Blizzard Beach

Since wintertime is almost here, I thought I’d write about Blizzard Beach to help us get in the mood for some cold weather.

As the story goes, a freak snowstorm hit the Orlando area. A local entrepreneur, somewhat lacking in foresight, seized this opportunity and constructed Florida’s first and only ski resort. But of course, warm weather soon returned to the area (as it always does) and the powdery snow began to melt. Dejected, the entrepreneur was about to shutter the establishment when he spotted an alligator sliding down the various slopes yelling “yahoo.” Once again, the entrepreneur seized the opportunity and turned disaster into success by creating a water park. Soon, the slalom courses and toboggan runs were converted into downhill waterslides and the melting snow into swimming areas. Blizzard Beach opened on April 1, 1995 and the fun-loving alligator was dubbed “Ice Gator” and would become the resort’s mascot. By the way, the mascot for Typhoon Lagoon is named Later Gator.

Ice Gator

Blizzard Beach Street Entrance

An alpine atmosphere is apparent from the moment you approach the ticket windows and main gate. Rough-hewn logs and river rocks make up the construction material and pine trees abound. Patches of melting snow are everywhere.

Ticket Booth

Blizzard Beach Park Entrance

After passing through the turnstiles, a sales lot full of now useless cold weather sporting items can be seen to the left. The sleigh makes a great photo op.

Winter Sport Sales Lot

A little further down the path is the Beach Haus. This alpine store is your one-stop shopping place for souvenirs, locker rentals, beach apparel, towels, footwear, film, snacks, and sundries. Be sure to check out the hole-in-the-wall where Ice Gator came crashing through.

Beach Haus Shop

Beach Haus Merchandise

Beach Haus Merchandise

Ice Gator hole-in-the-wall

The music played at Blizzard Beach is an odd collection. Everything from the Beach Boys to Christmas tunes are played. You can even hear the yodeler from “it’s a small world.”

Here we see a photo op within a photo op. Notice that Father Snowman is snapping a picture of Junior.

Snow Man Photo Op

Also near the entrance are restrooms, changing facilities, numerous lockers, and Snowless Joes. Snowless Joes rents lockers and towels and guests may secure life jackets free of charge here. Note, there are two other locker facilities in other sections of the park, but they must be rented either here or at Beach Haus.

Rest Rooms and Changing Rooms

Lockers

Snowless Joes

Mount Gushmore is the center piece of Blizzard Beach and the majority of the slopes radiate from various points on this peak. The mountain’s elevation is 90 feet and can be scaled by several hiking trails. Water is heated year-round to between 75 to 80 degrees. Mount Gushmore is divided into three colored-coded slopes (Green, Red, and Purple) to help guests navigate the park.

Red, Green, and Purple Sign Post

Mt. Gushmore Sign

Green Slope

Chairlift

A chairlift is available for one-way trips to the top of Mount Gushmore and access to Summit Plummet, Slush Gusher, and Teamboat Springs. For those with disabilities, a gondola, which can accommodate a wheelchair and one companion, can be used to ascend and descend the mountain. Note, once the park gets into full swing, the line for the chair lift can be significant. It may be faster to take one of the hiking trails. Children must be 32″ tall to ride, 48″ to ride alone. Guest may not bring food, drinks, loose articles, or bags on the chairlift.

Getting Into The Chairlift

Chairlift

Chairlift

Chairlift

Gondola

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher Sign

Summit Plummet is not for the faint of heart and possibly generates the best thrill in all of Disney World. Originally designed to be a ski jump, guests access this 120 foot high attraction via a series of stairs. From the top, you’re struck by the magnificent view until the realization sets in that the only way down is via a very steep and fast incline. This water slide is the highest and fastest in the country and speeds of over 60 miles an hour are not uncommon. The proper position for experiencing Summit Plummet is ankles locked together and arms crossed tightly across the chest. There is a height requirement of 48 inches.

Notice when an intrepid soul vanishes out of sight, water gushes from the edge of the jump.

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet

Every morning, one “lucky” person is selected to help open Blizzard Beach by being the first to experience Summit Plummet. While everyone else waits patiently behind ropes for the park to open, this brave soul is escorted to the top of Summit Plummet and is placed in the lime-light for all to watch as he or she experiences this grand-daddy of slides.

Slush Gusher

Located next to Summit Plummet is Slush Gusher. This drop features two “moguls” and your body actually leaves the surface of the slide and “flies” for a short distance as you pass over them. If you want to increase your “air time,” raise your crossed legs just before you reach the second hump. Speeds of 50 miles an hour are generated on this adventure.

Slush Gusher

Slush Gusher

Slush Gusher

Slush Gusher

The wait times for both Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher can be significant. I recommend arriving at Blizzard Beach early and making these two slopes first on your agenda.

There are several good viewing areas from which to watch the fun. The first is at the base of the ski jump. This platform offers good views of the slides, Blizzard Beach, and the surrounding area.

Summit Plummet Platform

Summit Plummet Platform

View from Summit Plummet Platform

View from Summit Plummet Platform

The second viewing area is adjacent to Summit Plummet and allows guest to see sliders whiz by as the drop begins to flatten out.

Summit Plummet Viewing Area

Summit Plummet Guest Whizzing By

And finally, there is a viewing area at the bottom of these slides. It’s great fun to sit here and watch the rider’s reaction when they reach bottom and to see them pull the “wedgies” out. Women riders of Summit Plummet might consider one-piece bathing suits as they tend to stay on better than a two-piece. There is also a speed-clock that records the velocity you attained during your descent from Summit Plummet.

Viewing Benches

Speed Clock

Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs Sign

The final Green Slope attraction is Teamboat Springs. This is the world’s longest “family white-water raft ride” and takes guests down a twisting and turning 1,400 foot river. The rafts, complete with handles to hang onto, hold a minimum of four and a maximum of six passengers. But don’t skip this ride just because you are only a single or couple. Smaller parties will be grouped together in the loading area to fill up the rafts. And by the time you get to the bottom of the river, you’ll feel like you know all of your fellow passengers.

Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs

Teamboat Springs

Red Slope

Runoff Rapids

Located on the back side of Mount Gushmore is the Red Slope with Runoff Rapids. Your adventure for this attraction starts at the bottom of the peak where you pick up your inner tube (either a single or double) then climb a long series of steps to the dispatch area.

Runoff Rapids consists of three flumes, two open-air and one enclosed. Each is around 600 feet in length and careens around pine trees and boulders before depositing guests in a splash-down pool. Each of the flumes is different from the others so you need to make the hike up the hill three times to experience all the thrills. The open flumes can accommodate both single and double tubes. The enclosed flume only allows single riders to traverse this somewhat dark encounter. Although there is no height requirement for Runoff Rapids, children must be able to sit properly in the tube. Also, be aware that the splash-down pool is just under four feet so little ones might need assistance when they reach the bottom.

Runoff Rapids

Runoff Rapids

Runoff Rapids

Runoff Rapids

Runoff Rapids

Meltaway Bay

At the base of Mount Gushmore is Meltaway Bay. This one-acre pool features bobbing waves and gentle water movement, but nothing as intense as at Typhoon Lagoon so body surfing is not an option here. Tubes are allowed in Meltaway Bay but supplies are limited and are distributed on a first come first served basis. This area is surrounded by a white sandy beach and numerous chairs and lounges.

Meltaway Bay

Meltaway Bay

Meltaway Bay

Cross Country Creek

Circling the perimeter of Blizzard Beach is Cross Country Creek. This slow-moving river is 3,000 feet in length and is perhaps the most relaxing activity available here. Located at various spots along the creek are seven entry/exit spots. It’s here that you’ll secure an inner tube and hop in for your thirty minute journey around the park. Note, you are not required to use an inner tube. You are free to traverse this waterway under your own power. Also, each entry point has a name so you can remember where you started (Flamingo, Manatee, Bunny, Polar Bear, Ice Gator, Penguin, and Reindeer).

Cross Country Creek Entrance/Exit

Cross Country Creek

Snow Making Machine

Cabin

Cross Country Creek does hold one surprise for unsuspecting guests. When you enter the cave, very cold water drips from the melting overhead ice.

Ice Cave

Tike’s Peak

Tike's Peak Entrance

Tike’s Peak was designed for the little ones. In fact, children must be under 48 inches to play here. This area includes scaled down versions of some of Blizzard Beach’s other attractions. There are several water slides, a snow-castle, and various water features and pop-up jets. The water is very shallow in this area and barely covers your feet. There are a number of tables, chairs, and lounges for adults to relax in while their children play. Diaper-age children must wear Swim diapers. The pavement can get hot in this area so footwear is advisable.

Note, the water at Tike’s Peak is kept at a slightly higher temperature than the rest of the park.

Tike's Peak

Tike's Peak

Tike's Peak

Tike's Peak

Tike's Peak

Tike's Peak

Ski Patrol Training Camp

Ski Patrol Training Camp

Ski Patrol Training Camp

Ski Patrol Training Camp is for children too old or too tall for Tike’s Peak, but who are not yet ready to experience the more challenging adventures of Blizzard Beach. There are a number of eye-appealing attractions here for preteens to enjoy.

Fahrenheit Drops

This adventure begins in an elevated hut where a T-Bar is automatically brought into a youngster’s reach. They grab hold then propel themselves out over the water for zip-line experience and splash-down. The water is over 8 feet deep here so it is advisable that your kids know how to swim or wear a life jacket. Children must be under 5 feet to ride.

Fahrenheit Drops

Freezin’ Pipe Springs

This adventure features a short body slide. The thrills are tame, but it’s perfect for youngsters. This ride deposits riders into the same, deep body of water as Fahrenheit Drops.

Freezin' Pipe Springs

Leisure Pool

Besides swimming, the Leisure Pool offers Iceberg Walk. This adventure challenges kids to cross the pool by walking across floating icebergs. An overhead net allows them to hang on while maneuvering themselves from one moving object to the next. Children 13 and over are not allowed on the iceberg walks. The water depth in this area is 3 1/2 feet.

Iceberg Walk.jpg

Cool Runners

Cool Runners has two sets of slides. One set is a very short, very tame straight run. The other set is longer and offers a few twists and turns on the way to splash-down. Guest ride in inner tubes on the latter set of these slides.

Cool Runners Straight Slide

Cool Runners Straight Slide

Cool Runners Tube Slide

Cool Runners Tube Slide

Purple Slope

The Purple Slope has three attractions, Downhill Double Dipper, Snow Stormers, and Toboggan Racers.

Downhill Double Dipper

Downhill Double Dipper Sign

This attraction features twin slides (50 feet in height and 230 feet in length). Here, two guests race side-by-side to the bottom while riding in inner tubes. Audio elements and automated gates begin each race to keep everything fair. Speeds of up to 25 miles per hour are clocked and racing times are registered at the finish line. When you’ve finished your race, be sure to place your inner tube on the conveyer belt so it can be carried to the top for other racers. There is a height requirement of 48 inches.

Downhill Double Dipper

Downhill Double Dipper

Downhill Double Dipper

Snow Stormers

Snow Stormers Sign

On Snow Stormers, guests lay face first on toboggan-style mats and ride through a series of switchbacks that resemble a ski-type slalom. There are three different runs, each approximately 350 feet in length.

Toboggan-style Mats

Snow Stormers

Snow Stormers

Toboggan Racers

Toboggan Racers Sign

Toboggan Racers features 8 side-by-side lanes, each 250 feet long. This course is straight but has a number of dips along the way. Like Snow Stormers, riders lay face first on toboggan-style mats. The idea here is to race your friends and family to the bottom of the hill. But unlike Downhill Double Dipper, there is no official starting procedure. Tip: If you want your children to win the race, give them a head start.

Toboggan Racers

Toboggan Racers

Toboggan Racers

Snow Stormers and Toboggan Racers share a conveyer belt where guests can place their mats upon completion of their ride to be carried back to the top.

Food and beverage

A number of food and beverage stands are located around the park, but the biggest is Lottawatta Lodge. This counter service restaurant offers hamburgers, hot dogs, wraps, salads, and other goodies to tide you over. A number of umbrella covered picnic tables are located nearby.

Lottawatta Lodge

Lottawatta Lodge

Lottawatta Lodge Seating Area

Guests may bring personal coolers into Blizzard Beach. However, they may not bring glass containers and alcoholic beverages.

Lounges and Seating

Located all around Blizzard beach are lounge chairs and picnic tables. Some are in the sun, others are shaded by huts or trees.

Beach Seating

Shaded Seating

Shaded Seating

Premium Space

Guests may relax and cool off in their own reserved Premium Space at Blizzard Beach. Amenities include, an attendant, locker, all-day drink mugs, cooler with bottled water, cushioned lounge furniture, and towels. A cast member will be on hand to offer “tips and tricks” as well as provide assistance with food orders (purchased separately). Advanced reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. Guests may inquire at the Shade Shack for same-day availability.

Rain Check Policy

If Blizzard Beach must be closed due to inclement weather, no cash or credit card refunds will be made.

If the guest has been admitted for less than four hours, and can present a valid 1-Day Blizzard Beach ticket, the guest is eligible to receive a Rain Check. No Multi-Day Tickets, Annual Passes, other Rain Checks, or any other tickets may be exchanged for a Rain Check.

A Rain Check is valid for one admission to Blizzard Beach. Rain Checks never expire.

Once Blizzard Beach reopens, no further Rain Checks will be issued to guests.

Additional Information

Guests may not bring boogie boards, surf boards, floatation devices, fins, masks or other water toys into the park.

Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

No running or diving.

Swim wear with rivets, buckles, or exposed metal is not permitted on the attractions.

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15 Replies to “Blizzard Beach”

  1. AWESOME….Thanks again Jack! I thought I had my plans for my next Orlando visit in order. I have never been to any of the Disney Water Parks but I now have an interest and will run it by my family. One question though…How does Blizzard beach compare to Aquatica in your opinion?

    “The Disney Fanatic”

    Jack’s Answer:

    I have never been to Aquatica so I can’t accurately answer your question. However, from the pictures I seen, it appears that the slides are just plastic tubes and not themed as they are at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. I’m sure the park is wonderful, and probably much better than Wet & Wild, but it appears to be lacking the “magic” of the Disney parks.

  2. Hey Jack,

    This post made me want to visit Blizzard Beach! Living about 45 minutes away from Adventure Island, we usually go that route when we want our water park fix. Although some of the rides are similar in the two parks, there are some new thrills I’d like to try, like the head-first water slide. Maybe next time we’ll drive the extra hour and make a trip to the Beach. Plus, a Disney-fied water park can’t be bad!

    Can’t wait for your blog on Typhoon Lagoon…haven’t been there, either.

    -Kirstin

  3. Thanks Jack,

    We have never been to one of the water parks and your pictures are great.

    We usually go in the winter and it always seems a little cold for my blood.

    There is just too much to do in the World (Walt Disney World) to take a day out of a Disney Vacation to waist it at one of the water parks.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    ToddsOrlando

  4. Are you sure about the open flumes on Runoff Rapids? When I was there, single tubes were not being allowed in the open flumes at all. Single tubes were only allowed in the enclosed flume. In order to ride the open flume, you had to be in a double tube. This was about a year ago. Have things changed? Or did I just happen to get several CMs who were doing things differently? It was at least the policy for the entire day I was there, as I tried several times to go down the open flumes and was repeatedly told that I could not do so with a single tube.

    Jack’s Answer:

    To be honest, I don’t know. Last time I was there to ride (a year ago), the open flumes required two people. But when I was there last week, I saw singles going done the open flumes (I wasn’t riding that day, just taking pictures). But it was an extremely SLOW day last week. Maybe they weren’t enforcing rules as strictly. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  5. When I went to work this morning it was -9 degrees here in Denver…your blog was the perfect way for me to “warm up” with memories when I got home. Thanks!

  6. We pulled a “double water-park day” (Blizzard Beach+Typhoon Lagoon) the last day of our last trip to WDW, and it was one of best times we’ve ever had. People don’t realize that two of the best water parks in the world (and I’m not just talking about Disney) are less than a few miles from eachother. My boys still talk about the wave pool (in TL), and I was so worn out I could barely walk the next day. Don’t forget to have a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich in BB!

  7. I had no idea that Blizzard Beach was so large and complex! Thanks for all the photos,Jack.
    Do you think that if there is a third park built at Disneyland it’ll be a water park?

  8. Jack – thanks so much for this awesome post! This is the best information I have ever read on either of the waterparks. And I love the fact that you included information for all age groups! Like many others, I also can’t wait for your segment on Typhoon Lagoon. We will be in WDW for 10 days in April-May 2010, and because we are staying at BCV with Stormalong Bay I had almost written them off. But your post has me thinking again! I hope your post about TL goes up before our trip so I can then make the best decision on which one to attend! Thanks again!

  9. I love this park. I think it is more popular than Typhoon Lagoon because whenever I visit during the holiday season, this is open but Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment. I have also been to Typhoon Lagoon,but not since 1990. At Blizzard Beach if you want to do something other than water rides, or relax, you can enjoy the adorable golf course Winter Summerland. That is great fun too! I made sure I tried Summit Plummet my 1st visit but will not do again. It is one of those things that you “must try” but would not do again.

    Jack’s Comment:

    Interestingly, Typhoon Lagoon is more popular the Blizzard Beach as it always has a higher yearly attendance. Both parks are open for most of the year, but then each closes for a portion of the winter for rehab.

  10. Wow Jack,

    Thanks for this awesome info!!!!!
    When we go down for the Marathon in January we are going to both water parks. We have never been to them before…so this blog is absolutely perfect timing. Thanks for all the info and pictures……..
    Maybe a blog about Typhoon Lagoon?????

    Thanks again,

    ERIC

    Jack’s Answer:

    I have some bad news for you. During the winter months, only one water park is open. For example, Typhoon is currently closed. Disney uses this time to rehab the parks. I have no idea which park will be open when you return in January. And I do plan on doing a blog about Typhoon Lagoon sometime in 2010.

  11. I experienced Blizzard Beach for the first time in September, and I had so much fun. The toboggan slides were my favourite just because it’s so unique to go down a water slide face first. And Teamboat Springs is awesomely long. Summit Plummet remained untested, however — too steep for me!

  12. Ironically when we lived in Orlando for a year, we did not get a chance to visit The World. We had a newborn, and it just didn’t seem like he would enjoy himself that much. But, over the summer, my parents came for a trip. We met them one day at Blizzard Beach.

    Being from Texas, we have our share of water parks. But, Disney does such a great job with theme, that they are hard to beat. Needless to say, a fun day was had by all, even the 4mth old.

    Thanks as always, Jack, for your great posts. Have a great day!

  13. Hello Jack, I am a huge fan of all your blogs, I look at least twice a week to read you and also Mike’s blogs. This blog is FANTASTIC! Great pictures! My husband and I will be in WDW in Dec. 2010, I think it’s way too far off but since we were there in April 2009 I couldn’t get my hubby to want to go any sooner. I had also been with my nephews(late teens) in feb 2008 but it was too cold to go in the water parks. My nephews are thinking of coming with us in 2010 and asked me about the water parks now I can show them your blog and we can enjoy it before we even get there. Thx again so much for your wonderful blogs they give me my weekly WDW fix! By the way, concerning the crowds and the weather, could you tell me if it’s better to be in WDW the week of dec 5-11 or 12-18 of 2010?? ARe both those weeks considered value season? Thx so much.

    Jack’s Answer:

    I really don’t know which dates are considered value season, but I would come December 5-11. Here’s why. First, the weather in December is unpredictable. It can be 55 one day and 85 the next. Waiting a week or two really won’t make a difference. But the closer you get to Christmas, the busier it gets. Although both sets of dates you gave me would be fine, the season really gets going around the 18th. So come early.