Friday, June 29, 2012

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

At Disney World, entertainment surrounds you.  This is true in all four theme parks and in the two water parks.  I can't believe I'm writing this, but Disney even makes waiting in line fun with intricate details layered in the lines as well as the rides.  Every park is a treat to the eyes, if not the feet.

Since we were on a tight budget, we decided to try a water park instead of a third theme park with a one-day ticket being $35 cheaper. (Disney theme parks are $90 and water parks are $55 per adult ticket.)  While Blizzard Beach was the newer of the two water parks, we chose to visit the older Typhoon Lagoon for its tropical ambiance.  (We had been wet and cold in Scotland for three weeks so we did not need nor want the surreal feel of snow at Blizzard Beach in our bathing suits.)

The premise of Typhoon Lagoon is that a massive storm has just blown through the island leaving a boat stranded on top of a volcano and lots of dangerous water rushing down the hillsides.  Every thirty minutes, a whistle blows and the volcano explodes with water spouting through the ship and every ninety seconds, a giant wave crashes in the enormous wave pool.  When we arrived, all the bathers in the wave pool were shouting, "Wave, Wave, Wave!"  Suddenly, a loud boom sounded, followed by a surge of water making the delighted bathers squeal in unison.

Though the pool looked fun, we wanted to get wet with some sharks.  At the Shark Reef, we snorkeled (with sanitized Disney gear) across a 50-foot reef created around an overturned submarine.  The pool contained leopard and bonnet head sharks, stingrays, and other tropical fish.  Emma was a little frightened at first, but once in the water she relaxed and became mesmerized with the fish.  The Shark Reef was a great way to safely introduce our kids to the wonders of underwater life and the thrill of seeing them first hand.  

It was hard to beat swimming with sharks, but we searched for bigger thrills and headed for the water slides.  Greg and Wyatt started with the biggest- HUMUNGA KOWABUNGA!  The two big boys rushed down one of three, 5 story tall, enclosed water slides.  Can you say wedgie?  The girls opted for a smaller start at the three Storm Slides.  These were body slides that twisted and turned through rocky canyons and caves.  Next, we tried the water roller coaster called the Crush-N-Gusher where water actually pushes your raft up hills so you can shoot down another hill.  We took turns riding together and separate so we could experience all three runs.  It was awesome!  Full of thrills, we hopped on a inner tube and floated Castaway Creek, a gentle stream that flows through the park.

After a meal of mediocre amusement park food (hot dogs, BBQ and chicken wraps), we ventured to the other side of the park.  Our kids were too big for Ketchakiddee Creek (a water play area for kids under 48") so we jumped in line for Gang Plank Falls.  This water slide is a family ride with room for four on one float.  Of course, we have five in our family so we had to ride three and two to a raft, but it was still fun.  We quickly rode the next two slides, Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls, which were both single person raft rides.  With time to spare before the park closed we returned to the body slides and the water coaster.  Anabel even braved the Humuga Kowabunga!  The whole family voted these the best rides in the park.  We ended our day in the wave pool and squealed with delight when the waves hit just like the first bunch we heard when we arrived.  There's something about big waves that makes everyone scream like a little girl.

To be honest, I was not looking forward to a day of standing in line in a wet bathing suit (I don't know a forty-something woman who would.)  However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had and I was again thankful that we had taken this retirement year with our kids.  Running up stairs after Emma to our third water slide in a row (where were the lines now so I could stop and breathe?), it hit me that there would be very little chance of me enjoying Typhoon Lagoon in my sixties (or fifties, if I can be really honest.)   Thankfully, I was still in my forties and I had a ball!

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