If you’re visiting Walt Disney World with young kids, chances are you are going to want to check out their amazing water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon; what better way to spend a hot summer day than splashing around in a water park?! But which Disney water park will be better for you to bring the little ones? As a parent who has visited both parks multiple times with kids ranging from a few months old to preschoolers, I can tell you that both parks have their perks and their downfalls. Read on to find out more about visiting the Disney water parks with young kids, and which one I ultimately choose to visit most with my own family.
Blizzard Beach is located close to the Animal Kingdom end of Walt Disney World, and was opened in 1995. The park’s tallest slide, Summit Plummit, can be seen from outside the park, and looks a like a ski jump! The story behind the park is that a freak snow storm came through Central Florida one winter, and when normal warm temperatures returned, all of the snow melted and formed this fabulous water park.
The park has several areas dedicated to kids of different ages, and Tike’s Peak is the section devoted to little ones under 48 inches. There are a number of small slides suitable for toddlers, as well as more daring slides for braver preschoolers. There is a small shallow pool with a waterfall, as well as a splash pad for babies, and plenty of sandy areas for them to get all messy! The area has plenty of chairs and loungers, although not a great deal of shade; if you know you will need space in the shade, I would recommend arriving early. The smaller slides are very gentle, and land on a splash pad, rather than in a pool. The longer slides, however, do land in the water, and if your little one can’t swim, an adult will need to be waiting at the bottom for them. There are life jackets available for free rental, but they are limited and you may want to consider bringing your own.
One of my favorite things about Tike’s Peak is that it is right at the front of the park, close to a large bathroom and changing area, as well as the lockers, gift shop, and main quick service location, Lottawatta Lodge. The gift shop sells everything you might need for a day at a water park, including swim diapers, sunscreen, and sun hats, as well as regular Disney souvenirs. Lottawatta Lodge has the largest array of food options, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads, but other food options are available around the parks, including ice cream. Tike’s Peak’s convenient location is absolutely ideal for visiting with young kids; it only takes a few minutes to get to the bathrooms, or grab something to eat or drink. It is also close to the entrance and exit, meaning when everyone is tired and ready to leave, you don’t have to walk very far to get back to the buses or a car.
If your little one is a bit more daring, there are other areas of the park to explore. Blizzard Beach has a wave pool that is much more gentle than the one at Typhoon Lagoon, and I felt quite comfortable taking my son in once he was a little bit older. There is also a lazy river, Cross Country Creek, which has a gentle current and smaller inner tubes for kids. Teamboat Springs is a family raft ride if your little one is a bit very brave, and you can sit next to them on the raft to make them feel a bit more secure. There are a couple more slides with no height requirements, but I would recommend taking at look at where they come out before letting little ones ride; some come into quite deep water.
Opened in 1989, Typhoon Lagoon is located just opposite from Disney Springs. As the story goes, Typhoon Lagoon was home to a sleepy beach town until a great storm came through one day. Once the storm had passed, debris was everywhere, and the center of it all, a boat named Miss Tilly was perched atop the town’s volcano. The boat remains there until this day, with a huge wave pool at the bottom of the volcano. The wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon is quite incredible, with waves as high as six feet. These waves can be incredibly powerful, even in the shallower waters, and I would be very cautious of letting little ones in there, even if they’re being held by an adult.
The area for young kids at Typhoon Lagoon is called Ketchakiddee Creek and, unlike Blizzard Beach, it is located at the back of the park. The area is larger than Tike’s Peak; not only are there more slides, but there is a larger splash pad, a water play structure for kids to climb on, and a sandy beach area. The splash pad here features the smaller slides, and this makes it a great safe space for toddlers to run around. The water play structure has some deeper water around it, and I’ve seen little ones trip a few times climbing here, so I would be cautious with little ones who aren’t quite steady on their feet yet. There is plenty of seating, but just as at Tike’s Peak, very little of it is in the shade, so arrive early to grab those shady spots.
As Ketchakiddee Creek is at the back of the park, it is further away from the conveniences at the front of the park. The lockers, changing area, gift shop, and quick service locations are very similar to Blizzard Beach, with additional food options dotted around the park. There are bathrooms close by, and a handful of smaller quick service locations, but it is a bit of a walk to get to the main food area, and this can be a pain when pushing a stroller.
Since the wave pool isn’t ideal for little ones, the other main area to explore with young kids is Castaway Creek, the lazy river, and there is a family raft ride here too. As with Blizzard Beach, take a look at the rides without height requirements to make sure you’re comfortable with little ones going on them.
So which one is right for you?
As Central Florida locals, we visit the water parks often, especially in the summer months. Having visited both parks twice, I can honestly say that both parks have their positive aspects when taking young kids. Blizzard Beach is much more convenient, with Tike’s Peak so close to the front of the park and near to all of the amenities. Typhoon Lagoon, in my opinion, has a nicer area for toddlers and preschoolers, with more for them to do and a larger safe space for them to run around and play.
If I had to pick between the two, however, I would say that Blizzard Beach wins out for me. The convenience of being right at the front of the park is unbeatable, and there is plenty for the little ones to do both in Tike’s Peak, and in the rest of the park.
The water parks in general are somewhere that I would really encourage you to check out, even if you’re staying at a resort with a nice pool. My little ones have loved it as babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and having their own area to play away from the crowds is a real luxury. It’s also one of the few bearable places to be in Florida in July! So next time you visit Walt Disney World, grab a bathing suit and a towel, and take your little ones over to see what they’re all about!
Have you visited the Disney water parks with young kids? Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!