DISNEY’S TYPHOON LAGOON
Sadly, we’ve come to the final destinations on my tour of Walt Disney World, culminating with Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney Springs. Of course there’s also Disney’s Blizzard Beach, but we didn’t fit that one in this year, but we did get a chance to go there for our last holiday and it was pretty decent. It had some good slides but overall I feel that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has the better theming and a few more attractions that (I personally think) stand out.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is almost like a paradise in which you can just relax within. With plenty of tropical trees surrounding the area, and the excellent theming of an expedition that has become ship-wrecked within this place of beauty (to which there’s an actual boat marooned at the back of the Park), topped off with some fun-filled attractions, and you have yourself a great day out.
I did like Disney’s Blizzard Beach in its attempts to sell the idea that its beached setting was overcome with an icy exterior, making it a glistening place to walk around because of its snowy atmosphere. But, overall, a tropical paradise is far more appealing when it comes to a Water Park. It’s rather simplistic in its design and that’s fine. It doesn’t need to go all out because Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is what it is, a neatly constructed Lagoon in which you can just relax and have fun.
Like with a lot of the latter Parks on my tour (thus far) there isn’t many attractions within this particular Water Park. But we did manage to do the majority of them (or, better still, the ones we were interested in). And we must have been lucky on our visit because it was fairly quiet, with the wait lines being relatively short, if sometimes none existent. We had many moments during our holiday were Wait-Times indicated one thing but upon entering the queue we learnt that the indicator was dead-wrong, resulting in either a longer or shorter wait-time than anticipated.
With us, however, it was mostly the latter which we definitely weren’t going to complain about. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon was no exception and there were a couple of rides that had the complete wrong Wait-Time at the attraction’s entrance, thus giving us false information which could’ve made us completely avoid them if I hadn’t used my initiative, i.e. simply looked at the queue from a distance, revealing that there wasn’t even a wait and we practically walked straight on.
I would definitely advice that you don’t rely too heavily on the Wait-Time indicators at the front of the rides. Sometimes you just need to enter the queue and see for yourself. If the queue is as long as indicated then you simply come back to the ride at a later time but at least you’ve checked it out to make sure that the instrument at the front wasn’t incorrect. We went up to an attraction once that said it was going to be a 90-minute wait, and it was a walk-on experience.
At the end of the day the Wait-Time indicators are based upon how long it took a particular customer to get on the ride at that precise moment in time. I’ve participated in this service myself at the request of a staff-member. I basically ended up shaping the Wait-Time indicator based on my experience in the queue, which further fluctuates the system throughout the day. So, yeah, always be curious and check out a queue first before walking away on the account on some Wait-Time indicator because you never fully know the estimate of the wait until you see it for yourself.
Anyway, back to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. My personal favourite attraction at the Water Park was the newly added Miss Adventure Falls which is a group slide where you sit within a large rubber ring and fly down a massive slide filled with bumps, sweeps, and plenty of water to get you wet. It’s especially fun if you end up going backwards, to which you can’t see a bloody thing and have to rely on your partner, or friend, to warn you of incoming obstacles. We both suffered this fate and it was hilarious. I find the slides you can do together are far more enjoyable because you get to experience the thrills and laughs together, making it far more fun and satisfying.
Plus, my partner sometimes gets nervous around slides so it just makes her feel a bit more secure if she’s not riding alone. But I have to give her credit this year for being really adventurous in trying out different attractions, to which she was a regular “Water-Baby” at the Water Park’s this year, going on everything that I did and walking away usually wanting to ride the slide again with pure excitement. But again, it was helped that a lot of slides we went on this year were group/pair slides so we could do them together, which again is far more exciting than going on alone I think.
There were a couple of solo slides at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls) and they ended up truly terrifying me as I was going down them because I was rocking all over the place, to the point where I feared I may fling out of my dingy, or scratch my ankles along the edge of the slide. I was seriously being swung far too close to the walls then I was comfortable with. One of them ended up spinning me around and I went down backwards. That probably shouldn’t happen.
I remember reaching the bottom and because I came down wrong the dingy didn’t take me properly into the pool so I had to desperately paddle away from the slide just in the nick of time before being collided with the following person speeding down it. I’m not going to exaggerate by saying they were traumatic experiences because quite frankly I ended-up laughing about the experience straight afterwards. But, I still feel that they were a bit too violent with the swaying and speed than I would’ve liked. At the very least my partner had a fun time on them, which counts for something right?
The neighbouring slide, Gangplank Falls, was more up my alley because it served as a sort-of mini-rapids as you slid down the slide in a grouped ring, trying down a hurdle of rapids being splashed left, right, and centre. I don’t think my partner particularly enjoyed this one simply because she got a bit too wet but overall it was a fun experience. I love water-rides in which you get absolutely drenched. That’s the whole point in my eyes. Plus, after coming off the previous two slides it was nice going on an attraction that didn’t make me have a mini-heart-attack and I could just enjoy myself.
The last slide we attended was Crush ‘n’ Gusher which served as a roller-coaster slide which I’ll admit would’ve been a lot cooler had we not been to Universal’s Volcano Bay prior. Basically, that Water-Park has a slide that blows all over slides out the park, making Crush ‘n’ Gusher an inferior ride from start to finish. It just couldn’t compete. It’s a shame because prior to Universal’s Volcano Bay it was the only slide (to my knowledge anyway) that functioned in this way and I do remember wanting to ride it quite badly upon my first trip to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon back in 2008. But that was interrupted due to a stupid incident within the main pool in which I nearly got myself killed (more on that later).
I will admit that Crush ‘n’ Gusher is still fun, more so if you haven’t been to Universal’s Volcano Bay. But, sadly, we’d already been there so all we could say is it was simply just “okay”. In comparison it was less impressive, and was definitely a shorter experience than the slide we’d already been wowed by. But nonetheless you can still have fun on it, still serving as an extremely interesting idea through incorporating the physics of a roller-coaster with that of a water slide, thus giving you a totally different experience as you race up and down slopes at high speeds to reach the bottom.
But if you stick around for my Universal’s Volcano Bay review, you’ll see what I mean by Crush ‘n’ Gusher is now totally inferior.
Onto the highlight of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, to which I will happily admit makes this the best pool out of all the Water Parks in Orlando (not been to Aquatica so I can’t judge that one). Why the best you may ask? Because it’s a WAVE POOL! Sure, you may be wondering why that’s such a big deal. Lots of pools have waves. But not MASSIVE waves! Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool pumps out tidal waves on a regular basis all day long. Basically you can just sit there happily bumbling along when suddenly a HUGE wave comes crashing towards you at high speed and force, meaning no matter where you are in the pool you’re gonna get hit by its destructive nature.
It’s utterly beautiful. Of course I will add that you shouldn’t do what I did, and that’s swim out into the deep-end when you’re not an extremely strong swimmer because you just might drown.
On two separate occasions I’ve nearly drowned in this pool because I got overly excited and wanted to dare myself further into the waves. The first time (which I hinted at earlier) was me believing that a HUGE wave was due and so I swam out, only to discover that they were releasing a swarm of little waves. This was the equivalent of me being caught in a tropical storm whilst stranded in the middle of the ocean, trying desperately to swim back to shore. And when you’re not a strong swimmer you become dangerously close to running out of energy and sinking, not to mention constantly running out of breathe due to the waves continuously dunking you under the water.
This year I thought I could finally succeed where I failed the first time only to discover that I still failed. Sure the HUGE wave came but it didn’t go according to plan, thus I didn’t surf the wave back into the shallow-end and it merely went through me, leaving me in the deep-end with the aftermath of rough waters, and when you can’t touch the bottom, aren’t a strong swimmer, and have little, to no, energy left in your body, you find yourself in quite a predicament. Needless to say I won’t be that stupid in future.
And to wrap things up you can journey into Castaway Creek where you can bobble along the calm waters on top of a rubber ring soaking in the sights of the tropical paradise surrounding you. Then there’s the tasty snacks to disgust in between your water sessions, including yummy burgers and pizzas, followed by some delicious sugary doughnuts.
And finally we come to our leisurely trip to Disney Springs in which you can either shop, eat, or dance until you drop. Seriously, this place is a paradise for anyone who enjoys a good shop, bite to eat, or a groovy dance session. I know this place isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely worth a look at because you just don’t know what you might find, and there are all kinds of shops and restaurants to explore, each delivering a different and unique service to cater for a wide audience of customers.
Me and my partner love going here for souvenirs, to which we bought a beautiful Lumiére candle ornament for my mum, some nice Disney t-shirts for my sister, and dad, a cool Monsters, Inc. mug for my sister-in-law, and some lovely Christmas ornaments from Disney’s Christmas store, Disney’s Days of Christmas.
A neat bit of trivia for you, one of our favourite stores (besides Disney’s Days of Christmas), World of Disney Store, is actually the biggest Disney store in the entire world. That’s pretty impressive. Plus, it does have a lot of good stuff inside, with plenty of different areas for different products and franchises within the world of Disney.
Then of course if you love sweets you should definitely check out Goofy’s Candy Company. It has all sorts in that place, including a massive pick-and-mix section filled to the brim with American delicacy’s. My partner mainly raids this section for her precious Jelly Belly’s, especially the Ice-Cream flavours.
As for me, I’m very partial to Disney’s rice-crispy cakes. You get smaller ones in the shape of Mickey Mouse covered in white chocolate (which are to die for in my personal opinion) or there’s the massive Mickey Mouse ones, to which I took one home with me. Sadly, these don’t come with any toppings but it doesn’t exactly take much effort to melt your own white chocolate on top now does it (which is precisely what I did, topped off with caramel flavouring courtesy of my partner).
There are a lot of fun shops to explore, including a massive LEGO store (which is sadly overpriced [along with all LEGO stores], making me ultimately saddened that I’ll never get to build myself a giant Death Star or Star-Destroyer) and a decent enough Marvel store (to which we got chatting to a really lovely staff-member on the account she was scared of my partner’s Halloween Horror Nights bag, pushing the three of us to talk about Horror films for a good 20 minutes or more, which apparently is a thing if your us lol).
That’s just a small handful of the shops scattered around this massive shopping area. That’s not even mentioning all the themed restaurants (including Planet Hollywood), dance clubs/venues (including House of Blues), and the AMC Theatre which contains over 20 screens for your movie-watching pleasure.
Our favourite restaurant within Disney Springs has to be Rainforest Café because of its fantastic theming. Ever wanted a delicious meal served to you in the middle of the Amazon rainforest surrounded by Gorillas and Elephants? Well now you can! It’s gorgeously themed, making you feel at home with mother-nature as your table is surrounded by a tropical paradise and wild-life, not to mention a reoccurring rain storm erupting, perfectly replication using sound-effects, rain effects, and a special screen on the ceiling. Also, the food is really tasty. Can’t beat a good old fashioned Surf ‘n’ Turf!
This is one of the many things I love about eating within Orlando, you’re presented with unique experiences because of the massive portions, or the tasty treats you can select from the menu (to which I often can’t choose because there’s so many juicy meaty dishes to pick from), and of course the wonderful atmospheres, whether it be the overly welcoming and delightfully friendly staff-members or the unique theming. Honestly, this makes up for half the excitement I experience whilst in the wonderful state of Orlando.
Well it saddens me to say that I’ll be now saying goodbye to Walt Disney World, but what an experience we had. If you can save up enough penny’s I highly recommend going there because you won’t regret it. This massive resort has so much to offer, and with all the different Parks, themes, entertainment, foods, and discoveries to be made you’ll never want to live. We sure didn’t (and we both had the cheek to say that this magical world was just for kids before experiencing it for ourselves – how glad we were to be proven wrong).