Can we go wrong with either?
I'd pick Blizzard Beach.
Having been to both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon I have to say that both are amazing. Any way you can swing a visit to both?
BB is bigger, handles crowds a little better, and feels like it's not as hot outside thanks to the blizzard theming (it's a mind job, really). Typhoon Lagoon is very, very pretty.
Both places have great slides and fun things to do. Really it's whichever theme sounds cooler: A melting ski resort in Florida or a tropical paradise in the middle of a ... tropical paradise.
It really IS all about *perception*... :)
Benefits to TL over BB:
- The wave pool (real waves in cycles, as opposed to the continuous, smaller waves at BB).
- Free snorkeling (yes, you can snorkel through a faux reef at TL. The water is cold, the lines can get long, and you aren't allowed to meander about the reef, but it's a unique experience for a waterpark).
- The tropical theme is more eye-friendly than the snowstorm at BB.
That said, BB has a wider selection of body, mat and tube slides -- and the optional ski lift to the top is a welcome break.
You can't go wrong with either one. Avoid Saturdays at either park if you can and ride out any storms that may temporarily close the attractions because the park thins out in a hurry at that point and it's great once the storm passes.
That being said, it's not worth the hour+ lines it develops on the average day.
Best way to beat crowds at both parks is to be there when the gates open and start with the slides, saving the wave pool and lazy rivers for later when the park is filled up. Also if you are staying at a WDW resort, BOTH parks open one hour earlier for resort guests than the posted opening time, giving you an even greater head start (as part of the Extra Magic Hours Program)
Also, if you enjoy the nightime experience, Typhoon Lagoon does the Extra Magic Hours (EMH) for resort guests three hours after park closing on select nights, I think mainly during summer season.
I have visited both parks multiple times since moving to central Florida in Jan '06, but only visited during winter and early spring, usually on weekdays that were warm enough to be comfortable to go swimming, and found I had walk-on city all day long, and enough time to get MULTIPLES on every attraction in the park all day long, with no burned feet or other summer-related heat problems.
The Lazy River-style attraction is common to both parks and are very well-themed, with the several entry points for each themed to animals that fit the theme of each park. Both parks also have a wave pool with BB having standard waves and TL having the large surf waves. Otherwise, the roster of attractions is very different:
Major attractions/features of Blizzard Beach not found at TL:
* Summit Plummet - world's tallest and fastest speed slide
* Slush Gusher - Triple dip body slide with AWESOME airtime going down the final dip, especially if you arch your back and go down with only your heels and shoulder blades touching the slide. This is next to Summit Plummit and I actually like it better!
* The mat slides, Tobaggan Racers and Snow Stormers - You go down these on your stomach and on Tobaggan Racers you can race 7 other people and catch nice air on the final hump. Snow Stormers are like a slalom course with plenty of dips and turns. On both attractions, tilting the front end of the mat upward to reduce friction will give you more speed
* Downhill Double Dipper - Fun slide with dips that you ride in a tube and race another person on the other identical track. There are timing clocks at the bottom, complete with cowbell sound effects, such as those heard from the crowds watching events during the winter olympics. Takes about 5 or 6 seconds
* Runoff Rapids - Fun, long, flume style slides that you ride with a tube, my favorite is the center track which is completely enclosed and dark, with nice drops throughout the course!
* Teamboat Springs - long family raft ride, has "no singles" rule, only thing in the park with this rule. I think this is billed as the longest ride of its kind in the world
* Chairlift and winter theming - very unique touch, the theming of the park is EXCELLENT from the snow covered rockwork to the Alpine yodeling music. In classic Disney fashion, the theming motif continues into the adjecent Winter Summerland mini golf course.
You can walk to the top of the various slopes quicker than the chairlift will get you back up there between each slide, especially as the line starts to build for the lift. However, I like to ride the lift at least once or twice each visit, because it is such a unique feature. It's good to start with the lift before the line for it gets long because you have to go up the mountain to do your first slide anyway, and it gives a nice scenic overview of the park. It does have a single rider line because the chairs hold three people and there are many groups of two.
Major attractions/features of Typhoon Lagoon not found at BB:
* Typhoon Lagoon wavepool - Humongous waves, very unique wavepool, different from the others I've experienced
* Shark Reef - as mentioned above in other posts, this is a very unique attraction. In addition to being able to snorkel through the reef, there are also areas below water level to observe the animals, such as found in an aquarium.
* Crush n' Gusher - "Master Blaster" style water coaster with 3 different track layouts, luckilly singles riders are allowed in the two person rafts
* Storm Slides - the ONLY classic flume-style slides at either park that you can ride body-style. Reminds me of the old Hoop and Holler Hollow slides at River Country and the excellent 5 slide similar complex at Adventure Island in Tampa. The landscaping here is VERY lush and beautiful and the three slides have nice surprises and tunnels. One of my favorite attractions at either park. I'm partial to the classic flume/bobsled-style body slides like these with plenty of turns as they give a longer ride than speed slides. As always the case on this style of slides, lying down and arching your back, making contact with the slide surface with just heels and shoulder blades will give a MUCH faster ride than sitting up
* Humonga Kowabonga - body style enclosed speed slides not as steep or tall as Summit Plummit, but still very fun IMO!
* Mayday Falls, Keelhaul Falls, Gangplank Falls - These are tubing rides, 2 for single riders and the other for groups. Haven't done the group one but it is much shorter than the group ride at Blizzard Beach. The two for singles are more like fast moving "tube chutes" than slides, differentiating them from Runoff Rapids at Blizzard Beach
Hope this helps, have fun!
Frontrider *** Edited 8/2/2006 9:22:51 PM UTC by Frontrider***
The only negative I remember is the water was COLD if you were not in the main season as they used lagoon water.
While the present parks are indeed themed a little better...the rides are tame (lame?) compared to River Country. I'm guessing that there were actually some injuries on some of this stuff as it was WAY more agressive than your typical Disney offerings!
P.S. The BEST thing was the lack of lines. You could actually go to the water park and ride the water rides without spending your day in lines as everybody gravitated to the other two parks assuming they were superior. Disney seemed poised to fade River Country out the day TL opened! I'm surprised it held on as long as it did.
And I had heard that River Country closed because of all the algae that had built up in the Lagoon in that area and really made it unsafe for swimming in. That was awhile ago, so maybe it was just rumor.
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