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The best water parks in Orlando, Florida

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Typhoon Lagoon
When Typhoon Lagoon opened in 1989, it raised the bar for water parks. Much more than concrete and slides, Typhoon Lagoon is a man-made paradise replete with botanical delights. In keeping with Disney’s rich story telling tradition, the park is centered on an unfortunate shrimp boat named “Miss Tilly” that got caught in a typhoon and became shipwrecked upon enormous Mount Mayday. In keeping with the shipwreck theme, debris is strewn throughout the park.

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Typhoon Lagoon is home to the world largest outdoor wave pool, which thunders into action with a whistle burst from “Miss Tilly” and a giant whoosh of water when the wave machine kicks in. The Lazy River at Typhoon Lagoon is something special. Guests will be entranced with this cool creation as it meanders through lush tropical jungles and gardens

Admission to Typhoon Lagoon:
$52 for adults
$44 for children 3-9
No discount for Florida residents

Wet ‘n Wild
Wet ‘n Wild is remarkable because it’s the park that launched the water park industry. First opened in 1977, Wet ‘n Wild was the brainchild of theme park pioneer George Millay. Mr. Millay built the original SeaWorld in San Diego in 1964.

This Orlando original is friendly for families with babies, tweens or teens, couples and groups looking for a cool escape from the sweltering summer heat. From kid-friendly Blastaway Beach to the six-story thrill slide Der Stuka, Wet ‘n Wild really does have something for everyone.

Admission to Wet ‘n Wild:
$55 for adults
$50 for children 3-9
Tickets purchased in advance are $10 off
$35 for Florida residents, $92 for a season pass

Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach is the sister park to Typhoon Lagoon. Opened in 1995, Blizzard has longer, steeper slides in an effort to capture the attention of teens and young adults who are seeking more thrills and spills than Typhoon offers.

Blizzard Beach is the byproduct of a freak snowstorm that hit Florida and prompted a ski resort to be built. While this scenario is far less plausible than Miss Tilly’s mishap, one look at the ski slopes turned water slides and your focus will solely be on having fun. The center of this park is Mount Gushmore. A climb up this 100-foot man-made mountain leads to several Nordic themed water slides. Even though thrills are highlighted, this park is still safe for very young children.

$52 for adults
$44 for children 3-9
No discount for Florida residents

Aquatica is a relative newcomer to Orlando area water parks, but it made a big splash with its 2008 opening. What makes this park stand out is its signature attraction, the Dolphin Plunge. The Plunge is a water slide with two enclosed tubes that pass through a pool filled with dolphins. Six different raft slides are also featured. These slides, which seat 2, 4, or 6 people, are great fun for groups, couples and families.

Aquatica has a South Pacific theme whose mascots include a kiwi and a kookaburra (Australian birds), a gecko, and of course, dolphins. The dolphin featured at Aquatica is the Commerson dolphin whose black and white markings cause it to resemble a small killer whale. Located on International Drive, it’s adjacent to sister parks SeaWorld and Discovery Cove. Aquatica is more lavishly decorated than Wet ‘n Wild, but less tropical than Typhoon Lagoon.

Admission to Aquatica:
$55 for adults
$50 for children 3-9
$45 for Florida residents, $99 for a season pass