The story of Blizzard Beach goes a little something like this... a freak snowstorm hits Florida and dumps enough snow on these mountains that everyone rushes out to go build a ski resort. Then it all starts to melt, and a crazy alligator, is seen splashing and sliding down the flumes so the ski resort turns into a crazy water park.
A snowstorm in Florida? Yeah, I know it's a silly story. But, it's an innovative tale and, as usual, the Disney imagineers have pulled it off brilliantly. It's a really cool water park (get it?).
Blizzard Beach is the coolest water park. Yes I meant to say coolest. Just take a look around, there's snow everywhere. It's also one of the world's brightest water parks. All that snow makes everything positively glow. Bring your sun glasses.
It's Disney's third water park at Walt Disney World (the first was River Country, which closed in 2001 and the second is Typhoon Lagoon which is Dad's favorite). Its the thir most visited water park in the world and the Ice Gator is its mascot.
If it's a Disney park then it must have a "mountain." Blizzard Beach has a doozy. Mount Gushmore is the centerpiece of the water park. The whole park revolves around the mountain. The detail around Mt. Gushmore is amazing. Take a good look at the ski lift and the ski jump and everything else.
There are 2 ways to get up Mt. Gushmore (don't you just love the names Disney comes up with?). You can climb the steps or you can ride the chairlift. What ski resort doesn't have a chair lift? Mt. Gushmore's chair lift is a one-way ride to the top of the mountain. The wooden chair lifts can carry up to 3 guests. Skis are optional.
Melt Away Bay
Melt Away Bay is the pool area at Blizzard Beach. It's a one acre wave pool at the bottom of Mt. Gushmore. Unlike it's counterpart at Typhoon Lagoon, Melt Away Bay has little "bobbing" waves. They are very short in both height and duration. Just enough to keep things moving. It's nice and gentle.
There is lots of sandy shore are around Melt Away Bay. It's a great place to set up shop for the day.
Cross Country Creek
Every Water Park needs a Lazy River (that's what we call it in these parts). Blizzard Beach had a great one. It's called Cross Country Creek. It's a great place to cool off on a hot day.
There are 7 places you can enter into Cross Country Creek on it's 3,000 foot journey around the park. Jump into an inner tube and you can float all the way around the outskirts of the park. It takes about 30 minutes to make the whole circle. You might just stay all day. (Mrs. Mom loves lazy rivers, but this one ...)
Be warned, this is a ski resort, and every once in a while the ice cold runoff from the melting snow splashes into Cross Country Creek... or the snow machine will splash some water on unsuspecting guests... or the ice cave dumps some droppings onto you. It's really cold.
Water Slides (and Slopes)
Just like all good ski resorts, Blizzard Beach has different colored slopes. Each of the different colors describe the degree of difficulty of the slope.
The Green Slope
The green slopes are one person, single track slopes found at the top of Mount Gushmore. These are the most intense rides in the park.
- Summit Plummet - This is the thirs tallest and fastest free fall water slide anywhere. Guests reach up to 60 MPH on this downhill marvel.
- Teamboat Springs - A family white water raft. Up to 6 guest ride a tube down the 1400 foot slide.
- Slush Gusher - A body slide with speeds of up to 35 MPH that allows riders to achieve "air time"
The Purple Slope
The purple slopes at Blizzard Beach are the side by side slopes, perfect for racing your friends and family for bragging rights. Grab a mat or a tube and see who wins.
- Downhill Double Dipper - A side by side tube slide. This is a race to the finish complete with timing devices and international racing markers.
- Snow Stormers - Race through the ski gates on a mat down this slalom-style course.
- Toboggan Races - An 8-lane water slide race straight down the mountain. Grab a mat and go.
The Red Slope
There is only one slide area on the red slopes. It's Runoff Rapids. Choose from one of the three different courses and grab an inner tube for a thrilling ride careening down these water slides. Tubes can hold up to 2 people.
For the Smaller Guests
Most water parks are built for rowdy teenagers and this one is no exception. But, Disney being a family enterprise devoted a large section of Blizzard Beach to the younger generation.
Tikes Peak is a great place for the little ones to experience a water park just their size. this is a mini-water park complete with water slides, pools and a snow-castle fountain.
Most of the slides have a height requirement. These do too. You must be either under 48 inches tall or acccompanied by someone who is under 48 inches tall. Yes UNDER. Cool!
Ski Patrol Training Camp
Tikes Peak is an area for the little ones, but Ski Patrol Training Camp is an area for the in betweens. The children that are too big for the kiddie rides, but too little for the big slides. This is a very active area for active pre-teens.
What is there to do at the Ski Patrol Training Camp? All kinds of things.
There are curvy watersides and inner-tube slides. You can test your balance on a ice-flow walk across "icebergs". The truly adventurous can slide down a zip line and drop into a pool.
Plus, kids have a chance to meet Goofy. Why Goofy? I guess because a ski resort water park is a silly idea...
Food and Stuff
Blizzard Beach has a few snack and refreshment areas. They have everything available from light snacks to hamburgers to ice cream and deserts. You can even bring your own cooler and make it a day.
Towels and lockers are available for rent. Life jackets are provided. Souvenirs, sunscreen, and swim gear are available.
You need to stay hydrated too, so you can purchase a refillable mug (different than your resort refillable mug) to use throughout the day here. There are lots of refill stations around the park.
If you're worried about having shade, a secure spot to leave your towels, or finding a chair - Disney has you covered with some premium (and pricy) options. Rent a Lodge Umbrella (2 loungers, 2 chairs, a table, some towels and an umbrella in a special-access area for up to 4 guests) or a Polar Patio (a cabana for up to 6 guests with lots of nice amenities) to make your day really special. Call (407) WDW-PLAY to book in advance.
Get Cool Today
You can be "Cool" at Blizzard Beach. Yes, you can. All you have to do is get some reservations and Dad can help you with that. Go over and talk to Dad's partners over at Destinations to Travel and they'll help you be "Cool".
Dad's Bottom Line
Disney hit a home run with this one. Blizzard Beach is one of the most innovative Water Parks in the world. The Travel Channel routinely ranks in in the top 2 or 3 water parks they review.
Grab a tube and start skiing.