Disclaimer: I was invited by Walt Disney World to visit Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and provided admission and lunch in exchange for media coverage. I was unable to attend, so T.M. Brown from Footprints In Pixie Dust attended on my behalf.
Snowbirds beware! Hidden in plain sight in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort area between Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s All-Star Resorts is Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. The 66-acre themed water recreation attraction was inspired by the mythology of a snow ski resort that didn’t exactly find a suitable climate in Florida. During the spring, summer and fall vacation periods, both parks are open daily, offering a cool break from theme park fun.
Mt. Gushmore: The snow-capped, 90-foot-high peak that is the park’s visual centerpiece, on top of which sits the platform “launch pad” for the park’s most-talked-about attraction, Summit Plummet.
Summit Plummet: Thirty feet above the peak of Mt. Gushmore is the platform for a thrill ride that sends the daring on a high-speed adventure down a 350-foot slide. At 120 feet high and up to 55 mph, it is one of the world’s fastest free-fall water slides.
Slush Gusher: A double-humped water slide that drops guests through a snow-banked mountain gully from a start 90 feet up Mt. Gushmore (next to Summit Plummet).
Teamboat Springs: The world’s longest family white-water raft ride takes six-passenger rafts down a twisting, 1,200-foot series of rushing water falls.
Toboggan Racers: An eight-lane water slide that sends guests racing over exhilarating dips as they descend on a 250-foot course along the “snowy” slope.
Snow Stormers: Three flumes descending from the top of the mountain and following a switchback course through ski-type slalom gates.
Runoff Rapids: An inner tube run where guests can careen down three different twisting, turning flumes — one in the dark.
Chair Lift: Wooden-bench chair lifts sporting colorful overhead umbrellas and snow skis on their underside, converted from ski-resort to beach-resort use, carry guests over the craggy face of Mt. Gushmore, from its base at the beach to its summit.
Tike’s Peak: A kid-size version of Blizzard Beach for children ages 2 to 5 (under four feet tall), including scaled-down elements of Mt. Gushmore. In addition, this area features a snow-castle fountain play area.
Melt-Away Bay: One-acre pool at the base of Mt. Gushmore and fed by “melting snow” waterfalls.
Cross Country Creek: A lazy creek circling the entire park, carrying floating guests through a bone-chilling ice cave. Once inside the mysterious cave, guests will be splashed with the “melting” ice from overhead.
Ski Patrol Training Camp: Designed for pre-teens with a T-bar drop, crinkle slide and a challenging ice-flow walk along slippery, floating icebergs. Cool Runners is the camp’s twin inner tube slide.
•Lottawatta Lodge (counter-service restaurant featuring burgers, sandwiches and salads)
•Polar Pub & Frostbite Freddie’s, Avalunch, Warming Hut, Cooling Hut and I.C. Expeditions (snack stand locations throughout the park offer hot dogs, nachos, chips, pretzels, frosty beverages and other tasty treats)
•Beachcomber Shacks and Polar Patios (premium shaded rental spaces include towels, locker, drink mugs, Adirondack seating, ice chest stocked with bottled water, service attendant)
•Locker rooms (dressing rooms, showers, locker rental, towel rental, life jacket rental)
•Beach Haus shop (bathing suits, towels, T-shirts, sunscreen and other beach essentials)
•Snowless Joe’s (photo pickup, sundries)
•Shade Shack (sunglasses and accessories)
•Picnic areas (picnicking is permitted but no alcohol or glass containers can be brought into the park)
Admission tickets can be purchased at each park. Vehicle parking lot is located off of Buena Vista Drive and is next to park entrance; buses operated from the Transportation and Ticket Center and Walt Disney World resort hotels. For more information, guests may call (407) 824-4321 or visit disneyworld.com/