Typhoon Lagoon Beach Bash Report
This summer, Disney Vacation Club held its second (annual?) Beach Bash events at Typhoon Lagoon water park at Walt Disney World. I love Typhoon Lagoon. I think it is criminally underrated, and I know I’m part of the “problem” as I don’t devote nearly as much attention to it as the main theme parks at Walt Disney World. I’d go as far as to say Typhoon Lagoon is currently a better park than Disney’s Hollywood Studios (not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but given what each is).
I love Typhoon Lagoon so much that we planned our last trip to Florida around the Beach Bash dates. So, if you were wondering why we visited in July despite it being what we consider the “worst” month at Walt Disney World…that’s why. There’s nothing like floating around a lazy river under starlight, and the chance to photograph a new park at night was too much to resist.
Normally, you don’t see a lot of high-quality photos from Typhoon Lagoon. I assume this is because people leave their fancy camera gear at home when they visit the water parks. There’s something about a large camera and long lens around half-naked people that is awkward–for both parties. Fortunately(?), I excel at being awkward.
After having dinner at Homecoming in Disney Springs, we realized there was no bus service running to Typhoon Lagoon. Meanwhile, what was a fairly bland sky 20 minutes prior was turning into a nice little sunset. As that ‘nice little’ sunset started to turn into an epic one.
I suggested to Sarah that we run to Typhoon Lagoon (it’s really not that far from Disney Springs), and she was not amused by my suggestion, which would require crossing a highway off-ramp, among other things. I played it off like I was kidding (I totally wasn’t) and we instead took Uber. Each second waiting for our drive felt like a minute, and it was excruciating watching the sunset get better and better while standing in a parking lot. (Coming soon: my gallery of Disney Springs parking lot sunset photos.)
Some 189 minutes later, or so it felt, we finally arrived at Typhoon Lagoon. This was around 8:40 p.m. (the event officially started at 9:30 p.m., but guests were admitted started at 8:30), and there was a huge line to get in, as the best sunset light was slowly fading. At this point, I resolved defeat, realizing there’s no way I’d get into the park in time.
Shouting, “EXCUSE ME, PHOTOGRAPHY EMERGENCY!” and cutting forward to the front of the line crossed my mind. I’m sure most of our fellow Members would’ve understood, but there’s always one bad apple who starts an irate thread on MouseOwners and spoils it for the entire bunch me. 😉
It turned out that was not necessary. The line moved incredibly quickly, and we were in the park maybe 5 minutes later. At this point, I bolted, telling Sarah I would meet up with her later. There was still color in the sky, and I was going to make the most of it.
I took off my shoes and socks, threw them in a corner by a beach chair, and was off to the races. If using a DSLR in a water park is awkward, literally running around, fully-clothed and shoeless is next-level crazy. At least in this case, I was not in any one spot long enough for other guests to make a positive ID and get security on my tail.
I had maybe 10 minutes total before the last light faded, and I managed to cover a good section of the park. Once I was done, I went to the locker room and changed from my sweat-soaked day clothes to my swimming suit. Because taking photos with a DSLR on a tripod at a water park is less awkward if you’re wearing a swimsuit. That’s just science.
After this, the fireworks were about to start at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I was pretty sure they would be visible to at least some degree from Typhoon Lagoon. I set-up and waited for about 25 minutes, and came away with this one, fairly unimpressive shot:
On the plus side, 4 different Cast Members asked if I wanted to them to take my picture while I was waiting, so maybe I didn’t seem that awkward? While the fireworks attempt proved unsuccessful, I have an idea of a potentially better location for next year.
At the end of the fireworks, I found Sarah, who managed to snag an excellent beach chair location. At this point, I realized I still hadn’t recovered my shoes, so I left my bag with her while I did that. It turns out that in my haste, all I remembered of where I left them was “under the chair in the corner.” Well, it turns out there are a ton of chairs and corners in Typhoon Lagoon, so finding them wasn’t exactly an easy proposition.
I was beginning to think some other Disney Vacation Club Member had recovered them and was going to eBay my stinky shoes to help finance their Wilderness Lodge Copper Creek add-on, when I finally located them. I’m sure the person whose chair they were next to thought that was my plan when I strolled up, nonchalantly grabbed them, and moseyed on my way.
On the way back to Sarah, I lined up and grabbed some ice cream from outside of Leaning Palms, where refreshment stands had been set up. These stands offered free unlimited cookies, ice cream bars, and potato chips. It was still early in the party, so the line was quite long (later, there was virtually no line, and Cast Members kept these stands stocked throughout the entire event–impressive!).
Many DVC Members took the word unlimited to heart, as if trying to recoup their annual dues in Premium Mickey Bars. I’m more a Premium Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich kinda guy, so I grabbed 37 of those.
Sarah and I each enjoyed an ice cream sandwich, and then decided we’d head to Castaway Creek, the lazy river…
So with the new policy on DVC resale purchases would someone who purchases resale be able to attend these types of events?
No, resale buyers who purchased after April 2016 would not be able to attend.
My daughters and I were able to go to both of the July beach bashes and we had never been to a Disney water park and it was excellent. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. My 2 teenage girls were able to eat the equivalent of my annual dues in chips and mickey ice cream bars so I apologize to anyone who were casualties of their debauchery. We are also headed to the DCA bash November 2nd. My apologies in advance 🙂
I think the “Leaky Things” are installed for two reasons. One is to wake you up if you happen to get too relaxed and fall asleep. The second reason might sound creepy, but honestly, it’s how they make sure you’re still alive. There is a reason the “Leaky Water” is cold enough to wake the dead. Trust me Disney thinks about these things.
Having no trips to Disney planned at the moment, reading your site is purely an escape – but I am loving it! I love your voice and how funny (and still very helpful!) you are. These nighttime shots are incredible! Have fun 🙂
Photographer timekeeping – “I’ll be there in 20 minutes” + interesting views/lighting = I will really see you in two and a half hours.
This has to be one of my favourite posts by you, it was such a funny read! I kept smiling and giggling while trying to find out if you did indeed lose your shoes. If there was some type of award ceremony for theme park bloggers, I would definitely nominate this post for the funny category. Well done!
“If there was some type of award ceremony for theme park bloggers…”
Most of the major television networks have been clamoring for this for years now, but the Academy is concerned that we’d steal the Oscars’ thunder, so they have managed to repress our right to an awards show. Sad.
One of my favourite posts of yours of all time Tom! It was nice to live this vicariously. TL is one of my top happy places and I love spending time there – it’s even the wallpaper on my phone. Sounds like an excellent night and the photography is superb, as usual. If you ever find any vintage style TL logo’d stuff available could you please flag it on the forum? I really wanted a nice bit of merchandise from our recent trip but there was almost nothing with park branding on it! I was wearing my Mum’s 90’s crop TL tee with pride though!
Obviously, this is the shirt you’re after: https://img1.etsystatic.com/073/1/5619057/il_570xN.814835689_c4bu.jpg 😉
Typhoon Lagoon merchandise is rare, and there’s virtually nothing now. I’m a big Lagoona Gator fan, so I have a few items with him on it, but even at the height of his popularity, they made barely anything. Most of the old TL merch is pretty kitschy–some in a good way, some in a bad way.
Haha oh yes that’s exactly what I was after! I’ll order a few… 😉
Wow. That third to last photo is just breathtaking
Great recap! My wife and I were there that night, and it is one of my favorite Disney experiences yet. We spent a lot of time in the wave pool and the lazy river. Later in the night, we were able to go down a waterslide and immediately get back on one without any wait. So much fun!
We went to the Beach Bash last year, and we really enjoyed it. Relaxing on the lazy river was awesome at night! They ran out of ice cream multiple times, though. Even with long lines of people waiting, many folks were carting off armloads of ice cream, not caring that people right behind them would not get any. They eventually restocked, but it took more than 30 minutes, so a lot of people wasted a lot of the party standing in line. This happened several times, but it sounds like they were prepared this year! We will be going to the DVC Safari event at Animal Kingdom next month.
Oh man. Maybe this will convince my husband that we should buy into DVC. I mean, if nighttime TL lazy river access and all you can eat ice cream won’t do it, I’m not sure what will…