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Water Park Showdown: Blizzard Beach v. Typhoon Lagoon

Walt Disney World is home to two water parks to help guests cool off while still enjoying the unique Disney charm. Typhoon Lagoon, opened in 1989, takes guests to the locales surrounding Mount Mayday after a typhoon struck the area. Blizzard Beach, opened in 1995, takes guests to the home of the first ski resort in Florida and the the aftermath of the warming weather and melting snows. Both have enjoyable features, but here is our official evaluation of all the important parts so you can make the best choice when you visit!

8. The Weenie – Walt Disney would refer to the centerpiece in the park as the weenie, something that drew guests in. At Typhoon Lagoon, the weenie is Mount Mayday with the Miss Tilly perched atop and signals the top of every hour with a blast of water from its smokestack. Blizzard Beach features Mount Gushmore. At the top of Mount Gushmore, guests will find the entrance to three different slides – Teamboat Springs, Summit Plummet, and the Slush Gusher. Given the ability to explore around the top and the views it offers not only of the park, but also of surrounding Disney properties, Blizzard Beach wins this round!

7. Lazy River – both properties feature lazy rivers to let you relax after lunch or after one too many trips to either Summit Plummet or the Humunga Cowabunga. Cross Country Creek at Blizzard Beach takes guests around the entire park and features a variety of interesting pieces to enjoy. Castaway Creek is shorter than its counterpart at Blizzard Beach, but features the same facets. While it may appear to be a toss-up, the theming and more relaxed nature of Castaway Creek gives the win to Typhoon Lagoon!

6. Water Slides – aside from the standout slides, there are many slides that cater to the thrill levels of your family. Blizzard Beach features the purple slope slides where you can use a purple mat and race down Toboggan Racers or fly face first down one of the three Snow Stormers slides! Typhoon Lagoon allows guests to go down one of the three body slides at the Storm Slides. If you are looking for a tube ride attraction, Blizzard Beach offers the Downhill Double Dipper and Runoff Rapids, while Typhoon Lagoon is home to Mayday and Keelhull Falls. In this category, a lot is subjective to what a rider is looking for, but since we are fans of thrills, the water slides at Blizzard Beach beat out the slides at Typhoon Lagoon.

5. Wave Pool – both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have wave pools as one of the central features. Typhoon Lagoon features a traditional wave pool that alternates during the day from producing 6 foot waves, to bobbing waves, and to having calm water. Blizzard Beach’s wave pool is somewhat non-traditional because it is wide, but not very long. Due to this, Blizzard Beach only features bobbing waves. Guests are allowed to use inner tubes at Blizzard Beach, while they are not at Typhoon Lagoon. Nothing beats hearing the “whoosh” sound that the wave machine makes at Typhoon Lagoon and hearing the crowds scream with excitement, so it wins here!

4. Food – neither park has a table service option. Not that I think one is required, but I would be curious to see what Disney could come up with here, but both have a variety of counter service options for guests. Most of the options are traditional theme park fare (pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, wraps, etc.), but there are a few places that go outside the box to please your palette. On a recent trip to Typhoon Lagoon, I was able to spot the Snack Shack that was serving a cornbread waffle pulled pork sandwich – I was impressed with the creativity of the option and was extremely distressed when I could try it because it was lightly raining that day and it did not open, but I was not at all fascinated by the options at Blizzard Beach, so Typhoon Lagoon wins this challenge.

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3. The X Factor – both parks have a unique addition that does not have a counterpart in the other park. Blizzard Beach is home to a ski-lift that transports guests to the top of Mount Gushmore, while Typhoon Lagoon is home to the Crush ‘N Gusher. The Crush ‘N Gusher allows guests to select one of three slides that propel guests down AND up! Think of it as a water roller coaster. Both selections are extremely fun and novel – the ski lift saves your legs from having to climb the 120 feet to the top of Mount Gushmore, while Crush ‘N Gusher will leave you wanting to come back for more. It was close, but Typhoon Lagoon wins here!

2. Drop Slide – I’m a thrill seeker, so this is my most important category. Both parks have a steep, drop slide. Typhoon Lagoon is home to the Humunga Cowabunga and Blizzard Beach has Summit Plummet. Summit Plummet is steeper and longer than the Humunga Cowabunga. Oddly, Summit Plummet did not beat up my back like Humunga Cowabunga did. I thoroughly enjoyed Summit Plummet more as I was screaming and woo-ing on both my trips down! Blizzard Beach wins easily here!

1. Theming – as is the case with every Disney park, resort, and attraction, theming is very important. Disney conveys the theme of each park very well – you can see the destroyed and distressed boxes at Typhoon Lagoon and you see melting snow piles, scarves, and ski poles littered around Blizzard Beach. Again, this is a tough decision, but on your approach to the parking lot at Typhoon Lagoon, there are signs that begin to tell the story and parking in the parking lot, you truly feel transported to some hidden enclave that has been ravaged by a typhoon, so Typhoon Lagoon wins the theming prize.

The final score comes out 5-3 in favor of Typhoon Lagoon, but there is no wrong decision between these parks. My family had a great time at both parks. It is just important to know what you are looking for in your day at the water parks. If you are looking for a little slower pace, Typhoon Lagoon is for you. If you are looking for more thrills, then head on over to Blizzard Beach! Have you tried both water parks? What is your favorite?

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!