You spend so much time planning your visit to Walt Disney World. There’s time for Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and even Disney Springs. Both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon tend to get overlooked because people assume it’s “just a water park” and they can do that at home. If you’re looking for a day to just rest and relax outside of the theme parks, need a way to cool off, or want some Disney magic without the crowds and price of a theme park, I encourage you to check out Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach water park.
Blizzard Beach is one of the two water parks on property at Walt Disney World. (It’s technically the third water park on property but River Country closed years ago) and the third most visited water park in the entire world. Inside Blizzard Beach, you’ll find a variety of attractions, food, drinks, and things to do for everyone in your group. When this park opened, it introduced it’s own original resident and mascot, Ice Gator.
I’m answering some of the most asked questions below about visiting Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach water park to help you plan your practically perfect day playing in the sun and surf.
Why go to a water park at Disney?
Sure you’ve got a pool at your resort. Why would you buy a ticket to a water park when you have a perfectly good pool at your hotel? Well, there’s not a comparison for the two honestly. Some of the pools at the Disney Resort hotels are fabulous, but the water parks take it to a completely different level. You’ll find water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, kid’s area, and sandy beach at Blizzard Beach.
What’s the Blizzard Beach story?
From the Blizzard Beach wiki page:
According to Disney “legend,” a freak snowstorm in the area led to the development of Florida’s first ski resort. Naturally, the snow did not last long. This left behind a collection of waterlogged yet snow-less ski jumps and chair lifts. The operators were preparing to cut their losses and walk away. However, they were interrupted by an echoing “YAHHOOO!!!” coming from the mountain of melting snow. They looked up to see a blue alligator, wearing a red scarf and gold innertube, careening down the mountain at top speed. Ice Gator, the mascot, then landed in a pool of melted snow at the base of the mountain with a thunderous splash. The ski resort operators suddenly saw the park’s potential, and the mountain of snow became Blizzard Beach, “the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!”
As you’re walking through the park, you’ll see traces of the ski resort that once was. Buildings were haphazardly renamed when the resort took a new focus. There’s a snow family visiting. Ice Gator calls Blizzard Beach home. There are lots of small touches throughout the park reminding you that once upon a time, this was a ski resort instead of a water park.
How do I get tickets for Blizzard Beach? How much are tickets?
Just like getting any other tickets for your Disney vacation, you can get official Disney Parks tickets from a couple of different locations. You’ll need either a single water park ticket or a Park Hopper Plus option on your theme park ticket.
Walt Disney World website
Head over to the official Disney website to purchase your tickets. When you purchase them in advance, you can add them to your Magic Band but don’t worry if you don’t buy in advance. You can just carry the plastic credit card like ticket with you to get into the park.
The only place I suggest other than directly from Walt Disney World is Undercover Tourist. While they don’t sell just tickets to the Disney water parks, they offer discounts on Park Hopper Plus tickets allowing you the option to visit the Disney water parks using a day of your regular ticket to visit the theme parks.
Every single time someone asks me for help with their Disney trip, one of the first questions is about how they can save money and get discounted tickets. The only place I recommend for any kind of discount is Undercover Tourist mentioned above.
When is Blizzard Beach open? What are the hours?
Blizzard Beach is open daily at 10:00 am EST. The park generally remains open until 5:00 or 6:00 pm EST. During the summer months you may see the park staying open later. Disney water parks are open year ’round unless they’ve reached capacity, weather related closures, or refurbishment. Always check the park hours on the Disney website.
What should I wear to Blizzard Beach?
You’ll want to be comfortable while you’re splashing and laughing. Be sure to check out the dress code policy before packing. From the Disney website:
- Swim attire must be appropriate for a family environment.
- Inappropriate swim attire, swim attire with buckles, rivets, zippers or exposed metal, and other sharp objects are not allowed on any of the attractions.
- Jeans (denim) and wetsuits (neoprene) are not permitted on Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park.
- For safety, diaper-age children must wear plastic pants or swim diapers in pool areas.
If you forget anything, there are several small shops at Blizzard Beach for you to get things at.
Does Blizzard Beach have life jackets?
Yes there are life jackets available at Blizzard Beach on a first come, first serve basis. When you’re finished with your life jacket, please return it to one of the designated areas
Does Blizzard Beach have towels available for guests?
Yes towels are available for rental for $2 each at two different locations within Blizzard Beach. If you’re a Disney Resort guest, the towels are complimentary. Stop at the Beach Haus on your way into the park to grab your towels if you didn’t bring your own. The towels from Disney are all white so it can be easy to get them mixed up. If you’re able, it make sense to bring your own so they stand out.
What am I allowed to bring to Blizzard Beach?
Bring in things that you’ll need to enjoy your day:
- sunscreen (you’ll want to make sure it’s waterproof sunscreen)
- beach towels (these Disney beach towels are perfect!)
- life jackets
- water shoes (there are lots of choices when it comes to water shoes)
- drinks (glass bottles are not allowed)
- park tickets or Magic Bands
- money to purchase items inside the park
- water bottle (these have become a favorite of mine)
Coolers, even those with wheels, are allowed in Blizzard Beach so it’s easy to bring your lunch as well as keep your drinks cool all day long. If you don’t want to keep your cooler with you, you’ll need to rent a locker as there aren’t storage spaces for the coolers. Most people just keep them near their chairs.
Weapons are not allowed in the park.
Are lockers available for rental at Blizzard Beach?
Yes lockers are available for rental at two different locations within Blizzard Beach.
What kind of food and drinks does Blizzard Beach have?
All of the dining options are quick service dining options currently. You can expect to find a variety of finger food options to grab and snack on during your visit including things like frozen treats and mini donuts from Joffrey’s. You can even get an entire bucket of ice cream! The Disney website has a current list of the restaurants and menus. Blizzard Beach also participates in mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience Map. Blizzard Beach does sell alcohol if you’re looking for some adult beverages during your visit as well. You’ll find lots of picnic tables for seating as well if you don’t want to take your food back to your lounge chairs.
Can you use the Disney Dining Plan at Blizzard Beach?
Yes there are participating locations at Blizzard Beach that will accept the Disney Dining Plan. Not on the Dining Plan? You can purchase food, or get the Splash Pack to pre-pay for your food for the day.
Not specifically part of the Disney Dining Plan, the Splash Pack is an option for you to pay one price for food, beverages, and a Disney beach towel. Here are the specific details from the Disney website:
Save with a special bundle that includes food, beverages and more!
With the purchase of a Splash Pack, you’ll receive:
- Select food and beverages at the park
- A refillable water park mug
- A Disney-themed towel to keep
Each Splash Pack is $44 per person, plus tax.
How to Purchase
This convenient add-on is available for purchase from March 26, 2019 to August 24, 2019.
Splash Packs can be purchased at select locations inside the water park. They can only be purchased on the day of use—and are valid for same-day use only.
You can also purchase individual refillable mugs inside Blizzard Beach and refill them at stations throughout the water park all day long.
Is Blizzard Beach good for toddlers?
Disney has done a fantastic job making attractions that don’t have a height requirement so you can enjoy things together as a family or special areas just for the younger kids.
If you’re visiting with younger children, consider choosing seats near Tikes Peak or Ski Patrol Training Camp areas. This will allow you to have your bags and things nearby as you need them throughout the day.
What about tweens and teens? Is Blizzard Beach good for them?
If your teens and tweens love water, then Blizzard Beach is a great fit for them, even if they’re not super adventurous. Blizzard Beach is large but contained. Only you will know what’s best for you and your family. Staying together and safe is much better than having something happen because you didn’t have a plan.
Here are some tips for taking tweens and teens to Blizzard Beach:
- Take some time familiarizing yourselves with the park when you arrive.
- Set check in times and confirm everyone understands the time and meeting location.
- Make sure they understand the rules – both the family rules and the park rules.
- Make sure everyone knows the location of your things.
- Have a plan in case they get separated for whatever reason.
Stay together without doing everything together.
Set a specific amount of time for different activities. For example, spend an hour doing the water slides within Blizzard Beach. Because the slides are all located together, you’ll see each other in passing as you’re doing different activities without having to do everything together. Then regroup and spend an hour in the wave pool and lazy river. Regroup again at your meeting spot and go back and forth throughout the day. That gives everyone plenty of time to do lots of the attractions within the park while spending some time together.
Would adults have fun at Blizzard Beach?
People always look at me crazy when I suggest they spend adults only time at Walt Disney World. Sure it’s a popular place for families to vacation and take small children, but it’s a great place for adults to spend time as well.
Dealing with kids
Don’t forget you’re at a place that caters to families, especially families of young children so there are going to be children. Consider renting an umbrella or Polar Patio to give yourself a little bit of distance from all the kids. Plan to arrive early and stay later in the park. While families are just getting up and heading to Blizzard Beach, you can already be there enjoying the different attractions. The same is true for the end of the day. Families might leave early when the kids need naps and things so you might see fewer kids as the day goes on.
How do you get to Blizzard Beach?
From a Disney resort
Head to the bus stop for your resort and wait for the bus going to Blizzard Beach.
Driving yourself or a ride sharing service
There is a parking lot at Blizzard Beach that is shared with the Winter Summerland Mini Golf Course. You won’t need to pay to park here and parking is first come, first serve.
Are there places to change at Blizzard Beach?
Yes. Restrooms are located throughout the park. Near the front entrance of the park, there are also changing stations. You’re able to rinse off under a shower and change clothes in a dressing room type stall without toilets. The stalls have plenty of hooks available as well as a shelf to keep things up off the floor while you’re changing.
What kind of things are there to do at Blizzard Beach?
The slides and thrill rides at Blizzard Beach are broken up into three different “slopes”. As you’re exploring the park, you’ll see signs directing you to the different slopes so it can be helpful to have an idea of what attractions are on each of the slopes.
These are considered the most “intense” attractions in the park.
- Slush Gusher
If you’re over 48″ and like thrills, this has to be on your must do list. Slush Gusher is the tamer of the two big rides at Blizzard Beach, with this one having only a 90 foot drop with two small hills in the drop down.
- Summit Plummet
This is what Blizzard Beach is known for. When you enter Blizzard Beach, you’ll be able to spot the top of this slide off in the distance. Guests 48″ and taller who want to have a thrill while getting down the mountain the fastest way possible, this is the slide for you! You’ll drop 120 feet or 12 stories on your back topping out at 55 miles per hour during your drop.
- Teamboat Springs
Grab three of your friends, climb into the tube, and you’re off on an adventure! If you don’t have three friends, that’s ok. The Cast Member will put you with others waiting in line. The minimum number of people to ride is four, while the max is six guests. During your ride you’ll swish down the mountain back and forth in your inner tube before splashing into the pool at the end of the ride.
These are the attractions for multiple riders that you’ll be able to show your competitive side on while you’re racing down Mount Gushmore.
- Down Hill Double Dipper
Looking for a quick way to get down the mountain? Want to race? If you’re over 48″ tall, this is a great option for you! You and a friend will lay on the slide and when it’s time for your 50 foot drop, the landing will retract and you’ll be flying down the mountain inside a covered tube before splashing into the pool at the bottom of the ride. During your drop, you’ll top out at 25 miles per hour.
- Snow Stormers
Looking for a more tame slide to race on? This is just what you’re looking for! Pick any of the three slides to ride down the 350 foot zigzag slide on a toboggan float and splash into the pool at the end.
- Toboggan Racers
Grab a mat, lay on your belly, and get ready to race against seven other people! You’ll splash into the pool after a 250 foot drop and three small hills along your way down.
This slope only has one slide on it.
- Runoff Rapids
Pick any one of these three tube slides – each one is a different experience. You’ll need to carry your tube up the stairs to be able to take a turn on the slides.
Taking the chair lift to the top of the mountain will save you from having to climb the stairs. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be taller than 32″ to ride on the chair lift. This is a one way only attraction – you can only ride it to the top of Mount Gushmore.
Blizzard Beach has a water park that circles the entire park. You’ll find different entrances and exits at various points so you can use the lazy river as a way to get around the park. Inner tubes are floating in the water or can be found near the entrances to the river. You’ll get to see Ice Gator’s home along your way too. Just be careful – while most of the water is heated at Blizzard Beach, you might find yourself floating under some melting snow.
When you’re ready to bop in the waves, head over to Melt-Away Bay. Inner tubes are available to float in and life jackets are available throughout the park while you’re enjoying the heated one acre wave pool. Need a break from the water? Spend some time playing on the warm, sandy beaches before you head back into the water or off on your next adventure.
For the little ski patrollers of any height, you can tackle these obstacle courses. Just be careful – you’ll get wet if you can’t make it across! Here’s more information on all the activities from the Disney website:
The frosty fun includes:
- Thin Ice Training Course – Test your balance by walking across ice floes.
- Fahrenheit Drops – Drop in on the “T-Bar,” a zip line that ends with a splash in 8.5-foot-deep water (for Guests 5 feet tall and under).
- Frozen Pipe Springs – Thaw out on an enclosed body slide.
- Cool Runners – Coast on an inner tube down curved slides flanked by melting snow.
- Snow Falls – Make a splash on a downhill body slide.
For guests under 48″, this space is just for them! Here’s a list of what’s included from the Disney website:
Little ones get to have big fun on these scaled-down thrills, including:
- Miniature snow-banked slides
- Side-by-side downhill slides
- A junior inner-tube ride
- Snow chutes
Watch your little squirts splash out in wading pools featuring “melting” snow sculptures—or start a water fight at an igloo fortress with pop-up water jets.
Ready to dry off? The sandy areas around Tike’s Peak are perfect for sunbathing and making sandcastles!
How should I plan my day at Blizzard Beach?
Plan to arrive at the park about 30 minutes before the park opens. This will give you time to get into the park and pick the perfect seat so you’re ready for a day of fun in the sun. Once you’re inside the park, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the park. Walk around to
What are the busiest times of the year?
April – August tend to be the busiest times (think spring break through summer vacation. Of course it’s all dependent on weather. If it’s a bright warm, sunny day, you’ll see more people at the water park than a cooler, overcast day.
What are average wait times at Blizzard Beach?
During a less busy time, you won’t see much of a wait at all at Blizzard Beach. Even during the busiest time, you’ll see wait times of about 15+ minutes. Occasionally you’ll see 30+ minute wait times but those are rare.
How do you get around Blizzard Beach?
Blizzard Beach is large enough to feel spread out but small enough for you to be able to walk around the park. Keep in mind the ground may get warm so you might want to get water shoes to wear during the day. Flip flop type shoes aren’t allowed on attractions because they could come off so you’ll need something that secures on your feet.
As you explore the park, you’ll see signs pointing you in the right direction in case you get turned around. The park is split into three different “slopes” which is how the attractions themselves are broken up.
To get to the top of Mount Gushmore, you can climb the stairs or take the chair lift (must be 32″ or taller to ride). You’ll be able to fit up to three people on each seat. When you get into the line for the chair lift, you’ll either enter the single rider line, or the multiple rider line. The Cast Members do a great job filling the seats to get as many people to the top as possible without a long wait.
Once you reach the front of the line, you’ll walk onto the platform to sit on your seat. The chair lift will come behind you and you’ll need to sit when it reaches you. The ride does not stop for you to board so you need to be paying attention and ready. If you need additional time to board, speak to the Cast Member to let them know. In special situations, the attraction can be stopped to allow additional time to board or exit.
As you begin to ascend up the mountain, a bar will lower from behind your head to keep you in your seat during your ride. There is a small bar that will lower between your legs so you may need to adjust yourself in the seat once the bar has lowered. Movement can cause your chair to sway a bit so move carefully in your seat.
Enjoy your ride to the top of the mountain. Taking this ride is a great way to get an overview of the park so you’ll have a better idea of where everything is. I suggest making this one of the first things you do when you get to the park. You do not need to ride any of the slides to get down the mountain – you can take the stairs back down. The chair lift only goes to the top of the mountain. If you don’t take a slide down, you’ll need to take the stairs back down.
Cross Country Creek
Grab a tube and hop into the lazy river. At each entrance point, you’ll find a map and name plate so you’ll be able to determine where you are on the map. Float around until the exit you need to get out and take on your next adventure. You can leave your tube floating in the water for someone else to use or leave it laying near the entrance for someone to grab.
Is there seating at Blizzard Beach?
There’s plenty of lounge chairs to be claimed at Blizzard Beach. You’ll find some in full sun, some in partially shaded areas, and some under canopies to keep you in the shade almost all day. Many of the lounge chairs you’ll see are the flat type with one end that will raise and stay inclined so you can sit up. There are also regular chairs to sit up in as well.
If you’d like to know you’ll have a specific spot to sit before you get to the park, you can reserve a Polar Patio. From the Disney website:
Unwind in the privacy and comfort of your own shaded deck.
Renting a Polar Patio is a great way for your group to relax together during your day of way-cool fun. Each reserved area accommodates up to 6 Guests and comes with a variety of premium amenities, including:
- Cushioned seating
- A locker
- Refillable drink mugs
- A cooler stocked with ice and bottled water
Attendants are on hand to help Polar Patio Guests get the most out of the water park and to take your food order (separate dining charges apply).
Polar Patios are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For advanced reservations and information, call (407) WDW-PLAY [(407) 939-7529]. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
Don’t worry if you didn’t have a chance to reserve your cabana in advance. When you arrive at Blizzard Beach, you can always check on availability and reserve one of the available ones.
If a cabana sounds like a little bit more than what you’ll need but you still want a reserved seating area, check out the option to rent umbrellas. Here’s some information from the Disney website:
You’ll have it made in the shade with this convenient upgrade.
When you rent a lodge umbrella for the day, you’ll have access to:
- A beach umbrella
- Two reserved loungers
- Two beach chairs
- A table
This convenient option accommodates up to 4 Guests.
You can reserve them the same way you reserve a cabana or check in when you get to Blizzard Beach to see about availability.
Best place to sit
There’s not an easy answer to this question. Depending on where you’ll be spending your day will help you pick the perfect spot to set up your camp. Honestly, you’ll be spending a lot of your time hanging out enjoying the water that the only times you’ll be back at your seats is at your designated meet up times or to eat together.
Are there lifeguards at Blizzard Beach?
You’ll see lifeguards along the entire lazy river and in different locations at the wave pool as well. Despite having lifeguards, accidents can still happen. Be diligent and follow the posted safety rules and directions from lifeguards and Cast Members.
What if we get separated inside the park?
When entering Blizzard Beach, you’ll notice a small covered area with small picnic tables and activities. The area is clearly marked that it’s for kids who have been separated from their families. As soon as you notice your child is missing, alert a Cast Member. Disney has many systems in place for all different types of emergency situations and will be able to help.
Are there Hidden Mickeys at Blizzard Beach?
If you look hard enough, you’ll spot some of those famous little Mickey heads during your adventures!
Is the water heated at Blizzard Beach?
Yes the water is all heated to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Visiting during any time of the year allows you to enjoy the warm water, but getting out during the colder months can be chilly.
Are there Photopass Photographers at Blizzard Beach?
There aren’t currently Photopass Photographers at Blizzard Beach.
Are there any tips for taking pictures at Blizzard Beach? Any not to miss picture spots in the park?
Stay behind while your family rides the chair lift to the top of Mount Gushmore. From below, it looks as though the riders are wearing skis and would make a cute picture.
Make sure to head to the top of Mount Gushmore with your camera or phone. You can get some great pictures from the lookout areas. If you look close enough, you can spot Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, Swan and Dolphin Resort, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, and Tower of Terror from Hollywood Studios!
Say hello to the sweet snow family visiting Blizzard Beach. And keep an eye out for Blizzard Beach’s own alligator, Ice Gator to take pictures with.
Can you use FastPass+ at Blizzard Beach?
There aren’t FastPass+ options at Blizzard Beach at this time.
Does Blizzard Beach have Extra Magic Hours?
Being a Disney park, there’s always the option to have Extra Magic Hours, but they do seem to be rare for the water parks.
Are there characters at Blizzard Beach?
While you won’t find typical Disney characters at Blizzard Beach, you will find the Blizzard Beach alligator mascot, Ice Gator.
Are there special events at Blizzard Beach?
Blizzard Beach can be rented out for and closed for special events but there are not ticketed special events at this time.
When does Blizzard Beach close?
There’s only so much space inside the park and when it reaches the limit, for everyone’s safety and comfort, gates will close and not allow additional guests into the park until other guests leave.
Weather related closings
Because the attractions are all outdoors, if lightening is in the area or the temperature is too low, the park will close. Low temperatures in Florida are usually in the 50s and below. Thankfully this doesn’t happen too often. It should be noted that rain doesn’t close the park so prepare to find a dry place to store your towel and change of clothes while you’re enjoying the attractions. There also generally isn’t a refund for your tickets if there is a closing related to weather.
During the colder months, one of the water parks is closed for refurbishment. While one of the water parks is closed, the other is open for guests to enjoy.