Blizzard Beach is Disney's more exotic water-adventure park and, like Typhoon Lagoon, it arrived with its own legend. This time, the story goes, an entrepreneur tried to open a ski resort in Florida during a particularly savage winter. Alas, the snow melted; the palm trees grew back; and all that remained of the ski resort was its Alpine lodge, the ski lifts, and, of course, the mountain. Plunging off the mountain are ski slopes and bobsled runs transformed into waterslides. Visitors to Blizzard Beach catch the thawed icicles drip and patches of snow remain. The melting snow has formed a lagoon (the wave pool), fed by gushing mountain streams.

Unofficial Tip

Picnic areas are scattered around the park, as are pleasant places for sunbathing.

Like Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach is distinguished by its landscaping and the attention paid to executing its theme. As you enter Blizzard Beach, you face the mountain. Coming off the highest peak and bisecting the area at the mountain's base are two long slides. To the left of the slides is the wave pool. To the right are the children's swimming area and the ski lift. Surrounding the layout like a moat is a tranquil stream for floating in tubes.

On either side of the highest peaks are tube, raft, and body slides. Including the two slides coming off the peak, Blizzard Beach has 17 slides. Among them is Summit Plummet, Disney World's longest speed slide, which begins with a 120-foot free fall, and the Teamboat springs water-bobsled run, 1,200 feet long.

One reader reports that the Blizzard Beach slides picked her husband's pocket:

You mentioned lots of ladies losing their tops on Summit Plummet, but didn't mention the atomic wedgies it bestows upon its riders! Still, it's a thrill slide not to be missed and all four of us in our family absolutely loved it! It did, however, claim all four of our park pass/room key cards as its victims. My husband had the four cards in an exterior pocket of his swimsuit, secured closed by Velcro AND a snap. We both thought it was a safe, secure spot for the cards. After doing Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher twice apiece and Teamboat Springs once, he looked down, noticed the pocket flapping open and found all four cards missing! So we had to cancel all the cards (they had charging privileges) and couldn't purchase any food or drink while we were there (we didn't bring any cash because we planned to charge with our cards)!

For our money, the most exciting and interesting slides are the Slush Gusher and Teamboat Springs on the front right of the mountain, and runoff rapids on the back side of the mountain. Slush Gusher is an undulating speed slide that we consider as exciting as the more vertical Summit Plummet without being as bone-jarring. on Teamboat Springs, you ride in a raft that looks like a children's round blow-up wading pool.

Unofficial Tip

The more people you load into the raft, the faster it goes. If you have only a couple in it, the slide is kind of a snore.

Runoff Rapids is accessible from a path that winds around the far left bottom of the mountain. The rapids consist of three corkscrew tube slides, one of which is enclosed and dark. As at Teamboat Springs, you'll go much faster on a two- or three-person tube than on a one- person tube. If you lean so that you enter curves high and come out low, you'll really fly. Because we like to steer the tube and go fast, we much prefer the open slides (where we can see) to the dark, enclosed tube. We thought crashing through the pitch-dark tube felt disturbingly like being flushed down a toilet.

The Snowstormers' mat slides on the front of the mountain are fun but not as fast or as interesting as Runoff Rapids or Downhill Double Dipper on the far left front. The Toboggan Racers at the front and center of the mountain consists of eight parallel slides where riders are dispatched in heats to race to the bottom. The ride itself is no big deal, and the time needed to get everybody lined up ensures that you'll wait extra-long to ride. on one visit, as an added annoyance, we had to line up once to get a mat and again to actually ride. A faster, more exciting race venue can be found on the side-by-side slides of the undulating Downhill Double Dipper. Competitors here can reach speeds of up to 25 miles an hour.

A ski lift carries guests to the mountaintop (you can also walk up), where they can choose from Summit Plummet, Slush Gusher, or Teamboat Springs. For all other slides at Blizzard Beach, the only way to reach the top is on foot. If you're among the first in the park and don't have to wait to ride, the ski lift is fun and provides a bird's-eye view of the park. After riding once to satisfy your curiosity, however, you're better off taking the stairs to the top. The following have a minimum-height restriction of 48 inches: Slush Gusher, Summit Plummet, and Downhill Double Dipper.

The wave pool, called Melt-Away Bay, has gentle, bobbing waves. The float creek, Cross Country Creek, circles the park, passing through the mountain. The children's areas, Tike's Peak and Ski Patrol Training camp, are creatively designed, nicely isolated, and, like the rest of the park, visually interesting.

Like Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach is a bit convoluted in its layout. With slides on both the front and back of the mountain, it isn't always easy to find a path leading to where you want to go.

At the ski resort's now-converted base area are shops; counter-service food; restrooms; and tube, towel, and locker rentals. Blizzard Beach has its own parking lot but no lodging, though Disney's All-Star and Coronado Springs resorts are almost within walking distance. Disney resort and campground guests can commute to the park aboard Disney buses.

Because it's novel and has popular slides, Blizzard Beach fills early during hotter months. To stake out a nice sunning spot and to enjoy the slides without long waits, arrive at least 35 minutes before the official opening time.