IMG_0425On April 1. 1995 the slopes of Blizzard Beach opened to help take some of the pressure off of River Country (now closed) and Typhoon Lagoon, Walt Disney World's other two water parks at that time. According to Disney legend, a freak snowstorm in the area led to the development of Florida's first ski resort. Naturally, the snow did not last long. This left behind a collection of waterlogged but snow-less ski jumps and chair lifts. The operators were preparing to cut their losses and walk away. However, they were interrupted by an echoing "YAHHOOO!!!" coming from the mountain of melting snow. They looked up to see a blue alligator, wearing a red scarf and gold innertube careening down the mountain at top speed. Ice Gator, the mascot, then landed in a pool of melted snow at the base of the mountain with a thunderous splash. The ski resort operators suddenly saw the park's potential, and the mountain of snow became Blizzard Beach, "the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!"IMG_0406 IMG_0408This highly-themed water park features slide and play areas is for kids of all ages and heights, from the Summit Plummet "ski jump" slide down to the Tike's Peak play area for the littlest of guests.IMG_0310From the moment you walk in the gates, the "ski resort" theme is all around you from the details of The Beach Haus main shop to the Lottawatta Lodge counter service food location and many details all around the park.IMG_0413

IMG_0419 IMG_0418 IMG_0314IMG_0316IMG_0322 IMG_0323 IMG_0318 IMG_0405But, theming aside, the slides and water play areas are of course the main reason for guests to visit. There are four areas for guests to enjoy, starting on the ground level with the little visitors there is Tike's Peak.IMG_0349 This area is designed for the children under 48 inches to enjoy and cool off with fun water jets and shallow water play areas.IMG_0351For the "not quite ready for the big slides" kids, there is the Ski Patrol Training Camp.IMG_0352 This area has a few different attractions including a zip line and less intense water slides to help build up the courage of those not sure how high up Mt. Gushmore they want to climb.IMG_0354 IMG_0356IMG_0341No water park would be complete without two signature attractions: a wave pool and lazy river. At Blizzard Beach, Melt-Away Bay (wave pool) catches all the run off from the mountain and provides a nice small wave effect.IMG_0398Of course, if Melt-Away Bay may be a bit too stressful for you, there is always Cross Country Creek. This 3,000 foot slow moving river circles most of the mountain, giving you a great view of the slides and some fun interactions along the way with different water effects.IMG_0404 IMG_0325

Head to the next page to start your climb up Mt. Gushmore.