Filed under: Trip Planning
Last summer I did a weekend almost entirely devoted to Disney’s water parks, which caused me to fall in love with Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. If you haven’t had the chance to visit these water playgrounds before, I highly recommend it, especially with the unbearably hot Florida summer being in full force in the coming months. There are a lot of things I truly enjoy at both of these parks simply by showing up, throwing my stuff in a locker, and hitting the slides. But some guests may be looking for a bit more service and a peaceful place to relax during their day at the water park. Disney has answered the call by offering cabanas at both parks.
While I don’t want to bother with (or pay for) a cabana on every visit to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, I have found them to be a fun way to enhance my experience when I’m willing to treat myself to a little luxury during my vacation. I have tried different variations at both parks and usually have had a great time and good service. So what are the different cabana options at the water parks?
At Typhoon Lagoon you may rent either a Beachcomber Shack or an umbrella with chaise lounges. The Beachcomber Shack is the larger option and includes towels, a cooler stocked with ice and bottled water, your own locker, refillable mugs, and an attendant who will bring you food, more towels, or anything else you may need. These shacks house up to six people and cost $319.50. They are true cabanas with an actual roof and seating for everyone in your party. The umbrellas with lounge chairs are in the same area as the Shacks, so you still get privacy, but towels are the only things provided to guests using these chairs. They are priced at a much more reasonable $53 for a day’s use.
Blizzard Beach offers similar accomodations for guests with Polar Patios for up to six people. These include the same services as the Beachcomber Shacks. However, these aren’t actual structures providing shade, but wood decks with umbrellas for your group. Ours was in a shady area, anyhow, so there was no fight for space under the umbrella. The Polar Patios are definitely smaller than the Beachcomber Shacks, but I didn’t find the space uncomfortable with eight adults (we were allowed to pay for additional guests on top of the 6 last time I was there). Umbrellas with chairs are also available at Blizzard Beach for the same $53 price tag.
Guests may reserve one of these cabanas by calling (407) WDW-PLAY or seeing if there are any available on a walk up basis. You will be able to find out if there is space for your party by inquiring at High N’ Dry at Typhoon Lagoon or Snowless Joe’s at Blizzard Beach. These shops are also where you will go to check in if you’ve made advanced reservations. Here, each member of your party will be given a bracelet that gives them access to the cabana areas. When your group is ready to go, a host will show you to your private area and explain all of the services available to cabana guests.
I have done the Beachcomber Shack as well as an umbrella at Typhoon Lagoon, and I’ve also rented a Polar Patio at Blizzard Beach. The service at the Beachcomber Shack wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, but all of my other experiences have been great. The server at our Beachcomber Shack claimed the call button in our cabana was broken, so he never knew when we wanted his attention. But you’d think he’d be serving the neighboring cabanas or just come by to check on us from time to time even with a broken button. We rarely saw him, so we weren’t so sure we’d spring for a cabana again. However, a group of us later decided to give it a try at Blizzard Beach, and our server couldn’t have been more attentive; he even called himself our “fastpass to food.” Not only did he respond to our call button, but asked us to leave him notes on a small chalk board if we needed anything while we were out enjoying the park.
Aside from the service from the attendants, I really like having my own space at the water parks. I don’t have to worry about someone swiping my lounge chair while I’m circling the lazy river or worry about snagging myself a spot in the shade. Everything was taken care of for my friends and me, and from time to time it isn’t a bad thing to not have to think about too much on vacation. I also love having a cooler stocked with water and a refillable mug, so those are great little perks. What I really love is having my own locker in the cabana. I always rent a locker when I go to the water parks, so having one close to my home base is so nice. Not having to go all the way over to the locker area to get my wallet at lunch time then have to go back again is a really big bonus to me. Call me lazy, but convenience is hard to beat sometimes. Towels being included is also nice since I’d be renting one anyway.
So do I think the cabanas are worth the price? Well, that depends on a few things. Do you plan to use this amenity with a big group or just your family? If you can split the cost with a group of friends, it really isn’t so bad. If it will just be you and your kids, you’ll have to think more about the cost per person to see if you have that sort of cash to spend on a luxury. Also, it is important to consider how long you plan to spend in the park. If you intend to spend the entire day swimming and sliding, the cabanas or umbrellas are a more viable option. If you think you’ll only spend a couple hours there before heading back to your resort, I wouldn’t bother spending the money on the experience. Let’s be clear this is definitely a treat and will not make or break your water park experience. Yes, it is nice to have a home base and someone to wait on you, but is it completely necessary to pay for such things? Nope. Will I do it again in the future? Probably, but I’m not in a huge hurry. I love the water parks with or without a cabana, so I just consider them an added bonus for special occasions.
How about you? Have you experienced one of the water park cabanas? Tell me about your time spent there in the comments!
A special thanks goes to Neil Citro for providing this week’s photos!