Walt Disney World has announced that Blizzard Beach will reopen next month, just in time for winter! On top of that, the water park will add new Frozen (uppercase f…and probably lowercase one, too!) fun with new features from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film.
While Disney hasn’t officially announced this, it’s also likely that Typhoon Lagoon will close for its annual refurbishment on the same day that Blizzard Beach reopens. Walt Disney World typically alternates opening water parks during the colder months due to a combination of lower demand and a need to conduct maintenance on the water parks.
In the last year-plus, there has been the added wrinkle of staffing shortages. Both water parks have not operated simultaneously since pre-closure, and that’s due to a lack of lifeguards and other Cast Members needed to operate both. Here’s hoping that changes by Spring 2023, but we haven’t the slightest idea of whether it will.
For now, Typhoon Lagoon’s last operational day of this year will be November 12, 2022. Blizzard Beach will reopen on November 13, 2022. When it does, as noted above, the winter wonderland water park will feature new Frozen-inspired details.
The new Frozen features will be part of the kid-sized thrills of Tike’s Peak that’s popular among young guests who will play among the statuettes of Olaf and his Snowgie pals in the warm wading pool. (Above is the new look, below is the old look of the wading pool.)
Tike’s Peak will also feature Anna and Elsa’s igloo castle.
It’s unclear how this will look–it’s possible Imagineering isn’t done with it yet as no photos were provided. Tike’s Peak previously had an igloo, so our expectation is that it’ll be a modified version of that.
Blizzard Beach water park, which features heated water throughout the park, will also have an enhanced holiday atmosphere.
For Christmas 2022, there will be limited-time holiday offerings from reopening day (November 13) through December 31 that include holiday-themed treats, snowfall, and festive inner tubes. Guests can even meet a tropical-dressed Santa for the ultimate Florida holiday experience.
Popular attractions and features once again await guests, everything from slushy and slippery ski jumps to bobsled and toboggan runs to polar play spaces for every member of the family. Among the favorites are:
Summit Plummet is one of the tallest, fastest freefall body slides around. The heart-pumping attraction plunges guests down Mount Gushmore in a near vertical drop and rockets them into a darkened tunnel. It’s an attraction made especially for thrill-seekers!
Teamboat Springs is one of the world’s longest group whitewater raft adventures, where up to six riders can take an epic and unpredictable whitewater journey down a mountain.
Toboggan Racers is a unique attraction where guests use a mat to compete in a thrilling race downhill on an eight-lane slalom-style waterslide.
Cross Country Creek is a scenic lazy river that takes guests on arctic adventure gliding through mysterious caves, illuminated grottoes and bask in Mount Gushmore’s refreshing spring water throughout polar paradise.
Runoff Rapids offers a choice of three distinctly different inner-tube waterslides, where guests twist and turn down an adrenaline-filled trip down Mount Gushmore.
The food and beverage options at Blizzard Beach will also be a draw for guests once again.
The water park offers several spots where guests can chill out and try mouth-watering culinary creations, such as new Frozen-themed menu items. Returning popular sweet and savory snacks like the EARridescent Ice Dream Cone, 50th Ice Dream Sand Pail Sundae and Walt’s Chili Nachos can also be found at various dining locations throughout the water park.
Adults can complement their flavorful bites with chilling new beverage offerings like Orange Slope DOLE Whip Swirl at Warming Hut. There’s also a Red Slope Bloody Mary at Frostbite Freddy’s and a Melt-A-Way Margarita at Polar Pub.
With the basics out of the way, let’s turn to commentary…
We really love the backstory at both Walt Disney World water parks, and think they are exemplars of (unspoilt) Imagineering. As we’ve written repeatedly–and will reiterate once more here–fans of themed design owe it to themselves to visit both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. That’s true even if you never put on a swimsuit and get in the water.
As the legend goes, Disney’s Blizzard Beach was once Florida’s first ski-resort after a blizzarding winter storm hit Walt Disney World Resort. Before the skiers could strap on their boots, sunny Florida weather returned and powdery snow quickly turned to slippery slush. Bobsled and toboggan runs became downhill waterslides; a creek of melted mountain snow became a relaxing tube ride; and the chairlift now carries swimmers instead of skiers. Full of plenty of chalet architecture and icy attractions, the water park’s snowy atmosphere amid the warm temperatures of Florida continues to bring guests back to the winter wonderland year after year.
I’m also a huge fan of both Ice Gator, the mascot of Blizzard Beach, and Lagoona Gator, the mascot of Typhoon Lagoon. The Frozen additions remove one major Ice Gator figure, which is a minor personal disappointment for me.
However, I also realize that Walt Disney World long ago abandoned the two gator mascots. It wasn’t for lack of effort–the company did a lot to promote the characters, offering meet & greets, merchandise, and featuring both prominently in the parks in the 1990s and early aughts. Yet, they never really caught on with guests. While I feel like that might be different in the current era, I can also understand Disney not wanting to give it another try.
Beyond that, Frozen is a perfect fit for Blizzard Beach. I know many Walt Disney World fans complain about needless intellectual property (IP) integration, yada yada yada. However, the practical reality is that synergy is, and always has been, important for the company.
One way or another, the parks are getting more animated characters added to places they weren’t previously. It’s good for the business, and it comports with guest expectations, who expect to see Disney characters. This is not going to change anytime soon.
My view is that, if IP integration is going to happen, it should at least occur in places that are logical and seamless fits. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France’s World Showcase pavilion is a great example. While I think the ride is only so-so and the cloned version could’ve easily been improved, I also think Ratatouille is a good fit for World Showcase. It’s a love letter to Paris, and the expansion is respectful to the existing pavilion, while adding a bit of whimsy. That is a good IP addition, all things considered.
It’s a similar story here with Frozen in Blizzard Beach. There have been rumors of exactly this happening since (literally) the year the movie came out, and it has always made sense. It would be a way to increase interest in the movie, give kids a way to play in Frozen-inspired environments, and not materially disrupt the existing atmosphere at Blizzard Beach.
Ultimately, I’m on board with Frozen features and fun being added to Blizzard Beach. My only hope is that Imagineering is dipping its toe into the water with these additions, starting slowly to see how they’re received by guests–because this doesn’t seem like a whole lot. If Walt Disney World wants to turn Blizzard Beach into “the Frozen water park,” then so be it. But go all-in on the concept. Even if it’s just the Tike’s Peak play area–make it fully immersive, and a distinct draw for Frozen fans.
What’s been announced thus far feels very much like a half-measure (if that) designed to market the water park as having Frozen fun and features, but without the substance to really back that up. Which is pretty typical with how Frozen has been handled at Walt Disney World.
When Frozen frenzy was at its height, there was a lot of Anna and Elsa “stuff” around the parks, but most of it was pretty superficial. (The castle lighting ceremony at Christmas is a good example–guests would camp out far in advance for prime spots to see a show that was only a few minutes long.)
Frozen Ever After is certainly a solid attraction–better than it has any right to be as “only” a reimagining of Maelstrom–but even that seems like it could’ve been so much better as a ride built from the ground up. As a new classic, it’s unlikely that the popularity of the Frozen franchise will recede anytime soon, so it would make sense for Walt Disney World to bet big on it…even if that just means making Blizzard Beach the Frozen water park in an even more significant manner.
Are you pleased with the November 13, 2022 reopening date Blizzard Beach, or would you prefer that Typhoon Lagoon remain open for winter? Cautiously optimistic about the Frozen fun and features being added to Blizzard Beach or do you wish Disney were going bigger on the IP integrations? (Or, would you prefer if Blizzard Beach remained IP-free?) Eager to return to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, or are you not a water park person? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!