Orlando’s many water parks are back up and running just in time for Spring Break! Florida’s notoriously warm weather is rapidly returning and spending the day at a water park is arguably the best way to beat the heat. Every park has something totally unique to offer its guests, and while it may be impossible to decide which one is the BEST, it’s easy to appreciate the different things that make each one special.
Disney‘s Blizzard Beach is a great place to go with a group of friends. Whether you’re braving the wild rides together or engaging in friendly competition by racing down twin slides, this park has it all.
The Toboggan Racers is an 8-lane mat race down the side of Mount Gushmore. Riders of all sizes can grab a mat and wait for the signal to start the dash head-first down the 250 foot slope. Whoever makes down the three drops to the bottom first is the winner! Similar to the Toboggan Racers is Snow Stormers, a toboggan-style mat ride. Snow Stormers has three winding waterslides that are 350 feet long with slalom gates and flag markers just like a real downhill skiing event. Take the competition a step further on the Downhill Double Dipper, where you’ll wait for a retractable gate to lift up signaling the start of the race. Then, you’ll drop into a dark enclosed slide and soar downhill for 50 feet before emerging back into daylight just in time for the final drop. A digital clock displays rider time at the end of the slide, and the guest with the fastest slide time gets ultimate bragging rights!
On Teamboat Springs, a group of 4 to 6 riders pile into an inner tube raft for an unpredictable white water rapids style ride down 1200 feet of wild twists and turns. Then, you and your friends can split into groups of two to take on Runoff Rapids, a set of three totally different innertube slides. On the two outer slides, riders splash over, under, and around the fully enclosed center slide. The middle slide is completely dark with the exception of a few pinholes allowing a tiny bit of light to pour in.
Looking for the park that is guaranteed to entertain your entire family? Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has a variety of attractions that cater to guests of all ages. Start with a relaxing ride along Castaway Creek, a 2,000 foot long lazy river that flows all around Typhoon Lagoon offering shade from the rainforest and a refreshing cool mist coming off of the waterfalls. Kids of all sizes can also body surf in the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, but parents should make sure to stay close by if your little ones aren’t the strongest swimmer, the gentle water can become major waves pretty quickly.
The whole family can ride together on Miss Adventure Falls, an all-new family raft ride. Groups of four load up into an inflatable raft on a conveyor belt that gets the ride moving by shooting the rafts off into a winding adventure through the rapids, splashing past fancy treasures from all around the world. Keep your eye out for a talking parrot who is also on the quest to find ancient artifacts. Starting from the top of Mount May Day, you and your family can also ride down Gangplank Falls. The four person raft attraction takes riders of all ages down a 300 foot long slide of medium intensity.
Also at the top of Mount May Day are two individual inner tube slides; Keelhaul Falls and Mayday Falls. While both are open to guests of all ages, KeelHaul Falls is the mildest of the slides located on the mountain. Newbie solo riders may want to start with this one and work their way up to Mayday Falls which is the most intense of the three, sending riders flying through caves and under bridges on the longest and tallest slide at the park.
The Storm Slides are three body slides for everyone from kids to adults. The Jib Jammer, Stern Burner, and Rudder Buster are all casual rides through grottos and greenery, splashing down three stories into the pool below.
Little ones who aren’t quite ready to brave the slides yet can spend their time at Ketchakiddee Creek, a water playground just for kids who are under 4 feet tall. In addition to crawl chutes, animal fountains, and a cave with waterfalls, there are two mini body slides and a mini inner tube rapids ride.
SeaWorld’s Aquatica is the perfect place to kick back and relax for the day. Between the sprawling beaches and the side-by-side wave pools, you can enjoy all the best parts of the beach without the sharks and salt water.
The waves turn on and off intermittently throughout the day, and the Big Surf Shores pool is a slightly more mild experience. At Loggerhead Lane you can hop into an inflatable raft, by yourself or with a friend, and float the day away on a peaceful river that flows through shady caves and colorful aquariums filled with exotic fish.
Out of the water, you can find a spot on the beach in a lounge chair and either bask in the sun or relax in the shade of an umbrella. If you’re looking for more privacy, you can upgrade to one of Aquatica’s seven cabana locations ranging from $49 to $299.
Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park is the newest addition to Orlando’s lineup of water parks. This park is where you want to be if you’re seeking maximum thrills all day long. Of the parks 19 different water slides and attractions, most of them are not for the faint of heart.
The Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine body slides are the signature attraction, dropping riders through twin trap doors from the top of the park’s centerpiece Volcano down inertwining tubes before dropping into the pool below. The Ko’okiri Body Plunge is a 70 degree fall, also through a trap door, that leads down 125 feet of water slide that drops into a pool. On the Ohno drop slide, you’ll cross a rope bridge before plunging down a serpentine slide that shots you into a free fall six feet above the pool you’ll eventually land in. The Ohyah drop slide is a slightly less drastic version, with the free fall only 4 feet above the pool. All of these slides have a 48″ minimum height requirement, except for the Ohyah drop slide which has a 42″ minimum.
The term “family raft ride” doesn’t quite do the multi-person rides at Volcano Bay justice. Each raft ride is just as thrilling and surprising as the body slides at this park. The Krakatau Aqua Coaster (shown in the photo above) is a unique four person water roller coaster that runs shocking twists and turns through the dark of the volcano before descending down a waterfall. Minimum height requirement for the Aqua Coaster is 42″. Another multi-person raft attraction, Honu Ika Moana, features two separate slides of varying intensity, much like the Ohyah & Ohno drop slides. The Honu is a rip roaring ride for riders who are at least 48″ tall, while the Ika Moana is suitable for riders who are at least 42″ tall. While the Maku Puihi round raft rides also have two different slides, both offer maximum thrills and require riders to be 48″ tall. The Maku, which seats up to six people, is a suspensful ride into a deep, dark volcanic gorge that ends with the raft getting sucked into a vortex and blasting into a twisting flume before dropping into a pool below. On the Puihi, riders board a round raft and take off through a pitch black cavern reaching a zero gravity hang time before shooting into a giant funnel and splashing to the bottom.
Even the standard water park “lazy river” is a thrill ride. Teawa the Fearless River is a wild whitewater journey through the heart of the volcano and into Rainforest Village. Guests who are at least 42″ tall can hop on an inner tube and brave the roaring rapids.
Outside of the wild rides, there is another element that makes Volcano Bay unique in comparison to the other local water parks. The park’s Tapu Tapu wearable technology allows guests to avoid long lines by reserving a ride time then heading off to explore the rest of the park until the wristband alerts that the scheduled ride time has arrived.
LEGOLAND Florida Water Park
LEGOLAND Florida Water Park is smaller than the others on this list, making it the perfect destination to cool off in the afternoons after a long day out and about at LEGOLAND Florida or other local attractions. There is an activity for everyone in the family to enjoy, from building a mini LEGO boat to race against others in Creative Cove to relaxing in the mild LEGO Wave Pool.
Guests of all ages can build their own unique LEGO raft to ride along the 1,000 foot lazy river decorated with LEGO models and palm trees. The DUPLO Splash Safari is perfect for children that are 6 years old or younger, with mini slides and jumbo DUPLO creatures to play on with parental supervision. Bigger kids can splash around the Joker Soaker, an interactive water playground filled with slides, climbing structures, water spouts, and a giant bucket that can spill out 300 gallons of water to unsuspecting kiddos at any moment!
There are also two different water slides to enjoy. The Twin chasers is a two-person raft ride down a 375 foot long enclosed water slide that ends with a splash into a refreshing pool. The Splash Out is for thrill seekers. The three unique slides each speed down a 60-foot drop. You must be at leas 48″ tall to ride this one.
No matter which park you think is right for you, make sure to grab your discount tickets to all five water parks from tickets2you.com!