What better place to cool off in Orlando than Disney’s icy-themed water park, Blizzard Beach? The park is a perfect escape for the whole family, with seven water slides, a lazy river, lots of beach chairs, new food and treat options, the wave pool, and areas just for littles ones, and Tweens.
And thrill seekers of any age, as long as they’re tall enough, can zoom down Summit Plummet, one of the tallest and fastest free-fall slides anywhere.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach recently reopened after renovations, and there are fun changes at the park, new things on the menu, and some of the best water park rides to check out. Here’s a look at everything we love about the water park, what to look for when you visit, and why it’s a great addition to your next Walt Disney World vacation.
Welcome to Florida’s only “ski resort”
As the story goes, Blizzard Beach was briefly Florida’s wintery escape after a wild snow storm, but before anyone could get out skiiing, the sun came back and started melting everything away.
Only Ice Gator had the chance to get one run in before everything melted, and that’s why you’ll see his ski marks on the roof of the change rooms, as you enter the park, and find the alligator-shaped hole he left in the side of the Beach Haus store.
Everything at the water park is melting, including the poor snow family by the Lottawatta Lodge, but you can still take the Chairlift to the top of Mount Gushmore, and ride down slides on toboggans.
The theme is everywhere and it’s perfect, offering a great escape that is so much fun. Whether you’re taking a break from busy days at other Walt Disney World parks, or just looking for one of Orlando’s best water parks, it’s a great place to spend the day.
And you might even get to meet one of your favourite Disney characters out for a day of waterpark fun.
Blizzard Beach new features, food, and treats
Blizzard Beach reopened recently after renovations, and the little ones will love the new Frozen movie theme at Tike’s Peak. Kids will find Anna and Elsa at the igloo castle, Olaf and the Snowgies in the wading pool, and Frozen music playing now and then throughout the day.
For the adults and bigger kids Blizzard Beach also updated one of the best slides at the park, making it even easier to ride again and again. Runoff Rapids has three different inner-tube waterslides running down Mount Gushmore, and there’s now an easy conveyor belt that delivers tubes right to the top of the hill.
If you’re hungry and looking for great menu options, Blizzard Beach will continue to celebrate the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary until March 31 with special items like the EARidescent Ice Cream Cone, and the family-sized Ice Dream Sand Pail Sundae with vanilla and birthday cake soft-serve ice cream in a Walt Disney 50th Anniversary Sand Pail Bucket.
While I checked out the water park for the first time, I had a chance to speak to Ron Hood, the Project Manager, Disney Water Parks, about some of the changes at the park, and Chef Brad Scholten about the latest food and menu options.
“Everything we do here is really about escapism, and living within the theme,” Hood said.
“We already had a pretty phenomenal attraction at Run Off Rapids with three very different slides,” he said, and added that the new conveyor belt made it a better experience for everyone who wants to try all three slides.
“It’s a great experience, and we have something here for everybody from the thrill seekers at Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher up there at the top of the mountain, to the Tween area that we have down in Ski Patrol, or in Tike’s Peak.”
“So there’s a little bit of excitement for everybody in the family, even if you wanted to sit on the beach and relax. If this is your cool down day, while you’re here enjoying all of Walt Disney World, this is really the place to do it.”
And as Hood also mentioned, the top of Mount Gushmore has fantastic views over the whole water park and across Walt Disney World. From the viewing platform you can see Hollywood Studios and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
For Scholten, the food options at Blizzard Beach are also going to put smiles on a lot of faces.
“Here at the water parks we try to update the menu seasonally, and this year we added the Elsa Ice Cream Cone to match our Tike’s Peak overlay,” Scholten said. “We want to incorporate our characters and our stories into our food and beverage, and that’s been fun.”
“We try to balance fun, frozen themed–not only Frozen the movie, but also frozen items–here in the park with some savoury items and some lighter items as well that guests are enjoying across the waterpark.”
In addition to adding Watermelon Passion Fruit Lemonade at Lottawatta Lodge, Blizzard Beach’s Avalunch now offers a footlong Chicago hotdog. “Our guests love the Chicago hotdog… and then we’re still featuring our 50th Anniversary items,” he said.
Popular food items at the park include the Roasted Chicken Rice Bowl and the Roasted Tofu Rice Bowl, because they’re nice and light, as Chef said. “We also feature a White Cap Flatbread, which is a white pizza with chicken, bacon, Parmesan cheese, onions, and tomatoes. It’s a nice, loaded flatbread that is a good meal.”
The best of the water park
So what makes Blizzard Beach so special? It’s really a water park where everyone can find something they’ll love for the day. Whether you’re enjoying each slide together, or finding the water slide that you love the most, the whole park offers a lot of activities.
And I love the theme at the park. The wintery, snowy, icy touches are everywhere, and it’s easy to get swept along with it. The attention to detail is perfect, and it will carry you away, just like the water slides.
If you’re looking for the highlights at Blizzard Beach, one top features is the heated water across the whole park, so even early or late in the year the water will be warm. During the summer the water park, and the theme, makes it a great place to cool off too.
Beyond Summit Plummet‘s wild rush, with a near vertical drop and speeds up to 60 miles per hour, Slush Gusher is a thrilling 90-foot slide with two hills on the way down.
Nearby you’ll also find the speedy Downhill Double Dipper tube ride, where you can race a friend to the finish line.
Or try the 8-lane Toboggan Racers, that doesn’t have height restrictions and offers a quick 250-foot-long head-first race to the bottom on rubbery toboggans.
Families can all hop on a six-person raft with Teamboat Springs, a 1,200 foot long whitewater adventure that’s a lot of fun. Be prepared to spin and splash down the awesome rapids.
And rounding out the bigger slides, there’s Snow Stormers with three winding, slalom-like water courses. You can race against your friends or family, or just enjoy a quick, twisty ride to the bottom.
For the Tweens and families that want to all do things together, Ski Patrol Training Camp has a lot of fun in one area with an obstacle course, a small zipline that ends with a splashdown, water slides, and more.
And for everyone who just wants a little quiet time, I love the Cross Country Creek lazy river that wraps all the way around the entire park. Find a spot to join the flow and then relax and watch out for highlights like geysers, waterfalls, and Ice Gator’s house.
Melt-Away Bay also has a nice, big place for a swim, and throughout the day it shifts between waves, and calm, peaceful waters.
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary continues until March 31, and expect all new Disney 100 treats and meal items starting on April 1, 2023. For the latest about Blizzard Beach, visit the Disney website.
Blizzard Beach photos
Tike’s Peak photo, Elsa Ice Cream Cone, and gallery photos 1 & 2 courtesy of Disney Parks. All other photos by W. Andrew Powell/The GATE.
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