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…
Look at all the lazy people in the lazy river on Page 2…