Posted by: Sophie M. | 23/04/2012

Snow White & Starbucks

Today it was announced that Starbucks and Disney will join together to bring you your favourite Starbucks drinks and snacks within Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The first Starbucks will open at Disney California Adventure followed by openings in five other locations.

For those of you worrying that a Starbucks will stand out in a Disney park, fear not, as each Starbucks will be themed to fit in with its surroundings.

With the first store opening in June you’ll still have to wait a little while to enjoy your favourite Caffe Latte with Mickey & Co but as some of the Disney parks have been open for decades, I’m sure you can wait for a few more months!

Posted by: Sophie M. | 01/01/2012

One More Disney Day

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

2012 is going to be a very exciting year for the Orlando theme parks with new rides, attractions, hotels and shows springing up everywhere but it was Disney who got 2012 off to a real bang last night! During Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve it was announced that in honour of 2012 being a Leap Year, Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland in California will both be open for 24 hours straight!

Starting at 6am on 29th February 2012 both parks will be open until 6am on 1st March 2012 – that’s 24 hours of Disney fun! Now you won’t have to imagine what it would be like to race around Big Thunder Mountain at three in the morning!

Disney have created a separate website with information on “One More Disney Day” including the chance to win one of 60 vacation packages for 4 people to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort (competition only open to US residents). Look out for the Twitter hashtag #Disney24 for all the latest news.

With only 58 days to go, the countdown has begun!

With only a few days to go until the New Year, 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for the theme parks of Orlando. All the big players have something in the works and for those visiting Orlando in 2012 there are plenty of  new attractions to look forward to.

January 2012

Animal Care Center logo

Busch Gardens Tampa – Animal Care Center

The new Animal Care Center in Busch Gardens Tampa will allow guests to observe and take part in animal care, including treatments, X-rays, nutrition and surgeries. With most of the animal care conducted within view of guests, this new facility provides education and entertainment for the whole family.

The Animal Care Center is expected to open on 16th January 2012 (subject to change).

February 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa – Iceploration

Iceploration

Starting on 2nd February 2012 the Moroccan Palace Theatre in Busch Garden Tampa will debut a new daily 30 minute ice show. Combining talented skaters, amazing costumes, giant puppets and spellbinding storytelling, explore the African Serengeti, Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic and the Amazon Rainforest.

May 2012

Walt Disney World – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

May sees the first opening stage of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with the family suites scheduled to open. Themed around The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars and The Little Mermaid, guests will be able to immerse themselves within these favourite films. Providing extra value for families, 1120 of the 1984 suites will be able to sleep up to 6 guests, featuring 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom for mum and dad, coffee-making facilities, a microwave and fridge. Prices start from $249 (£155) per room per night. Make your reservation now!

'The Little Mermaid' bedroom in the Art of Animation resort

Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland expansion (Phase 1)

The first phase of the Fantasyland expansion in Magic Kingdom is due to open in mid-2012, featuring the Storybook Circus. This area features The Great Goofini, a junior sized coaster ‘piloted’ by Goofy, Casey Junior Train, a stationary water play feature and a double Dumbo The Flying Elephant  ride. The queue for Dumbo is always big so Disney has decided to build a second, identical ride. The queue will also be air conditioned and feature hands-on games to entertain children while they are queuing.

Storybook Circus concept art showing the double-Dumbo ride.

June 2012

SeaWorld Orlando – TurtleTrek

TurtleTrek is a 3-D film and marine life exhibit opening in the summer of 2012. Featuring sea turtles, fish and manatees along with the film Turtle: The Incredible Journey shown in 360-degree 3-D (projected onto the ceiling and walls of the theatre!) this attraction is sure to be popular with visitors to SeaWorld.

Discovery Cove – Freshwater Oasis

Freshwater Oasis

Ever wanted to get up close and personal with otters and marmoset monkeys? Well Discovery Cove will soon be giving its guests the opportunity to do just that in its new freshwater area that will add to the unique appeal Discovery Cove already has.  Swimming through waist deep water you’ll be able to watch as marmoset monkeys swing through the tropical rainforest canopy above you before encountering Asian-small clawed otters as they play in the environment around you. Discovery Cove always provides a nice break from the fast-paced theme parks and this new attraction will only add to its appeal.

Freshwater Oasis

October 2012

Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland Expansion (Phase 2)

October sees phase 2 of the Fantasyland expansion open featuring 2 new castles, Beast’s Castle (Beauty & The Beast) and Prince Eric’s Castle (The Little Mermaid). Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Ariel in Ariel’s Grotto, play interactive games in Scuttle’s Scavenger Hunt, and dine in the Be Our Guest Restaurant and Gaston’s Tavern before venturing onto the star attraction, “Journey of the Little Mermaid”, an undersea journey into the world of Ariel and friends.

Phases 3 and 4 are not scheduled to open until 2013.

Fantasyland expansion concept art

Summer 2012

Legoland Florida – Water Park

Legoland Florida Water Park concept art

A small, family friendly water park will be opening next to Legoland Florida in the summer of 2012. This will not be a water park for thill-seekers; the rides are distinctly child friendly, and will certainly not provide much competition for the big water parks already established within Orlando, but for those with young children and a passion for Lego this will provide a few fun-filled hours.

Unknown opening date – 2012

Universal Studios – Despicable Me ride

Featuring 3-D CGI animation in 4K high definition, Despicable Me will be a beautiful and exciting 3-D simulator ride situated within Universal Studios. Guests will be ‘transformed’ into one of Gru’s minions before embarking upon an exciting family-friendly adventure.

Islands of Adventure – The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (refurbishment)

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is getting an update for 2012, including 4K high definition technology to improve the quality and brightness of the projected images. Universal has also commissioned all-new CGI animations for the attraction which mean that while the ride will remain essentially the same, it will be bigger, brighter and bolder for 2012.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

2012 is definitely shaping up to be a very exciting year in Orlando and we can’t wait to be part of it! With news already of further expansions in 2013 (Phases 3 & 4 of Fantasyland and the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to name two) the future is looking bright and sunny for Orlando.

Posted by: Sophie M. | 11/12/2011

Ride Profile – It’s a Small World

"it's a small world"

  • Name: “it’s a small world”
  • Location: Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom
  • Ride type: Indoor boat cruise
  • Ride length: 12 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Inversions: 0
  • Max speed: 2 mph
  • Minimum height: None
  • Rider Swap: Yes
  • Extreme score: 0/10
  • Family score: 10/10

“The happiest cruise that ever sailed the seven seas”

“it’s a small world” is a quintessentially Disney family ride. There are no thrills to be found here but what the ride lacks in excitement it more than makes up for with its beautiful sets and family friendly atmosphere. Brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls sing the rides signature theme song, “it’s a small world (after all)” written by the Sherman brothers.

"it's a small world"

Travel the world and see London, Paris, Tokyo and many other cities as you’ve never seen them before as animated children of the world sing and dance. “it’s a small world” is a perfect family ride for those with young children. A ride on the worlds happiest cruise will leave you with a smile on your face and have you and your family singing the theme song all day long!

?? Did You Know ??

  • The ride features 472 animated and inanimate figures.
  • The flume capacity is 500,000 US gallons of water!
  • The ride opened on 1st October 1971. It was closed from 2nd May 2004 until 18th March 2005 for major renovations including a state-of-the-art sound system and new lighting effects.
  • “it’s a small world (after all)” was sung and recorded in different studios around the world in keeping with the theme of international unity.
  • The song tune and lyrics are the only Disney creations never to be copyrighted. It is, and remains always ‘a gift to the children of the world’.

“it’s a small world (after all)” – the lyrics

it’s a world of laughter, a world or tears
its a world of hopes, its a world of fear
theres so much that we share
that its time we’re aware
its a small world after all

A scene from the finale of "it's a small world".

CHORUS:
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small small world

(chorus)

 

Day 3 – Part 2: We spend an afternoon in Jurassic Park, with Harry Potter and taking on The Hulk.

The entrance to Jurassic Park

After a fun-filled morning it was time for a bite to eat and we decided that for lunch we would try out one of the restaurants within Jurassic Park. Entering the island under the iconic sign we were greeted by a very large T-Rex that provided a perfect photo point. We ate a delicious lunch of rotisserie chicken in Thunder Falls Terrace watching the boats of Jurassic Park River Adventure complete their final drop. That would be our next destination and I was excited to try out the ride – Jurassic Park is one of my favourite films – but as usual I had some butterflies about the final drop. At 85 feet it looks like quite an intimidating drop but the ride was fantastic. A gentle river cruise through Jurassic Park turns into a race for survival as it becomes clear that the most dangerous dinosaurs have escaped and are creating deadly mayhem. The ride was very well themed and while that final drop was quite scary, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily have ridden it several more times.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

Now it was time to visit out favourite boy wizard – Harry Potter. The famous towers of Hogwarts School loomed up ahead and we all commented on the amazing job the designers had done in re-creating the school and the rest of Hogsmeade Village. Wherever you looked there were visitors with cameras snapping pictures of one of the world’s most famous (albeit fictional) schools and I was amongst them.

Hogwarts

We headed straight towards Hogwarts to try out the star attraction – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The new island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, had only been open for 3 months so while the rest of the park had been relatively quiet (we hadn’t been in a queue for longer than 10 minutes), this area was packed with visitors. As we drew closer to ride entrance I saw something that sent an instant wave of fear and panic over me – the test seats for the ride. With over-the-shoulder restraints they looked like they would be more at home on an extreme coaster, not on a ride based on Harry Potter! “What sort of ride is this?!” I asked in a panic. “Does it go upside down? I didn’t think it would go upside down!” You could hear the panicked tone in my voice – I had been presented with an uncertainty and I wasn’t prepared! The queue for the attraction was about 90 minutes long but joining the single rider queue we were in our seats in less than 15 minutes. As the shoulder restraints were secured I wondered what I had got myself into.

The Warning! Sign

The test seats for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The special effects of the ride were spectacular. We soared on a broomstick through Hogwarts, took part in a Quidditch match, narrowly avoided Aragog and were chased by Dementors. It soon became clear why the restraints were necessary; there were times when you were flat on your back looking up and the sky and others where you were tilted down towards the ground – it was a really wild ride! Unfortunately I hated it! Not because of the special effects but because of the jerky movements of the ride which made me feel incredibly nauseous. The first minute on the ride wasn’t too bad but I eventually felt so ill that it was impossible to enjoy the ride and all I could do was pray that it would be over soon and that I wouldn’t throw up!

When we finally got back to the loading station I felt awful. When our group re-gathered they all expressed their concern over how ill I looked. The colour had drained from my face and my skin was a ghostly pale colour. I went outside back into the fresh air and slowly some colour returned to my face but I still felt sick. My friend Lorraine was feeling slightly nauseous and everyone had been struck by motion sickness in some way, but I was by far the worst.

Dragon Challenge Coasters

While I recuperated with a trip to Ollivanders wand shop my friends decided to try out Dragon Challenge. It didn’t even occur to me to go on the coaster because I still felt so sick – I’m sure I would have seen my lunch again if I had ridden it! By the time we all met up again my friends had taken on the Dragon Challenge and I had a souvenir wand that would take pride of place on my bookcase at home. We then rode the Flight of the Hippogriff because the queue was empty but that coaster was tame even for me – I guess I do like some thrills in my roller coasters!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Now it was time for the finale of the day; The Incredible Hulk Coaster. When we got to the queue entrance I couldn’t do it. Seeing the behemoth struck me with such fear that no amount of persuading could change my mind. With Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster on the previous day I hadn’t been able to see the track, and if I had I probably wouldn’t have ridden it, but seeing this coaster in all it’s glory, hearing the screams and the roar as the train travelled over the track I couldn’t  muster up the courage to join the queue. My friends did a good job of trying to persuade me, but my own fears and irrationalities stopped me from joining my friends on the coaster.Instead I primed myself to get a picture of them on the ride, and communicating via walkie-talkie they told me when they were next to ride. As I expected they loved it and jumped straight back into the queue. With only a 10 minute wait time how could they not?!

We finished the day with a trip to watch The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad stunt show before one final spin through New York with Spider-Man. It was the perfect finish to an amazing day.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day in Islands of Adventure (forgetting Harry Potter) although I bitterly regret not going on the big coasters, especially The Incredible Hulk Coaster. I could see why it was such a popular coaster – it had everything an extreme coaster lover could want from a ride. I wish I had been able to overcome my fear, even if I had hated every second of the ride at least I could say that I had tried it. Now I can’t even say that and I feel disappointed in myself. Maybe next time I can overcome my fears and ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Dragon Challenge, maybe….

 

**NEXT** Day 4 – SeaWorld. It’s a day full of whales, dolphins, mantas and the fearsome Kraken!

Posted by: Sophie M. | 07/12/2011

Ride Profile – Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Ride Profile – Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

  • Name: Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Location: Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom
  • Ride Type: Carousel
  • Duration: 2 minutes
  • Minimum height: None
  • Fastpass: No
  • Single rider: No
  • Rider swap: Yes
  • Thrill rating: 1/10
  • Family rating: 10/10

Following their fairy-tale romance and happily-ever-after wedding, Cinderella and Prince Charming took up residence in Cinderella’s Castle. With peace throughout the kingdom, Prince Charming had time to practice for jousting tournaments. In the countryside near the castle, he built a training device of carved horses, on which he could practice the art of ring-spearing, a tournament event in which a knight rides his horse full speed, lance in hand, toward a small ring hanging from a tree limb, with the object of spearing the ring. This event was known by various names throughout the lands, but generally came to be called “carrousel.”

The carrousel device drew the attention of the villagers, who wanted to take a turn on this amazing spinning contraption. So Prince Charming had a second carrousel constructed closer to the Castle, where everyone could take a spin on this wondrous invention. Instead of a working knight’s training device, however, this new carrousel is more befitting its regal location in the Castle Courtyard – its rustic training horses replaced with ornately decorated prancing steeds adorned with golden helmets and shields, flower garlands, feathers and other festoons. Prince Charming invites one and all to test their horsemanship skills and to enjoy their own happy ending.

A hand painted scene from Cinderella

Take your family for a ride on the charmingly beautiful Prince Charming Carrousel in the shadows of Cinderella Castle to a background of organ music. While this is not a ride for thrill seekers, the younger generations will delight in a ride on these galloping horses.

Carrousel horses

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is an authentic carousel ride featuring 90 horses and hand painted scenes from Disney’s Cinderella. Built in 1917 by The Philadelphia Toboggan Company, Walt Disney bought the carousel in 1967 from the Maplewood Olympic Park. Extensive renovation work was carried out by Disney Imagineers, painting on scenes from Cinderella and restoring or replacing the horses.

 

?? Did You Know ??

  • Each of the 90 horses featured on the carrousel are unique.
  • Only one horse has a golden bow on its tail and it is thought that this might be the horse of Cinderella although no one is sure.
  • The name of the carrousel was changed on 1st June 2010 from Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
Posted by: Sophie M. | 05/12/2011

Happy Birthday Walt Disney!

Walter Elias Disney

Today marks the 110th birthday of the legend that is Walter Elias ‘Walt’ Disney. Born on 5th December 1901 in Hermosa, Chicago, Walt Disney would go on to become a name that every child in every household across the world knows.

Along with his brother Roy O. Disney they founded Walt Disney Productions, now The Walt Disney Company on 16th October 1923.  The company grew from strength to strength into the global powerhouse that it is today, reporting an annual revenue of approximately $36 billion in the financial year of 2010.

Walt Disney and his animation teams have created some of the most memorable cartoon characters in history including the unforgettable Mickey & Minnie Mouse.

Mickey & Minnie Mouse - but you knew that!

Walt first started work on his idea for a theme park in the late 1940’s and on 18th July 1955 Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California. He gave the following dedication day speech:

“To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past …. and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

Nine years later in 1964 Walt announed plans for a new resort that is now know as Walt Disney World in Orlando. Sadly Walt Disney passed away from lung cancer on 15th December 1966 at the age of 65 before his dream could be realised. Walt Disney World Resort opened on 1st October 1971, followed by Tokyo Disney Resort on 15th April 1983,  Disneyland Paris on 12th April 1992 and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on 12th September 2005. Shanghai Disney Resort is scheduled to open in 2014.

Through his cartoon characters, films and theme parks Walt Disney has brought joy to many generations of children and to those of us that are still young at heart. Everyone has their favourite Disney film or character and for every new generation The Walt Disney Company continues on with Walts’ dreams.

Happy birthday Walt Disney!

Happy Birthday!

Day 3 of my Orlando holiday diary – today we meet Harry Potter, face the Incredible Hulk and take a river tour through Jurassic Park.

Port of Entry @ Islands of Adventure

We awoke to another gloriously sunny Orlando day the morning we were heading to Islands of Adventure. I’d ‘recovered’ from my experiences in Disney’s Hollywood Studios the previous day, the only souvenirs being my on-ride photo and a sore throat from my excessive screaming.

We were all looking forward to visiting our second theme park, Islands of Adventure, but my friend Lorraine and I were most excited to visit the recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Having read the books and watched the films we were looking forward to stepping into a world we felt we had known for many years; there was a little bit of Hermione in both of us!

While researching our trip to Orlando, I had only heard of Islands of Adventure in relation to Harry Potter – we called the park ‘Harry Potter Land’. The parks that make up Walt Disney World and the Universal Studios park are well-known, but it seems that in the UK, Islands of Adventure has only grown in presence as a result of the opening of the new ‘island’ – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Reading guide books and looking on the Universal Orlando Resort website my excitement grew about our day there, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to become my favourite park.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

We arrived early and headed straight to Marvel Super Hero Island, turning left at the end of the Port of Entry. The skyline here was dominated by the Incredible Hulk Coaster, a name that perfectly summed up not only the rides theme but the appearance of the ride; it was an incredible hulk of a coaster! I watched in horror as the roaring green beast launched out of the Gamma Tube into a zero-g roll, plunged down a 105 ft drop straight up into one of the worlds highest cobra rolls before diving underneath the bridge that leads into Marvel Super Hero Island.

Manhole in Marvel Super Hero Island

I knew there and then that I would never go on the coaster and I was horrified by the prospect of my friends trying to get me to ride it. The Incredible Hulk coaster is an extremely intimidating looking ride, and the roar that is created as the train travels over the box-shaped track tubes only adds to it. My friends were all extremely eager to try out the coaster but to try to delay the inevitable pressure (albeit gentle) that they would put me under I said that I needed time to work myself up into going on it, to which they agreed. I knew that time would only make my anxieties worse and hoped that I could come up with an excuse to get out of it, but for now I was safe. Or so I thought.

Doctor Doom's Fearfall

The two towers that make up Doctor Doom’s Fearfall loomed ahead and before I knew it we were in the queue – I had no time to protest! It did not look like a ride that I would enjoy and I instantly felt my fear levels skyrocket, but I’d got through the Tower of Terror the previous day and the basics of this ride were similar, just in reverse. That was the reasoning I used to try and calm myself down but I was still trembling like a leaf!

The queue was non-existent and I soon found myself strapped into a seat next to my boyfriend John and my friend Dwayne. We sat there for what felt like an eternity, the delay only serving to heighten my fear and anxiety – I thought the ride would never start (well I was certainly hoping it wouldn’t start!) When the doors in front of us finally closed and the vehicle rose a few feet off the ground I could hear my racing heartbeat above the noise of the ride. The time had come and I would have to go along for the ride!

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Although I knew what was coming I was caught off guard by the speed of the launch. With my eyes clenched shut and my screams echoing throughout the park we were launched 199 feet up the tower at 40 mph. ‘Sophie, open your eyes!’ John said to me over the din of my screams, and for a millisecond I did open them, catching a very brief glimpse of the rest of the park before shutting them again as we dropped back down towards the ground. After another rise and fall I was relieved when we eventually returned back to ground level. After my previous experiences in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this ride was the final straw for my voice – my screaming had left me with a sore throat and a hushed, husky voice that would remain for the next couple of days.

Feeling shaken (and even a little stirred) we then made our way over to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Unsure over what to expect I felt a pang of anxiety in the pit of my stomach (as I do about anything unknown – I think I’m a particularly nervous person) but that quickly passed when the ride started – it was breathtaking! For a ride that opened in 1999 it didn’t feel old. The special effects were amazing and the simulated fall from the top of a New York skyscraper provided a spectacular climax. Now this was my sort of ride! We all came out into the Orlando sunshine bouncing with excitement, raving about how much we had enjoyed it. While still a wild, thrilling ride it didn’t have the ‘fear factor’ that I hated so much and we were all keen to re-live our adventure with Spider-Man later in the day.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

We then made our way into Toon Lagoon and rode Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. Watching the boats splash down the final drop of Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls once again caused a pang of anxiety, but it was only brief because I LOVE water rides. They are the one ride that I particularly look forward to going on, although I can’t explain why these do not cause me the same level of fear as other rides. I enjoyed both of them immensely, particularly the barge ride although I seemed to be the one who would end up getting drenched with other riders stayed relatively dry. I could have ridden these two rides all day, but after one ride on each I was completely drenched!

After a morning of fun we decided it was time to chill out and grab some lunch in Thunder Falls Terrace where we could watch the final drop of Jurassic Park River Adventure while eating. That would be our next destination.

**NEXT – Part 2. It’s time for Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and…..The Hulk!

Can you say 'soaked'?!

Posted by: Sophie M. | 26/11/2011

Picture not-so-perfect!

"Say cheese!"

Who doesn’t like checking out their on-ride photo after riding a big coaster? Whether it’s for the look of fear, excitement or the pose that you and your friends arranged to do, on-ride photos are always a source of amusement.

My on-ride photos are never flattering and usually show me in a state of pure fear. For those of you who read part 2 of my Orlando holiday diary you will have seen my on-ride photo from Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios – I think you’ll agree that I looked terrified! Well now I want to see your best on-ride photo from any of the Orlando theme parks, or even an amusing on-ride video.

Email your photos or videos along with the following information to sophie@planmyorlandoholiday.com and I’ll publish the best of the best.

I’ll need:

  • Your name
  • Your home town
  • Name of the ride & theme park
  • Brief details about the picture (was it your first time on the ride, posing with a group of college friends, etc)

For those of you who missed my on-ride photo, here it is again!

Arghhhhhhhhh!

“Legend has it that a freak snow storm once blanketed Florida in snow and it wasn’t long before Florida’s first ski resort sprung up. Unfortunately when the usual warm weather returned the snowy slopes turned to slush. While the resort was in the process of closing down for good an alligator was seen splashing down a flume into a pool of water, shouting ‘Yahoo!’ Blizzard Beach was born and Ice Gator became the parks mascot.” 

Ice Gator

Blizzard Beach is one of two water parks within Walt Disney World Resort. Opening on 1st April 1995 it quickly became the second most visited water park in the world, beaten only by its sister park Typhoon Lagoon. Themed around a melting ski resort the park features three different ‘slopes’ as well as a functioning chair lift. Featuring one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling slides, a play area for the youngest children and everything else in between, Blizzard Beach is a fun day out for all the family.

All the attractions at Blizzard Beach surround Mount Gushmore, an artificial hill with an elevation of 90 feet (27.4m), making it the fifth highest point in Florida. Split into three coloured slopes (green, red & purple) you can reach the summit of the peak by foot or by taking a ride on the chairlift.

The Green Slope features single track water slides found at the uppermost point of Mount Gushmore.

The Purple slope features slides that have at least two nearly identical tracks, making them perfect for racing against your friends and family.

The Red slope is located at the back of the park and contains a multi-slide attraction. The track layouts however are too different to enable effective racing.

Where shall we go first?!

Summit Plummet

The Green Slope

Summit Plummet – Plunge down a 360 foot long flume and through a darkened tunnel on one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-fall body slides. With riders reaching top speeds of between 50 – 60mph, this vertical drop slide is NOT for the feint-hearted – adrenaline junkies will love it though! Be sure to check your speed on the digital readout at the bottom of the slide.

Riders must be at least 48” tall (122cm) to ride.

Teamboat Springs – This is one of the world’s longest white-water raft rides at 1200 ft long. Each raft sends up to six people down a series of twisting turns and waterfalls – it’s a great ride that all the family can enjoy together (and a with a waterproof camera you can get some memorable holiday snaps!)

There are no height restrictions for this attraction.

Slush Gusher

Slush Gusher – Only the brave should tackle this 90ft tall, 250ft long body slide where riders can reach speeds of up to 35mph. The slide levels off briefly in two places before dropping back down again making it one of very few water slides where ‘air-time’ can be achieved – an experience not to be  missed by thrill seekers!

Riders must be at least 48″ tall (122cm) to ride.

Downhill Double Dipper

The Purple Slope

Downhill Double Dipper – This is one of the world’s only side-by-side racing slides. Choose your opponent, grab an inner tube and race down the slopes at speeds of up to 25mph. Resembling an Olympic-style downhill ski race the water slide is equipped with a time clock to check your race time and starting gates at the top of the slide. Half the ride takes place in a dark tunnel with riders emerging just before splashdown. Will you be crowned champion?

Riders must be at least 48″ tall (122cm) to ride.

Snow Stormers – Three flumes, 350ft in length, sit together to form Snow Stormers. Grab a mat and race your friends down the twisting, curvy slide all while lying on your stomach! The race is on!

There are no height restrictions for this attraction.

Toboggan Racers

Toboggan Racers – Race all  your friends and family on this 8-lane water slide ride on toboggan style mats. The 250ft slide sends racers over a series of dips as they race down the snow slope.

There are no height restrictions for this attraction.

The Red Slope

Runoff Rapids – This attraction consists of 3 different inner tube water slides that sends riders on a high-speed ride down a series of twists, turns and banked curves. The central slide is completely enclosed and is for single riders only, while the two outer slides can accommodate rafts holding two people. It’s a great ride that shouldn’t be missed!

There are no height restrictions for this attraction.

Cross Country Creek

Ground level

Melt-Away Bay – A 1-acre wave pool at the base of Mount Gushmore. Melting snow waterfalls create gentle waves and a white sandy beach provides the perfect place to relax.

Cross Country Creek – Grab an inner tube and drift along gently on this 3,000ft long ‘lazy river’ that encircles the park. Pass through caves and waterfalls on this relaxing ride but watch out for the melting ‘ice’ in the ice cave – it provides guests with a chilling experience! There are 7 entry / exit points located throughout the park.

Chair Lift – Take a one-way ride up to the top of Mount Gushmore in a colourful chairlift. You and two friends can sit together as you gently ride to the top of the mountain while taking in stunning views of the park. A Gondola is available for disabled guests to reach the top of Mount Gushmore.

Riders must be at least 32″ (80cm) tall to ride the chairlift. For those who do not meet the height requirement you can take a stairway to the top.

Ski Patrol Training Camp

Ski Patrol Training Camp – This is a play area for big kids who are 48″ (122cm) or shorter. With water slides, a floating iceberg course and a zip line, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Tike’s Peak– This is a play area for preschoolers and little kids featuring gentle water slides and a fountain play area. Children must be 48″ (122cm) or shorter to play here.

Summit Plummet - the ultimate water slide

Dining & Shopping

When it’s time to take a break from the fun of the water slides Blizzard Beach has plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. Pick up a slice of pizza at Lottawatta Lodge, a delicious ice cream from Sled Dog Expeditions or nachos at the Cooling Hut. For those who need to satisfy their shopping craving The Beach Haus has plenty of souvenirs while North Pearl sells beautiful pearl jewellery.

Blizzard Beach provides a truly unique water park experience and should be on the ‘to-visit’ list of every visitor to Orlando. I love Blizzard Beach and I know you will too!

**The park is currently undergoing its annual refurbishment but gates open again at 10am on Sunday 4th December**

Blizzard Beach Map

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