Slides. Check. Wave pool. Check. Snorkeling with sharks and rays. Check. Disney characters. Check.
Where might one find all of the above? At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon!
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is one of two water parks located at the Walt Disney World Resort. The sprawling water park offers something for ever member of the family from thrill rides to small tube and body slides.
Water park admission is $45 per day for adults. The water parks and more fun option added to Magic Your Way tickets will also grant admission. Disney transportation via bus is offered from Disney resorts to Typhoon Lagoon. Hours vary depending on the season.
The day we were at Typhoon Lagoon, the park opened at 9:00 am. This was our third visit to Typhoon Lagoon, but it had been a few years since our last visit. The park had already opened when we arrived about 9:30, as we had had breakfast at O’hana’s and took the bus from the Polynesian to Typhoon Lagoon.
With towels in hand, borrowed from the towel case near the main pool at our Disney resort, we found a great spot near Crush’n’Gusher. There is a small zero depth entry swimming area along with plenty of chairs. The area has restrooms nearby as well as great access to the rest of the park.
Our first stop was Crush’n’Gusher as it was early in the day and the lines were minimal. Crush’n’Gusher is a water coaster of sorts with guests being propelled by water on rafts up and down hills. There are three slides to choose from with varying rider capacities on each ride. We carried a 3 person raft up the stairs and rode the slide designated for three people. Guests need to make a decision at the bottom of the stairs, getting the right tube, and then proceeding to the appropriate staircase for their slide. Note: Some of the tubes have bottoms on the holes and some are more like donuts. If you can, get a tube with a hole that has a bottom, as the slide can be tough on your exposed bottom. They told me to lift my bottom, but that is easier said than done!
Next, we hit Mount Mayday and all of the tube and raft slides. There are signs at the bottom of the mountain that tell you which line is for which slide.
Gangplank Falls, a family raft ride was first. We climbed the trail for a bit and then were given our raft where other guests are exiting the water. We then carried the raft the rest of the way. Not laborious, just awkward. Rolling is best. This was our favorite of all of the raft/tube rides at Typhoon Lagoon.
Mayday Falls was next. Again, we proceeded in the line and got our tubes at the ingenious exit area for the guests just finishing the slide. The tube just floats right to your feet. Mayday Falls is described as “the park’s highest and longest sing-rider tube slide” and the views from the top were great. The bumps within the ride, not so great. The bumps are designed to make rapids, but since the water level seemed lower, there weren’t really rapids, just a jousting and bumpy ride. Mayday Falls was our least favorite water slide.
We couldn’t leave the mountain without riding Keelhaul Falls which is also a single rider tube slide. This ride is faster than the others and both the husband and I spun around several times. Other than the raft ride we could ride together, this was our favorite.
Who wants to walk in a water park? Not us! After our time on the slides, we caught a tube in Castaway Creek to take us to Shark Reef and the other side of the mountain. The entrance/exit points at Castaway Creek are numbered and given an ocean life name, such as Seahorse. If you aren’t sure where you are going, ask a Cast Member lifeguard as you are floating by as they are very helpful.
To the left of the exit for Shark Reef are the Storm Slides. The boy and husband headed up the trail and soon they were storming down the slides. I wanted to go too! But Shark Reef was calling our name.
Shark Reef is a salt water area within the park that offers free snorkeling gear to guests. Scuba experiences are an extra fee. We grabbed the snorkeling gear and headed to the entrance of the reef. Wait. No vests? Last time, vests were included and possibly required. I headed back to the equipment shack, followed by my family, and asked for a life vest. The rest of the family got life vests too. Why? Well, I wanted to float through the reef and enjoy the experience rather than concentrate on staying afloat. We are all good swimmers and I would have been okay with all of us not wearing life vests, but since I wanted one, the rest of the family did too.
So in the midst of this tropical water park, we snorkeled with sharks and rays. The water is cooler here than in the rest of the park, so be prepared for the slight chill. On hot days the cold water is refreshing. A shower is available at the exit of the reef to rinse off the salt water. The guys reported a slight burning sensation on their faces and we were told that the chemical used to clean the snorkel gear (masks) has an interaction with sunscreen.
|Don't fall off the surf board!|
By this time, it was 11:30 am and we had experienced almost everything we wanted to, except the wave pool, including meeting a few Disney characters! It was time for lunch.
Typhoon Tilly’s was near Shark’s Reef, but we headed back to our “home spot” to get our Key to The World cards since we were using dining plan credits for lunch. Wow—just thought about how convenient this process will be the MagicBands!
Know that Typhoon Tilly’s has two levels. The lower level has sandwiches and salads and the upper level has more substantial selections such as friend shrimp, which is what I ordered. We found a picnic bench in the area quite easily, ordered extra glasses of water which were free and enjoyed our lunch.
The wave pool was calling our names! There are a variety of whistles that are emitted from Tilly at the top of Mt. Mayday, and those whistles signal different waves. When we got to the wave pool it was time for the giant 10 foot waves that come every few seconds. I tried to get pictures using our waterproof camera, but they didn’t turn out so well, as I was swimming for my life; trying to regain my footing after being swept away in the huge waves.
Part of the beach area had been roped off for “Beach Parties” in front of the beach shack that had been erected as part of Disney’s Monstrous Summer event and to promote Disney’s Teen Beach Movie that was premiering a few days later.
Times for the “Beach Party” were listed and the boy wanted to participate in one of the parties. Music and games were included along with Cast Members dressed as the main characters from the movie.
By about 3:30 pm, we were ready to call it a day. We exited the park, after buying a dozen mini donuts, which are only sold at the water parks, and caught the Disney bus returning to our resort.
|There are even Magic photos available from Phtopass photographers!|
Photopass photographers were everywhere in the park. We found them at the character greeting area, near the wave pool, at Crush’n’Gusher (though we didn’t ride when we were there), in Castaway Creek, near Shark Reef, and at various locations along the path around the wave pool. We love the little card they give you with the rubber band to go around your wrist. I just combined those cards to our on-line Photopass account.
The last time we visited Typhoon Lagoon, Ketchakiddee Creek was our home base area, but this time we didn’t even go there as the boy is now more than 48 inches tall. Ketchakiddie Creek is a great area for the little ones.
There are also reserved areas throughout the park—Beachcomber shacks and umbrella areas that offer services for an additional fee. We found those areas to more remote than the area we found that had an umbrella and was no additional charge. My thoughts: I don’t want to pay extra for something that is available for free AND have to walk or traverse farther to get to the rest of the amenities in the park. I guess it is beneficial for some guests, hence the offering.
Oh, and those towels we brought with. Well, we placed them in the towel return bins located throughout the water park, so no toting them back to our resort.
Having visited both of Disney’s water parks during this visit—click here to read about our visit to Blizzard Beach—it was interesting to be able to compare the parks. Typhoon Lagoon is our favorite—for its size, theming, ease of getting from one location to another, and variety of experiences it offers guests.