Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon

Wet and Wild: Disney’s Water Parks in Orlando

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Last week, SVV and I went on an actual vacation, meaning I wasn’t there for a story, we weren’t reviewing a hotel—rather, we were just down in Florida making use of my parents’ timeshare in the Orlando area. (This doesn’t mean I went a week without working; on the contrary, I spent a couple days holed up in the condo putting out fires. That said, if I have to be indoors working at least I was indoors working in Florida!)

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Southwest has several direct flights between Nashville and Orlando, so we took the latest on a Sunday night, which got us in a little after 9 and to the condo an hour after that. Monday morning we weren’t feeling like logging a whole day at the parks, so on a whim, we decided to venture down the road to Blizzard Beach, one of Disney World’s two water parks.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

You may have noticed but I’m super Type A with my planning (I like to think of it as “efficient”). I’m the kind of park-goer who wants to prioritize her rides and hit the ones that will have the longest line by midday the first thing in the day. As such, I spent the morning doing a little digging around online before trying to figure out the best of the two water parks to visit as an adult. I couldn’t find any helpful resources online, so we decided to go with our gut and do Blizzard Beach, which we both enjoyed a whole lot the last time we were there in 2009 with my family.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

But when we got there this time, we were in for a surprise.

Disney now offers admission to both water parks on the same ticket. Huzzah!

You’ll have to drive five miles down the road to Typhoon Lagoon when you’re ready to switch parks, but paying $58 a head, I definitely felt like we got more bang for our buck being able to visit a second park when we tired of Blizzard Beach.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

I also don’t think there was enough to do at Blizzard or Typhoon singularly to justify a whole day at just one spot. Still, if you’re trying to figure out how to best delegate your time, here are my two cents.

Blizzard Beach

Premise: a freak snowstorm hits Florida; the result is lingering ice, snow, ski slopes, lift chairs, the whole nine yards.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Best thrill: Summit Plummet

No surprise that the biggest, baddest water slide of all with a 120-foot slope and a 12-story drop was my favorite. Get there when the park opens (or as close as possible) and make straight for Summit Plummet to avoid 60-minute waits out under the blazing sun.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Fun for the whole family: Teamboat Springs

These six-seat rafts are surprisingly swift and fun; SVV and I took one with a father and his two sons, and we all laughed our way down the fairly lengthy slide.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Go head first: Snow Stormers

Large groups may have fun competing against one another on the Toboggan Racers, but I preferred Snow Stormers, which was also a head-first kind of rind on a mat—but with far more twists and turns.

Sit back and relax: Cross Country Creek

Both parks have fast-flowing lazy rivers that ring the perimeter, but I think Blizzard Beach has the upper hand on the better one. It didn’t seem nearly as crowded as at Typhoon.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Kiddie delight: Ski Patrol Training Camp

For the mid-sized kids and tweens, Ski Patrol Training Camp with its slides, floating iceberg course and even a zip line is a riot. I’m not going to lie: There were several times I thought about sneaking away and attempting it myself!

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Skip if there’s a line: Runoff Rapids

This was fun, don’t get me wrong—especially because SVV and I got to ride together in a two-seater—but had there been a line of any substantial length, I would have been annoyed by how short the slide was.

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

Typhoon Lagoon

Premise: a typhoon wreaks havoc on a tropical island.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

Hours of amusement: Surf Pool

This six-foot wave unfurls itself on the massive pool of park-goers every 90 seconds and at times feels as powerful as an actual typhoon (or what I imagine it to feel like, at least). Inner tubes aren’t allowed so smaller kids should stay in the shallow end.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

Unexpected thrill: Crush ‘n’ Gusher

In true roller coaster fashion, this slide goes up and down, side to side, and you can ride by yourself or with a partner.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

Get your heart pumping: Shark Reef

As the name suggests, Shark Reef is indeed an open reef with docile nurse sharks milling about and the ability to snorkel atop the waters of the tank. I very vividly remember this terrifying me as a kid, but observing from the deck this time, I can’t believe I ever was scared (OK, given my crippling fear of sharks, that’s a lie). We opted not to do it simply because we’re divers and the idea didn’t really excite us, but I do think this is a fun attraction for non-divers who have never had the thrill of being face to face with a shark.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

Cool down: Castaway Creek

If you’re starting to feel overheated, grab a raft and catch the current. I could spend all day in any lazy river, but I do really enjoy both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon’s iterations.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida
Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

So, which is better?

Honestly, if I were going just for the high-thrill rides, I’d probably stick to Blizzard Beach. That said, the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool is pretty awesome—and there seems to be a lot to do at that park if you have kids in tow.

Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida

In summary? Plan to do both. I mean, you’re paying for both parks—why not?

What it costs

  • $58 per adult ticket
  • $20 for lunch for two (a chicken wrap and a bruschetta flatbread)
  • $8 for a locker rental (+ a $5 deposit that you get back when you return your key and you only have to pay at one park)

Grand total for two adults: $144

Money-saving tip: You can take snacks and coolers into the park, as long as they aren’t in glass bottles. This was super helpful for us as we loaded up my bag with bottled water rather than have to buy it inside the park. There’s also beer, wine and liquor throughout the park if you feel like drinking, but at that early in the day—and on a Monday at that—we decided to go without booze (for a change).

Blizzard Beach in Orlando, Florida

All in all, not the worst deal in the world considering we could have stayed there from 9am till 8pm if we wanted. (We didn’t. We lasted more like 11am to 3pm.) It was also nice not having to pay for parking like you do at the other Disney parks.

I didn’t think so.

Have you been to any of the Orlando water parks? Which was your favorite?

COMMENTS
  • June 29, 2015
    Jen

    We are HUGE Disney fans. We go as often as possible – two or three times a year – now that both kids are finally tall enough we started visiting the waterparks (as a family). Coming from Chicago, hitting those parks during the Fall (and sometimes the Winter months) is awesome. My kids will tell you they each like a different park, for different reasons.

    Looks like you had a great day, despite the heat/humidity.

    • June 29, 2015

      That’s great that you get to visit so regularly! We went down once or twice a year throughout my childhood but now are averaging more like once every five. I definitely prefer it in fall/winter…the lines this past week were just insane—120 minute wait at many of the Disney parks for their big rides!

  • June 29, 2015

    Looks so fun! I invested in a one-piece after a particularly memorable incident at a Bali waterpark… Nevertheless, a one-piece is such a good investment anyway, even without any flashing scares.

    • June 29, 2015

      Haha, I can only imagine what the incident might have entailed! Thank God one-pieces are back and there are so many cute options now, right?

  • June 29, 2015

    While Orlando isn’t a place I’d choose to spend my vacation time, this kinda makes me want to go back! I went to Typhoon Lagoon maybe 20 years ago on college spring break, and thought the shark snorkel thing was pretty cool! And, I’m a sucker for a lazy river 🙂

    Leigh
    ~campfiresandconcierges.com

    • June 29, 2015

      PS – I LOVE the flamingo swimsuit – super cute!

      • June 29, 2015

        I know what you mean: I’ve been several times in the past few years to cover the Harry Potter parks, but I think I’ve had my Disney fill for awhile and will be fine going every five years or so from now on out (unless they expand HP again!).

        And thank you! It’s from Ann Taylor, this season =)

  • June 29, 2015

    Wait this looks like so much fun!! Hahha I’ve never been to the Orlanda water parks but it looks like a blast =) and yes your swimsuit is ADORABLE!

  • June 29, 2015

    Orlando ***

  • June 29, 2015
    Briel K.

    Looks like fun! I can’t remember the last time I went to a water park but I think it’s been at least 15 years?!

    Cute suit! 🙂

    • July 8, 2015

      I feel like it’s something I don’t do nearly enough as an adult, while it’s every bit as fun as it was a kid. New life goal: more water parks!

  • June 30, 2015

    Thank you for this information .i like your website because it have a lot of articles that they happen in everyday of our life.

  • July 1, 2015

    You seem to be having so much fun. This makes me wanna visit a water park. There are some in my country but nothing special.

    • July 8, 2015

      Thank you! Fun is definitely always the top priority 😉

  • July 2, 2015
    Amy

    This looks like it was so much fun. Thanks for posting this. I can’t wait to take my own Orlando vacation.

  • July 12, 2015

    Oh! It seems you had lots of fun out there, I have not been in a water park before but I must admit that it’s so much fun than I expected.

  • October 17, 2016
    Arne Jägerblom

    Hello, Kristin.
    Saw your beatiful pictures from Blizzard Beach and am hoping now that you would grant me to use some of the overviewing once (no persons) to illuminate an article that I’m supposed to layout for a swedish organisation for simhall managers. Fingers crossed.
    Kindly, Arne, +46-8-645 2919

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