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Typhoon Lagoon


Getting There Rides Shows Other Activities

Typhoon Lagoon is Disney's second water park, and is the exact opposite of Blizzard Beach. Instead of a blizzard, Disney's imagineers brought a hurricane through, picking up fishing boats and depositing them atop mountains, flipping large ships over and leaving them capsized in the bay, and wreaking other such damage on the peaceful tropical landscape. The theming is intense, including the dense tropical foliage. The differences are subtle, and families can have fun at either park, but Typhoon Lagoon is less intense at every point than Blizzard Beach, with the idea that teenagers can cavort at Blizzard Beach while grade school kids can have their fun at Typhoon Lagoon. However, adults can love the lazy river, wave pool and slides at Typhoon Lagoon if they just want a nice relaxing afternoon or evening as a respite from the dry parks.

Rides Magic Kingdom Hollywood Studios Animal Kingdom Epcot Blizzard Beach Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
We think Crush n Gusher is the best ride at Typhoon Lagoon. It's a complex of three water roller coasters. All three begin at the same place and at the end drop you into the same pool. Most importantly,, all three propel your three person raft along the tube using high pressure water jets. You slide down steep drops and are propelled back up lift hills so you never lose speed. The photo here is somewhat misleading because it suggests the ride is mostly long straights, but in fact you spend most of it careening around sharp turns. This ride does not match Wildebeest or Mammoth at Holiday World (Indiana) but they beat everything else in Florida and would be competitive with any of the rides across the country except they're too short. Moving as fast as you are, it seems like only an instant before you hit the pool called Hideaway Bay. There's another view top right.
Castaway Creek is Typhoon Lagoon's lazy river, a 2100 ft. circular stream you can ride all the way around to your starting point in about 35 minutes. The scenery is intense, mostly lush tropical foliage and rugged rocks. There are five points along the way where you can get on or off. The water starts off coolish in the mornings but warms up by about 1 pm and is downright tropical most of the afternoon and early evening. There's another view of Castaway Creek above right. This is not quite as long as the lazy river over at Blizzard Beach but it's longer and definitely more scenic than the ones at all the other water parks across the country. At times when it's not too crowded the trick is to snag two inner tubes and lay across both of them.
Mayday Falls is the longest, highest, fastest and trickiest of the tube rides at Typhoon Lagoon. You board your inner tube in a small pool, then exit into a long trough. Once you make the left turn and start downhill the fun begins. This looks like a typical tubing run. But at most such rides, you're riding a thin film of water, almost like sliding down a greased chute. Not here. They add lots of extra water to set up waves and rapids, so just getting around the bends isn't your only concern. In the photo at left, look beyond the girl to the heavy water churning around the next bend. That's been added through outlets on the sides. Various tunnels and waterfalls add to the variety. The only problem with Mayday Falls is that it's not very long. Considering your speed, it's over much too soon. Most of the Midwestern water parks have tubing runs much longer than this. This one is still a very good run, but if it were twice as long it would be the best in the country.

Gangplank Falls is Typhoon Lagoon's white water rafting ride. It's a fairly standard version, taking you through tunnels and under several waterfalls to make sure everyone gets soaked. It's fun, but short. The typical ride only lasts a minute. You're moving pretty fast down a fairly steep slope but given the competition from other water parks, some right here in Orlando, Disney could wrap a much longer ride around that hill.

The Storm Slides are three fairly breathtaking body slides (named Jib Jammer, Rudder Buster and Stern Burner) that come down off the right side of Mystic Mountain. You go through caves, tunnels and waterfalls and through some pretty impressive scenery and theming. You wind down around the mountain but the total elevation drop is three stories. Average speed is about 30 mph but the ride lasts less than a minute. The middle and left slides are the best, with the one at right (looking at them as you begin) being pretty mild. People with claustrophobic concerns might have trouble with the dark passageways which, as you can see here at left, are not too roomy.

The most memorable experience at Typhoon Lagoon is snorkeling at Shark Reef. This is one thing you won't be doing at the water park back home. You're in there with Stingrays, Tropical Fish, and Leopard and Bonnet Head Sharks. You check in, receive your mask, snorkelling tube and life vest. The water is 10 ft. deep so you must swim across the harbor. Also be aware that to suppress algae growth they keep the water chilled to 72 degrees. Of course the sun is shining down and the air is hot and humid, so as soon as you step out you warm up again in a hurry. You want to swim as slowly as possible, barely enough to be moving, because you want to observe the animals around you. A Sting Ray may very well swim right up next to you, and you can run your hands down its fins, an aquatic version of petting it. The sharks will stay a little further away, but they'll come close enough to get your adrenalin pumping. If you want good photos you'll need to buy a waterproof casing for your regular camera, or a waterproof camera. Remember you can buy disposable waterproof cameras for $20-30. The sharks and rays are only about four feet long . The real stars of the show are the brilliantly colored Angelfish, Blue Parrotfish, Yellow Grunts and striped Sergeant Majors. This basic experience, in which you're given the equipment and allowed to swim once across the harbor, is free. There's a more extensive experience, in which you go scuba diving, stay down for quite a while, and explore the whole harbor. To do this you must be certified from a dive shop back home and pay $150, but it's a Caribbean scuba diving experience without leaving the U.S.

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