Possibly the world's coolest water park: Disney's Blizzard Beach

Snow Stomers toboggan ride at Blizzard Beach
Snow Stomers toboggan ride at Blizzard Beach

Water parks are magnets for families all summer long, and leave it to Disney -- no doubt the world's leader in amusement park innovation -- to create one of the world's coolest water parks.

Of course Disney World has some great pools for families to splash in, like Nanea at Disney's Polynesian Resort or the pool at Disney's Boardwalk Villas Resort, but Blizzard Beach takes the splashing one step further.

Blizzard Beach was created after a freak snowstorm hit Orlando. Disney built a ski area with ski trails, slaloms, and tobogganing, but needless to say the snow melted and the ski resort was no more. An alligtor was seen "riding" a slide into a pool that had formed below, and along came the idea to transform the ski resort into a water park. Today you'll see "Ice Gator" featured in the park's logo.

Remnants of the ski resort are everywhere: The chair lift will take you to the peak of Mount Gushmore, from which you can ride the park's most exciting rides. Everywhere you look there is plastic "snow" piled high, and all snack bars and building look like they should be on a mountain ski resort.

But what to do when you arrive at Blizzard Beach?

Summit Plummet waterslide at Blizard Beach
Summit Plummet waterslide at Blizard Beach

1) Waterslides

The waterslides on Mount Gushmore are grouped into "ski slopes," with the Green Slopes being the most intense in the park. They include Summit Plummet, one of the fastest and steepest waterslides anywhere, designed to look like a ski jump. The Purple Slopes are side-by-side racing slides. There are three different Purple Slopes, the biggest of which is the Toboggan Races where up to 8 can race each other. The only Red Slope ride is Runoff Rapids, where two-person inner tubes careen down one of three different courses.

2) Cross Country Creek

Probably the coolest ride in the world's coolest water park is Cross Country Creek. It's a 3,000-foot-long lazy river. Be warned, this river goes through an ice cave, and Disney does a good job in simulating melting ice dripping down on unsuspecting riders.

3) Wave Pool

There is a huge wave pool for those who just want to chill out in the water. Watch out for those out-of-control snow boarders!

4) Ski Patrol Training Camp

Smaller guests don't get left out in the cold. They have their own cool play area located on Tikes Peak. To enter Tikes Peak, you must be shorter than 48 inches or be with someone who is. Tikes Peak area is home to the Ski Patrol Training Camp, a great area where those who can't ride the larger rides can "train" for the faster slopes on age-appropriate attractions, floating icebergs and all.

These four things are only the beginning, so head to Blizzard Beach and explore for yourself!

- Carl Trent of Dad's Guide to WDW and the Dad's Guide to WDW blog

[Photos credit: Anthonut/Flickr]

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