Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Post: Going to the Disney Water Parks with a Toddler

My family recently returned from a vacation to Disney World. We decided to try both of the Disney water parks. We have an almost 8 year old and barely 2 year old which always makes things interesting. If you plan on visiting the water parks (which you should), and you have children with an age gap, I do recommend splitting up because their interests and attractions they can participate in will be different. My 7 year old wanted to go on the big water slides all day long and obviously the 2 year old can't swim yet. To solve this issue, one parent slid while one watched our toddler and then we swapped so each got to experience some of the amazing attractions the water parks have to offer. TIP: Wear waterproof watches and come up with a meeting place to make it easy as the parks are large. Everyone ended up happy which is always a good thing!

I often get asked which water park is better...Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. My answer is they are both wonderful so you should give them both a shot but I do have a personal favorite when it comes to toddlers that I will share with you! Both parks offer areas designated for children under 48” but we found both to be very different.

Blizzard Beach has an amazing area for young children called Tyke's Peak which consists mostly of a variety of small water slides which is wonderful if you have a child who enjoys them. Even though there isn't a height requirement on many of the “big” water slides, they still may be too big for young children, especially if they are new to swimming. Clearly you don't want them to go down a slide and land in a 3 or 4 foot deep pool of gushing water. Not a good idea. These small water slides are the perfect size for young children. Some are just a few feet long for little ones while others are curvy which are great for young children. There is also a shallow wading pool with some alligators that squirt water and a waterfall that little ones enjoy splashing around in and even a spray ground and sand area. The issue my toddler had was she was scared of all slides, no matter how little they were. I remember my son going through the same thing at our local water park. It wasn't until he was around 5 that he was comfortable to go down the children's water slides and then he progressed to the “big” slides around 6 (obviously, each child is different). An issue I had with Tyke's Peak is it's in the full sun. Not good if you have a fair skinned little red head who doesn't handle the sun well so we had to take some breaks in the shade which is offered nearby.

So what did we do all day at a water park with a child who wouldn't go down a single water slide? We found plenty to do! Our little one had a great time running around and splashing in the wading pools. I brought some beach toys and she had the best time filling the water up in the sand bucket, dumping it out and then filling it back up again. TIP: If you order a children's entree at some of the water park restaurants, their food comes in a sand bucket. She also enjoyed the wave pools. Clearly, not wise to go in too deep but if you stay right where the pool starts, little ones usually have a blast with the waves that are small at the end. She particularly enjoyed Typhoon Lagoon's wave pool which features one large tidal wave. Sounds scary but if you stay in the very shallow part, the wave is pretty small. She got a kick over me holding her and “jumping” the wave. She also loved when the water was soaked back in just like at the beach with the tide. Very cool. We enjoyed going around the lazy river at both parks. I put her in a small inner tube that had a bottom and pushed her around. Throw in some time to relax and have lunch and there you have a good day at the park with a toddler.

Even though we had a great time at Blizzard Beach, my toddler and I fell in love with Ketchakiddee Creek (gotta love the catchy name) which is the children's play area at Typhoon Lagoon. It was perfect for her! There are shallow streams, small water falls, fountains, a spray ground, all kinds of areas for them to splash around in that were toddler friendly. I loved that Ketchakiddee Creek provided some shady areas which is a welcome relief on those hot sunny Florida days. I thought it was perfect for toddlers!

 I definitely recommend giving the Disney water parks a try! You won't be disappointed and no matter when you visit, the water is heated. If you are visiting Disney for several days and want a break from the parks, I would recommend adding the Water Park, Fun and More option and go to both water parks to see which one suits your family best. I guarantee the whole family will have lots of fun!

Contributed by Corby C. of Atlanta, Georgia. She is a proud wife and mom to Banks and Henley, a Disney Destination Planner with Travel with the Magic and one of our Minnie Moms.


  1. We are heading to WDW in August with our 4 and 1 year olds. We have been talking about going to one of the water parks, but were unsure which to go to. We've not been to either one. Both like water and my 4 year old is a daredevil. Sounds like you think Typhoon Lagoon is the better choice?

  2. I love both water parks as well. I do like Typhoon Lagoon a bit better, it is a bit more compact so less distance walking, for big kids it has water coasters and the showers have luke warm water, last time I was at Blizzard Beach - cold water in the showers! That sucked in October.

  3. Thanks for a GREAT post as we are leaving for WDW a week from today and are on the fence about doing a water park given Ian is also 2 (but are fearless and would likely try to do anything if allowed.) Thanks also for the thoughts about the differences between the two parks. ps Henley is a super cutie in her pink swimsuit.


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