No surprise: Summer’s here. And that means 90+ degree temperatures. And time to cool off.
In other words, water park time.
Plenty of them are here, of course.
You normal choices are Disney and SeaWorld, naturally.
But among the many others there is one that may be overlooked.
It’s in the land of LEGOLAND (somehow, that does not go with tiny building blocks, does it?).
More on that later, but nothing should surprise you about water parks in Orlando. There are so many of them that even hotels have their own versions.
The 240-room Flamingo Waterpark Resort near International Drive says its own is a “state-of-the-art” water park with two pool areas and three slides, including one that is 500 feet long.
The CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort has a 54,000 square-foot park (hotel stays include free access to attractions like the “Boomerango” and “Surfer Splash”).
The good or perhaps bad news about LEGOLAND’S Florida’s version is that it is geared to 2-12-year-olds. They are the prime market for Legos.
Why is that?
And what are the best theme parks for adults as well?
Let’s jump in the water.
More information and other choices
LEGO says of its park:
“Waves are just big enough for all ages to enjoy.”
But it has some odd rules.
If you have a plaster cast, there are rides both in the themed area and separate water park that are banned.
In addition, you can get a “hero pass” for those with “difficulties standing in line.” These are presumably wheelchair bound and others with disabilities. A pass allows guests immediate boarding with one helper.
Another rule: Children under 42 inches or under six years old must be accompanied by a “responsible adult,” whatever that is.
LEGO is a relatively small park at 145 acres. The word LEGO comes from the Danish words Leg Godt, which mean “play well.” Lego’s primary appeal to 2-12-year-olds, both at the theme park and the water attraction, does not mean older adults can’t get in the swim.
Like others of its kind, the park is open year round. But it is closed midweek (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) on certain weeks in the offseason months of January through May, and September through December.
Water park features
Lego features tube slides, body slides, racing slides, speed slide, wave pool, lazy river, interactive water play center, and play areas for younger kids. Rides include the “Joker Soaker,” a playground with various lengths, heights and slides offering something different for all members of a family. Those more inclined to thrills can ascend to the tallest point of the water park attraction and choose from one of three unique slides, then speed down a 60-foot drop and “splash out” into the water below.
LEGOLAND Florida is not in Orlando but is located at One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven — just 45 minutes from the Orlando theme parks or downtown Tampa. From Orlando, take I-4 west to exit 55 or US Hway 27 South. Turn right off US Highway 27 at State Road 540/Cypress Gardens Boulevard. The park is four miles on the left.
There’s a surf shop selling everything from sunscreen to cool shades, and a cabana rental for private space that includes two souvenir towels, a locker stocked with ten bottles of water and even a designated host.
Walk-up prices are $3-$89 basic admission though there are various special combinations and other deals. Admission to the water park is separate from the theme park, though combination tickets are available.
Don’t pay retail! We got your discount water park tickets! Discount Aquatica tickets, discount Wet-n-Wild tickets, discount Typhoon Lagoon tickets and discount Blizzard Beach tickets.
Hours Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sat & Sun 9 a.m.-3 p.m.(877) 350-LEGO(5346)1-800-257-0060.
If LEGO is not to your own liking, there are no shortage of other water parks in Central Florida.
And here are some questions and answers about the best of them:
- Second best overall water park for kids?
If LEGOLANDS the best for kids, the second best has been a long-time favorite, Wet ‘n Wild. But the 40-year-old park that just about invented the model is showing its age. It is being closed Dec. 31 of next year.
- What is the most popular water park?
Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach both had more than two million visitors last year, according to a report from the Themed Entertainment Association. SeaWorld’s Aquatica had 1.6 million. Wet ‘n Wild had 1.3 million visitors last year.
- What’s after Wet ‘n Wild?
Universal, which bought it several years ago, is building a new version called Volcano Bay. It’s due to open in 2017. Not much is known yet about it except that it will be wet. It’s not known whether the slides and attractions closed at Wet ‘n Wild will also be recycled there.
- Biggest thrills for adults?
Aquatica is almost surely the best in that department. Disney’s versions of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach also have thrill rides but they are more targeted to families. Wet ‘n Wild has its share of wild adventure with the “Storm,” “Mach 5” and “Bomb Bay” (all of which hint that they are mostly for adults).
- Most resembling a cool ski resort?
Blizzard Beach even has a chair lift that looks like there should be snow on the ground below you. It has some of the world’s tallest and fastest waterslides, but also combines more kid-friendly rides such as “Tike’s Peak.”
- Best Lazy River?
Found often but perhaps best at Typhoon Lagoon.
- Best multi-person ride?
Wet ‘n Wild prides itself on the distinction of having more multi-person rides than any other water park. The newest is a 4-person tube ride with a 53-foot vertical drop into a dark funnel with swirling colored lights (certainly a little scary for the younger water-lovers).
- Least crowded park?
Discovery Cove, which limits guests to 1,300 a day.
- Hardest park to get into?
Discovery Cove because of its guest limits. SeaWorld says reservations are “highly recommended” since the park if often sold out. That is particularly true in the summer. That’s when reservations are recommended at least two months in advance prior to a visit. But the park makes it simple after that. Once reservations are made, and the date is recorded, you only need a name, confirmation number and a photo ID of guests over the age of 18.
- Best place to swim with dolphins?
Little question, it’s Discovery Cove. Tropical fish is also abound. You can also hand-feed exotic birds there. But Disney has its own Typhoon Lagoon Shark Reef where you can snorkel with the likes of “Jaws,” and a huge variety of tropical fish.
- Best park to see shipwreck themes?
Typhoon Lagoon is centered on a sunken shrimp boat named “Miss Tilly.” The story is that it was caught in a typhoon, naturally, and shipwrecked. To enhance the shipwreck story, debris is found throughout the park.
- Best diving plunge ride?
Aquatica’s best known feature may be its Dolphin Plunge. It’s a water slide with two enclosed tubes filled with dolphins. The slides seat up to six people. A great family ride.
- Best sandy beach?
Aquatica is the winner. There’s a sandy beach covered with 1,360 tons of soft, white sand and South Seas-inspired gardens with more than 60,000 species of plants.
- The best ambiance?
Typhoon Lagoon offers a lush tropical paradise ambiance. It makes you feel you are stranded in a secluded lagoon.
- Most striking special features?
Typhoon Lagoon has a salt water reef to snorkel with sharks and tropical fish. Aquatica offers its own Dolphin Plunge, where you can see the fish next to you.
- Parks you may have missed outside of Orlando?
The Daytona Lagoon Water Park in Daytona Beach has highlights that include a 62-foot tower and slide for tube riding through a winding dark tunnel (“Blackbeard’s Revenge”) and a lazy river tube ride, climbing nets, nozzles, and a water-dumping bucket (kids love it). The Adventure Landing Shipwreck Island Water Park in Jacksonville has a three-story Pirate Play Village with a dozen slides and waterfalls, three thrill rides and a lazy river tube ride.
- Best time to visit?
Winter, of course. Lines are shorter. You’re able to do more rides.