#WaterparkWednesday – Typhoon Lagoon takes Disney Waterpark guests to a tropical wonderland run amok

2013-01-04 19.49.02Like a surfside playground left behind by a “great storm” for modern-day Swiss Family Robinsons, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon features breaking waves, saltwater snorkeling pool, water coaster thrill ride attraction with gushing water surges. Located near Downtown Disney, the 61-acre waterpark  includes several major features, including Crush ‘n’ Gusher, the first-ever water coaster thrill ride attraction in Central Florida.

“Flash flooding” takes on a whole new meaning for Walt Disney World guests when they find themselves immersed in a dense tropical jungle amid the towering remains – rusted-out and dilapidated – of a fruit exporting plant. The once-landlocked packing plant known as Tropical Amity now sits on the shores of Hideaway Bay, a body of water left in the wake of a torrential storm.

The wobbly remains of the wash facility – what used to be a controlled environment with fruit flowing gently down to the packing plant – is now a turbulent series of gushing water flumes. It is these flumes, spiraling out of control through twisted and crumbling wash spillways with crushing force, that redefine “flash flooding” for Typhoon Lagoon guests.

2013-01-04 20.02.04While riding Crush ‘n’ Gusher, guests are whisked away on inflatable rafts and immediately begin to experience the up-and-down sensations of a roller coaster, made possible by utilizing some of today’s latest water ride innovations. Powerful water jets propel guests through cavernous twists and turns, eventually spitting them out into the tranquil waters of Hideaway Bay. Three separate ride systems are available – Banana Blaster, Coconut Crusher and Pineapple Plunger. Crush ‘n’ Gusher is the only water roller coaster in North America that has three unique and separate rides off of one tower!

Each Crush ‘n’ Gusher water jet nozzle puts out 1350 gallons per minute, which means that one slide from Crush ‘n’ Gusher can fill a standard home-size pool in about one minute, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon wave pool (2.7 million gallons) in about 3 hours. If you were to connect the average fire hose to a single Crush ‘n’ Gusher jet nozzle, it could shoot water over The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

2013-01-04 20.46.32Guests at Typhoon Lagoon can also enjoy a man-made watershed mountain with eight twisting-and-turning water slides and roaring streams, including three speed slides known collectively as Humunga Kowabunga, which zip guests along 214-foot routes at up to 30 miles per hour. A trio of curving body Storm Slides, Rudder Buster, Stern Burner and Jib Jammer, wind in and out of caves, through waterfalls and between rock formations, sending guests along at up to 20 miles per hour over distances of about 300 feet each. Three white-water rafting adventures, Keelhaul Falls, Mayday Falls and Gangplank Falls, slide through caves and under waterfalls in inner tubes (Keelhaul Falls and Mayday Falls) or family-size craft (Gangplank Falls).

2013-01-04 22.38.06Of course, no water park is complete without a wave pool. The one at Typhoon Lagoon is special, though as it is a two-and-one-half-acre wave-making lagoon with surfing-size waves, containing nearly three million gallons of water!

The highlight of the park is probably the 362,000-gallon saltwater pool, Shark Reef, where snorkelers swim fin-to-fin with exotic marine life including butterfly fish, French angels, tangs, groupers and even bonnethead and leopard sharks. If you forgot to bring your snorkel gear, don’t fret, as there is  a shop that provides necessary underwater equipment for Shark Reef (including life jackets, masks and snorkels.) My wife also highly advises to bring your contact lenses with you, as snorkeling and glasses don’t really mix!

2013-01-04 21.43.26The park also features a water playground for children; Ketchakiddee Creek,  sunny beaches and the iconic Castaway Creek, where guests hop onto inner tubes for a meandering water tour along a 2,100-foot circular channel that takes them through a misty rain forest, a hidden grotto and a sun-drenching, all with a spectacular view of Typhoon Lagoon and its many activities, all surrounding a 95-foot mountain.

All the sliding can make anyone hungry. Luckily, a picnic area and two restaurants – Leaning Palms and Typhoon Tilly’s are on site, and serve up everything from specialty sandwiches and salads to cookies and ice cream in waffle cones. We’d highly recommend the BBQ waffle cone sandwich from Typhoon Tilly’s, which although it might be a fork and knife affair, is a great way to refuel in the middle of the day.  There are also several coffee and tea stands, as well as numerous places to pick up soda as well as your favorite adult beverage.

There are also  several changing areas that make getting from your street clothes to bathing attire, and back again, much easier.  Showers, both outside to rinse off and inside the changing areas to clean the wonderful chlorinated goodness off at the end of the day are available, and lockers are available to stow your gear at a modest cost of only $10 per day.

2013-01-04 19.50.10Like every good Disney ride, this one begins and ends at the gift shop. Singapore Sal’s offers a wide variety of themed souvenirs, as well as virtually every beach need you can think of!

For more information about Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks, guests may call 407/824-4321 or visit DisneyWorld.com/waterparks.