At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, guests can snorkel with sharks in a coral reef, plunge down rapids, float along in the lazy river and even sunbathe on a white sandy beach! According to Disney legend, “After an epic typhoon hurled surfboards into palm trees and tossed boats like toys, the storm-soaked Mount Mayday became a topsy-turvy oasis of water-filled adventure.” (Excerpt from the Walt Disney World website)
On a bright, sunny day in June, 2014, my family and I set off to conquer every thrill that Typhoon Lagoon had to offer. Over the years, we have come to realize that we aren’t “rope-droppers” but we do usually arrive at the parks in the first hour of opening. It’s not that we are just too lazy to get our bums out of the bed. We have an actual reason. My husband, John, has epilepsy. So, working rest and relaxation into our vacation time is essential.
We arrived at the park about an hour after it opened and, even though it was already quite warm, there weren’t many others going through the turnstiles. For those of you who may be wondering, Magic Bands are waterproof and can be worn at the water parks.
Our first order of business was to rent a locker to hold our things for the day. Locker rentals are available at High ‘n Dry Towels and the cost is $13 for a small size and $15 for a larger size, plus $5 refundable deposit when you turn your key back in. The guys had worn their swim trunks with tanks and I wore my swimsuit under my clothes so all we had to do was tuck the rest of our things in the locker.
Once that was done, we ventured further into the park and found a nice beach area complete with lots of loungers. This would be our “camp” for the day. This also turned out to be the spot where my husband spent the majority of his day. While I am a go-go-go kind of person, as is our son, my husband enjoys lounging around doing a whole lot of nothing especially when it’s a beautiful day, the weather is warm and there’s a beach with lounge chairs.
However, before he “settled in” to get his lounging on, we all went to ride Gangplank Falls.
The wait time sign said that there was a five minute wait time “from this point”.
We were able to go all the way to the entrance of the falls before we encountered any other guests and were in our inner tube in less than the five minutes stated on the sign.
Gangplank Falls is a family raft ride in a giant inner tube with room enough for four people. The rapids will take your tube down a 300 foot long waterslide aboard a four person inner tube. If there are fewer than four in your party, there is a possibility that you’ll be asked to ride with other guests. We were a group of three and had the tube all to ourselves.
Gangplank Falls was so much fun! We had a blast going around the turns and getting splashed by the waterfall.
We went back to our “camp” and talked about what to do next. My husband was ready to soak up the rays but my son and I were ready to find another adventure. We found it in the form of Humunga Kowabunga! Humunga Kowabunga is a body slide that’s 214 feet long and is at a 60 degree angle. There are three side-by-side enclosed body slides which drop you five stories in mere seconds. My son and I did this twice in a matter of just a few minutes. I screamed with excitement both times!
After conquering Humunga Kowabunga, we moved on to the Storm Slides. The Storm Slides are also body slides and there are three to choose from: Jib Jammer, Stern Burner and Rudder Buster. No matter which slide you choose, you’ll zip your way past rocks, greenery, through grottoes and you’ll end up in pool at the end. Unlike some body slides, you do not lie down on these slides. You go down sitting on your rear. Hunter and I were able to do all three slides in no time at all and even went back later in the day and did them again.
After looking at the Typhoon Lagoon map, we could see that Keelhaul Falls and Mayday Falls were just a short walk from where we were.
The directional signs at Typhoon Lagoon are easy to follow and we were able to find our way to the entrance to the falls. The walkways to Keelhaul Falls and Mayday Falls divide when you get about halfway up Mount Mayday and we chose to go to Mayday Falls first since the line looked to be the shortest.
Mayday Falls is the highest and longest waterslide at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and is a fun ride for big kids, teens and adults. You’ll swoosh and swerve through caves, under bridges and past waterfalls! Of the three falls, Gangplanks Falls, Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls, Mayday Falls is the most intense and you’re sure to laugh all the way down!
Typhoon Tilly, the shipwrecked shrimp boat, which is icon of the water park, sits atop a giant boulder just above Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls. Speaking of Keelhaul Falls, this was up next on our list of things to do. We made the walk back up to the top and we had a birds-eye view of Gangplank Falls, the family raft ride that we had done just an hour or so earlier. Judging by the smiles on the family’s faces, they were having just as much fun as we had when riding the rapids of Gangplank Falls.
As we neared the top, we encountered a small line of other guests waiting to ride Keelhaul Falls. Our wait time may have been about ten minutes which we thought was great since, as I mentioned before, this was turning out to be quite a hot day. When it was our turn, we sat down in our inner tube and off we went! On Keelhaul Falls, the water seems to be a bit more swirly and I even made a little spin or two on my way down. At the end of all three falls, there is a semi-shallow pool that you’ll have to walk through to get to the exit. Lifeguards are on duty at the end of each of the falls (and the Storm Slides). Of the three falls raft rides, Keelhaul Falls is rated as the least intense but it was still Fun with a capital F!
Distracted Tip: The castmembers at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach will give you instructions on how to properly enter your inner tube. They will also assist you if you need help in holding the tube steady when you are getting on the tube. This is especially helpful to someone like me who is not very graceful and doesn’t practice getting into a plastic tube in swirling water very often.
We had been at the park a little over two hours by this time and we were ready for some food! Swimming and/or playing around in the water can work up a hunger as fierce as a typhoon! Hunter and I found my husband right where we left him, lounging in the sun in our “camp” on one of the several beaches in the park. As you can see in the picture, there were plenty of lounge chairs set up in this area and it wasn’t crowded at all.
There are several counter service restaurants at Typhoon Lagoon and they do accept the Disney Dining Plan. Typhoon Tilly’s was the closest to where we were and their menu had quite a few options to choose from. We ended up ordering two fried fish lunches which came with french fries and one order of fried shrimp which also had a side of fries. Because we were on the dining plan, we were also entitled to a non-alcoholic drink and a dessert. For our desserts, we chose chocolate chip cookies and key lime pie. The portion of fried fish was a little on the small side but not so small that the guys were left hungry. The food was very good and I’d recommend Typhoon Tilly’s to anyone who is looking for something to eat while at Typhoon Lagoon.
I know that you are supposed to wait an hour after eating before going back into the water but we were ready to explore some more. The Shark Reef line was a little long and we had experienced it before on a prior visit so we skipped it. At the Shark Reef, guests can enjoy brave the 68 degree water and snorkel across Disney’s manmade coral reef. Leopard and bonnethead sharks, stingrays and schools of blue tangs can be seen swimming below you. All equipment for crossing Shark Reef is included in your park admission.
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take pictures in one of the most unique picture taking spots in the park:
It took us only a minute to decide on what we wanted to do next. It was time to take a wild ride on Typhoon Lagoon’s water-coaster, Crush N Gusher!
Disney’s description of Crush N Gusher:
Enter an abandoned fruit-processing plant and take a wild raft ride down 400-foot-long tube slides. According to the legend, fruit was washed here prior to packing when the plant was still operating, before the big typhoon.
Choose from 3 “fruit chutes” and assemble your team: up to 3 riders on the Pineapple Plunger and Coconut Crusher and up to 2 riders on the Banana Blaster. Pack in more riders for more momentum and a more exhilarating experience, or “go bananas” and crush it solo.
Defy gravity as you and your raft are propelled through uphill climbs and surprise after surprise by powerful water jets. Catch some air as you thrill to sudden dips and snake around hairpin turns through darkened and open sections. Then take the plunge as your raft skims its way across Hideaway Bay. (Excerpt from the Walt Disney World website)
Let me tell you this, their description is right on the money! We rode down all three “fruit chutes” and we caught air, experienced sudden dips and went bananas! I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I should have shared pictures before giving details on the experience. As we approached the entrance to the Crush N Gusher line, we could see that there were a few guests enjoying the pool area outside of the attraction.
Guests will wait in a line for an inner tube and, during busy times, those will be given to you by guests who are getting out of the pool at the end of the ride itself. You take those tubes up the steps. An elevator is available for Guests with disabilities. Simply ask a cast member for assistance.
As Disney’s description of Crush N Gusher says, there are three lines to choose from. I asked a cast member if there was any significant difference between the three chutes and was told that the tracks are a little different with more or less dips and turns. I’ve already let the cat out of the bag and told you that we went bananas on Crush N Gusher but I didn’t tell you how many times Hunter and I rode. Five times with little to no wait! We had so much fun!
My husband and inner tubes do not mix well at all so he usually shies away from riding anything that involves the smaller size tubes. With his epilepsy, he can sometimes get off-balance and when he hits the water, he falls to one side. But, given that Hunter and I couldn’t stop gushin‘ over how much fun Crush N Gusher was, he agreed to go along with us. Again, the line was short and we were up at the top in no time at all. We had so much fun that we went down yet again.
Disney Photographers are there to capture your picture when you come out of the chutes:
At the time of our visit, the photographers weren’t scanning the Magic Bands after taking the picture but were handing out small cards attached to bracelets that fit on your wrist. I was able to add those cards to my Memory Maker after I had gotten home.
DIStracated Tip: Keep an eye out for photographers in other areas of the water parks. We saw several in the lazy river at both Typhoon Lagoon and at Blizzard Beach.
After more than a half dozen rides on the Crush N Gusher, we finally left that area of the park and did a little more wandering around. We passed by Ketchakiddee Creek, a play area for little squirts under 4 feet tall. This play area has scaled-down slides and shallow interactive play areas for the kids in your group. We could hear the squeals and laughter of the littles ones as they played to their hearts’ content.
We also walked by the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool where some fearless guests were experiencing the drama of six-foot swells in North America’s largest wave pool and Typhoon Lagoon’s signature attraction. There’s a continuous stream of swells throughout the day and there’s a chalkboard near the edge of the beach where the day’s wave schedule is posted. Inner tubes are not permitted in the surf pool and parents should keep a watchful eye on their children.
We all know that Disney does an excellent job with their “theming” in the theme parks. Their excellent work is carried out in the Disney water parks too.
The posted wait times for Keelhaul Falls, Mayday Falls and the Storm Slides were all short and we took advantage of the short wait times to do the falls and slides several more times.
My husband went back to the beach area while Hunter and I found the nearest entrance to Castaway Creek, Typhoon Lagoon’s lazy river. Guests of all ages can grab an inner tube at any of the 5 landings along the 2,000-foot-long route and ease into the relaxing retreat of the flowing river that winds all the way around Typhoon Lagoon.
Drift aimlessly along, soaking up the sun as you enjoy refreshing cool mists, thundering waterfalls, overhead rope bridges and lush rainforest landscapes on your gentle journey through the cavernous tunnel carved into Mount Mayday. You’ll even see storm-tossed debris on the riverbanks as you float by. (Excerpt from the Walt Disney World website)
Inner tubes will either be stacked along the sides of the entrances or you can usually find them floating along in Castaway Creek. As we floated along, we did, indeed, go under rope bridges and see storm-tossed debris:
We were surprised to look up and see Stitch waving down at the guests!
By the time that we made the entire loop around the park, it was around 2:00 p.m. and we had done everything that we had set out to do. We had experienced Gangplank Falls, Humunga Kowabunga twice, Keelhaul Falls, Mayday Falls and the Storm Slides multiple times. We had gone bananas on Crush N Gusher and had laid back on the lazy river. In addition to doing many of the slides, John had soaked up lots of rays as well. It was time to change out of our swim gear and into the clothes that were in our rented locker. Changing rooms and showers are located near the lockers which is such a convenience.
When I turned in the locker key, I was given the choice of having the $5.00 deposit returned to me or I could take home a Typhoon Lagoon cinchbag. Even though I make my own custom cinchbags, I chose the bag as it was a different sort of souvenir. Before leaving Typhoon Lagoon, we stopped for one final picture-taking opportunity:
If you are on the fence as to whether or not to add the water parks & more option to your tickets, do it! Our family gives both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach two water-logged thumbs up!