Does the Florida summer heat and humidity get to be too much of a good thing? Are there times when you find yourself dragging from one shady spot to the next, avoiding lines and attractions that aren’t air-conditioned? If you’re at Walt Disney World and dreaming of a cool tropical paradise, look no further than Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is home to 11 thrilling water attractions for all ages and interests. The main attraction is debatable, because there are a few that make Typhoon Lagoon unique. My stand-out top three picks for best splashes are Crush ‘n’ Gusher, Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, and Shark Reef.
Crush ‘n’ Gusher
What happens when you cross a roller coaster with a water slide? Crush ‘n’ Gusher, that’s what. There are three different chutes where multi-passenger rafts follow 400-foot long tubes. Gravity-defying ups and downs, sudden dips, hairpin turns, and dark tunnel sections await the adventurous thrillseeker. If roller coasters are your thing, you’ll probably want to try each of the tracks to pick your favorite.
Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool
The largest wave pool in North America takes center stage at Typhoon Lagoon, making this their signature attraction. Edged by sandy shores and zero entry water, it’s a fully immersive oceanic experience, no pun intended! At the deep end, thundering six foot waves suitable for bodysurfing (and strong swimmers) roll out into shallower shores where crowds frolic and jump like popcorn over the sets. TIP: Lifeguards keep a watchful eye at several stations deep and shallow, but unless you are used to bobbing in the ocean, stick to where your feet can touch bottom. The closer to shore, the gentler the wave.
And here’s what you don’t expect at a typical water park…sharks! And stingrays! And you’re allowed to safely get in the same water with them? Absolutely. This attraction is so completely cool and unique, that I dedicated a separate video solely to Shark Reef (below). It was my favorite thing to do at Typhoon Lagoon, and that says a lot considering I’ve snorkeled in some amazing places like the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti. But at Shark Reef, the 10-foot deep salt-water pool is shallow enough that visibility is clear all the way down to where the (baby) sharks circle and rays rest. When the sun in shining, tropical fish sparkle like ornamental leaves on the branches of a man-made coral reef. Trust me, it’s awesome in any light, but try to hit it when the sun is between clouds.
You’ll be provided with a complimentary snorkel, mask, and life jacket, and you don’t need to work hard – simply glide across from one end to the other, where 3-foot ledges and steps make entry and exit easy. While it’s stated on Disney’s website that you can “swim for approximately 15 minutes,” truth is, it’s more like 5 minutes. Once you’re in, you can only go in one direction, and the distance isn’t all that far (60 feet). TIP: Glide along the right side. Most everyone stays to the left, close to the sunken ship, where you’ll be dealing with lots of feet and bubbles in your way. Staying along the right wall is a longer distance meaning you can take a bit more time, and see more sharks and rays hiding out from the splashy humans.
Costs and Hours
A 1-Day Water Park Ticket costs only $55 for ages 10+ ($49 for ages 3-10) before May 28 and after August 28, and $60/$54 respectively during peak summer months. The best deal is to add the “Waterpark and More” option to a 4-day Park Hopper Ticket. Both Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s other Water Park, Blizzard Beach, are usually open during the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but be sure to check before going as either one of the parks may close on certain days. TIP: Bring towels with you, or rent them for $2 at the park, or buy new ones at Singapore Sal’s. Locker rental is available for $10.
Supersize Your Splash Experience
If you want more time with the fish and sharks at the Shark Reef attraction, visit Hammer Head Fred’s Dive Shop where, for an additional charge, you can snorkel in a special area using a SAS (Supplied-Air Snorkeling) system with full instruction.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to surf, you can book lessons at Typhoon Lagoon. Surf lessons are offered prior to park opening hours on select days for $165, but you will need to reserve and book in advance as space is limited. Soft-sided boards are provided. Private 3-hour surf events (approx. 100 waves) may also be booked for after park hours (and certain mornings). The cost starts at $1,100, and you must bring your own boards and towels. Further information and reservations available by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.
Best Stay for Water Play
One of the nearest official Walt Disney World hotels to Typhoon Lagoon is the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, a perfect choice for fun-loving water-loving families. At the center of the resort is the Oasis Aquatic Playground, featuring interactive games and water attractions for kids to enjoy, plus a large pool with gradual entry, and a separate lap pool. The surf-themed poolside Oasis Bar & Grill serves up creative cocktails and casual dining fare. There is a dedicated Director of Fun to keep the kids entertained and engaged, and a character breakfast is offered at the Lakeview Restaurant. Plus, there is a continuous shuttle serving every Disney theme park.