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The Blizzard Beach Legend
It was a meteorological phenomenon of the strangest order. One balmy day, a freak winter storm developed over the western end of Walt Disney World Resort and covered the area with a thick blanket of powdery white snow. Before you could say "hot cocoa," plans were underway for Florida's first ski resort.
Ski lifts were put up, toboggan runs were laid down and an entire resort area blossomed around the mountain of snow. Yet before the first skier could strap on a pair of boots and stick his poles into the snow, the temperatures returned to their normal Florida levels, and the powdery snow quickly turned into slippery slush. The ski resort operators saw their dream melting down the hillside. Yet that's not all they saw.
As the slush began cascading down and pools of water began to form, an echoing "yahoo" was heard from the summit of the mountain. Everyone looked up to see a playful alligator careening down the melting hillside. He slid to the base of the mountain and landed in a pool of water with a thunderous splash. They knew at once that they were back in business.
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 fastest water slide in the world. The ski resort became known as Disney's Blizzard Beach, the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!
What is Blizzard Beach?
Blizzard Beach (BB) is the largest water park at Walt Disney World Resort. It applies an outrageous ski resort theme to an awesome water adventure park. It's action-oriented, with the emphasis on slides and thrills. It features over 17 slides, a wave pool, an area for pre-teens and an area especially for little tikes. The water is heated to 80 degrees at BB.
The best story I've heard describing the feel of BB comes from a Disney CM I know. She's from New England, and she told me that whenever she gets homesick for winter in New England she just hops in her car and heads over to BB. She said, "I know it sounds silly, but it's like being back home. Just driving past the park will send chills up my spine, no matter what the outside temperature is!"
Where is Blizzard Beach located?
Blizzard Beach (BB) is located between Disney's Hollywood Studios and the All-Star Resorts.
How do you get there?
By bus: All WDW resorts have buses that make regular runs to BB.
By car: Take the Magic Kingdom exit off I-4 and follow the signs.
Driving to the water parks can be a real advantage, especially if you have small children. Disney water parks offer free parking and then you are able to come and go as you please and you don't have to wait for a bus. Some bus routes are not express to/from the water parks and make stops along the way.
How much is admission?
Prices current as of Sunday, February 23rd 2014 (all prices include tax):
Parks 1-Day Pass provides one-day admission to Typhoon Lagoon OR Blizzard
Beach for designated time period: $56.45 (Ages 10+); $47.93 (Ages 3-9) with tax.
Water Parks Annual Pass provides unlimited admission to both water parks for one year. Adults $110.76 with tax; children 3-9 $90.53 with tax.
Unlimited admission is also included with Premium Annual Passports.
A combined Blizzard Beach and WinterSummerland (mini golf) ticket may be available for purchase.
What are BB's hours of operation?
Minimally, the park is open from 10am to 5pm. Hours expand in the summer to 9am to 8pm.
Other operating hours may be found HERE.
Blizzard Beach hours subject to change without notice.
What attractions have restrictions at BB?
Summit Plummit - Must be 48 inches tall to ride this attraction.
Slush Gusher - Must be 48 inches tall to ride this attraction.
Downhill Double Dipper - Must be 48 inches tall to ride this attraction.
Chair Lift Up Mt. Gushmore - Must be 32 inches tall to ride this attraction.
Tikes Peak - Children under 4 feet tall play here with their parents.
Children under 10 are not allowed admission into BB unless accompanied by an adult.
Please note that each attraction has its own guidelines. Most require that you be in good health and of certain age or height to participate.
What attractions can the whole family enjoy?
Teamboat Springs - World's longest family raft ride.
Toboggan Racers - Eight lane toboggan slide. Mat pick-up at top of Mt. Gushmore.
Snow Stormers - Switchback slalom-style mat slides. Mat pick-up at top of Mt. Gushmore.
Runoff Rapids - Open & enclosed inner tube runs. Tube pick-up at bottom of Mt. Gushmore.
Cross Country Creek - Continuous flowing creek, encircling BB. Tubes at each entrance.
Melt Away Bay - constant bobbing gentle waves the whole family
What is Mt. Gushmore and what rides are on it?
Mt. Gushmore is the centerpiece of BB. Its snow-covered peaks tower over the waterpark and mark the beginning of several of BB's rides.
The two biggest "thrill-ride" slides are on Mt. Gushmore -- Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher.
Summit Plummet is a 120 foot high ski jump that you shoot down at speeds of 60-mph.
Slush Gusher is 90 foot high double-humped slide. The most common complaint you hear about these rides is from women who have "lost" the tops of their bathing suits from the speed and force of the drop.
Teamboat Springs is the world's longest family white-water raft ride. Three to six passengers can ride this not-so-tame 1,200-foot flume. I've been on this one with small children who squeal with glee as you twist and turn down the drop and I've also been on this ride with adults who were surprised by the speed and thrills of the ride. If you don't have enough riders in your group, the lifeguards will combine groups.
The Toboggan Racer is a head-first eight lane race course. You lay on a mat and ride the course as it dips and propels you down the mountain side of Mt. Gushmore.
The Downhill Double Dipper is the world's only side-by-side tube racing slides. The slides are identical and are enclosed for part of the run. The tubes are approximately twice the diameter of the enclosed run at Runoff Rapids. The slides are setup as a race and run straight down the hill. Passengers travel at speeds up to 25 mph.
Snow Stormers is a trio of mat slides flumes that race down the mountain on a switch-back course through ski-type slalom gates.
Runoff Rapids is actually three high-speed tube-raft twisting turning flumes. The center slide is enclosed and you must ride this one solo, but the two outer slides can be ridden on one-, two-, or three-person rafts. The center enclosed slide is by far the best of the three, but beware, one time that I rode it I somehow got turned around in the current just as I entered the tube and rode the whole slide facing backwards!
Chair Lift to the top of Mt. Gushmore -- The ski-resort styled wooden-bench chair lift is complete with snow skis and over-head umbrellas. You can either take the ski lift to the top of Mt. Gushmore or, if you prefer, there are stairs.
What about those lazy tube rides around the waterpark -- does BB have one of those?
Cross Country Creek is BB's lazy tube ride in a creek around the Park. But be warned, just when you are so relaxed you think you might doze off on your raft, that's when you get squirted by a stream of water from Ice Gator's house, the snow making machine, one of many sprayers or geysers along the path, or go through one of the waterfalls of runoff at the entrance to the ice cave at Mt. Gushmore.
What about the kids? Are there areas just for them?
Ski Patrol Training Camp is the place for pre-teenagers. Here they can balance on the floating icebergs, ride the T-bar drop and enjoy their own water slides.
Tike's Peak is a kid-sized version of Blizzard Beach. Here children 4 feet tall and under (parents are allowed) can play in their own pools, ride their own slides, play in the pop jets and fountains, and much more. Just remember that children under 10 are not allowed admission into the BB unless accompanied by an adult.
What about safety? Are there lifeguards present at BB?
Each attraction is monitored by lifeguards. Guests are asked to follow their instructions at all times. Also, each attraction has its own unique guidelines. Most require that you be in good health and of certain height to participate.
Are tubes provided by BB?
A limited amount of complimentary tubes sizes are available at all tube rides. Tubes that are provided for an attraction should be left at that attraction. Tubes of varying sizes and for multiple riders are available depending on the attraction. At peak times there may be a shortage of tubes.
Does Blizzard Beach close down for maintenance?
Traditionally, Walt Disney World closes each of it's water parks during the winter months.
At least one water park is always open.
For up-to-date closure information for Blizzard Beach visit our Rehabs and Closing Schedule.
What is the Alpine Village?
At the east end of the beach, the Alpine Village is where Guest Services, Snowless Joe's, Lottawatta Lodge, Beach Haus and first aid are located. Locations are also available in the park for hair wraps and temporary tattoos. The First-Aid station is located near the park entrance in between Lottawatta Lodge and Beach Haus (a store where you can get BB souvenirs, beach apparel, foot ware, film and sundries).
What about locker and towel rentals?
Lockers (small and large sizes are available, $13 and $15 respectively, with a $5 refund when you return the key) and towels ($2) are available for rent at Snowless Joe's. Life jackets are available free of charge for guests who wish to leave an identification card or a refundable deposit. Changing rooms and showers are also located right next to the lockers. Also, lost children are brought to Snowless Joe's to await their parents. Lockers are also available at the restrooms located between Tike's Peak and Ski Patrol Training Camp and also beside the Downhill Double Dipper.
Are there places to buy food at BB?
Food and beverages are available in six locations. Click Here for Menus!
Artic Expedition - Snow Balls (Snow Cones)
Avalunch - a snack bar serving hot dogs, BBQ Sandwich, Turkey Legs, Ice Cream and beverages.
Cooling Hut - Snacks - ice cream, popcorn, and beverages
Frostbite Freddie's - a bar serving frozen drink specialties and beer.
Frosty the Joe Man Coffee Shack - hot and cold coffees!
Funnel Cakes - and cotton candy
Lottawatta Lodge - a counter service restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Serving burgers, hot dogs, pizza, deli sandwiches, salads, beverages and desserts. Kid's meals and ice cream too.
Mini Donuts - with dipping sauces
Polar Pub - a full service bar serving frozen drink specialties and spirits.
Sled Dog Expeditions - ice cream sundaes
The Warming Hut - a snack bar serving hot dogs, nachos, turkey legs, snacks, beverages and ice cream.
Can I bring my own cooler into BB?
Coolers are allowed in BB, however no alcoholic beverages or glass containers are to be carried into the water park.
Are there reserved chairs or cabanas available?
Polar Patios - Cabanas: There are 4 Premium spaces are available for rental daily. This includes an attendant and waiter service, private lockers, all day drink mugs, cooler stocked with ice and bottled water, lounge furniture, tables and rental towels for 6. The Premium spaces accommodate up to 6 guests. Cost as of Summer 2012 is $213 during off-season dates ($226.85 with tax) and $300 ($319.50 with tax) during peak season dates. Additional guests can be added for $25 each. Guests will be given a bracelet that allows access to the private area.
Advance reservations may be made up to 180 days out by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529). Full payment is required when making the reservation. If you must cancel, you must do so before 9:00 am the day before your reservation. If the park is closed all day on your reserved day for any reason, you will get a refund. If you did not make prior arrangements, you can stop at Snowless Joe's to check same-day availability.
Lodge Picnic Umbrellas - Premium Beach Chair Space - includes 2 lounge chairs, umbrella, cocktail table and 2 towels. Limit is up to four people. If you have more, a second reservation is needed. Reserve in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529). Cancellation without penalty must be no later than 9:00 am the day prior to reservation. You can check at High n Dry Rentals to see if any same-day rentals are available. Cost as of Summer 2012 is $40 plus tax ($42.60) in low season and $50 plus tax ($53.25) during high season and must be paid at time of reservation.
In addition, Blizzard Beach is testing a "human full-body dryer." For $5, a group of four people can step into the dryer, which will blow air to dry them off for three three minutes.
Is there anything else I should know?
Smoking is only allowed in designated smoking areas. See the BB Guide Map for locations.
BB's own Ice Gator makes occasional appearances in the village area. He greets visitors and poses for pictures. Check with Guest Relations for scheduled appearances.
BB is usually "snowed-in" for rehab each year for two months between November and February.
Make sure to wear water shoes or sandals at BB, even though they have water spraying intermittently on most of the walkways to help prevent your feet from getting burnt.
BB posts water temperatures in the area between the main bridge and the Avalunch area. They give separate temperatures for the creek, ski patrol area and Melt Away Bay. In the same area, they also post a wait time chart for the Ski Patrol area, Summit Plummet, Downhill Double Dippers, Slush Gushers, Teamboat Springs and Snow Stormers.
Volleyball nets and secluded picnic areas are also available.
Disney water parks tend to be crowded, especially in the summer, and there are limited areas with shade. Arrive at BB either when they open, or try going just for the afternoon. A lot of the crowds thin out during the hottest part of the day and by mid-afternoon you can avoid long waits for the attractions.
Bring a disposable waterproof camera. You can buy one for about $15 at Beach Haus (the BB souvenir shop), or you can buy one at an off-property discount store for about $10. I found myself worrying about my camera, since it's not waterproof. I missed a lot of great shots because I didn't dare bring an expensive camera to places where it might get wet.
BB may close due to weather or maximum park capacity. If you are in the park and it closes due to weather remember to get your hand stamped so that if the weather clears up you can re-enter the park.
Additional information is available directly from Blizzard Beach at (407) 560-3400.
Lost articles can be picked up at Guest Relations (at the entrance to BB). Be warned that some articles may be irretrievable. Glasses and jewelry should be removed before going on the water attractions. BB is not responsible for lost articles. You can phone Lost & Found directly during normal business hours at (407) 560-5408.
Many thanks to Ken di Pietro who maintained the Blizzard Beach FAQ for AllEars.Net for many years.