Walt Disney World has announced that Blizzard Beach water park will reopen next month, just in time for the holiday season! On top of that, Walt Disney World has shared that guests will be able to splash into a watery winter wonderland brimming with Christmas cheer. Here are dates, details, and what’s been revealed about the reopening.
While Disney hasn’t officially announced this, it’s also likely that Typhoon Lagoon will close for its annual refurbishment as 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 couple of years, 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. That seems to have improved more recently, and Walt Disney World only has a few lingering staffing shortages. But we’ll circle back to that later in the post. For now, let’s cover the details about Blizzard Beach’s reopening for Christmas 2023!
For now, Typhoon Lagoon’s last operational day of this year will be November 4, 2023 according to the Walt Disney World operating calendar. Blizzard Beach will reopen on November 6, 2023.
It’s possible that no water parks will operate that Sunday in between, or that Disney will adjust the operating calendar for Typhoon Lagoon. Either way, it’s certain that Blizzard Beach will return on November 6.
Blizzard Beach water park, which features heated water throughout the park, will also have an enhanced holiday atmosphere for Christmas 2023.
Snow boots are not required as you walk through the little white flurries greeting guests at the entrance. And be sure you schedule time to hang out with Santa relaxing in his tropical best at his favorite vacation destination. And if you’re looking for holiday flavors, Blizzard Beach has those too! Peppermint shakes and cookie decorating are among the limited-time treats adding to the festivities.
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.
During last year’s refurbishment, Frozen Fun was added to Blizzard Beach in the Tike’s Peak that’s popular among young guests.
Kids can now play among the statuettes of Olaf and his Snowgie pals in the warm wading pool. Tike’s Peak also features Anna and Elsa’s igloo castle.
Blizzard Beach will also reopen with new food and beverage options! Specialty churros have made their way to the menu at Arctic Expeditions and include the following:
S’mores Churros – Churro bites topped with graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow whipped cream, chocolate sauce and toasted mini marshmallows
Banana Split Churros – Churro bites topped with banana slices, sliced strawberries, pineapple chunks, cookie and brownie pieces, chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.
There are also new Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings and Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings at Warming Hut. Guests can also enjoy their returning favorite treats and drinks at Lottawatta Lodge, Polar Pub, Frostbite Freddy’s and more. Both water parks have surprisingly strong food & beverage programs…but also, boring burgers and standard theme park, if you’d prefer.
Turning 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. Heck, the holiday season is the perfect time of year for a visit to Blizzard Beach. It’s cold enough that crowds are typically pretty low, there’s a decent amount to do that doesn’t even involve getting in the water, and you won’t feel out of place if you’re not wearing a bikini or banana hammock. You can dress relatively normal and never get in the water, and no one will bat an eye!
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. (In addition to Figment, I collected merchandise of both gators for a while before downsizing–but I still have plushes of each!)
Now that I’ve made my ‘sales pitch’ for the water parks at Walt Disney World, I should note there’s an easier way to access them for the next few months. If you’re a tourist, hopefully you have a ticket add-on that allows you to visit without spending anything extra.
If not, there’s the NEW Disney Water Park Seasonal Pass! This new not-annual pass allows guests to visit Disney Water Parks again and again now through May 24, 2024 for $79 plus tax. The seasonal pass has no block out dates and no reservations are required. Plus, free parking awaits all those embarking on an arctic journey to Blizzard Beach.
Finally, the next question that naturally arises is: when will Typhoon Lagoon reopen in 2024? This year, Blizzard Beach closed and Typhoon Lagoon reopened in mid-to-late March, right after Central Florida schools had their spring breaks. We’d expect Typhoon Lagoon to reopen right around the same time in Spring 2024.
The other big question is whether both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon will operate simultaneously in 2024 for the first time in 5 years. It’s safe to assume this won’t happen before Summer 2024 at the earliest. For one thing, there isn’t enough demand until around Memorial Day. For another, the above-mentioned ticket deal implies that only one water park or the other will operate until May 24, 2024.
Staffing both parks is expensive and Walt Disney World did fine with only one water park even during the period of pent-up demand and high heat during the last couple of summers. It’s possible that Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando plus an assortment of hotels with bona fide mini water parks have cut into Walt Disney World’s water park business, and they no longer need both. (I’m skeptical of this and doubt it’s the case.)
It’s also possible that both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are viable, especially with a full assortment of Annual Passes and special ticket promotions (like the above!) for Florida residents. That Walt Disney World was working to scale up operations across the board, and allocating resources and Cast Members to both water parks just didn’t make sense given ongoing staffing shortages the last few years, but will in the future with the College Program and more back to normal. My money is on this, but that still doesn’t mean both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach will be open at the same time in Summer 2024. So stay tuned!
Are you pleased with the November 6, 2023 reopening date Blizzard Beach? Would you prefer that Typhoon Lagoon remain open for winter? Excited for the Christmas offerings at Blizzard Beach? Do you agree with our take on the themed design excellence of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, or are you not a fan of Walt Disney World’s water parks? 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!