One of the more common questions since even before the official reopening of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks has been “when will Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks open?” (Updated December 22, 2020.)
While many Walt Disney World fans and Annual Passholders held out a sliver of hope that one of the two would reopen this year, that mostly went out the window when Labor Day came and went. That holiday marks the end of traditional “water park season” and if neither we’re operating by then, there wasn’t much chance of the water parks returning for fall or winter.
The good news is that we finally know when Walt Disney World’s water parks will start to resume operations. The bad news is that it’s not in the near future…nor is it the return of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Instead, we’ll get one of them in March 2021…
In an email to Annual Passholders and update to the Parks and Tickets: Know Before You Go section of the official website, Walt Disney World shared the following update:
While Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park remain closed at this time, pending government approvals, we currently plan to reopen one of the two Disney water parks on March 7, 2021. This reopening date may change and if it does, Walt Disney World will let guests know what to expect in a future update.
December 22, 2020 Update: Walt Disney World has once again updated its Know Before You Go info, with the following statement: “As a reminder Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks remain closed at this time. We currently plan to reopen Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park on March 7, 2021.
“Like the other areas of Walt Disney World Resort, we will welcome back Guests and Cast Members to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in a responsible way, with a plan focused on health and well-being. We will provide more details on our Water Parks’ reopening plan at a later time.”
Like the other areas of Walt Disney World Resort, guests and Cast Members will be welcomed back to the water parks in a responsible way, with a plan focused on health and well-being. Walt Disney World will provide more details on the phased reopening plan, including how Disney Park Pass reservations and Park Hopping will work with the reopening of Blizzard Beach in March 2021.
Some Guests with existing tickets and some Annual Passholders are impacted by this update. Accordingly, Walt Disney World is offering options to guests with an existing Premier Passport, Platinum Plus Pass, Water Parks Annual Pass, Water Parks After 2 Annual Pass or tickets that include the Park Hopper Plus Option or Water Park & Sports Option.
First, the options for theme park ticket holders–those that includes the Park Hopper Plus Option or Water Park & Sports Option, here are the options:
Ticket Modification: Tickets, as well as Walt Disney World hotel and vacation packages with tickets, may be modified. To discuss your options, please call the Disney Reservation Center at (407) W-DISNEY or (407) 934-7639, or contact your travel agent.
Ticket Cancellation: If you do not want to use your ticket, you also have the option of cancelling your ticket or package and receiving a refund. To discuss your options, please call the Disney Reservation Center at (407) 566-4985, or contact your travel professional.
Ticket Usage: You may use your current date-based ticket with the existing add-on options at other experiences available during your visit.
At this time, Guests can purchase new tickets that include the Park Hopper Plus Option or Water Park & Sports Option for admission March 7, 2021 and later. Walt Disney World will resume sales of Water Parks Annual Passes and 1-Day Water Park Tickets at a later date.
Water Park Tickets
Walt Disney World will automatically extend unused, unexpired 1-Day Disney Water Park tickets through December 31, 2021. As an alternative, guests may instead choose to cancel their ticket. To choose this option, please call (407) 939-2732. If you are unable to visit by December 31, 2021, you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.
Water Park Annual Passes
Water Parks and Water Parks After 2 Annual Passes will be automatically extended for the period in which both water parks were closed. As an alternative, Water Park Annual Passholders may instead choose to cancel their pass. To choose this option, please call (407) 939-2732.
Platinum Plus and Premier Annual Passholders
Walt Disney World will automatically be issuing Platinum Plus and Premier Annual Passholders with water park access a partial refund. Find out more information on how this refund is calculated. (If that page isn’t working for you, the refund varies; $0.27 per day for new Platinum Plus APs, $0.23 for renewing Platinum Plus APs, and “it depends” for Premier APs.)
The March 2021 reopening date isn’t a huge surprise because normally Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have staggered closures every year from September or October through the following March for “refurbishments.” Usually very little actual work is done during the closure–it’s more about a lack of demand during the off-season and colder months.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Typhoon Lagoon open shortly after Blizzard Beach, likely in time for the Summer 2021 season. Volcano Bay and other Central Florida water parks did gangbuster business last summer, and Walt Disney World has seen increasing demand in the fall and winter months. Given that and the likelihood that the face mask policy at water parks will likely mirror the rules at Walt Disney World pools, it’s possible there will be a lot of demand for a more “relaxed” experience.
Of course, as Walt Disney World notes, this date is subject to change. Several hotel reopening dates have already been jettisoned due to lack of demand, and the same could happen here. However, that seems unlikely unless there’s a significant second wave in Florida. Reservations and attendance have both started to pick up, and things are looking better for Disney.
The notion that the State of Florida won’t approve the reopening date is laughable–the chance of that happening is about 0.001%. Not only will Florida let Disney do pretty much whatever the company wants, but the state has already approved several other water park reopenings, some with minimal health safety measures in place.
Ultimately, this bodes well whether you’re a fan of Walt Disney World’s water parks or not. (And more of you should be, as the water parks are both under-appreciated gems of themed design!) It’s yet another sign of ramping up operations and resuming normalcy. It may be disappointing that it’s not happening until Spring 2021, but that’s increasingly looking like the best case scenario in terms of things getting back to some semblance of normal.
We expect additional announcements will be made for other components of the Walt Disney World experience returning around roughly that same timeframe ahead of peak Spring Break season. We’re cautiously optimistic that Spring 2021 will be something of a turning point for Walt Disney World, which is why we recently named March 2021 as the #2 pick to visit in our Best & Worst 2020-2021 Months to Visit Walt Disney World.
Are you pleased with the March 2021 reopening date for one of the water parks, or do you feel like this phased reopening is progressing too slowly? Cautiously optimistic that Spring Break 2021 will mark a turning point for Walt Disney World? 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!