5 Amazing Reasons to Visit Blizzard Beach
When you visit Florida, you want to swim. It doesn’t matter whether you’re staying at the beach or visiting Walt Disney World. You still have the same desire. You want some sun with your fun, and nothing tops the idea of splashing around with your traveling companion(s). While all of the Disney resorts feature impeccably themed pools, you should visit a water park during your trip, too. Here are five reasons to spend a day at Blizzard Beach.
The Global Appeal
Here’s an unheralded piece of Walt Disney World trivia. Two of the four most popular water parks in the world are on Disney’s Orlando campus. Typhoon Lagoon hosted 2.16 million guests in 2017, while Blizzard Beach had 2.01 million of its own. To put that in perspective, the top water park in the world, Chime-Long Water Park, claimed 2.69 million visitors. In other words, Disney dominates an industry that’s only a side project at Walt Disney World.
Park officials run Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach cleverly. They keep at least one opening every day of the year, as long as the weather is good. During peak season, both water parks operate and receive heavy foot traffic. During the late fall and winter, Disney closes and renovates one of the parks while the other remains open to the public. Then, the roles switch.
At the time of publication, Blizzard Beach recently reopened after roughly ten weeks of renovations. Typhoon Lagoon is now down for maintenance and will remain closed until March 17, 2019. Other than hurricane situations, both parks are otherwise open throughout the year. That’s approximately 7,000 guests per park per day, all of whom relish this opportunity to hang out a water park designed by Imagineering.
Those Imagineers have done something incredible with Blizzard Beach. They’ve built a winter wonderland in the heart of central Florida. The central conceit of this water park is that a snowstorm once struck mainland Florida. Believing it the first of many winter snowfalls, some foolish person constructed a ski resort. They quickly learned that the shocking weather event was a one-off. In turn, they realized that a Florida ski resort was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.
Before they could shut down the ski resort, however, an adrenaline junkie alligator named Ice Gator grabbed an inner tube and slid down the mountain slope, ending his run with a splash into the melted snow. The owners quickly realized the financial opportunity of a water park styled like a ski resort and re-opened the site under a new business model. For his efforts, Ice Gator became the official mascot of Blizzard Beach.
Whether you know about the theming of Blizzard Beach or not, you’ll still get the theming the instant you approach the park. The visuals are unmistakable. Disney has sprinkled snowy touches everywhere, creating a fascinating backdrop.
You’ll see sights exclusively associated with winter, but the weather is distinctly Floridian. You’ll feel like you’re visiting a water park at the North Pole, and you’ll love every second of it. I view Typhoon Lagoon as the superior water park at Walt Disney World. The theming at Blizzard Beach is unquestionably better, though.
The Ground Floor
Imagineers divided Blizzard Beach into several sections called Slopes. There are three of them: the Green Slope, Red Slope, and Purple Slope. You’ll also find the Ground Floor here. It’s more for children and adults who don’t want to walk up all the mountainous terrain for the major rides.
I think of the Ground Floor as home base during a visit. It includes an acre-sized wave pool that has one of the coolest views at the park. It’s positioned by Mount Gushmore, the wienie at Blizzard Beach. Pay attention to the waterfalls the next that you’re in the wave pool,. You’ll realize that melting snow is dripping into the pool, thereby creating waves. It’s a lovely bit of Imagineering ingenuity.
The Ground Floor also features a 3,000-foot lazy river, which means that this is where I’ll be when I’m at Blizzard beach. Lazy rivers are the most significant water park invention ever. You grab a tube and jump onboard. Then, you lazily circle the watery path, relishing in the glorious combination of sunlight and cool water.
This lazy river actually has a name, Cross Country Creek, and a grand total of seven entrances and exits. You’re never far away from the lazy river when you’re on the Ground Floor!
This section of the park includes a children’s play area, too. For parents, it’s a lovely respite, as you can safely drop your children here while you head to Cross Country Creek or the top of the park. Speaking of which, one of the most famous features of the Ground Floor is the Chairlift. It’s a one-way lift to the top of the park, the summit of Mount Gushmore where you’ll discover many of the thrill rides. And that brings us to the next reason to visit Blizzard Beach…
The three slopes all filter down from Mount Gushmore. What goes up must go down, and so when you go up the Chairlift, you’ll take one of the water attractions back down. The most legendary ride, the one you certainly shouldn’t miss, is Summit Plummet. It’s a record-setting water slide that will break your brain. You’ll experience a top speed of 60 miles per hour without the benefit of a toboggan. It’s just your swimsuit against the ground as you shoot down the tubing of the 120-foot tall slide.
Summit Plummet has a smaller sibling in Slush Gusher, a 90-foot tall slide that harbors a secret. It flattens at unexpected moments before dropping at steep angles. Yes, Slush Gusher is the rare waterslide that delivers airtime, making it one of the most exciting water park rides in America.
As a whole, Blizzard Beach has more than a dozen rides, including a crowd pleaser called Toboggan Racers. On this ride, you race against seven other people, all of whom will try to beat you to the (literal) finish line. Toboggan fans should also try Snow Stormers, a three-track course with switchbacks. Similarly, Runoff Rapids switches tubes for toboggans but has the same thrilling pipe style.
Beach features standard water park rides modified to fit Disney’s Imagineering and theming standards. You’ll love your time spent here.
The Mini-Golf Course
In addition to the theming, Blizzard Beach claims one other undeniable advantage over Typhoon Lagoon. Disney constructed a mini-golf course right next to Blizzard Beach, something Typhoon Lagoon doesn’t have. This course maintains the theme of Blizzard Beach, as indicated by its name, Winter Summerland. In fact, it takes the North Pole connection.
The theme here is that Santa noticed that freak Florida snow storm. For some reason, he decided that this spot would be the perfect place for his elves to hang out when they weren’t at the North Pole. All that the site needed was a golf course, and that’s what Winter Summerland is.
To celebrate the absurdity of the setup, Winter Summerland features two courses. I’ll bet you can guess their names. Yes, they’re Winter and Summer. Each one is 18 holes and emphasizes its course name. Winter includes a lot of snow settings, while Summer has sand instead.
The beauty of Winter Summerland is that many Disney admission tickets include free usage of the course. So, parents with kids who love mini-golf can take them here for free. Disney buses will provide free transportation, too. I’ve just used the word “free” three times in three sentences, something that just doesn’t happen with Disney discussions very often.
You should speak with an agent at Mickey Travels to pick the right vacation package for your family. They’ll know which ones will include access to Blizzard Beach and Winter Summerland!