(Article last updated: April 1, 2017)
People who plan to visit a Disney World water park don't usually plan to visit both so they have to decide - Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon?
In this post, these 2 water parks face off in 8 different categories and 1 is crowned the winner.
Let's get started...
In this article
Some general advice first
Before the battle begins, just some general water park advice.
- When to go. The first few hours and the last few hours that a water park is open are the best times to be there. Everything in the middle is busier. The first few days of the week are usually the least busy days at the water parks.
- PhotoPass. There are PhotoPass photographers in the water parks too. Their PhotoPass cards are attached to a plastic bracelet that you can wear while you're at the water parks (and to the theme parks afterward too, if you like). MagicBands are waterproof and can also be worn.
- Winter closings. Each of the water parks is closed for a month or two each winter. Usually, 1 water park will be closed for a month or two at the end of the year and the other will be closed at the beginning of the year.
- Too cold in winter? Check the weather daily and try to pick the day with the most suitable weather. You may not want to buy the Water Park Fun and More tickets beforehand until you know you'll be able to visit a water park. You can always upgrade once you get there. (Read my article about ticket options here.)
- Afternoon rains. Don't let the afternoon rain scare you. If it rains, you can usually just wait it out. The water park will empty and you'll have it to yourself afterward. Try the Dark Sky app for iPhone and iPad to predict the rain down to the minute while you're on your trip.
- Food. Of course you're not necessarily looking for great food when visiting a water park but the mini donuts sold at the water parks are a fun and popular snack. The kids' meals and ice cream come in a pail with a shovel.
Now...let's check out the parks...
The story behind Blizzard Beach is a cute one..
After a freak snow storm blanketed Florida in white, a ski resort sprang up with slalom courses, toboggan slides and iceberg walkways. When the weather shifted back to hot, the whole resort started to melt. What to do?
An enterprising alligator saw an opportunity. Clad in a scarf and hat, the gator slid down the ski jump, shouting "Yahoooo!" all the way. With a big splash he landed in a pool of melted snow below the mountain, and the slushy, slippery slopes became an exhilarating water park like no other in the world.
...and so this water park is themed after a ski resort, complete with ski lifts and the look of snow throughout.
Typhoon Lagoon's story is not quite as cute...
According to Disney legend, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon was created by an epic storm. Surfboards were hurled into palm trees and boats were tossed around like toys.
The typhoon made the storm-soaked Mount Mayday an ideal source for exhilarating waterslides. Surrounding the mountain, a 56-acre topsy-turvy tropical paradise was formed—full of waterways, rivers, rapids and slides.
...but the theming is more beach-like.
While I like the story of Blizzard Beach and it is the most heavily themed, I don't like the theming. It feels odd to be in a swimsuit surrounded by "snow" and listening to Christmas music.
I like the laid back, tropical feel of Typhoon Lagoon much better.
Favorite park for little ones
Blizzard Beach has 2 areas for kids: Tike’s Peak and Ski Patrol Training Camp.
Tike's Peak is geared toward younger kids and has a snow-castle fountain, pop-up water jets and kid-sized slides in a shallow water area for little ones who are less than 48 inches tall.
Ski Patrol Training Camp is for slightly older kids who aren't quite ready for the big slides and includes curvy waterslides and inner-tube slides, a floating iceberg course and a zip line where children less than 60 inches tall can grab a T-bar and hang on as they zip down over the water and drop into a pool.
The water in this area is around 8 feet deep so children need to be able to swim or should wear a life jacket.
Typhoon Lagoon's kid section is called Ketchakiddee Creek which has small scale slides, fun fountains, crawl tubes, waterfalls, a leaky tugboat and a mini ripply-rapids ride. There are 10 different activity areas with tons of fun for little ones who are less than 48 inches tall.
Although some of my favorite Disney World memories have been in the Ketchakiddee Creek area of Typhoon Lagoon, I have to give this one to Blizzard Beach for having more options that appeal to a wide range of kids of all ages.
Most likely to give you a heart attack
Blizzard Beach's Summit Plummet is terrifying. 12 stories STRAIGHT down....
Typhoon Lagoon's scariest attraction was Shark Reef which allowed you to snorkel in the water above sharks. Unfortunately, it closed at the end of the season in 2016 and there really aren't any other slides at Typhoon Lagoon that can compare to the experience of Summit Plummet ...
By far, the winner of this is Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach which is not only terrifying but a literal pain in the ass rear. Scariest thing in all of Disney World? Maybe.
Blizzard Beach's Melt Away Bay is a moderately sized pool (relatively speaking) with lapping waves...
Typhoon Lagoon's Surf Pool is the largest wave pool in the world and alternates between 90 minute surf (6 foot high) waves and 30 minute bobbing waves. You can even take surfing lessons in it.
The wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon wins by a landslide.
Typhoon Lagoon regularly edges out Blizzard Beach in attendance, with both parks having over 2,000,000 visitors annually.
Best inner tube water slide
Typhoon Lagoon's Crush 'n' Gusher is a multi-rider, coaster-like raft ride for big kids and adults. Each of the 3 slides are around 400 feet long and includes lots of sudden drops and uphill climbs. Up to 3 guests can ride at once.
Runoff Rapids at Blizzard Beach are 3 different inner tube waterslides for big kids and adults. Each of the 3 flumes is different, with 2 of the flumes holding 2 people and the third slide accommodating 1 person at a time.
All 3 slides have twists and turns down the hill, ending with a plunge into the pool at the bottom.
Crush 'n' Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon is a super unique slide since it's very coaster-like and involves going up and down throughout the ride (as coasters do).
Best lazy river
Castaway Creek at Typhoon Lagoon goes all around the park and is a great way to relax and/or make your way to a different section of the park...
Cross Country Creek at Blizzard Beach is very similar but goes in the occasional cave as well...
It's a tie. They are super similar.
Best family raft ride
Blizzard Beach’s Teamboat Springs is a 1200 feet long winding river ride that allows up to 6 people per raft and is suitable for everybody in the family...
Typhoon Lagoon’s Miss Adventure Falls is a new family ride that includes an animatronic bird, tunnels and a conveyor belt to carry you to the top...
Teamboat Springs at Blizzard Beach is 1 of the most fun attractions at Disney World for the whole family. PhotoPass photographers are at the bottom so smile! With your swimsuit on! Super awkward!
Drum roll, please....
The winner of the battle of the Disney World water parks is...
It's my favorite of the 2 water parks and has the highest chance of appealing to the whole family.
Blizzard Beach is nice in its own right so you can't really go wrong. In fact, you may have read the description of some of the attractions here and thought "I'd love to be in a swimsuit while listening to Christmas tunes and falling 12 stories!" and that's OK too.