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Sue Holland

Blizzard Beach – A Florida Ski Resort

Friday, January 25, 2002
by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

Snow collects on the entry way to Florida's only ski resort
Snow collects on the entry way to Florida's only ski resort 

"One balmy day, a freak winter storm developed over the western end of the Walt Disney World Resort and covered the area with a thick blanket of powdery white show. Before you could say 'hot cocoa,' plans were underway for Florida's first ski resort... Slalom courses, bobsled and toboggan runs became downhill waterslides. The creek of melted snow that formed at the base of the mountain became a relaxing tube ride. The chairlift carried swimmers instead of skiers. The ski jump became the tallest and faster water slide in the world. The ski resort became known as Disney's Blizzard Beach, the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!"

That is the abbreviated legend behind the theming of Blizzard Beach, Disney's third water park. And as you would expect, the theming is carried out to the highest detail.

A view up the ski jump
A view up the ski jump

Blizzard Beach is located between Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and the three All Star Resorts, on the same side of the road as McDonald's. Coming from a Disney resort, buses usually combine Blizzard Beach with the Animal Kingdom run. [The exception: Coming from Animal Kingdom Lodge it is the Disney Studios bus that stops at Blizzard Beach]. The quickest and easiest way to visit is with a car. Unlike at Typhoon Lagoon, this parking lot has no shady parking spots.

Admission is $29.95 plus tax for guests aged 10 and older; $24.00 plus tax for children aged 3-9. Admission is included in the Premium Annual Pass and the Unlimited Magic Pass, and is a "plus" option for the Park Hopper Plus Pass. Check for any other discounts at the ticket window, as it is not uncommon for special deals to be running for Florida Residents or other groups of people. There is also a combination ticket for Blizzard Beach and Winter Summerland miniature golf available for $38.99 plus tax for guests aged 10 and older; $31.57 plus tax for children aged 3-9.

Towels are provided for a rental fee. To avoid standing in line to pay for a towel, grab pool towels from your resort, being sure to return them to your resort at the end of the day, or bring one from home. The only flotation devices allowed are those issued by Blizzard Beach, so do not bother bringing all the stuff your kids use in the pool at home. Also, be sure your swimsuit does not have any metal pieces such as buckles or rivets, or you will not be allowed on the slides.

Tikes Peak
Tikes Peak

Children have a section of the park set aside especially for them, called Tike's Peak. It contains small slides, raft rides, bubbling jets, squirting water, an iceberg walk, and lots of other water fun. Parents must accompany children in this area. Tike's Peak is somewhat separated from the rest of the park, although it is not inconvenient to the other attractions. To reach Tike's Peak, bear right before crossing the bridge over the lazy river.

Many water slide fans consider Blizzard Beach to be the preferred Disney water park, and thrillseekers (particularly teens) have many water slides to choose from. Disney has implemented a conveyer belt system to transport mats and tubes to the top of the slides so that guests no longer have to carry them up the many steps. Guests can ride a chair lift to the top of the mountain, but after the park has been open about an hour or so, the wait can be 30 to 60 minutes long, making it necessary to use the stairs if you want to get very many slides into your day. When the park first opened, guests complained about the lack of foliage allowing the sidewalks to get unbearably hot, so now Disney has water misting out over many walkways to keep things more comfortable.

Toboggan Racers
Toboggan Racers

There are three water slides that are designed for guests to race against each other. The first is Toboggan Racers, a relatively mild slide where guests lay face down on a mat and race against up to seven other guests in individual toboggan lanes. The slide has three dips to provide thrills, but is not as intimidating as some of the slides that drop people straight down. As with most of the slides, there are viewing areas for guests not wishing to ride.

Snow Stormers
Snow Stormers

A similar experience can be had on the nearby Snow Stormers where there are three slalom-style slides. Once again, guests ride face down on the mats and race through the downhill switchbacks to the bottom.

Downhill Double Dipper
Downhill Double Dipper

The final racing slide is the Downhill Double Dipper, two side-by-side slides that begin in an enclosed tube and have a couple of drops. This is one of the two slides where guests need to pick up a tube at the bottom and carry it up to the top. The other is Runoff Rapids right next door, in which guests ride inner tubes through both open and enclosed slides.

Slusher Gusher
Slusher Gusher (to the left)

The most popular and visible slides are Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher. Both are body slides that use no tubes or mats, and which begin near the top of the mountain. Summit Plummet is a 120-foot, vertical, free-falling body slide designed to appear as if the guest is taking off on a ski jump ramp, when in reality continue down behind the ramp. Slush Gusher is also a body slide, but has several dips to slow the speed slightly.

Teamboat Springs
Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs is a family raft ride where four to six people can share the same raft. Billed as the world's longest family raft ride, it appears to be fun for guests of all ages.

Melt Away Bay
Melt Away Bay

Blizzard Beach also has its version of a wave pool, called Melt Away Bay. Located at the base of the mountain, it is a one-acre bobbing wave pool. There are no giant waves like at Typhoon Lagoon, which makes it less fun for many adults but definitely safer for young children.

Cross Country Creek
Cross Country Creek

For those guests seeking fewer thrills and more relaxation, Cross Country Creek is the place to be. As at Typhoon Lagoon, this lazy river encircles the park and has seven spots at which to enter or exit. While tubes are stacked up at each entrance early in the day, but by mid-morning they are usually in the Creek -- simply wait for an empty one to come by and grab it! Floating with the current takes about 30 minutes to complete one lap, unless it is so crowded that traffic jams occur. On a busy day, the Creek will be completely filled with guests on tubes.

Just in case guests are not wet enough already, they pass under a waterfall into an ice cave. Icy cold water drips inside the cave, causing startled guests to scream. If cold water does not sound like fun, there is an exit area just before the cave, and another entrance just after the cave. There are other places where you must pass under dripping or spraying water, but fewer than on the tube ride at Typhoon Lagoon.

While lounge chairs and short beach chairs are plentiful, it is amazing to see how quickly they fill up during the summer. Note that the lounge chairs recline only -- they do not sit up. Guests may move beach chairs to the edge of the water in the wave pool, but only in certain areas. Check with a cast member before getting too comfortable.

Although coolers are permitted, guests may not bring in glass containers or alcoholic beverages. Guests may purchase alcohol at Polar Pub and perhaps Frostbite Freddies. There are many spots to get food, with the largest being Lottawatta Lodge, which sells chicken wraps, quesadillas, and salad. Warming Hut serves hot dogs, sandwiches, and turkey legs, while Avalunch serves sandwiches, hot dogs, and ice cream. Scattered around the park are stands selling ice cream, miniature donuts, and other delicious junk food.

Beach Haus
Beach Haus

Never one to miss an opportunity to allow guests to buy souvenirs, Disney has the Beach Haus, for beachwear, sundries, and other gift items. There are also dressing rooms with showers and lockers nearby.

During the busy season Blizzard Beach opens at 9 in the morning, and may close around noon when they are filled to capacity. A 10:00 a.m. opening is the norm during the rest of the year. Since the park is wonderfully uncrowded for the first hour or so, get there early to avoid long lines for the slides.

Whether you go for the day or for a few hours, Blizzard Beach is fun for all ages and is a great break from the theme parks. If water slides are your main draw and you can only fit one water park into your trip, choose Blizzard Beach. If you are looking for the better wave pool, choose Typhoon Lagoon. Better still - make time to visit them both if you can!


Contact Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.