,at Walt Disney World Resort, adds a unique twist on the usual water slides and white water rafting rides – it has a winter theme. For a really “cool” time, this 66-acre water adventure park has all the atmosphere of a major ski resort – but it is strictly tropical. Legend has it that a freak snowstorm dumped a lot of snow on Central Florida, and as a result, a ski resort was quickly planned. Of course, the snow melted, leaving behind “liquid ice,” along with some of the most exhilarating, tallest and fastest ski and toboggan runs in the world. Here, visitors slip and slid down “snow-capped” mountains amid a snowy scene (a visual effect only – temperatures actually remain a controlled tropical level year-round,) Waterslides look a lot like slush cascading down the mountainside, and a “ski lift” takes guests to the top of Mt. Gushmore. Disney’s Blizzard Beach ranked number 3 on the Travel Channel’s “Best Water Parks in America,” in 2001. It contains 21 slides, a wave pool, and a separate area for pre-teens and children. Hours are 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., daily, June through August. In February – May and September – December, the hours are daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $29.63 for adults and $23.85 for children.
Blizzard Beach Address and Phone Number
1500 W Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Cross Street: Osceola Parkway
Blizzard Beach Rides and Attractions
As you enter the park, the first thing you see is the 90-foot snow-capped mountain, Mt. Gushmore. It is home to the newest waterslide called Downhill Double Dipper, a side-by-side racing water slide that stands 50 feet high and 200 feet long. Guests travel up to 25 mph as they twist and turn before shooting out through a blast of water. Other adventures at Mt. Gushmore include slalom courses, toboggan and water sleds and the 120-foot high Summit Plummet, a breathtaking 60-mph plunge straight down to a splash landing at the base of the mountain. The height requirement for The Summit Plummet is 48 inches and anyone with back or neck problems, and expectant mothers should not ride.
Other attractions at Blizzard Beach include:
The Teamboat Springs – the world's longest family white-water raft that ride takes six-passenger rafts down a twisting 1,200 foot series of rushing water falls.
The Toboggan Racer – an 8-lane water slide that sends guests racing over exhilarating dips as they descend 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.
Chair Lift – wooden-bench chair lifts carry guests over the craggy face of Mt. Gushmore, from its base at the beach, to its summit. The chair lifts do not accommodate infants and the height requirement to ride is 36 inches (anyone fewer than 48 inches must ride with an adult.)
At Cross Country Creek, you can float on a tube along a lazy river that encircles the entire park. On the way, you will float through a cave where you’ll be splashed with “melting ice” from overhead. “Melt-Away Bay” is a 4,000 square foot (one-acre) wave pool that is nestled against the base of Mt. Gushmore and is constantly fed by “melting snow” waterfalls.
Tike’s Peak is a smaller version of Mt. Gushmore, just for kids. It includes short water slides, a snow-castle, fountain play area and a squirting ice pond. This area has no height restrictions, so children are free to enjoy themselves to their heart’s content. The Ski Patrol Training Camp is designed for pre-teens; equipped with inner tube slides and a challenging ice-flow walk along floating icebergs.
Blizzard Beach History
Blizzard Beach opened in 1995 as the largest water park at Walt Disney World Resort. The park has an “imaginary” history. According to “Disney legend,” a freak snowstorm hit the area, and as an effort to capitalize on the phenomena, the state’s first “ski resort” was built. Of course, as usual in Florida, the sun soon came back out, and all the snow began to melt, leaving behind all of the equipment, ski jumps and chair lifts. All hope was lost until an alligator (who soon became the park’s mascot, “Ice Gator,”) was seen slipping and sliding down a flume and splashing into a pool of icy cold water. The idea for a “ski resort-type water park” was born and visitors have been enjoying Blizzard Beach ever since.
Blizzard Beach Park Map (click on map for larger view)