Despite the petrifying imagery of the shrimp boat (Miss Tilly) impaled on the central mountain (Mt. Mayday), the flumes at Typhoon Lagoon are less daunting than the ones at Blizzard Beach. Typhoon Lagoon is extremely well landscaped (most of the flowers are selected so that they attract butterflies but not bees) to hide its infrastructure, but its navigation is not always well planned. For example, you tote your own rafts. Also, the paths to the slides ramble up and down stairs—the one to the Storm Slides actually goes down eight times as it winds up the mountain. It’s also not always clear where to find the slide you want. Help guide little ones.
The Surf Pool divides its time between “surf waves” (at 5 ft., they pack a surprising punch, and are announced by a whoompf that draws great peals of delight from kids) and mild “bobbing waves”—times for both are noted on the Surf Report chalk sign at the pool’s foot. The slides are generally shallow, slow, and geared toward avowed sissies. That will frustrate some teenagers, but little kids and mothers with expensive hairdos think Mayday Falls, which sends riders down a corrugated flume, is just right (adults come off rubbing their butts in pain). It’s very tough to find a vantage point to watch your kids ride, but there’s a spot near the entrance of Gangplank Falls, a family-size round raft, where you can see a little, and there’s a lovely hidden overlook trail with a suspension bridge and waterfalls that passes under the Miss Tilly. The leftmost body slide of three at Storm Slides is slightly more covered; otherwise the slides are much the same. The Crush ‘n’ Gusher “water coaster” flumes use jets to push rafts both uphill and downhill; the gag is that it used to be a fruit-washing plant, and now you’re the banana—appropriate since it’s sponsored by Chiquita. Behind it, a new family raft ride is reportedly being built—the first new slide here in nearly a decade.
For the best shot at finding an inner tube for the lushly planted lazy river, Castaway Creek, pick an entry farther from the entrance, such as in front of the Crush ‘n’ Gusher area. That’s also a good place to find a lounger if the Lagoon is packed, which it usually is; otherwise, try the extreme left past the ice cream stand. That’s near Ketchakiddee Creek, the geyser-and-bubbler play area for small children. Funny how the water’s always warmer there.
“Learn to Surf” lessons are held in the Surf Pool 2 hours before park hours and, sometimes, after it closes (407/939-7529; $150 for all ages, minimum age of 5). The lessons come with 30 minutes of preparation followed by 2 hours of in-pool instruction, always with lifeguards scrutinizing your every twitch.
LOCKERS—For $10–$15, you can rent a lock, typically about 2 feet deep with an opening about the size of a magazine. You can open and close it multiple times, using a key code you choose.
PREPARATION—Thoughtfully, parking is free. There are bulletin boards past the park entrance that tells you what the sunburn risk is and what the wait times are for the slides, as well as what times the parades run at Disney parks that day. If there are any activities (scavenger hunts are common), they’ll be posted here.
FOOD—There are only counter-service choices. Eat promptly at 11am when kitchens open because lines get crazy quickly. Don’t plan on eating dinner here, because the kiosks tend to shut down well before closing.
TIMING—If you’re coming to Florida between November and mid-March, the park may be closed for its annual hose-down. The other Disney water park will remain open. Most water features are heated, but remember that you eventually must get out.
www.disneyworld.com. 407/560-3400. One-day tickets $64–$69 adults, $58–$63 kids 3–9; can also be added to theme park tickets using Water Park and Sports options. Free parking. Hours vary, from 10am–5pm up to 9am–8pm in peak season.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.