The park opened on April 1, 1995 and was the third WDW water park after River Country and Typhoon Lagoon. The theme of the park is the "Disney legend" of a freak snowstorm in the area, leading to the construction of Florida's first ski resort. Naturally, the snow didn't last long, leaving behind a collection of waterlogged but snow-less ski jumps and chair lifts. The failed resort was in the process of closing for good when an alligator was seen sliding down a flume and splashing into a pool of water, screaming "Yahoo!" Thus the "ski resort" was reborn as a water park, with the alligator (named "Ice Gator") as mascot.
The majority of the major attractions at the park are hosted atop of Mount Gushmore, an artificial hill with an elevation of 90 feet (27 m), making it the fifth highest point in Florida. Mount Gushmore is split into three colored slopes to aid guests navigating around the park: Green, Red and Purple.
All water areas are heated (at approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit) with the exception of the melting snow in the ice cave of Cross Country Creek.
"The Legend of Blizzard Beach"
It was a meteorological phenomenon of the strangest order. One balmy day, a freak winter storm developed over the western end of Walt Disney World Resort and covered the area with a thick blanket of powdery white snow. Before you could say "hot cocoa," plans were underway for Florida's first ski resort.
Ski lifts were put up, toboggan runs were laid down and an entire resort area blossomed around the mountain of snow. Yet before the first skier could strap on a pair of boots and stick his poles into the snow, the temperatures returned to their normal Florida levels, and the powdery snow quickly turned into slippery slush. The ski resort operators saw their dream melting down the hillside. Yet that's not all they saw.
As the slush began cascading down and pools of water began to form, an echoing "yahoo" was heard from the summit of the mountain. Everyone looked up to see a playful alligator careening down the melting hillside. He slid to the base of the mountain and landed in a pool of water with a thunderous splash. They knew at once that they were back in business.
Slalom courses, bobsled and toboggan runs became downhill waterslides. The creek of melted snow that formed at the base of the mountain became a relaxing tube ride. The chairlift carried swimmers instead of skiers. The ski jump became the tallest and fastest water slide in the world. The ski resort became known as Disney's Blizzard Beach, the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!
Green SlopeThe Green Slope attractions (all are single track water slides, and as such are not meant for racing) are found at the uppermost point of Mount Gushmore. They can be accessed by foot, or by chairlift. The chairlift is a one-way ride, except for guests with disabilities.
Summit Plummet is the flagship attraction at 120 feet (37 m) tall, and speeds 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). It's the second tallest and fastest free fall slide in the world. There is a minimum height requirement of 48 in (120 cm). Summit Plummet was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the highest and fastest until the opening of Insano—41 metres (135 ft) tall, with speeds of 105 km/h (65 mph)—at Beach Park in Brazil.
Teamboat Springs is the world's longest "family white-water raft ride" at 1,400 feet (430 m) long. This attraction sends guests down a twisting series of rushing waterfalls. Water Park guests sit in large blue rubber rafts, which can hold a minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 persons, equipped with handles to hold on while the gushing water takes you down the slide. No infants and other health restrictions are advised.
Slush Gusher is a 90-foot-tall (27 m), 250-foot-long (76 m) snow-banked mountain gully body slide attraction that reaches speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). It has two places where it almost levels off, only to drop back down again. As such, it is one of only a few water slides where "air time" is achieved. If you want to reach maximum air, raise your crossed-legs just before you reach the second hump and keep straight.
The Green Slope attractions (all are single track water slides, and as such are not meant for racing) are found at the uppermost point of Mount Gushmore. They can be accessed by foot, or by chairlift. The chairlift is a one-way ride, except for guests with disabilities.
Access to the Purple Slope attractions (all of which have at least two nearly identical tracks, and as such are designed for racing) is from a pathway next to the catch pool of Downhill Double Dipper.
Downhill Double Dipper is one of the world's only side-by-side racing slides. It is located next to Snow Stormers on Mount Gushmore. This adrenaline pumping attraction's slides are 50 feet (15 m) high and are 230 feet (70 m) long. Guests travel up to speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h) on these twin inner tube runs as they race past internationally recognized ski racing graphic elements and flags. Time clocks count-off each downhill heat and the runs are outfitted with automated audio equipment that signals the start of each race. Also, it is one of the few racing slides where pushoff speed is not a factor, as gates hold back riders until it is time for the race to begin. This attraction has a minimum height requirement of 48 in (120 cm).
Snow Stormers is a "mat slide" consisting of three flumes that are 350 feet (110 m) long. This attraction sits between Downhill Double Dipper and Toboggan Racers on Mount Gushmore. The attraction descends from the top of the mountain and follows a switchback course through ski-type slalom gates. Guests lay on their stomach on the toboggan style mat as they ride down the flumes. Mat pickup at the top of attraction (Shares mat conveyor with Toboggan Racers).
Toboggan Racers is an 8-lane, 250-foot (76 m) water slide next to Snow Stormers on Mount Gushmore. The attraction sends guests racing over exhilarating dips as they descend the "snow" slope along the side of Mount Gushmore. Guests lay on their stomachs on the toboggan style mat as they race to the finish line. Mat pickup at the top (Shares mat conveyor with Snow Stormers).
The Red Slope is found at the very rear of the park, containing only one attraction (a multi-slide attraction, but not designed for racing, due to the slides being so different).
Runoff Rapids is a 600-foot (180 m) inner tube run featuring two open and one enclosed tube slides. This attraction careens guests down twisting, turning flumes, passing through corrugated steel pipes. Tubes available at the bottom of the attraction. The Red Slope stairs are the only way to access this attraction.
Meltaway Bay is a 1-acre (4,000 m2) wave pool nestled against the base of Mount Gushmore. This attraction is constantly fed by "melting snow" waterfalls creating "bobbing" (short) waves.The Cross Country Creek is a 3,000-foot (910 m) slow-moving water attraction commonly known as a "lazy river", that travels around the perimeter of the water park. The attraction carries floating guests (in inner tubes) through a bone-chilling ice cave. Once inside the mysterious cave, guests will be splashed with the "melting" ice from overhead. There are 7 entrances and exits located throughout the park for this attraction, and any of these locations guests may pick up tubes and leave them as they exit the creek. The journey takes between twenty and thirty minutes to complete depending on crowd levels.
Ski Patrol is an area for pre-teenage children.
- Leisure Pool - The pool contain "icebergs" on which guests under 12 can walk across.
- Fahrenheit Drops - Commonly known as the "T-Bar", this attraction is a rope drop that deposits guests that are under five feet tall into eight and a half feet of water.
- Freezin' Pipe Springs - This attraction is a short body slide. It deposits guests in the same water area as Farenheight Drops, but has no height restriction.
- Cool Runners - A wide-open slide (inner tube) area created by rapidly melting snow mounds (moguls).
Tike's Peak features gentle slides designed to resemble scaled down versions of attractions at Blizzard Beach. Also included is a snow-castle fountain play area with pop (water) jets. Picnic benches also provided. Footwear is suggested due to hot pavement. The attraction is limited to children under 48 in (120 cm).The Chairlift carries up to 3 guests over the craggy face of Mount Gushmore, from its base at the beach, to its summit. The chairs carrying guests feature wooden-bench seats, colorful overhead umbrellas and snow skis on their underside. The Chairlift was converted from ski-resort to beach-resort use after a freak snowstorm hit Florida and soon after melted forming the perfect site for a water park. This is a one-way ride to the top of Mount Gushmore providing access to most attractions depending on the number of guests present in the park. A Gondola is also provided for disabled guests to access the top of Mount Gushmore. Requirements: Minimum height requirement of 32 in (81 cm), 48 in (120 cm) to ride alone.
Food and beverage
- Avalunch: Offers light snacks and refreshments. Located next to the entrance of the Chairlift.
- Frostbite Freddie's: Bar located adjacent to Snowless Joes in the Village.
- Lottawatta Lodge: Ski lodge providing outdoor covered seating and is the main counter service area.
- Polar Pub: Bar located on the beach by the wave pool.
- I. C. Expeditions: Offers ice cream, deserts and refreshments. Located near the Chairlift.
- The Cooling Hut: Offers light snacks and refreshments. Located in the Village
- The Warming Hut: Offers snacks, lunch and dinner. Located near the bottom of Downhill Double Dipper.
Coolers are allowed in the waterparks. The only restricted items are glass and alcohol.
- North Pearl: Jewelry store featuring pearls. Located in the Village across from the changing rooms.
- Snowless Joe's: Rental location offering locker and towel rentals and complimentary lifejackets. Located in the Village next to the changing rooms.
- The Beach Haus: Main merchandise store offering souvenirs, swimwear, footwear, etc. Located in the Village in-between the Main Entrance and Lottawatta Lodge.