Water parks in Florida can make fall feel like winter
The children have returned to school. Everything from pumpkin spice is back in stores. Summer is quickly becoming a distant memory, even if it doesn’t officially end for a few weeks.
But travelers can extend the summer vibes for months to come at Central Florida’s water parks, where highs averaged around 80 degrees last November and 72 degrees last December, according to Weather Underground.
Every major theme park in the region has at least one water park, which many guests visit on rest days between theme parks.
“That’s the nice thing: You don’t have to plan the water parks,” Mark Dukes told USA TODAY when he served as general manager of Disney’s water parks and minigolf, before moving on to a new role at Animal Kingdom. “You can get out of bed and go out onto the balcony and say, ‘Oh my God, it’s a beautiful day. Let’s go to the water parks today.’
Water parks can also be destinations in themselves.
How many Disney water parks are there?
Walt Disney World has two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
“We’re so immersive that if someone blindfolded you and dropped you off here, you’d think you were on an island in the Pacific,” Dukes said of Typhoon Lagoon, home to the largest concentration of surfable waves in North America.
“We can throw waves up to six feet to surfers, but we’re taking it easy for day guests,” he said. “It feels like you’re at the beach, but every wave is perfect.”
Meanwhile, Blizzard Beach features the longest family raft ride in the United States, Timboat Springs, and Tiki’s Peak, a “Frozen”-themed area for its younger guests.
At least one park is open daily year-round, but is subject to seasonal, weather, renovation and capacity closures, according to Disney.
Disney Water Park tickets start at $59 for guests ages 3-9 and $64 for guests ages 10 and up.
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Which is better, Adventure Island or Busch Gardens?
Comparing Adventure Island to sister park Busch Gardens-Tampa Bay is like comparing apples to oranges. They are two very different parks, but both offer excitement.
Adventure Island features “America’s first dual waterslide,” Solar Vortex, which sends “sliders on a swirling journey through two open tail features,” according to the park’s website.
Younger guests can enjoy the parks new playground and play area, Shaka Laka Shores.
Adventure Island is open on weekends and select weekdays until November 12.
Ticket prices start at $34.99 online for guests ages 3 and over.
Are LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Water Park the same?
No, but LEGOLAND Water Park is located inside LEGOLAND Florida, so guests need tickets for both to enter the water park in Winter Haven, Florida.
Many of the water park’s unique and very special experiences include building your own LEGO boats for the lazy river and playing with larger-than-life DUPLO figures in the DUPLO Splash Safari.
LEGOLAND Florida + Water Park single-day passes start at $84 for guests ages 3 and up. One-day tickets to LEGOLAND Florida start at $74.
LEGOLAND Water Park is open the rest of the year, except Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, it is open every day during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
How many hours should I spend in Volcano Bay?
You could easily spend an entire day at Universal’s Volcano Bay. The water park is an oasis in central Orlando with lush tropical trees and rows of lounge chairs for relaxing in the sun or shade. Of course, there is a lazy river, but there is also a river that is not lazy. Sailing along the fearless Tewa River feels like riding the rapids, and life jackets are required.
Another unique feature at Volcano Bay is that each guest gets a TapuTapu wearable device, which allows them to join the virtual lines of the water slides, instead of standing and waiting like they do at other parks. Guests can join one virtual line at a time or ride attractions that say “Ride Now” instantly.
Volcano Bay is open daily until October 30, and then on select dates after that. Guests can find the latest calendars on Universal Orlando Resort’s website and free mobile app.
Tickets start at $65 online for guests ages 3 to 9 and $70 for guests ages 10 and up.
What is the difference between Discovery Cove and SeaWorld Aquatica?
While both are sister parks to SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando is a water park with pools and water slides. The “all-new and one-of-a-kind” Reef Plunge draws guests “through a new dynamic underwater habitat that is home to a vibrant array of marine life, including Commerson’s dolphins, tiger sharks, sardines, and other cold-water fish,” according to the website. Email for the garden.
Discovery Cove describes itself as an “all-inclusive day resort.” Its guests can eat unlimited food and drinks, swim in the tropical lagoons and encounter many birds and marine life, such as dolphins and rays.
Aquatica is open daily until the end of the year. Tickets start at $47.99 online for guests ages 3 and up.
Discovery Cove is open daily through October, then on weekends and select weekdays through the end of the year. It is open every day in Christmas week and the week before. Package prices and offers vary, but the park is currently offering a 30% discount on resort day packages purchased by September 17. The deal drops starting prices to $132.30 for guests over 3 years old.