!
While we're on the subject of winter, it should be noted that Disney's Blizzard Beach is open daily for most of the year (except during refurbishments), and the water park's water is heated. Yep, even while most of the country is shivering in their boots during the winter months, that's not the case in Orlando. Occasionally, a cold snap will make its way south and shut down the water parks for the day, but it doesn't happen often.
In past years, Blizzard Beach shuts down for a couple of the winter months for refurbishments, while Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park remains open — and then they switch — so at least one Disney World water park is always open. Of course, 2020 had other plans, and both Disney water parks were closed from March 2020 ... until March 2021! Blizzard Beach reopened March 7, 2021, though Typhoon Lagoon remains closed at this time.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Discount Tickets
While you can purchase 1-day Blizzard Beach water park tickets, we find the most economical and fun option for most families is the Disney Park Hopper Plus Ticket. This allows you to visit all four Disney theme parks and two water parks during your visit! These tickets truly give you the full Walt Disney World experience and are perfect for the summer months when a break at Blizzard Beach is much needed.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Location, Parking and Transportation
Blizzard Beach is nestled between Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios at 1534 Blizzard Beach Drive, Orlando, FL 32836. Nearby hotels include some of our favorites: Disney's All-Star Resorts and Disney's Coronado Springs Resort!
Parking is free at both of Disney World’s water parks — yay! — but it can fill up quickly during the peak summer season. As for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests staying on property, no worries! Bus transportation to and from the water parks is included just like any of the four main theme parks. Currently, buses are limited. With the exception of Shades of Green, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels and Disney's Coronado Springs, you will need to take a bus to Disney's Animal Kingdom, where you can transfer to a bus route for your hotel. A cast member told us that direct service from additional hotels is expected to return in the coming weeks once the park gets busier.
It's important to note that sometimes the park will reach max capacity in the early afternoon and not re-open for entry until later in the day, especially during the peak summer season. Unlike the Disney theme parks, Blizzard Beach does not require a Disney Park Pass Reservation. Right now, the initial crowds are low, so we're still not exactly sure what hoppens when the park reaches capacity. We highly recommend arriving at park opening to get in plenty of ride time when crowds are at their lowest. Plus you can make sure you snag enough beach chairs for your whole squad!
Disney's Blizzard Beach COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines
Since it's a water park, you can't exactly wear your mask while you're swimming or going down a waterslide ... so things are operating a tad differently at Blizzard Beach. You are still required to wear your mask while entering and exiting the park, as well as common areas, such as food and beverage locations, merchandise locations and locker, restroom and changing areas. The entire front section of the park requires face coverings at all times (except for when you're actively eating or drinking while stationary). Once you cross any of the bridges toward the water, you may take your mask off.
As you hop from ride to ride, you do not have to wear a mask until you enter a common area where it would be mandatory (cast members are stationed in these areas to remind you). Some frogs opt to keep theirs on as they walk around, while others roam without them. Because you need a mask while you're in the locker areas, you'll need to keep it with you — whether you carry it around in a sealable plastic bag (to keep it dry) or you leave it at your beach chair. Leap's swim shorts has pockets, so we were able to stick each mask in its own plastic bag. He'd carry them around for us, so we'd have them at all times. It may not be the most convenient rule to follow, but we toadally understand it's meant to keep us and other frog families safe! Masks are also available to purchase for $2 each (located in vending machines by the restrooms).
Otherwise, similar health and safety guidelines from across the resort apply at Blizzard Beach. Before entering the park, you need to pass the temperature check. (Note that following the advice of the CDC and local health officials, Disney World will phase out on-site temperature screenings for cast members beginning May 8 and guests May 16.) There are signs to remind you to stay 6 feet apart from other guests. You shouldn't move any beach chairs because they have been appropriately spaced out. The ride queues have ground markers to distance guests in line, as well. To help with physical distancing in Cross Country Creek, the lazy river, guests must be in a tube. When entering, only take a tube that is upside down with the handles submerged.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Rides and Attractions
There's no shortage of fun and excitement at Blizzard Beach, and there is an attraction for every thrill level and desired experience. From a lazy day floating on the river to plummeting near-vertically down a slide, Blizzard Beach is here to meet your desired pace for the perfect day. Generally speaking, we find that Blizzard Beach has a few more daring thrill rides than Typhoon Lagoon, but if you're getting the Park Hopper Plus Option, then there is no reason not to visit both at least once during your trip!
The Blizzard Beach Chairlift is a real ski lift that takes you to the top of Mount Gushmore, where some of the best rides can be found. This transportation system is a blast in itself and is a great nod to the ski resort theme. Pretend skis even pop up under your feet to create the illusion that you’re really headed for the slopes.
Lazy river, anyone? You can catch Leap and me letting our cares melt away on an inner tube taking us through all of Blizzard Beach on our days here. This is the perfect way to relax while still experiencing the park.
Lily and Tad are obsessed with facing off on these two enclosed slides, where gates release you on your inner tube to race your opponent to the finish line. Flags mark your course as though you're in a real ski challenge for this 50-foot dark, downhill plummet. Your times are even displayed on digital stop clocks overhead!
Blizzard Beach's low-key wave pool offers the perfect atmosphere to take a quick dip or hop in an inner tube to enjoy the bobbing waves. While out at sea, be sure to listen for the island-themed holiday music playing throughout the park.
Propelled by the runoff from Mount Gushmore, three distinctly different water slides twist and turn you on an inner tube through an open slide and end in a splash!
A less intense version of Blizzard Beach’s famous Summit Plummet, this 90-foot-long, high-speed waterslide takes you down two rolling hills that promise air time.
Do you ever watch luging at the Winter Olympics and think, “Man, I want to do that!”? Well, this is probably as close as you’ll ever get. This ride takes you face-forward on a mat down a winding path for thrilling fun.
Summit Plummet is the crown jewel and absolute highlight of Blizzard Beach. You can see park icons across Walt Disney World from high in the sky before rocketing down 12 stories at incredible speeds, which will be documented by a digital stop clock. Fair warning that this ride is only for the bravest frogs!
Family raft rides are our absolute favorite experiences at any waterpark, and as one of the world’s longest group whitewater raft rides, Teamboat Springs is at the top of our list of must-do's at Blizzard Beach. Take up to six members of your frog squad for 1,200 feet of fun and lasting memories.
It’s a race to the finish line as you shoot headfirst down a 250-foot-long slope with exhilarating dips. You’ll get visions of sledding through fresh powder as you course to the bottom of the slope.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Kids Area
The excellent part about Disney's waterparks is that they have areas specifically designed for the tadpoles in your family. An all-in-one, easy-to-access area featuring kiddie slides and other splashtastic adventures welcome your little ones for pint-sized fun at Blizzard Beach.
Tad’s favorite area at Blizzard Beach offers interactive activities for tweens, such as a water obstacle course and zip line, as well as a few fun slides to enjoy.
For tadpoles 48 inches and under, Tike’s Peak offers slower, scaled-down versions of Blizzard Beach’s adventurous experiences. The area includes a mini inner-tube ride, side-by-side downhill slides, chutes tunneling through the snow and miniature snow-banked slides. Note that parent supervision is required at all times.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Restaurants
Note that during the off-season, certain restaurants remain closed due to low demand. But don't worry, there are still plenty of options to choose from! To limit contact, several dining options are operating using Mobile Order exclusively, which can be done using the My Disney Experience app.
Stop at this snowmobile bar near the Chairlift to sip on a frozen tropical drink, beer or wine.
Avalunch (Mobile Ordering Only)
One of our favorite spots to pick up food at Blizzard Beach, Avalunch offers specialty hot dogs, BBQ and more.
Take a pit stop here for a quick snack such as popcorn, hummus or pretzels with cheese.
This makeshift snow lodge offers some Disney World classics, such as orange swirl ice cream, loaded nachos and turkey legs.
Snow plow turned ice cream truck, I.C. Expeditions presents sundaes, floats and more including the iconic Sand Pail: chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream, waffle pieces, sprinkles, cookie pieces, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.
Lottawatta Lodge (Mobile Ordering Only)
Calling all vegetarians and vegans! Lottawatta Lodge has options for you. Delicious rice bowls top off a menu of standard options including wraps, salads and chicken strips.
Mini donuts are a staple of the Disney World waterparks. Topped with regular or cinnamon sugar and combined with a variety of dipping sauces, these are the perfect poolside snack.
Polar Pub is Leap's and my favorite "adult pit stop." We cool off with delish drinks such as the grapefruit margarita, as well as a decent wine and beer selection.
Warming Hut (Mobile Ordering Only)
Warming Hut is a great place for a full lunch. It's home to my favorite salad on Disney property, topped with grilled chicken, feta and watermelon. Wraps, sandwiches and pulled pork round out this loaded menu.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Cabanas and Private Seating
While we've never found private seating to be needed at Blizzard Beach, this is a great option if you're planning on spending a full day at the park with a larger group or for a special occasion. Both of the private seating options below can be reserved by calling (407) 939-7529 or checking in at Beach Haus upon arrival for same-day availability.
Each reserved patio area accommodates up to six guests with tons of luxuries included. You'll be comfortable as can be with cushioned seating, towels, refillable drink mugs and a cooler filled with ice and bottled water. We think it's a great perk that these patios include a locker to keep all of your goodies safe. Attendants are on hand to take your food orders so you don't ever have to leave the sun (or shade, whatever you're into!).
Accommodating up to four guests, two reserved loungers, two beach chairs, a table, beach umbrellas and towels offer the perfect setup for a day of relaxation.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Tips
- Arrive early, especially if you're driving or require multiple beach chairs. The parking lot is on the smaller side and fills up quickly on busy days. While there are ample beach chairs available, the best real estate (especially for groups of two or more) is available within one hour of park opening.
- Can't find any chairs on the main beach? Follow the lazy river for a stroll around the park. There are some tucked away, quieter spots throughout the park behind Mount Gushmore.
- Bring your cheapest sunglasses! Leap learned his lesson quickly when he lost his freshest froggy shades on Runoff Rapids. Buy a few $5 pairs of glasses at the drugstore (and a strap) for your underwater adventures.
- Stay hydrated. This is our most serious piece of advice. Nothing can ruin your day like getting absolutely drained from the sun. Drinking lots of water will keep you energized to enjoy the fun all day.
- Bring a camera! Blizzard Beach is gorgeously-themed and has quite a few fun photo-op locations worth checking out. You do need to keep your mask on while taking pictures at the photo opportunities near the front of the park.
- Splurge on some water shoes if you're planning on spending a full day (or two) in the water parks. As dorky as they may look, they're worth it, and much easier than holding your flip-flops while flying down Summit Plummet. Especially when you might be spending the next day trekking around Magic Kingdom, you've gotta protect those feet!
- Bring your own supplies rather than renting or purchasing on-site. As a family, you'll save a hefty buck by bringing your own towels (even from the hotel!) rather than renting. Be sure to stock up on other items, including sunscreen, at your pond's local grocery store and bring them with you so you don't have to pay a fortune for on-site convenience.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park FAQs
Do we need a locker at Blizzard Beach?
That's toadally up to you, and depends on what you have in tow. If we're hauling Tad's fancy camera, we definitely invest in a locker for safe-keeping. However, on a normal day where we come equipped with nothing but sunscreen, towels and a small wallet of cash, we typically decide against it. We have never personally had a problem with our items being misplaced at Blizzard Beach.
Our secret to waterpark safety success is the AquaVault. While I find Disney to be a trustworthy environment, "better safe than sorry" is always my motto. The AquaVault allows you to put your phone, wallet and more into a water-safe pouch that locks onto your beach chair for safe-keeping. We love having our phones on hand to take fun pics at the park, and this tool has saved us tons on not renting a locker! That said, we do frequent the water parks a lot more than the average frog family, so if you’re only going for the day, a locker is worth the cost to keep your valuables secured.
Whether you rent a locker or decide against it, expect to carry your mask around with you since you need to wear one in the common areas, including the restrooms. A sealable plastic bag is a must-have to keep it dry.
What should I wear?
The water parks have a dress code that guests should keep in mind. Of course, swim attire must be appropriate for a family-friendly environment. Additionally, swim attire with buckles, rivets, zippers or exposed metal and other sharp objects are not allowed on any of the rides, while jeans (denim) and wetsuits are not allowed on Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet. Tadpoles who are not yet potty trained must wear plastic pants or swim diapers in pool areas.
What do we need to bring?
Bring all of your poolside essentials. Towels and sunscreen for the whole family are an absolute must! Even on breezy days, the sun can scorch. So as Scar would say, "Be prepared." As aquatic critters, we are huge advocates of water bottles. Load 'em up with ice and refill them at the soda stations or water fountains throughout the park. That will save you from having to buy bottled waters (we frogs love both being green and saving green). At this time, the refill soda stations are blocked off, but you can always ask for a free cup of water.
What can I bring on the rides?
You can bring shoes, sunglasses and sport cameras (such as GoPros) but only at your own risk. Like any Disney park, no selfie sticks or complex/dangerous camera-holding devices are allowed, but you may need a wrist strap to keep your camera and others safe so it won't slip out of your hands. You may also bring your waterproof phone pouch, but on some rides, such as Summit Plummet, you may need to hold it in your hands rather than wear it around your neck. You must hold onto your shoes and glasses throughout the ride, and sometimes this can prove difficult. Be careful and only take what you find necessary.
Can we bring our own food?
YES, MAMA AND PAPA FROGS! This is a huge money-saving tip. We think the food at Blizzard Beach is great, but we don't find it quite as necessary to splurge on as say, EPCOT. Water park days are a great opportunity to save a few bucks on grub. Pack up some PB&Js to enjoy pool-side for an easy meal. Just leave the loose ice, dry ice, glass and alcohol behind as they are not allowed.
Are you ready to hop on over to Blizzard Beach for a day of fun on the slopes? Get your discounted Blizzard Beach tickets now to add some extra aquatic fun to your next Disney trip. Have questions about Blizzard Beach? Share them in the comments below!