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Water Park Cabanas: Are They Worth It?

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Last summer I did a weekend almost entirely devoted to Disney’s water parks, which caused me to fall in love with Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. If you haven’t had the chance to visit these water playgrounds before, I highly recommend it, especially with the unbearably hot Florida summer being in full force in the coming months. There are a lot of things I truly enjoy at both of these parks simply by showing up, throwing my stuff in a locker, and hitting the slides. But some guests may be looking for a bit more service and a peaceful place to relax during their day at the water park. Disney has answered the call by offering cabanas at both parks.

While I don’t want to bother with (or pay for) a cabana on every visit to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, I have found them to be a fun way to enhance my experience when I’m willing to treat myself to a little luxury during my vacation. I have tried different variations at both parks and usually have had a great time and good service. So what are the different cabana options at the water parks?

A Beachcomber Shack at Typhoon Lagoon

At Typhoon Lagoon you may rent either a Beachcomber Shack or an umbrella with chaise lounges. The Beachcomber Shack is the larger option and includes towels, a cooler stocked with ice and bottled water, your own locker, refillable mugs, and an attendant who will bring you food, more towels, or anything else you may need. These shacks house up to six people and cost $319.50. They are true cabanas with an actual roof and seating for everyone in your party. The umbrellas with lounge chairs are in the same area as the Shacks, so you still get privacy, but towels are the only things provided to guests using these chairs. They are priced at a much more reasonable $53 for a day’s use.

Umbrella and Chair Service at Typhoon Lagoon

Blizzard Beach offers similar accomodations for guests with Polar Patios for up to six people. These include the same services as the Beachcomber Shacks. However, these aren’t actual structures providing shade, but wood decks with umbrellas for your group. Ours was in a shady area, anyhow, so there was no fight for space under the umbrella. The Polar Patios are definitely smaller than the Beachcomber Shacks, but I didn’t find the space uncomfortable with eight adults (we were allowed to pay for additional guests on top of the 6 last time I was there). Umbrellas with chairs are also available at Blizzard Beach for the same $53 price tag.

Guests may reserve one of these cabanas by calling (407) WDW-PLAY or seeing if there are any available on a walk up basis. You will be able to find out if there is space for your party by inquiring at High N’ Dry at Typhoon Lagoon or Snowless Joe’s at Blizzard Beach. These shops are also where you will go to check in if you’ve made advanced reservations. Here, each member of your party will be given a bracelet that gives them access to the cabana areas. When your group is ready to go, a host will show you to your private area and explain all of the services available to cabana guests.

I have done the Beachcomber Shack as well as an umbrella at Typhoon Lagoon, and I’ve also rented a Polar Patio at Blizzard Beach. The service at the Beachcomber Shack wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, but all of my other experiences have been great. The server at our Beachcomber Shack claimed the call button in our cabana was broken, so he never knew when we wanted his attention. But you’d think he’d be serving the neighboring cabanas or just come by to check on us from time to time even with a broken button. We rarely saw him, so we weren’t so sure we’d spring for a cabana again. However, a group of us later decided to give it a try at Blizzard Beach, and our server couldn’t have been more attentive; he even called himself our “fastpass to food.” Not only did he respond to our call button, but asked us to leave him notes on a small chalk board if we needed anything while we were out enjoying the park.

My friends and I in our Polar Patio

Aside from the service from the attendants, I really like having my own space at the water parks. I don’t have to worry about someone swiping my lounge chair while I’m circling the lazy river or worry about snagging myself a spot in the shade. Everything was taken care of for my friends and me, and from time to time it isn’t a bad thing to not have to think about too much on vacation. I also love having a cooler stocked with water and a refillable mug, so those are great little perks. What I really love is having my own locker in the cabana. I always rent a locker when I go to the water parks, so having one close to my home base is so nice. Not having to go all the way over to the locker area to get my wallet at lunch time then have to go back again is a really big bonus to me. Call me lazy, but convenience is hard to beat sometimes. Towels being included is also nice since I’d be renting one anyway.

So do I think the cabanas are worth the price? Well, that depends on a few things. Do you plan to use this amenity with a big group or just your family? If you can split the cost with a group of friends, it really isn’t so bad. If it will just be you and your kids, you’ll have to think more about the cost per person to see if you have that sort of cash to spend on a luxury. Also, it is important to consider how long you plan to spend in the park. If you intend to spend the entire day swimming and sliding, the cabanas or umbrellas are a more viable option. If you think you’ll only spend a couple hours there before heading back to your resort, I wouldn’t bother spending the money on the experience. Let’s be clear this is definitely a treat and will not make or break your water park experience. Yes, it is nice to have a home base and someone to wait on you, but is it completely necessary to pay for such things? Nope. Will I do it again in the future? Probably, but I’m not in a huge hurry. I love the water parks with or without a cabana, so I just consider them an added bonus for special occasions.

How about you? Have you experienced one of the water park cabanas? Tell me about your time spent there in the comments!

A special thanks goes to Neil Citro for providing this week’s photos! 

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Kristen Helmstetter

Kristen Helmstetter is an Unofficial Guide researcher who will share her 20-something perspective of all things Walt Disney World with blog readers. Kristen’s email address is khelmstetter05@yahoo.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @khelmstetter.

22 thoughts on “Water Park Cabanas: Are They Worth It?

  • Thank you so much for the article. Excellent timing. My family was just discussing the umbrella options this week and appreciate you sharing your experiences, which help us to decide if worth the money to help beat the Florida heat and sun. Thanks!

    • You are most welcome, Tyler and thanks for the comment! The umbrella was great especially since it was so much cheaper than the cabana. You don’t get as many services, but I really enjoyed our time there. Have a great trip!

  • We rented a shack at Typhoon Lagoon in April 2010. We had 4 adults and 2 kids. I went along only to keep everyone company, since I only planned to go in the wave pool. The shack was the best part of the day for us, especially me. It gave us a guaranteed shady spot and a designated home base. We were only planning on staying for a few hours, but with the shade of the shack we stayed all day and enjoyed the park that much more. Our attendant was awesome and took great care of us too!If we ever go back to TL with everyone, I would definitely do one again.

    • We had a friend with us at Blizzard Beach who just hung out too and really enjoyed his time. I even talked to him about it for this post! I’m glad it worked out for you too!

  • I noticed more and more cabanas popping up at deluxe resort pools too. Love the idea. They do this in Vegas and the all inclusives in the Caribbean, so Disney offering it too gives people one less “plus” to put in the column of another destination when comparing it to Disney.

    • Oh and something else I forgot to add…I’m pretty sure the ones at the deluxe resorts also have TVs and iPod docks!

      • I’ll have to check out one of the resort cabanas some time. I rarely spend time pool side at my resort since I’m always running around, but that sounds like a nice option. Thanks!

  • After being unable to find ANY available shade/space/chair of any sort (we “parked” inside a cave in the kids’ section)at our first Typhoon Lagoon visit, and then being screamed at by an out-of-control Mom who had just put her kid to sleep on a lounge chair (apparently my 3 year old–who was digging in some sand at a water park we PAID to visit–was making too much noise to suit RoboMom)during our only Blizzard trip, we splurged for the cabana at TL 2 summers ago. We were there on Fathers’ Day so we decided it was justified (*wink, wink). It was wonderful! Shade, water, towels, locker, and a helpful attendant made the day-long experience our best ever. One added perk was that when they typical 2pm Orlando rain shower blew up, hubs and I napped in our covered chairs while kids played in the sand at cabana’s edge. After about an hour, nearly everyone in the park left and we walked onto all the best slides with no wait for the rest of the evening! We went back last year and just managed to get the last cabana left that day–the exact same one from the year before. Perfect!

    • Wow, it must have been a crowded day! Having your own little space was something I found really appealing and it sounds like you felt the same way. Thanks for the comment!

  • I’m wondering about the food service. When the attendant gets food, is that included in the price of the cabana rental? If so, that makes a huge difference in assessing the cost! Will the attendant refill the mugs for you as well?

    • No, food was not included in the price of the cabana. If only! Then I’d get it every time! The attendant will provide a menu and you can charge it to your room or pay however you’d like. The menu includes cocktails if you’d like to have a fruity drink pool side too. I’m pretty sure you have to do the mugs on your own, but I’m not positive. The attendant will restock water bottles in your cooler though which I really liked. I hope that helped!

  • We have a Beachcomber Shack reserved for our upcoming trip and I can’t wait! We rented a similar type of cabana at a local waterpark last year and really enjoyed it – it made the day so relaxing! I think the price listed may be incorrect – I believe we paid $319.50, not $391.50.

    • I hope you have a blast! You are right, I flip-flopped the numbers but I’ve fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Well timed for me too as I was considering a cabana for our October trip. I think you’ve convinced me not toon this occasion although I wouldn’t rule it out whe our budget is bigger!

    • Keep the umbrellas in mind for a smaller budget, or just save it and splurge for a special occasion. Have a blast on your trip!

  • Julia Stewart

    Does anyone know how many shacks there are? And where they are located? I have read that several of them are to the bottom left of the park and there is 1 (or more) nearer the middle of the park on the side of the Shark Reef. The ones on the left are near a smoking area…. I would not want to pay 300 bucks and then smell that all day. Is there are a way to request a certain shack ?

  • Chris Earley

    For the umbrella option, how many chaise lounges are there per umbrella? Travelling to WDW in June 2013 with wife and two adult (19 & 21) children. Maybe get two umbrella’s together?

  • Janet D

    Do you get to keep the mugs?

  • Great info thanks! Do you get access to the cabana the entire day? I ask because when I called to check about availability I was told 10am, but the park opens at 8am or 9am all that week. The CM admitted that she didn’t know if that meant access at that time or if that’s just what’s in the system. I’m not thrilled about paying that kind of money and not being able to use it when the park opens. Thanks for any help!!!

    • Yes you can use it as soon as the park opens. When we did it my husband and younger daughter did the surfing in the morning and we just stayed at the park and as soon as the park opened they showed us to our Beachcomber Shack and we stayed until the park closed we loved it.

  • Paul W

    Where are the Typhoon Lagoon Beachcomber shacks located in relation to the park attractions? I’m going this October and one of my party is partly disabled can only walk short distances, so something like this would be ideal. I checked the map of Typhoon Lagoon on the WDW site and couldn’t tell. Is it close to the creek?


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