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Splash, swim and float to a great time at the Disney water parks this summer

Summer is here which means BBQs, road trips, vacations and, of course, swimming. The warm weather up here in the nation’s capital has me thinking about a visit to one of Walt Disney World’s two world class water parks – Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

One question I am often asked is – how young is too young for the Disney water parks? For each person that answer will be different. I have seen infants there but personally didn’t feel comfortable taking my children there until they were older and stronger swimmers.

If you decide that a trip to the water parks sounds right for your family there is certainly plenty for kids of all ages. At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon kids have their own slides at Bay Slides (for the 5’ and under crowd) or Ketchakiddee Creek – which is an entire water play area for those guests less than 4’ tall. There you will find mini-slides, a rapids ride, waterfalls, fountains and splash zones; a space just for kids to be kids. And unlike many other waterparks around the country – Typhoon Lagoon welcomes all ages on Castaway Creek – a lazy river that circles the park (with exit points at multiple places around the park). Grab an inner tube and float down the river, taking in the sights. But moms and dads, be sure to keep an eye on the little ones to make sure they don’t hop off the river before you! Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has an enormous wave pool that cranks out waves of up to 6 feet so I am often asked my opinion on taking kids into the wave pool with little kids. I recommend watching from the shore for a while before you venture in and stay in the very shallow end. The waves come in high and strong and at knee deep on a 5’5” adult I was carried all the way to shore! While kids may think it looks like a lot of fun (and it definitely is for older kids who are strong swimmers) I would keep a close eye on little ones!

But what about Disney’s Blizzard Beach and their offerings for the younger crowd? There you will find Tike’s Peak, a special play area just for kids with versions of all the popular rides at Blizzard Beach designed for those that are less than 4’ tall; including inner tubes, slides, racers and wading pools. Also at Blizzard Beach is Cross Country Creek – a lazy river style ride, perfect for sitting back and relaxing. If wave pools are what you are after, younger children will probably have a better experience at Blizzard Beach’s Melt-Away Bay over Surf Bay at Typhoon Lagoon. Melt-Away Bay is located at the base of Mount Gushmore and the “ice melt” from Mount Gushmore causes gentle, bobbing waves where kids can splash, play and swim without the fear of another giant wave being just moments away.

And of course both water parks offer lots of sandy areas to spread out and build sand castles. Disney does their best to entertain the whole family, especially little ones, and the water parks are no exception. But as the kids grow up and get older (which they inevitably do) be forewarned that the teen and tween crowd love the water parks and with so much to do, it might just mean a day of relaxing in the sun for mom and dad as the “not so little” ones take to the inner tubes, slides, racers and rapids!

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