Disney used to have both of their water parks open at the same time and due to time constraints on trips, oftentimes you’d have to choose between the two. But now it is normal to only have one open at a time, which means you very likely won’t have a choice at all.
That may sound bad, but the *good* news is that both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon have a lot to offer.
In this post, we are going to compare both water parks across 7 different categories to give you a good idea of what you can expect to find – no matter which water park you visit.
Let’s get started…
Some general advice first
Before the comparison 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 usually 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.
- Too cold in winter? Check the weather daily and try to pick the day with the most suitable weather. Even though the water is heated, you may not want to buy a ticket to one of the water parks until you arrive. (Read our article about Disney World ticket options.)
- 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.
- 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…
What would any Disney park be without a
good great theme?!
Blizzard Beach theme
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 theme
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.
Things to do with little ones
If you have little kids, you’ll be happy to know that both water parks have fantastic areas just for them!
Blizzard Beach for kids
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 new “Frozen” touch including statuettes of Olaf and his Snowgie pals in the warm wading pool, as well as Anna and Elsa’s igloo castle – all 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 for kids
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.
Both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon have thrillers that will send your heart racing.
Blizzard Beach’s scariest slide
If you are looking for thrills, Blizzard Beach’s Summit Plummet is terrifying. It is 12 stories (120 feet) STRAIGHT down….
It is not only the park’s signature attraction but also one of the tallest and fastest free-fall body slides in the world. Riders experience a near-vertical drop, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour, which provides an adrenaline rush like no other. As you can imagine, it also provides clothing mishaps like no other, too.
Typhoon Lagoon’s scariest slide
Typhoon Lagoon’s scariest attraction was Shark Reef which allowed you to snorkel in the water above sharks. (Okay, yes the sharks were small, and it wasn’t really THAT scary, but it was still really cool).
Unfortunately, it closed at the end of the season in 2016. Typhoon Lagoon doesn’t have anything as tall as Summit Plummet over at Blizzard Beach, but it still has a few thrillers.
One of our favorites is Humunga Kowabunga, which drops you about 5 stories in the darkness.
Definitely not the same intensity as Summit Plummet, but still a lot of fun!
Wave pools are a staple of any water park, and you’ll find 2 of the best in the world at Disney World.
Blizzard Beach wave pool
Blizzard Beach’s Melt Away Bay is a moderately sized pool (relatively speaking) with lapping waves.
Unlike the more intense wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon, Melt-Away Bay offers gentler, bobbing waves, making it a perfect spot for those looking to relax and unwind.
Typhoon Lagoon wave pool
Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool is one of the largest wave pools 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.
Although it isn’t really “peaceful”, it is definitely a lot of fun.
Inner tube water slides
Like riding an inner tube? Both parks have multiple slides where you’ll be sitting either on or in an inner tube. Here are our favorites at each park:
Typhoon Lagoon’s Crush ‘n’ Gusher
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.
This is an incredibly unique ride and definitely a ton of fun.
Blizzard Beach’s Downhill Double Dipper
Downhill Double Dipper at Blizzard Beach are 2 inner tube waterslides for big kids and adults that are positioned side by side so that you can race to the bottom. The slides are enclosed and mimic a downhill ski race, complete with digital stop clocks.
It doesn’t have the same thrill factor as Crusn ‘n’ Gusher, but it is still a must-do if you visit Blizzard Beach.
Lazy Rivers are our love language, and we could spend hours in the ones at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. In fact, we HAVE spent hours in both.
Typhoon Lagoon 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…
Stretching approximately 2,000 feet in length, this continuously flowing stream winds its way through lush rainforests, misty caves, and sun-bathed mountains, giving guests the perfect vistas as they relax their cares away.
Blizzard Beach lazy river
Blizzard Beach’s lazy river, known as Cross Country Creek, offers guests a whimsical journey around the water park with a unique snowy twist. As the polar opposite of a tropical setting, this lazy river meanders through ski chalets, icy caverns, and under melting snow bridges, all while maintaining a pleasantly warm water temperature.
It’s a real trip to be floating on “melting ice”, listening to Christmas music, all while the sun is beating down on you.
Family raft rides
We love being able to ride something with our entire group – and both of Disney’s water parks have raft rides that hold multiple people at once.
Blizzard Beach 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.
Starting from a high point, the raft winds its way down a twisting, turning river course, offering both thrilling drops and relaxing stretches.
Even if you aren’t there with a group, they will pair you up with others.
Typhoon Lagoon family raft-ride
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.
The entire ride tells a story of Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure hunter whose expedition was caught in a storm, scattering her findings across the seas. The rich story-telling on this attraction is definitely a nice addition.
While it’s true that only one of its iconic parks, either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, is open at a given time, trust us when we say this: no matter where you splash down, the Disney magic flows through BOTH.
Although we covered some of the top attractions at both parks, we wanted to make sure you could see the complete picture, so here’s everything you’ll find at each park:
All Blizzard Beach attractions
Blizzard Beach has 12 attractions:
- Summit Plummet (Free-fall body slide) – At least 48 inches (122 cm)
- Slush Gusher (Speed slide) – At least 48 inches (122 cm)
- Teamboat Springs (Family white-water raft ride) – No height requirement
- Runoff Rapids (Tube slide) – No height requirement
- Snow Stormers (Mat-slide racers) – No height requirement
- Downhill Double Dipper (Side-by-side racing slides) – At least 48 inches (122 cm)
- Toboggan Racers (Mat-slide racers) – No height requirement
- Melt-Away Bay (Wave pool) – No height requirement, but children under 48 inches (122 cm) must be accompanied by an adult
- Cross Country Creek (Lazy river) – No height requirement.
- Ski Patrol Training Camp (Interactive play area for pre-teens with various water features) – No specific height requirement, but certain elements may have age or ability suggestions
- Tike’s Peak (Children’s play area with mini slides and water features) – Must be 48 inches (122 cm) or shorter
In addition to the traditional water park rides, Blizzard Beach also has a chair lift that takes you up to some slides like Summit Plummet, Slush Gusher, and Toboggan Racers:
- Chairlift (Overhead gondola lift) – Riders must be at least 32 inches (81 cm) tall. Those between 32 inches and 48 inches (81 cm to 122 cm) must be accompanied by an adult
All Typhoon Lagoon attractions
Typhoon Lagoon has 11 attractions:
- Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool (Wave pool) – No specific height requirement, but children under 48 inches (122 cm) must be accompanied by an adult
- Castaway Creek (Lazy river) – No height requirement
- Miss Adventure Falls (Family raft ride) – No height requirement
- Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Water coaster) – At least 48 inches (122 cm)
- Humunga Kowabunga (Vertical drop body slides) – At least 48 inches (122 cm)
- Storm Slides (Body slides) – No height requirement
- Gangplank Falls (Family raft ride) – No height requirement
- Mayday Falls (Tube slide) – No height requirement
- Keelhaul Falls (Tube slide) – No height requirement
- Bay Slides (Children’s slides) – Must be 60 inches (152 cm) or shorter
- Ketchakiddee Creek (Children’s play area with mini slides and water features) – Must be 48 inches (122 cm) or shorter
Want to learn more about the Disney World water parks?
Check out the guides below. We have everything from details on all of the rides and slides to the pros and cons (and prices!) for all your dining and food options.
- Complete guide to Typhoon Lagoon (including rides, dining, and tickets)
- Complete guide to Blizzard Beach (including rides, dining, and tickets)
Which do you think is the best Disney water park – Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon? Let us know in the comments.
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