So let’s say you want to go to a Disney water park. You’ve packed your swim trunks and sun tan lotion, and the only thing left to decide is whether you’re heading to Typhoon Lagoon vs Blizzard Beach. Well, let’s examine both water parks here to ultimately decide which water park will be the most fun for your family when you want to beat the heat!
Typhoon Lagoon vs Blizzard Beach
Scheduling Your Trip – Operational Dates
When planning your vacation, it’s important to keep an eye on the opening and closing dates, as well as the operational hours of both water parks. During the off season when the water parks aren’t in as high of a demand (or cooler months, typically from November to March) only one park at a time will be open. This allows one of the parks time to be cleaned, renovated, and prepped for the busy season. This makes your decision easier – as only one park will be open!
For example, at the end of November, Typhoon Lagoon closed for renovations while Blizzard Beach remains open. If you’re planning a trip over the holidays through early spring, Blizzard Beach is your park.
Depending on the time of year you’ll be traveling, there may be several options available to you when purchasing water park tickets. The good news is that reservations are not currently required for the water parks. You can either purchase a one day pass ($63 for ages 3-9, $69 for ages 10+) valid through the remainder of the year, or a discounted one day pass ($58 for ages 3-9, $64 for ages 10+) with blackout dates.
If you go with this option, remember you may be blacked out on high volume days, holidays and weekends. In my experience, it’s best to spend the extra few dollars and avoid blackout days.
There’s an obvious difference between the two parks, and that’s that they both have drastically different themes and stories. It’s no surprise that Disney excels at creating completely immersive experiences for guests, and you’re in for a treat at either of these parks.
Typhoon Lagoon is designed to immerse the guests in a shipwrecked oasis. What was once a bustling tropical paradise has been ravaged by a typhoon. As you make your way through the park, you’ll get the sense of wandering through an abandoned village, with remnants of the town tossed about. This shipwrecked destination is a prime destination to get up close and personal with marine life, and enjoy some of the top water attractions in the country.
When it comes to Blizzard Beach, you’re in for a completely different experience. This chilling park is one of the most unique water park concepts there is, and is an extremely popular destination during peak season. In fact, it’s not uncommon for this park to hit capacity by lunchtime during the summer, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Picture a ski resort trying to make its home in sunny Orlando, Florida and you’ve found yourself at Blizzard Beach. With every inch of this park covered in melting “snow”, this is the perfect way to cool off during the summer. This is also home to Summit Plummet, one of the tallest water slides in the United States, towering at 120 feet tall!
If you’re anything like you, you rate a water park on how good its wave pool is. The good news is that both parks have excellent wave pools, but let’s talk about what sets them apart.
Let me start by saying that Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool is perhaps my favorite wave pool. It’s one of the largest in the world, holding over 3 million gallons of water. This isn’t your average wave pool – these waves pack a punch and can knock you off your feet if you’re not careful. The pool generates 6ft waves every 90 seconds for a duration of 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of calm, “bobbing” water.
If you’re wondering how you’ll know when the large waves are coming, simply stop and listen for the screams. Yes, you heard me! If you’re paying attention you can hear these waves (and excited swimmers) from nearly anywhere in the park.
While Blizzard Beach has its own wave pool, it’s quite different from Typhoon Lagoon’s. Meltaway Bay is centrally located in the park, and a great place to relax, especially if you’re visiting with younger children. This is a much milder pool, and you won’t be seeing any 6 foot waves here. Quite the opposite in fact, this wave pool is not a traditional wave pool with large waves hitting at certain intervals. Instead, you’ll float on calm, bobbing waves throughout the day.
Let’s be honest, braving a towering water slide or bracing to ride a 6 foot wave isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe you’re just looking for a relaxing break from the heat and the hustle and bustle of the parks. Lazy rivers are a water park staple, and lucky for you, both parks have one.
This park is home to Castaway Creek, another one of my favorite lazy rivers to date. A decent part of the creek is shaded, and the parts that aren’t are equipped with misters to keep you cool in the sun. As you float along the 2,000 foot river, you’ll pass through caves and grottos, as if you were floating through the rainforest itself. There are 5 landings throughout the park where you can grab an inner tube and be on your way down the river.
This park is home to Cross Country Creek, and as you may have guessed it’s much different than Castaway Creek. Instead of floating through a rainforest you’ll float through lush, green forests packed with springs and bubbling geysers. There are 7 landings throughout the park where you can grab your inner-tube and hop it.
If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, you may be comparing the attractions each park has to offer. Each park has a total of 12 attractions, ranging from wave pools to lazy rivers to water slides and interactive experiences. However, I want to take a minute to talk about the attractions that top the charts at each park. These are the most popular rides in the park, and because of that, lines can get quite long as the day goes on. You don’t want to be standing in the heat, so these are the attractions I recommend hitting first. So let’s jump into the top 3 attractions each park has to offer.
Crushin Gusher – This water coaster is the perfect combination of a roller coaster and water slide. It comes with a 48 inch height requirement, so is great for older kids and adults who want a break from the pools.
Gangplank Falls – This is a great attraction for the whole family! You’ll board a raft that fits a family of 4, and make your way through caves and waterfalls before reaching the pool below. There are no height requirements for this ride.
Misadventure Falls – This is another great option if you’re looking for a ride the whole family can enjoy. There is no specific height requirement, but little ones under 48 inches need to ride with an adult. This is one of my favorite attractions because it makes you a part of the story, as you join the treasure hunt once started by Captain Mary Oceaneer!
1) Summit Plummet – I mentioned previously that this is one of the tallest water slides in the country, towering at 120 feet tall. This attraction is not for the faint of heart, and is quite the challenge for those (like me) who are genuinely terrified of heights. But I made it my mission to brave this slide, and boy was it worth it. You’re in for quite the ride, dropping 12 stories and reaching nearly 60 miles per hour.
You can either climb the stairs to the top, or take the scenic route via the chairlift. Keep in mind there is a 48 inch height requirement for this ride. This is one of the most popular attractions in the park, so I recommend jumping in line early. If you’re not quite ready for the big plunge, ease your way in by checking out Slush Gusher, the 90 foot slide just to the side.
2) Runoff Rapids – This series of slides is powered by the runoff from Mount Gushmore, a scenic icon in the park. There are 3 different slides for guests to experience. Pick up your tube at the bottom of the pool and make your way to the top! This is a great family friendly option, as there are no specific height requirements for this ride, and it’s 3 different rides wrapped all into one.
3) Teamboat Springs – This is a great way for a family of up to 6 to enjoy an attraction together. This rafting adventure will take guests through treacherous rapids and small drops as you make your way down the mountain. This whitewater themed ride has no height requirement, and there’s no doubt about it, you WILL get wet.
If you’re going to be spending the whole day in the park, you’ll want to be sure that there are plenty of dining options available. Both parks are packed with quick service dining options strategically placed throughout the parks, where you can find staples like sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and chicken fingers. Both parks also offer sweet treats like donuts and ice cream.
Typhoon Lagoon has a few standouts, including Leaning Palms for the adults, where you can grab a cld adult beverage and plant based food options. Surf Doggies has a few fun options for kids, including hot dogs and Mickey Mouse soft pretzels. Typhoon Tilly’s has a decent selection of craft beers. Let’s not forget about Hammerhead Fred’s, a bar equipped with televisions.
Blizzard Beach has great options for those of us with an uncontrollable sweet tooth. I.C. Expeditions serves out frosty desserts including sundaes, floats and waffle cones. Lottawatta Lodge is a great place to bring the family for a wide variety of quick bites and desserts. For the adults, check out the Polar Pub for frozen cocktails and “brew-skis” bottled and on draft.
I’ll be honest – waterpark dining options shouldn’t be the deciding factor in which park you choose. Both offer similar options, and neither offer full service sit down style dining. Whether you’re looking for child friendly options, healthy alternatives, sweet treats or a cold adult beverage, both parks have you adequately covered.
Which Park is Better for Children?
In my opinion, Blizzard Beach is a more suitable choice for families and smaller children. There are more family oriented attractions where the entire family can ride together, and not as many height requirements. The wave pool is more suitable for small children, and the lazy river isn’t as packed with guests.
Blizzard Beach is home of Tike’s Peak, which is designed specifically for toddlers. There are 6 small slides so your little ones can join in the fun, and a shallow pool for them to cool off. The snow theme is also more relatable to children – there’s something about the magic of a wintery wonderland in the heat of the summer that kids love. My nephews prefer this park to Typhoon Lagoon.
Which Park is Better for Adults?
Typhoon Lagoon is in my opinion more suitable for adults. That’s not to say that it’s not child friendly, as the park is home to Ketchakiddee Park, an environment for little ones under 48 inches to enjoy their own mini waterslides, and splash and play in a shallow pool complete with a waterfall.
The reason I feel Typhoon Lagoon is a better fit for adults is because the theming and attractions are a little more mature, and appreciated more by teenagers and adults. The wave pool definitely targets an older demographic, and is appealing to stronger swimmers and thrill seekers.
One of the biggest selling points to me is Typhoon Lagoon’s food & beverage options, and close proximity to Disney Springs. The park has a few more adult options than Blizzard Beach, where you can grab a drink and kick back and enjoy one of the many pools. After a day in the park, you’re only a short bus ride to Disney Springs and the surrounding resorts.
Again, depending on the time of year you visit, yearly closures may decide which park you’ll be enjoying. But if you’ll be visiting from March to October, you’ll be fortunate to choose which park you want to spend time in. If time allows, I recommend trying both. One ticket will get you into both parks, and if you’re driving, parking is free at each park so you can hop between the two.
My personal favorite is Typhoon Lagoon simply because I love the more “adult” feel of the park, and appreciate the shipwrecked theme more. There’s something about feeling like you’ve been shipwrecked in the heat of the summer that just works for me. At the end of the day, when it comes to comparing Typhoon Lagoon vs Blizzard Beach, you can’t go wrong with either park. They both boast thrilling attractions, stunning pools and plenty of dining options.
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