Walt Disney World 101: A Guide for the Overwhelmed

Disney Over 50 101, Disney Water Parks

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Miss Tilly at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

There are currently two water parks at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon opened in 1989, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach followed six years later. The themes are just as important as the rides! Water parks are great because there is something for everyone in your party to do, and you can cool off under the hot Florida sun. Unlike other water parks, the ones at Disney aren’t seasonal. That said, from late October until sometime in January one park will close for its annual refurbishment. The next day the other park will close for the same reason, and will open again in the middle of March. The schedule rotates each year, so one season it will be Blizzard Beach followed by Typhoon Lagoon, and the next it’s Typhoon Lagoon followed by Blizzard Beach.

If you ever hear mention of Disney’s River Country, it was the first Walt Disney World water park. It was located near Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. It closed in 2001. The remains of the park are still there, but it is off limits to guests.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

The legend at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is that there was a typhoon in a tropical paradise, which is why you’ll see ships, surfboards, and other “wreckage” across the park. The icon is Miss Tilly, the boat that sits up high on Mount Mayday. (Look behind the wave pool.) The water parks don’t have lands, and at Typhoon Lagoon most everything is in a loop around the wave pool or directly behind it. The wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon is not your typical wave pool. Every 90 seconds a six foot wave hits and it is intense. In fact, the wave is powerful enough that surfing lessons are held on select days before the park opens.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

The story at Disney’s Blizzard Beach is that a freak snowstorm hit Central Florida and a ski resort was built. The snow of course melted, so the area was turned into a water park. The icon is Mount Gushmore; home to Summit Plummet, which some people say is the biggest thrill that Walt Disney World has to offer. There is a chairlift to get you to the top. Instead of lands there are three “slopes”, red, green, and purple. The most intense slides are found on the Green Slopes.