I had been to the water parks once or twice, but only within the last year or two. I was always one of those people who didn’t want to take time away from one of the four main parks to visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. I had enjoyed my previous times at the water parks, but I really fell in love with them on my last trip! After spending a few days exploring, I discovered the theming is classic Disney, they are a great alternative to the traditional park experience (especially when the temperatures are maxed out), and most of all they are a blast! With this in mind I’ve decided to dedicate my next several blog posts to Disney’s watery playgrounds! I thought I’d start things off with topics which apply to both of the water parks and some things I thought you should know to prepare for a day slip slidin’ away.
One of the big issues that held me back from visiting Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach was that I was too cheap to spend the extra money on a ticket. That all changed this year when I opted to upgrade my annual pass to a premium annual pass. While my new pass costs costs more, I already made up the difference with my two days spent swimming. A single day ticket to one of the water parks will set you back $52.19 for adults and $43.67 for kids under 10. Guests may also add the Water Park Fun & More option to your Magic Your Way Pass. This option allows one admission per day of your pass to a variety of activities outside the four main parks. It seems to me many guests would not use all of these admissions, and would most likely be better off buying one day’s admission to a water park. However, I realize your situation may be different and you’ll have to make that decision for your family.
Preparation for a day in the water parks starts before you even head out the door! I recommend checking park hours for Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach online, just like the four main theme parks. Also like the other parks, they have Extra Magic Hours for guests staying on Disney property. This way you’ll know when to arrive for rope drop. It should be mentioned that the water parks can be shut down for inclement weather. If you are willing to wait out the storm you have a good chance at having the place to yourself once the squall has passed! You should also not expect to get a refund for your ticket due to bad weather. The park map clearly states admission is nonrefundable.
Guests may use Disney transportation from their resort to the water parks as they would any of the other parks.
Be aware that your bus to Blizzard Beach will probably also stop at Animal Kingdom. It will be quicker (and probably more comfortable in your wet bathing suit) to go back and forth in your own car. There is ample parking for guests and both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
When you have a plan, it’s time to get your stuff together. It may seem obvious that you’d wear a swim suit to a water park, but there is more to it than that. Ladies, be sure your tops are as secure as they can be. The slides (especially the big ones) can leave you searching for pieces of your suit if you aren’t careful. There are also signs at the entrances to many of the slides prohibiting articles of clothing with metal or anything that could damage the slides. Many people opt to wear water shoes or flip flops around the water parks, but I’ve gone barefoot every time and managed just fine. It should also be noted that you will be asked to remove shoes for certain attractions. I also opted to keep my sunglasses with me throughout the day, but I had to hold on to them while enjoying many of the slides.
What should you bring with you to the water parks? First and foremost, don’t forget that unless someone in your party would rather just lay in a lounge chair all day and keep and eye on your groups belongings, chances are you will leave some things unattended for a while. I would opt to keep any valuables in a safe place like your room, your car, or a locker while you tour the water parks. Chances are no one will snag your stuff near your chair, but always better to be cautious. With that being said, one of the first items on your list should be sunscreen. With running around in your bathing suit in the Florida sun you’ll want to protect your skin and reapply every few hours especially when getting wet. You may want to bring your own beach towels, but they are also available to rent for $2. Basically, bring whatever you feel you’d need to make you comfortable for that day, but try to keep it to a minimum.
You also may consider bringing some snacks or lunch. Guests are permitted to carry in one cooler per group. However, glass bottles and alcohol are prohibited. There are plenty of food options if you get hungry and don’t supply your own munchies. You’ll want to be sure to have a means to pay for them available either in your locker or stashed in your poolside items. I’ll cover food choices more in depth in a later post, but I’ll say this now: leave room for donuts.
Once you have your ticket secured and you’re ready to slide, you should arrive at the main gate about 30-45 minutes before park opening. Cast members will generally allow guests to enter the turnstiles a few minutes before official opening, but hold them at certain points to prevent access to the slides and attractions. This is a great time to rent a locker or towel if you should need them. Lockers cost #13 for a small and $15 for a large one (might as well spend the extra two bucks for the big one). There are also changing rooms and other services near the lockers. Parents may opt to nab life vests for their kids which are available free of charge before getting started for the day.
When you are admitted into the main area of the park I suggest nabbing a chair in the shade. If you are intent on working on your tan, by all means grab one in the sun, but I like the relief of the shade. This will be your groups home base for the rest of the day so be sure to mark your territory with towels, cover ups, or whatever else you might have on hand. There are many seating areas scattered around both parks and if you are there early enough you should have your pick of them. Reserved seating areas are available at an extra cost, but I’ll discuss them in a future post.
As for tips for your actual touring, of course we recommend a Touring Plan. We offer plans for adults and kids for both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. I tackled Touring Plans for both parks, and I’ll write more about them in an upcoming post. While these plans recommend arriving at park opening, I’ve also heard the water parks are like a ghost town in their last couple hours of operation. I don’t have a lot of experience with this notion, but when we left Blizzard Beach at about 6:15 pm, it was still fairly crowded. However, it had busy all day long so this could have been a fluke. I promise to visit the water parks later in the day to research this idea in the future.
It can be easy to feel turned around in Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon since
they are so different from a traditional theme park. I felt a bit out of it a few times simply because I know Epcot or Magic Kingdom like the back of my hand, but I don’t have as much experience at the water parks. There are maps nestled in among the slides and directional signs to help guide guests to their destinations. Best of all, each point of entry along the lazy rivers has information posted as to which attractions are nearby. There are also wait times posted in various locations to help you plan your next step.
Have I convinced you to try a Disney water park yet? I hope so! They really are a lot of fun and can be a nice change of pace from the usual park touring. Have you got any other tips for our water park going readers? If you do I’d love to see them in the comments!
In my next post I’ll take a more in depth look at Typhoon Lagoon so stay tuned!
A special thanks goes out to Neil Citro for being my official photographer during my water parks research!