Everything You Need to Know About Disney's Water Parks

Typhoon Lagoon

Courtesy of Disney

Visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is almost a right of passage for families with kids. While the four major theme parks are the biggest draw of the resort, there are also two water parks that lure in guests with the promise of cool water, fewer crowds, and a lot of fun. Situated on opposite ends of Disney World, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks invite guests to splash and play all day as a family before packing up and heading back to a nearby resort for a relaxing evening.

Editors' Note: As of November 2022, Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment; reopening dates have not yet been announced.

Water Park Themes and Backstory

The first of the two water parks to open was Typhoon Lagoon, which first welcomed travelers in 1989. The theme of the park is centered around an invented Disney legend that claims a rogue storm and tidal wave came through what was once a pristine paradise, leaving behind a ready-made water park. At the top of Mount Mayday—Typhoon Lagoon's "volcano," which erupts water every 30 minutes—is a stranded shrimping boat named “Miss Tilly," adding to the park's controlled chaos.

When Blizzard Beach Water Park opened in 1995, guests were invited into a water park like no other. With a ski lift and white “snow hills,” the park’s backstory of being Florida’s first ski resort that’s melting due to the heat of the Sunshine State truly comes to life. The park even has its own original character, Ice Gator, the savvy entrepreneur who cashed in on all the snow to create the ski resort-turned-water park.

Price for Admission

Tickets for both water parks can be purchased in advance of a trip to Disney World or bought on the day of your visit at either park’s front entrance. A single-day water park ticket for guests is currently $69 for those 10 and older, and $63 for those ages 3 to 9. You can save a few bucks if you buy a ticket that has blackout dates; a one-day ticket with blackout dates starts at $64 for visitors over 10 and $58 for children ages 3 to 9.

Disney World annual pass holders get a decent discount on water park tickets, too. Tickets for those 10 and older are $49, and children from 3 to 9 can get in for $43. You will need to show a valid annual pass to get this price.

Annual pass holders can also add water park admission to their yearly pass with the Water Park and Sports Option, which is $99 per year. The add-on includes admission to both water parks as many times as you wish to enter. It also includes entry to two Disney golf courses, both mini-golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The add-on may be good if you’re planning to visit the water parks at least twice during the year, as opposed to buying individual tickets. Blackout dates do not apply.

Getting to the Water Parks

If you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you can take one of the complimentary Disney buses to both water parks, but be aware that it takes a while. To get to Typhoon Lagoon, there's a bus that will take you to Disney Springs, where you'll find a connecting bus headed to the water park. To reach Blizzard Beach, hop on the bus bound for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park; from there, you can transfer to the Blizzard Beach bus. On occasion, there are direct buses from resorts, but that is usually during very busy times of the year like Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekend.

You can also use Disney’s Minnie Van service, which is a rideshare service run through the Lyft app. Minnie Vans are an extra cost, but offer direct service to the water parks. This may be a better option for those who don’t like waiting for buses or want to save a lot of time. If you have a personal vehicle, you can also drive to the water parks; parking is complimentary.

Blizzard Beach

Amy Smith / Disney

Rides and Attractions

While the lazy river and the wave pool at both parks are essentially the same, the other offerings are not. Upon entering Blizzard Beach, guests will spot a colorful chairlift that can take them to the top of Mount Gushmore. Once at the top, guests can get in line for Summit Plummet, the 12-story body slide where you’ll reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. For something a little tamer, consider Slush Gusher, a 90-foot slide that takes you over two rolling hills.

Younger kids will enjoy Tike’s Peak, a dedicated splash area for preschoolers. This area of the park recently got some playful additions based on the popular Disney movie, "Frozen." Little ones can swim with statuettes of Olaf and the Snowgies in a wading pool, or play with pop-up water jets in Anna and Elsa's igloo.

Across Disney World at Typhoon Lagoon, the rides and attractions feature more couple and family rafts as opposed to slides. One of the most thrilling raft rides at the water park is Crush ’n’ Gusher. The two-person water coaster has three slide options—the Pineapple Plunger, Coconut Crusher, and Banana Blaster—each of which takes you over and under the other slides before ending in Hideaway Bay. Just past Crush ’n’ Gusher is Miss Adventure Falls, which is a family raft ride that spins through tunnels and around tight corners as water splashes you from all angles. Also at the water park is Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, the largest wave pool in North America.

Ketchakiddee Creek is the dedicated water play area for preschool-aged kids at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Here, children can play among cute crocodiles, seals, and elephants; slide down miniature water slides; or explore a cave with a waterfall.

Typhoon Tilly's

Courtesy of Disney

Food and Drinks

Unlike the sprawling theme parks, which have plenty of dining options, Disney's water parks only have quick-service restaurants. The main restaurant at Blizzard Beach is Lottawatta Lodge, which serves basic fare like salads, burgers, and flatbreads. At the Warming Hut, the menu is small but mighty, with enticing dishes like shrimp lettuce wraps and nachos loaded with Walt Disney’s favorite chili recipe.

Over at Typhoon Lagoon, Leaning Palms is the hot spot for lunch, offering a wide variety of options including rice bowls, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads. If you’re looking for seafood at the park, head to Typhoon Tilly’s, which has fried fish baskets, shrimp lettuce wraps, and fish tacos.

Both water parks have several bars where you can grab a refreshing beer or cold cocktail. A fan favorite at Disney’s Blizzard Beach is the Polar Pub, which overlooks the wave pool. One of the signature drinks on the menu is the Banana Cabana, which is a mix of two different rums, crème de banana, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a float of grenadine. At Typhoon Lagoon, Let’s Go Slurpin’ is the bar of choice for many guests. Here you can get everything from a classic mai tai to frozen strawberry daiquiris.

Reserved Seating and Cabañas

One of the worst parts about water parks is having to get to the park early in the day to fight for seating next to a favorite ride or near the best bar. So you don't waste time seeking out the perfect chair, both of Disney’s water parks offer reserved seating.

At Blizzard Beach, you can rent Polar Patios, which are covered cabañas that come with seating for up to six guests. The cabaña includes towel service, a locker for valuables, complimentary water, refillable mugs, and a dedicated attendant who can bring you lunch or drinks, as well as more towels. The regular price per day is $225, though the price does increase to $375 per day during peak season from March 27 through September 10, 2023. 

If you have a larger family, there are premium Polar Patios that can accommodate up to 10 people and come with the same amenities as the smaller cabaña rentals. The regular price per day for the larger cabañas is $350 per day, and peak prices from March 27 through September 10, 2023, are $475.

Those with a smaller family, or a smaller budget, may find the Lodge Umbrellas a better rental option. With this, you get access to one beach umbrella, two lounge chairs, two sand chairs, and four towels. The price per day starts at $40.

Over at Typhoon Lagoon, cabañas are called Beachcomber Shacks. The standard shack can accommodate up to 10 guests, and the price starts at $225 per day. With this option, guests are privy to a dedicated cabaña for them to use throughout the day, attendant service, cushioned furniture, souvenir refillable mugs, an in-cabana locker, towel service, and cold water available all day. During peak season from March 27 through September 10, 2023, the price goes up to $340.

Beachcomber Shacks Deluxe can accommodate larger parties of up to 12 guests, and feature all of the same amenities as standard cabañas with added umbrella space. The cost is $299 for non-peak times and $429 for peak season. If you want the top-level Beachcomber Shack, consider the Premium Plus option, which has room for 10 people. In addition to the same base amenities, it comes with an added dining table, mini fridge, flatscreen TV, oscillating fan, and four electrical outlets. The starting price is $300 and goes to $450 during peak season.

A more economical option that gives you a dedicated space and chairs is the Typhoon Lagoon Umbrellas, which includes one large beach umbrella, two lounge chairs, two sand chairs, and four towels. This rental starts at $40 per day.

Disney's H20 Glow

Courtney Kiefer / Disney

After-Hours Events

At Typhoon Lagoon, guests are invited to take part in H2O Glow After Hours. The event takes place on select nights, typically over the summer, although the 2023 dates have not been announced as of writing. During the event, guests are able to get on most of the rides and attractions throughout the park, dance on the beaches of Typhoon Lagoon, and indulge in specialty snacks that are only available during the three-hour-long glow party.

Where to Stay Nearby

Finding the perfect place to stay while visiting Disney World is part of the fun of the trip. Around both water parks, there are plenty of options.

  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: This hotel is perfectly situated just a few minutes from Blizzard Beach. It offers one of the best views of Disney World from its rooftop bar, Dahlia Lounge, and has a fantastic outdoor dining venue: Three Bridges Bar and Grill.
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside: If you’re looking for a hotel close to Typhoon Lagoon, consider Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. The Louisiana-themed resort is known for its Royal Guest Rooms, which feature nods to the Disney princesses. It's just a short walk to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, or a leisurely boat ride to Disney Springs.
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort: For the ultimate in luxury, stay at the Four Seasons, located right on Disney World property near Magic Kingdom. The resort has multiple restaurants, a full-service spa, its own water park, and incredible views of the nightly fireworks from the theme parks.

The Best Time to Visit

While there’s no bad time to visit a Disney water park, there are times that are better than others. The best time to visit is before or after the peak season, which this year runs from March 27 through September 10, 2023. Weekends are typically busier than weekends, and early mornings when the parks first open are better for finding free seats.