It’s no secret that this Frog Family absolutely LOVES our trips to Walt Disney World! But it’s also not a secret that we’re usually very busy amphibians during these trips. With amazing attractions and new things to see and do, visiting the four Disney theme parks keep us hoppin’.
We’ve gathered so many tips over the years from all of our Walt Disney World travels. And one of those tips is learning how to balance the busyness of our park days with RELAXATION! It is vacation, after all. One of our favorite ways to do this is to plan a day (or two) at the lesser-known gems of the Walt Disney World Resort — the Disney water parks — otherwise known as Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
That’s right, frog friends! Many of our Disney vacations include floating around a lazy river, lounging at the beach and relaxing with a tropical umbrella drink in hand. Sound like a dream come true? Read on to find out if adding a water park day is something you’d like to include in your next Disney trip. Let’s dive in!
To Splash or Not to Splash? What to Consider for a Disney World Water Park Visit
You’ll always hear us croaking the praises of the Disney water parks. I mean, frogs and water. It’s kinda our thing. But we know that many families may have a lot of questions and are ultimately trying to decide if a day spent at the water parks is actually worth it, both in terms of cost and time.
We almost always recommend adding a water park day to your trip, but there are a few instances where it might not be the best fit for your family. In this post, we’ll be sharing all things water park-related, as well as ticket options, plus a few things you’ll want to know before you go.
Can we go year-round?
Weather is one of the biggest factors to consider when deciding whether to add a water park day to your itinerary and pack a swimsuit in your suitcase. If you’ll be visiting during the spring, summer or fall, then yes! ABSOLUTELY, YES! The Florida heat and humidity can be intense, especially during the peak of summer (which also happens to be when most families with school-aged children are visiting).
With a water park day planned, even the hottest of days won’t be a concern. You’ll stay as cool as a cucumber when you’re body surfing in the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool or floating around the Cross Country Creek at Blizzard Beach. Trust us. We’re pros at knowing how to beat the heat at Disney World! Your day at the water park will feel like total bliss compared to a blazing hot day in the parks.
If you plan on vacationing during the winter, the possibility of a water park day becomes a little trickier to navigate. The early part of winter can still be quite warm. It is common for temperatures to reach the high-80s (Fahrenheit) even in December. The average Fahrenheit temperatures in January and February are usually mid-70s during the day but can dip into the 50s and high 40s at night. The biggest factor in play is the random cold snaps that occur. These from time to time in Orlando and can be hard to predict.
If the water dips below an unsafe temperature, Disney will close the water parks. This is unlike the resort pools which are heated and typically remain open, even during the winter season. February usually sees a slight warming trend especially toward the end of the month into March and is usually more favorable in terms of water park planning.
During a winter visit, you’ll also want to stay in the know about the refurbishment schedule. One of the two water parks will close for refurbishments over the winter.
Will we have the time?
The average Walt Disney World stay is about five to seven days. Since there are four Walt Disney World theme parks, we would certainly encourage you to sprinkle in a water park day somewhere along your trip. One, because you have the time. And two, because it’s always such a treat to have at least one day toadally devoted to relaxation. The parks are filled with thrills and excitement, but we wouldn’t necessarily call them relaxing. Adding on a water park day allows you to still have a theme park experience but at a much more leisurely pace. Our water park days have ended up being some of our favorite moments of a trip. We have a feeling they will end up being yours too!
If your vacation is planned for four days or less, we’d probably advise you to skip the water parks and focus your time on the four theme parks. This is especially true if you’re new to Walt Disney World. The four parks are an integral part of the Disney Resort experience and we just can’t bear the thought of having to skip one. There are things that we love about each park, and planning a day at each one is a must for us.
The exception to this rule would be if you’ve already experienced each of the four theme parks and are back on a sequential vacation and would want to swap out a theme park day for a water park day. We all have our Disney bucket lists and there’s no doubt that the water parks should be on yours. But if we had to choose, we just wouldn’t recommend swapping a theme park for a water park, if you haven’t experienced each of the four theme parks first.
Is it true? Are the Disney water parks some of the best in the world?
You already know we can’t get enough Disney in our lives. But it’s easy for us to recommend a trip to the Disney water parks because they really are among THE BEST in the world.
Did you know that Summit Plummet, the Blizzard Beach flagship attraction, is one of the tallest and fastest waterslides on the entire planet? Yup! With a height of 120 feet tall and speeds reaching 60 mph, this attraction is a thrill seeker’s dream!
Disney’s Blizzard Beach also has one of the world's longest family white-water raft rides. Teamboat Springs has a slide length of 1,400 feet long. There’s no shortage of fun as you barrel down this attraction. The Downhill Double Dipper was one of the world's first side-by-side racing tube slides. This is located at Blizzard Beach too.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has some impressive stats. It is home to one of the largest wave pools, featuring 6-foot waves every 90 seconds! This is one of Tad and Lily’s favorite attractions, as they love to show off their body surfing skills. You can even book private surfing lessons! Wow, right? We recommend booking these sessions in advance by calling (407) WDW-SURF.
One of the best parts about the water parks is that they are located just a quick hop away from your Walt Disney World Resort. Many of the resorts offer direct bus routes to the water parks, or during the off-season via bus transfer from Disney Springs for Typhoon Lagoon or Animal Kingdom to Blizzard Beach.
But do they feel like “Disney”?
Disney loves to immerse guests in storytelling. From magic carpets to runaway teacups, storytelling is just what Disney does best. The legends behind the two Disney water parks are no exception.
The theming at Disney’s Blizzard Beach is such an anomaly that we can’t help but be slightly obsessed. It’s so unique! The legend tells of a freak snowstorm that covered the northern part of Walt Disney World with ice and snow. Trying to make capital off the ordeal, a ski resort was quickly put into the making. Of course, being located in the middle of central Florida, the snow melted as quickly as it came, resulting in the melty, gushy mess of Blizzard Beach. You’ll spy a silly gator in the form of statues, pictures or even parts of the buildings. That’s Ice Gator, and he’s become the unofficial mascot of the joint.
Beyond the gorgeous beach, snow-capped mountains and lush landscaping, our top favorite is the Chair Lift. Yes, you read that right! There’s an actual chair lift that transports you to the top of Mount Gushmore. Our little frogs couldn’t get enough of this fun attraction! Plus, it saved their froggy legs from walking up a ton of stairs every time they wanted to try another waterslide. It’s odd to think that snow and ice would give us that tropical vacation feel, but somehow it just works here.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon also boasts some incredible theming. The story implies that a typhoon wreaked havoc on a tropical paradise. You’ll find that ships, fishing gear and surfboards are strewn about as if the giant storm had flung them there. The mascot here is Lagoona Gator, while the park’s centerpiece is a shrimp boat named, Miss Tilly. You’ll see that the ship is impaled upon Mount Mayday. This attraction erupts a 50-foot blast of water every half an hour. Our froggy hearts just can’t get enough!
Besides the incredible theming, you find pop-up Disney character interactions too! We’ve frequently seen Goofy waving and posing for photographs with guests. Character interactions are always a splashin' good time.
After a fun-filled afternoon of lazing by the beach or zipping down waterslides, definitely has us working up a froggy appetite! Just like in the theme parks, there’s a bounty of different snack, meal and drink options to be had.
Each water park has at least two-quick service locations, several snack stands, two bars and Joffrey’s Coffee. You can find snacks that are exclusive to each location. Some of our favorites are the freshly made mini-doughnuts from Joffrey's. Be sure to add the raspberry and chocolate dipping sauces. YUM! We also love the newly returned Hei Hei Dole Whip Cone and the Sand Pail Ice Cream Sundae at Typhoon Lagoon. If you like sippin’ soft drinks as much as we do, both parks offer the All-Day Refillable Mug for about $12. If you’re looking to dine on a budget, Disney allows you to bring your own cooler. The only restrictions are glass and alcohol. So save some major bucks and pack your own lunch and snacks. There are picnic areas at each water park that are perfect for eating lunch together.
Aside from the delicious treat options, you’ll find themed merchandise locations at both of the water parks — Singapore Sal's at Typhoon Lagoon and The Beach Haus at Blizzard Beach. If you’re in need of beach towels, sunglasses or you accidentally left your sunscreen back at the resort, you can nab all your water park necessities here. There are novelty souvenirs available to help you commemorate your Disney World trip.
Is this something the whole family can enjoy?
We think one of the best perks about the Disney water parks is that you can make your visit as thrilling or relaxing as you’d like. Let me give you some examples for every type of water park visitor:
- The Relaxer — Kick back and lounge on the beach in front of the wave pools, or leisurely float around one of the lazy rivers. Sip a tropical cocktail and peruse the shops later in the afternoon.
- The Thrill Seeker — Race your family down the Downhill Double Dipper, zip down Summit Plummet or board the Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.
- The Foodie — Visit each of the quick-service dining locations and snack carts. Sample a treat or drink from each one.
- The Teen — Try your agility at one of the water obstacle courses at the Ski Patrol Training Camp.
- The Little Tike — Splish and splash at the Ketchakiddee Creek or Tike’s Peak.
- The Bougie Traveler — Rent your own Beachcomber shack or Polar Patio, complete with an attendant that supplies towels, ice water and helps with your Mobile Order. Advanced reservations are highly recommended by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
I think we covered most of the bases here, but there’s definitely something for everyone!
What are the ticket options?
Currently, there are several different ticket options to help you make the most of your trip.
- 1-Day Water Park Ticket — Grants admission to either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon.
- Disney Theme Park Base Ticket with Water Park and Sports Option (does not include park hopping) — This ticket allows you one "plus visit" for each day of admission to your choice of two water parks or other select attractions.
- Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option — We think this option is the most economical and flexible for families. This way you can visit all four Disney theme parks and both water parks during your visit!
Anything else we should know before we go?
There are just a few more things we’d like to mention before you go. Unlike Disney’s four theme parks, you do not need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation to visit Disney water parks. Hooray! Parking is also free. Double hooray! We’ve also noticed that the water park crowd levels are usually never as high as the theme parks. Keep in mind that holidays, especially Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, always tend to draw in larger crowds. We recommend arriving at least a half-hour before opening. This will allow you enough time to find the best seating, store your belongings in a locker and start on your favorite attractions before the majority of the other park guests arrive.
Now you’re ready to leap off to some toadally awesome water park adventures! Don’t froget that you can snag your discounted water park tickets from us frogs. Do you enjoy a day at Disney’s water parks as much as we do? Let us know in the comments below.
Related: The Frog Family's Amazingly Cool Guide to Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
Related: The Frog Family's Splashin' Guide to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park