Holy Dole Whip, Mickey! My Trip to the Most Magical Place on EarthPart One: Blizzard Beach

I visited Walt Disney World a few weeks ago, and it was just as magical as it always is.  This was my 14th trip to the Disney parks in Orlando, and the people I went with relied on my expertise to make our way around the parks in an efficient manner (read: they used me to optimize the number of rides and attractions we rode/saw in each park).  Since they considered me a Disney expert, I figured I’d share my knowledge of Mickey’s realm to give others some insight before their trip to the most magical place on Earth.

Looking for some frosty fun under the hot Florida sun?  Visit Blizzard Beach, the only ski resort ever built in Florida!

Blizzard Beach is one of Disney’s two water parks and the perfect place to cool off when temperatures start getting unbearable.  As its name suggests, BB is designed to look like a melting ski resort—the resort was built during a freak Florida snowstorm but has now become a water park as all the ice and snow has begun to melt.  Snowmen figures abound, and the buildings and food stands resemble structures from a true ski resort.  Getting around the park can be a little confusing, and things are looking a bit dated in spots, but the overall theme is cool enough (pun intended) to make things fun.  The rides themselves offer something fun for people seeking any and all thrill levels, from the gentle waves and sunbathing areas of Melt-Away Bay to the 120 feet tall, 60 mph Summit Plummet.

Favorite Ride: Toboggan Racers
Grab up to seven of your friends and get ready for a snowy toboggan race to the finish!

Friendly competition always makes things more exciting, and Racers is no exception.  You have to climb a lot of stairs to get there, and there’s a usually a line (the ride requires a mat, and the mats here are shared with a neighboring ride), but this quick slide is worth it for your chance to be the first to cross the finish line.  I’ve yet to figure out the key to winning: pushing off harder or faster, weighing more or less, leaning forward on your mat.  Maybe winning is just sheer luck.  No matter what the trick is, I’ve always managed to place in the top three, although your experience may vary.  While Racers isn’t a long ride and it may be less exciting than the bigger slides, it’s still a lot of fun.  And who wouldn’t want the chance to claim the title of the day’s fastest racer? 

Underrated Ride: Cross Country Creek
Snag a tube and let yourself relax as you float around the park in this lazy creek!

Yes, it’s just a lazy river, but everyone should take a float in CCC.  There’s never a line, you don’t have to climb a dozen flights of stairs, and the water’s always nice and cold.  There’s plenty of shade and a few chances to get extra wet—if you don’t mind being doused with ice-cold water.  And best of all, there’s no effort required on your part, so just lay back and let your worries drift away.  (This past visit, I saw a man with his feet propped up on a second tube and his hat over his eyes, sound asleep!)  So if you’re tired of lines or just want a chance to kick your feet up without having to fight for a chair at the wave pool, CCC’s the ride for you.

Other Recommended Rides:
Teamboat Springs: A white-water raft ride full of twists and drops that’s good for the whole family
Runoff Rapids: Choose from open or enclosed (read: practically pitch black) tube slides and speed your way to the splash at the bottom
Summit Plummet: The third tallest and fastest free fall slide in the world (Guaranteed to give you a water enema, according to my mother.)

Blizzard Beach is easily my favorite water park.  There are lots of fun slides and slopes, and Disney is king at making themes work, even one as goofy as a ski resort in Florida.  If you’re looking for some watery fun or want to slip away from the Big 4 parks, check out Blizzard Beach.  Just make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen!


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