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In addition to Walt Disney World’s four theme parks, there are two water parks on property where guests can relax and cool off when they need a break from the parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Blizzard Beach is home to Disney World’s fastest ride, a body slide aptly named Summit Plummet, but it also has a multitude of kid-friendly rides, play areas, and snacks. If you’re planning to visit Blizzard Beach with kids, these are the top things you need to know before you go.
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Snow-covered peaks and an alpine ski jump may sound like they’d be out of place at a Florida water park, but they feel right at home at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in Orlando, FL. According to Disney lore, when a massive snowstorm hit the area many years ago, locals used it as an opportunity to build a ski resort. Unfortunately, the temperatures quickly returned to normal and the snow began to melt. What was left behind was Blizzard Beach Water Park. From the Ice Gator mascot to the chairlift that transports riders to slides with names like Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher, kids will delight in the whimsical, snowy motif.
While some of the steeper slides atop Mount Gushmore may be a little intimidating for younger kids, the Tike’s Peak area located near the base of the mountain is perfect for preschoolers and school-age kids. There’s a shallow wading pool with “melting snow” water features and kid-size tube and body slides. Complimentary life vests are available to borrow and there are plenty of loungers in the surrounding area where parents can watch their kids play.
Older kids who have outgrown the kiddie slides can test their skills at Ski Patrol Training Camp, located adjacent to Tike’s Peak. Big kids can traverse treacherous ice floes, zipline into a large splash pool, and take on body and tube slides that are more their speed.
Blizzard Beach has ample seating scattered around the park, like in front of the wave pool and surrounding the kids’ play areas. There are also picnic tables (some with umbrellas) near the dining locations. You’ll even find a few covered areas with picnic tables, but these are highly coveted and disappear quickly. For the best shot at a shady spot, arrive 15 to 30 minutes before opening time so you can be one of the first through the gates.
If you want to guarantee a great spot for your family, you can reserve a Lodge Umbrella or Polar Patio for an additional fee. The Loge Umbrellas are located in a gated area and can accommodate up to four guests. Your rental includes two loungers, two beach chairs, a beach umbrella, a small table, and towels to use for the day. Polar Patios are large private decks that accommodate up to six guests. Each Polar Patio is furnished with towels, cushioned chairs and loungers, tables, a locker for valuables, refillable drink mugs, ice water, and an attendant to take your food and drink orders. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
In addition to the dedicated kids’ play areas, most Blizzard Beach attractions are fun for the whole family. Families can hop on toboggan-style mats and race to the bottom on the Snow Stormers winding slalom slides and the Toboggan Racers downhill slalom slides. Neither have a minimum height requirement. Teamboat Springs (no height requirement) is a family whitewater raft ride that seats up to six and takes you from the top of Mount Gushmore to the base of the mountain. Families can also play together in the small, bobbing waves in the Melt-Away Bay wave pool or build a sandcastle on the beachy shore.
Blizzard Beach’s Cross Country Creek is no ordinary lazy river. At 3,000 feet long, it’s one of the longest lazy rivers in the country. Adult and kid-size tubes are available and you’ll encounter playful water features along the way. Cross Country Creek was designed to encircle the park, so you can hop on at any spot and take a leisurely trip to your favorite attractions.
There are various spots around Blizzard Beach to grab lunch, a snack, coffee, or an adult beverage, but kids will really “dig” the Sand Pail sundae from I.C. Expeditions. This literal bucket of ice cream comes in a sand pail filled with chocolate and vanilla soft-serve and topped with waffle pieces, sprinkles, cookie pieces, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. When you’re done using the included shovel as a spoon, you can add the pail and shovel to your beach toy collection.
Whether it’s sunscreen, swim diapers, or a swimsuit, the Beach Haus shop near the park entrance can hook you up with any necessities you may have forgotten back at home. You can also pick up souvenirs, rent lockers and towels, and check for same-day Polar Patio and Lodge Umbrella availability.
Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course is located near the entrance to Blizzard Beach and shares a parking lot with the water park. Like Blizzard Beach, it is decorated with ice and snow, but Winter Summerland has a backstory all its own. Designed by Santa himself, Winter Summerland is billed as a vacation destination the man in red and his elves can visit when they are off duty. There are two courses, a Summer Course and a Winter Course, each with a distinctive Christmas theme. Winter Summerland is typically open later than the water park, so it’s a good end-of-day activity before you head back to your hotel.