Mary Connor

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Taking a Toddler or Small Child to a Disney Water Park

a look at why you should consider Blizzard Beach for your next trip

 

A look at the best Disney Waterpark for a Toddler - Disney's Blizzard Beach

Walt Disney World is home to two wonderfully fabulous water parks; Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Typhoon Lagoon is located near Disney Springs and has a post typhoon theme where you will find surfbaords in trees and boats laying at odd angles (think Gilligan’s Island meets Gidget).

Blizzard Beach on the other hand is located near Animal Kingdom Park and is themed as a one time ski resort that began to melt leaving you with slushy slopes and white-sand beaches.

Both sound like they would be fun but which one is best for a toddler or child that does not swim?  After taking our sons to both, I recommend Blizzard Beach to anyone that asks and below I will share how much this park has to offer our little non-swimmers.

I will also be pointing out why Typhoon Lagoon may not be as good of an option.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Typhoon Lagoon but for toddlers Blizzard Beach is the place to be.

Tike’s Peak – dedicated children’s area

Tike’s Peak is the dedicated children’s area for Disney’s Blizzard Beach.    In fact you must be 48″ or SHORTER to even go down all but one of the slides. That’s right – no adults allowed!

This set up gives the little ones the sense of being a big kid in a safe environment where the parents can relax.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Tyke's Peak

What is even better is that the entire area is separated from the rest of the park with only two entrances.  So you can grab a seat towards the middle of Tykes Peak and easily keep an eye on your kids as they run around.

When the kids are at the top of the slopes at Tikes Peak you won’t be able to see them.  But be assured that since the only place they can go is down you will easily find them on their descent.   😉

There is also a lot of covered seating in this area which is perfect if you are planning to spend the day. There is also some sand areas for those that just can’t be at the beach without squishing sand between their toes.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | covered seating at Tyke's Peak

For those that want to ensure they have seating or would like extra perks (like a personal attendant, private lockers, all-day drink mugs, bottled water, lounge furniture, and rental towels for 6) there is one cabana to rent within the Tyke’s Peak area.

This is new and I was so excited to see this offering.  You could easily set up camp here and little ones could grab a nap (or two) as needed.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | cabana rental within Tyke's Peak

Tike’s Peak – even the littles have something to do

Little ones will not get bored with the options in Tyke’s Peak.  For the youngest set head up to the top of the hill (there is also covered seating there to) and you will find a small play area with 3 teeny tiny slides.

Two slides run through tunnels while one slide is located on the exterior and easy for parents to hold their kids on the way down.

Your kids may be afraid of the tunnel slides but take it from my prior experience and do not going through these tunnels yourself to show them how easy it is(let’s just say I had a Winnie the Pooh moment). They really are meant for those tiny tykes.

The only issue here is that sometimes bigger kids join in the fun and as a parent you will need to slow them down so that the littlest of the littles get a chance to slide too (and safely).

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | small child playground

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | small child playground

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | small child playground

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | single rider slide at Tyke's PeakTike’s Peak – 3 slide options that are just like the big kids

From the top of the hill you have three options to return to the bottom (walking is always a 4th option).  There is one traditional slide, one inner-tube slide, and one side-by-side downhill slide.  The first two you have to be 48″ or shorter while the side-by-side downhill allows the parents to join in the fun.

1. Snow Banked Traditional Slide

The traditional slide is a miniature snow-banked slide that goes down the center of the area.  You do have to be 48″ or shorter for this ride and most kids are tentative to get on it the first time.

Most kids actually get stuck and have to scoot their way down.  They will soon be running (walking) up the stairs to go down it again.

Tip: I spoke to the lifeguard and he told me the kids should lie down on this ride to keep up enough speed to not get stuck.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | single rider slide at Tyke's Peak

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | single rider slide at Tyke's Peak

 

2. Inner-Tube Slalom

I have to say that the mini inner-tube ride may be the one I am most jealous of not being able to ride.

Kids are hesitant to try this at first but the cast members are great at helping them get onto the tube (and pointing them in the right direction) and at the bottom there is a cast member ready to catch them.

After just one ride they will be constantly heading back up the hill to come down it again.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | mini inner tube slide at Tykes Peak

You will need to carry an inner tube from the bottom to the top for this so remember to grab one while you are down there

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | mini inner tube slide

3. Side-by-side Racers

The last slide is the side-by-slide downhill racers.  These are actually pretty fun to race your kids on and there is enough of a splash at the bottom to make it a bit thrilling.

It is like sliding into a full bathtub at the bottom.  You WILL get you face and hair wet on this one and the kids will happily laugh as they beat you (you should let them win 😉 ).

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | side-by-side downhill slides at Tykes Peak

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | side-by-side downhill slides at Tykes Peak

Tike’s Peak – wading pool & splash pad

At the bottom of the slides is a wading pool (about 6 inches deep) that includes “melting” snow sculptures, including the famous Ice Gator with his leaky umbrella.

This area is great for photos.  You could easily wade in two and get that perfect shot or let the Photopass photographer get it for you.  There is always one in this area.

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World - Tikes Peak Toddler Area

And even if this wasn’t all enough there is a snowman-manned igloo fortress with spouting pop-up jets. There is no lack of things for the little ones to do here and enough space for Mom and Dad to relax knowing they can keep an eye on them.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Snowball fight splash pad at Tyke's Peak

Comparison with Ketchakiddie Creek at Typhoon Lagoon

Ketchakiddie Creek area for kids is more like a (very large) splash pad.

There is a grotto with waterfalls to run through and a boat to shoot water from but the slides are very small and even a toddler would get stuck going down them.  This area is better suited for babies or toddlers that have a huge fear of slides.

I did find out there is also a mini inner-tube ride.  To be honest I completely missed it as my kids quickly left this area.

There is a side-by-side slide for slightly older kids in the surf (wave) pool.  Unfortunately when the waves are really going there is a pretty strong undertow at the exit of the slide that will easily knock a kid over.

Parents must be vigilant and ready to grab their child if needed.

Ketchakiddie Creek at Typhoon Lagoon

Bay Slides at Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool

Ski Patrol Training Camp

Technically Ski Patrol Training Camp is for bigger kids and tweens.  But there are two slides here that are options for little ones that can hold onto a tube and/or willing to wear a life jacket.

1. Cool Runner Inner-Tube Slide

The first one is Cool Runners.  This tube ride is a step above the one is Tyke’s Peak but is not to rough for younger riders.  And it empties right into a 2.5 feet pool of water with a lifeguard standing by.

It is definitely a good transition slide for the young ones.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cool Runners inner tube slide at Ski Patrol Training Camp

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cool Runners inner tube slide at Ski Patrol Training Camp

2. Snow Falls Side-by-Side Racers

The other slides is a bit more on the adventurous side and I would definitely recommend a life jacket.  It is called Snow Falls and is a side by side slide where you can actually hold hands with your child as you both go down the slides.  It is then easy to just pull them to you at the end.

Disney does not allow you to wait at the bottom of a slide to catch your children or to ride tandem.  But at Blizzard Beach there are some great medium slides that allow you to keep a hold of your child even if they are on their own slide.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Snow Falls slide at Ski Patrol Training Camp

Comparison with slides options at Typhoon Lagoon

photo credit: Vai pra Disney?

photo credit: Vai pra Disney?

In contrast, there aren’t as many options that allow riders of any height at Typhoon Lagoon. There are a couple of inner tube rides but many toddlers aren’t comfortable in their own tube so use caution.

Another option is the go down first turn around and catch option (not endorsed by Disney).  The catching parent heads down first and then the second parent sends the child down the same slide.  The problem is the catching parent has to quickly get off the slide, turn around, and catch.

The currents at the exits to slides can be really really strong.  I about had a heart attach the first time as I barely caught my son by the shirt.  If you do this, once you get off the slide move to the side.  It is easier to grab them from the side than from the front.

Melt-Away Bay Wave Pool

Melt-Way Bay at Blizzard Beach is much smaller than it’s equivalent at Typhoon Lagoon. It also has gentler waves that are made more for  leisurely floating on an inner tube or bobbing through the surf.

There are plenty of inner tubes to go around but they can be hard to find while the wave machine is on since everyone wants to head out to the deep end where the waves are the larges.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Meltaway Bay wave pool

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Meltaway Bay wave pool

The wave are small enough that kids can play at the edge of the water with no problems.  A slight undertow is present but it just tips you over rather than the stronger currents at Typhoon Lagoon.

If you are looking for the calmest water when the wave machine is on head to the right side of the bay.  There it is very calm and kids can easily play in this 0 degree entry area.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Meltaway Bay wave pool

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Meltaway Bay wave pool

Comparison with the Surf Pool at Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon Surf PoolTyphoon Lagoon can have up to 6-foot swells that are way to powerful for the toddlers.  In between the large waves it is safe for the toddlers but the lifeguards are always reminding you to stay close so you can swoop them up if a big wave comes.

The other thing to be wary of for the little ones is that because there are larger waves there is also an undertow.  It can be strong at time and can even knock an adult off their feet.  In fact the last time we were there we saw the lifeguards in action assisting an adult that had been caught in the swirl of waves.

The good news here is that the lifeguards are fabulous!  It was obvious they were well trained and even though they were addressing a situation in the pool there were plenty of eyes still on everyone else.

Cross Country Creek

The lazy river, Cross Country Creek, at Blizzard Beach is my favorite thing to do at the water park. Parents and kids can enjoy this 3,000-foot-long flowing river that covers the entire park.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cross Country Creek lazy river

There are 7 entrances to the creek spread out across the park.  This means you can make a quick exit if anyone gets scared or is in need of a restroom. (there is one directly opposite one of the Tyke’s Peak exits)

Blizzard Beach offers three types of inner tubes to get you around the.  The single rider, double rider and the kids tube that has no hole.  This last inner tube is perfect for the little ones because there is no risk of them slipping through the center.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cross Country Creek lazy river

But even if they do head into the water.  The water is only 2.5 feet deep and there is a lifeguard always visible to assist if needed.  The current and depth are also perfect to swim/wade alongside the inner tube (just in case you need to hang onto someone).

Don’t think this is just your average lazy river, Disney has added some wonderful touches to keep your attention and make children squeal with delight.

You will pass through a polar cave that sprinkles cold (VERY COLD) water down upon you.

The cold water may be great on hot days but on cooler days try to steer you tube between the waterfalls.  This is where walking alongside your child is a benefit because you can easily maneuver the tube.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cross Country Creek lazy river

Other elements (that all shoot water) include a snow machine with leaking pipes and the house of the Blizzard Beach mascot, Ice Gator.  Just so you know, Ice Gator is not feeling well so watch out.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cross Country Creek lazy river

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Cross Country Creek lazy river

Comparison with the Castaway Creek at Typhoon Lagoon

Castaway Creek at Typhoon LagoonThe lazy river, Castaway Creek, at Typhoon Lagoon floats you through tropical landscapes and typhoon debris.  Castaway Creek is smaller than the one at Blizzard Beach coming in at only  2,000-foot-long and 5 entrtances.

Otherwise it is pretty much the same as Cross Country Creek.  The themeing for Blizzard Beach’s lazy river is just a touch more kid engaging.  (but just by a smidge)

Other Amenities

1. Free Use of Life Jackets

Throughout the park you will find stands filled with life jackets for the little ones or even adults that aren’t quite comfortable in the water.

You can pick one up at any stand and return it to any stand.  This is a great convenience because you may only want a life jacket for a specific ride.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Life Jackets

2. Lost Child Area

Disney is great with the kids and that goes double for any that may have misplaced their parents.  At the front of the park you will find a covered area for lost children filled with games and coloring activities.

Tip: Once a child has been found the lifeguard will contact all of the other lifeguards with a lost child notice, description/name of child and description/name of parents.

If you have lost a child all you need to do is approach any lifeguard notify them and they will know at once if they have been located.

Disney's Blizzard Beach for Toddlers and Small Children | Lost Children Station

Funny thing is that this is not only for kids.  I was actually lost one night.  I could not find my family and I ended up in the lost child center.  The same process happened for me but unfortunately my husband never contacted a lifeguard.  (so I got some great coloring done instead)

Final Thoughts

As you can tell I think Blizzard Beach is wonderful for the younger set.  It has a lot of option for those still in diapers and those just beginning to swim.

In talking with some of the Cast Members they also agreed.  They called Blizzard Beach the calmer water park.  And in this case that is just what we are looking for.

Somewhere we can watch our kids enjoy themselves and build up their confidence for those bigger thrill rides down the road.

If you would like a little more visual input I have also included a video of some of these attraction.


Now it is your turn.  Is there something about Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Disney’s Blizzard Beach that you think makes it a good or bad idea for the younger set?

 

A look at the best Disney Waterpark for a Toddler - Disney's Blizzard Beach

By | 2017-10-12T13:46:10+00:00 September 24th, 2016|

About the Author:

Full time working mom making the most out of time with my family through travel, crafts & photography. Owner/designer of Capturing Magical Memories® and co-owner of the Magical Blogorail travel co-operative. In my free time it is all spas, wineries and concierge.

25 Comments

  1. MMGMOM3 March 26, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I have always wanted to go to Disney. This makes me want to go even more.

  2. KimCroisant March 26, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I so have your blog pinned. We are going to Disney World in summer of 2015 and I know I can get lots of info from you. Thank you so much for all the wonderful info here.

    • Anonymous May 6, 2015 at 6:13 am - Reply

      Blizzard beach was our daughters number one pick! She loved all of the smaller slide options much more than typhoon lagoon. She just turned 5 in February:)

      • Mary Connor May 10, 2015 at 8:42 am - Reply

        Looks like our kids are the same age. My son turned 5 in February too. It also looks like they have the same great taste in water parks. He lived on those smaller slides last trip.

  3. LolliFranklin March 26, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh! My kids would LOVE that! Since my kids are older and all swimmers, would https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/typhoon-lagoon/ be a better option for us?

  4. brettbmartin March 26, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I think that my family should pack bags and go test this for ourselves.  RIGHT NOW.

  5. runknopp March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

    This looks like so much fun for the whole family, not just the little ones. I haven’t been to Disney World yet, but it is on my to-go list now.

  6. DIStherapy March 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Important information for all families Mary.  I well remember the heart-in-my-mouth feeling when spending time in any water park.  I’m so glad that Blizzard Bach was safe AND fun for you mama!!

  7. marriedcoupons April 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Wow, that looks like such a great time! My son would even have a fantastic time there and he is a little older. I can’t wait to check this out!

  8. Jenn Lissak May 19, 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I thought I had heard that Typhoon Lagoon was better for smaller kids – but looks like I’m mistaken! I haven’t done the water parks.. ever… I think we’ll try it on longer trips when the kids are older, but it definitely does look like fun!

  9. FrontierlandSta May 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Great advice! I don’t have kids yet, so I had never thought about which water park would be better for toddlers, but I have to agree. Blizzard Beach is probably the best choice.

  10. adisneymom May 20, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

    I’ve been trying to decide which park would be best for my 5 and 2 year olds!  This is great information.  Thanks Mary!

  11. DisneyGirl1023 July 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Hey!  Love this post!  As a current lifeguard cast member at Blizzard Beach and former lifeguard at Typhoon Lagoon, it’s wonderful to see someone so enthusiastic about the park I truly love.  I will say this, however: Lifeguards at Blizzard Beach do NOT allow you to wait at the bottom of any of the slides for your kids.  The ONLY exception to this rule is Snow Falls.  Typhoon Lagoon allows parents to catch, but, except for Snow Falls, Blizzard Beach does NOT.  Lifeguards are told during training sessions that we must ask the parents to move immediately to the exit of the slides, as having someone wait at the bottom has proven to be dangerous.  If your child needs help getting out of the tube or catch pool, the lifeguard on duty will quickly get in and do so.  We do it all the time 🙂

  12. DisneyGirl1023 July 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    LolliFranklin Actually, I would still recommend Blizzard Beach, as the “thrill rides” at this park are more enjoyable and thrilling than the ones at Typhoon Lagoon.  **CM Tip: Try going later in the day if you go in the summer.  Around 4:00pm, the park basically empties out, but it stays open until 8:00pm!**

  13. Stacey January 14, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Hi, I have little ones (2.5 yrs). I am a little apprehensive about your summary because they cant swim or float on their own yet. Is it still safe for them to go down the slides/will the life guards help them? Can we walk them to the top of the slide? They’ve been down slides before at a local park but we were able to be right at the bottom to get them, so I am just trying to get a better picture of what to expect 🙂

    • Mary Connor January 14, 2016 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Stacey – Completely understand. In the kids area I would not hesitate at all to let them go down by themselves. The slides actually go slow enough that they can stop themselves. As a parent you will be more worried and try to run alongside it as they go down (believe me – I did). The tube ride for the little kids may be too much but let your little ones decide. One time my 2.5 yo was scared to do it but 6 mo later loved it. There are life guards at the top and bottom of these slides to help. The little kids areas is quite contained and there are chairs for you to camp in.

      The lazy river has floats that have the bottom so you can take them without worrying that they will fall through. Again, I was paranoid and never let go of their float for a moment but they had a blast! So I would easily do that with a 2.5 yo. The water is only 3.5 feet at the deepest (if I remember correctly) so you can walk along with them or you can use a float and just hold onto theirs. The wave pool there is also calmer then typhoon lagoon so the little ones could play there too without much worry. Both areas have lots of life guards keeping watch.

      There is a slide we took our son on in the ‘tween’ area that you can ride in the slide next to him and hold their hands as they go down. With a death grip we were able to go down that one and he loved it. But it is deep at the end so this one is not for the faint of heart parent. Other than white knuckles on me there were no issues as it was easy to hold on to him the entire way. The life guards are there but only will help if there is trouble.

      Those are the only ones I would take them on at the level you spoke of. But that is already more than I would do at typhoon lagoon. Even the kid slide empties into the wave pool and there is a strong undertow at times. Made me really uncomfortable. Blizzard beach wins hands down for the little ones.

      No matter what water park you go to they do have life vests available at any time. Grab one if it makes you or your little ones more comfortable.

      • Anonymous June 22, 2016 at 10:40 am - Reply

        We had such a great time! they were fearless in the kids area! they also loved riding the ski lift up and riding the big family slide down (that was one of my favorites too!). we all enjoyed the lazy river and one of the other tube slides too! my son was in a raft in the shallow part of the wave pool (husband was holding him) and he fell asleep for nap time 🙂 overall it was a wonderful day. we got there at open and left at closed and the kids were so excited for everything! thanks for your recommendation!

        • stacey June 22, 2016 at 10:40 am - Reply

          whoops, sorry this is Stacey responding on our trip from January 🙂

          • Mary Connor June 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

            I am so glad to hear this!! Thank you for coming back and telling me. Especially about the ski lift. We did not feel comfortable taking the kids on it but I glad to hear I should not have been afraid. We will try it next trip.

  14. Anonymous May 31, 2016 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    i am going there in 4 more days yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  15. Natalie Peterson June 26, 2016 at 8:45 am - Reply

    This is great info! We have a four year old, and then three older kids (ages 9, 13, and 15) who are good swimmers and would enjoy the thrill rides. Can I stay with my toddler and let the other kids go off on their own (meeting at places at certain times?). My husband can’t join us until later so the only way this park would work well for us is for them to be able to go off on their own a bit.

    • Mary Connor June 26, 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      This is a great idea! The toddler area is perfect for this. Get there early and set up camp in one of the shaded areas. Then have the kids come back at certain times. There is also an entrance to the lazy river pretty close to there too which is nice for everyone.

  16. Amie May 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Sitting here deciding which park we will hit tomorrow with out toddlers and decided to google it – SO happy I did! Beautiful post!!! We are going to blizzard beach tomorrow 🙂 thank you! Ps do you have an intsagram?!

  17. Anonymous July 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I want to come

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