Blizzard Beach Introduction
Whether it's bobsledding down the "snowy" slopes of Mt. Gushmore or plunging straight down Summit Plummet at up to 55 mph, Walt Disney World guests get all the spine-chilling thrills of a northern ski resort!
But the 66-acre Blizzard Beach water adventure park is strictly tropical and the ice is limited to the soft drinks. It's all part of a "zany" combination -- a water park with the atmosphere and excitement of a major ski resort in the midst of a tropical lagoon.
The most eye-catching attractions at Blizzard Beach can be found on the slopes of Mt. Gushmore. As guests enter the park, they are greeted by the busy view of "skiers" sliding down the face of the 90-foot snow-capped mountain. It is home to Downhill Double Dipper, the only side-by-side racing water slides that stand 50 feet high and 200 feet long. Guests will travel up to 25 mph, twisting and turning before shooting out through a curtain of water. Mt. Gushmore also features slalom courses, toboggan and water sled runs and the awesome, 120-foot-high Summit Plummet -- the nation's tallest, fastest free-fall speed slide, visible from almost anywhere in the park.
From Summit Plummet's "ski jump" tower, it's a breathtaking high-speed 55 mph plunge straight down to a splash landing at the base of the mountain.
Next to Summit Plummet is the tall but less steep Slush Gusher, a speed slide that drops guests through a snow-banked mountain gully.
As legend has it, Blizzard Beach was created by a freak winter storm which dropped snow over the western side of Walt Disney World property and Florida's first snow-ski resort was planned immediately. It is located just north of Disney's All-Star Resorts.
However, the plan was short-lived. Temperatures soared and the ice and snow rapidly began to melt. Dismayed ski-resort operators, ready to close, spotted a playful alligator sliding down the "liquid ice" slopes and realized the melting snow created the tallest, fastest and most exhilarating water-filled ski and toboggan runs in the world. As a result, the ski resort/water adventure park was born.
It was a natural. Former ski slalom courses and bobsled and sledding runs became downhill water slides. The chair lift could still carry swimmers to the top of the slides. The ski jump became the nation's tallest and fastest water slide. The melting snow revealed welcoming beaches, a pre-teen play area and many other activities.
The sandy beach below Mt. Gushmore offers a large wave pool, a lazy river, two snack bars, a polar pub lodge and a pre-teen and children's play area.
The Village at the Blizzard Beach entrance houses guest services such as a tube pick-up area, towel rentals, lockers, first aid, merchandise and a restaurant.
Within the Village is the Beach Haus, a specialty shop offering souvenirs, towels, bathing suits, sunglasses and other essentials for a day on the slopes, err, in the water. Ski equipment and cold weather furnishings such as pot-belly stoves are used to display merchandise.
Nearby, Lottawatta Lodge, a North American ski lodge with Caribbean accents, stands ready to serve guests with an appetite. The counter-service restaurant even affords diners with a scenic view of Mt. Gushmore.