If you are planning your vacation to Orlando you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with the amazing choice of waterparks!
Whether you plan to visit a waterpark once during your stay or perhaps looking to go every morning before moving onto the Disney or Universal theme parks we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we will discuss which is the right choice for you and your family and friends.
From the largest to the smallest waterparks, and from thrills to relaxation we’ve got it covered so relax as if you are on the lazy river, and let’s get started!
Who Owns Which Waterpark?
If you have never visited Orlando before you may be a little confused as to the choice of water parks.
To simplify this Walt Disney World owns and operates both the Blizzard Beach And Typhoon Lagoon water Parks and Universal owns and operates Volcano Bay.
I would suggest looking at your park tickets before you arrive, as not all Universal and Disney tickets include entry to the waterparks.
Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon Or Volcano Bay-Which Is Most Relaxing?
Ok, let’s start with the most relaxing water park and move on from there.
Without a doubt, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is the most relaxing of all the water parks for numerous reasons.
Opened on June 1st, 1989, Disney’s typhoon lagoon has only 7 fairly tame water slide rides so the thrill-seeker may be a little disappointed!
Themed by Disney as a tropical paradise that emerged after a typhoon, the emphasis is very much on relaxation.
This is great news for the sun worshippers, as this park has plenty of space to relax, and a truly awesome wave pool, in fact, if you pre-book you can actually surf in the wave pool at specific times!
There are plenty of areas at Typhoon Lagoon to truly chill out and unwind.
Typhoon Lagoon is the smallest of the 3 parks we’ll discuss in this article, so getting around this waterpark is simple and only involves relatively short walking distances.
The whole (full lap) around Typhoon Lagoon is just 0.80 km and takes around 10-15 minutes.
- Pro Tip – Both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are only a short distance away after you finish relaxing at Typhon Lagoon.
Parking is free at both Disney Waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) and a short walk from the parking lot or Disney bus stop to the entrance. It is also only a short (relaxing) walk to the changing areas.
Disney closes either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach some winter months of the year for planned maintenance so you may want to plan ahead. As a general rule though one of the Disney water parks remains open throughout the winter months.
Take a look at this relaxing YouTube video for an overview of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
Best Waterpark For Rides And Thrills In Orlando
So, now that we’ve covered a relaxing option let’s go plummeting to the other side!
If you are looking for thrills, spills, action, adventure, and some of the most advanced water rides in the world you will want over to Universals Volcano Bay!
Opened on May 25th, 2017 (28 years later than Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon) Universals Volcano Bay is Huge.
With over 20 water slides alone as well as countless other areas and 2 lazy rivers, Volcano Bay is your best option for a wild day out.
You’ll need a good night’s sleep before tackling this day out!
Take a look at this YouTube video that shows an overview of Universals Volcano Bay Waterpark.
One of the most popular rides at Universals Volcano Bay Is Krakatau.
Take a look at this YouTube video for a preview.
Thrills and attractions are one great option of Volcano bay, however, this is a large waterpark and it takes a long time to find your way from one side of the volcano to the other.
On my first visit, I got so lost!
It took me an eternity to find my locker and get my bearings! Trust me, there are twists and turns throughout the park and potentially a lot of walking distance between some rides.
One great feature of Volcano Bay is the ability to join a virtual line.
On entry to Volcano Bay, you will be issued a (free) Tapu Tapu digital bracelet.
This bracelet allows you to walk up to the ride of your choice and tap against the totem at the entry of each ride. You will then be given a time (displayed on the TapuTapu) when you can return and ride without having to wait in line!
- Note you will need to hand in your Tapu Tapu when you exit Volcano Bay.
This feature is only available at Universals Volcano Bay and not at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard beach.
One other difference between the Disney and Universal water parks is that Universal does not allow any videos to be filmed on the slides/ attractions. The Disney water parks do currently allow this.
How To Access Universals Volcano Bay Water Park? Is It Free Parking?
Visiting Volcano bay is not quite as straightforward as you may think.
At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, you can park directly outside the water parks.
Universals Volcano Bay requires you to pay for parking at Universal Studios and then take a free short bus journey over to the Volcano Bay Water park.
This may not be the ideal situation for guests that are uncomfortable looking a little ragged after leaving a waterpark!
As previously stated, parking at Disney’s water park parking is completely free, so this may also be your determining factor when deciding which water park to visit.
One thing to mention though is you do not need to pay to park again later in the day to access Universal Studios or Universals Islands Of Adventure park.
If you are short on time and just want to spend a couple of hours chilling at one of the water parks, then Disney’s options may be the right choice for you.
Universals Volcano Bay is really worth a visit, but if you do I would suggest taking a full day to explore all this park has to offer and allow time for transportation (and money for parking) to plan your trip.
I would suggest that this park attracts a slightly younger livelier audience than the Disney water parks, often with more large groups and perhaps less so younger families.
Disneys Blizzard Beach vs Volcano Bay And Typhoon Lagoon
You may have noticed throughout this article I haven’t compared Disney’s Blizzard Beach With Typhoon Lagoon and Universals Volcano Bay.
This is something I want to discuss now.
Opened on April 1st, 1995 Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water park remains the best all-around choice for me.
Parking is free and right outside the Blizzard Beach water park and while there is not a huge amount of difference in size between Disney’s Typhon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, Blizzard beach is bigger.
There is one key difference about this park that makes it my particular favorite for me and my family.
There is something for everyone.
Blizzard Beach is the perfect combination of relaxation areas and water slides and attractions.
It is also snow-themed which is pretty cool for a water park!
Whilst not nearly as large as Universals Volcano Bay there is a fantastic lazy river and wave pool as well as a chair lift to take you up to some of the slides at the top end of the park.
Be sure to brave “Summit Plummet” before your vacation ends!
Here’s a YouTube video overview of Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
Disney And Universal Water Parks – Know Before You Go
If time allows you will want to try and visit the waterparks in the middle of the week. All 3 waterparks are noticeably busier on a weekend not just with vacationers but with local residents also.
Whilst you may imagine the dress code is very relaxed at the waterparks there are still various clothing requirements, check out our article on the Disney Dress Code. You can read it here
You will need to choose appropriate footwear. It is very easy to burn the soles of your feet in the summer months.
Although some paved areas have water directly sprayed on them there are always areas that don’t get covered.
Lockers – There are various sizes of lockers available at all 3 parks but they are not free. I would suggest you also take note of which locker area you stored your items in so you can find them again later in the day.
Whether you choose Disney’s Blizzard Beach Typhoon Lagoon or Universals’ Volcano bay I’m sure you will have a great time.
One last thing to consider is that the location of each water park may be the determining factor if time is of the essence and you are looking to head across to a theme park later in the day!
Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon
While Volcano Bay is owned by Universal Studios and is best suited for teens and adults who love an adrenaline boost, Typhoon Lagoon is owned by Disney and is great for families with kids due to its tropical storm theme and older attractions.