The eye-catching Mt. Gushmore greets guests as they enter the park. Brave "skiers" slide down the face of the 90-foot "snow-capped" mountain. Mt. Gushmore also features slalom courses, toboggan and water sled runs and the awesome, 120-foot-high Summit Plummet, the nation's tallest, fastest free-fall speed slide, visible from almost anywhere in the park.
The park's newest waterslide, the Downhill Double Dipper is a side-by-side racing slide that stands 50 feet high and is 200 feet long. You can travel up to 25mph as you make your way through the twists and turns of this 200 feet long slide before shooting out through a curtain of water.
Mt. Gushmore's other attractions include:
- Summit Plummet -- "ski jump" tower, it's a breathtaking high-speed 60 mph plunge straight down to a splash landing at the base of the mountain.
- Slush Gusher, a speed slide that drops guests through a snow-banked mountain gully.
- Teamboat Springs -- the world's longest family white-water raft ride takes six-passenger rafts down a twisting 1,200 foot series of rushing water falls.
- Toboggan Racer -- an 8-lane water slide that sends guests racing over exhilarating dips as they descend the "snowy" slope.
- Snow Stormers -- three flumes descending from the top of the mountain and following a switchback course through ski-type slalom gates.
- Runoff Rapids -- an inner tube run, where guests can careen down three different twisting, turning flumes.
- Chair Lift -- wooden-bench chair lifts sporting colorful overhead umbrellas and snow skis on their underside, converted from ski-resort to beach-resort use. These functional chairs carry guests over the craggy face of Mt. Gushmore, from its base at the beach, to its summit.
- Tike's Peak -- a kid-size version of Blizzard Beach, including scaled-down elements of Mt. Gushmore. In addition, this area features a snow-castle fountain play area.
- Melt-Away Bay -- a 1-acre pool, nestled against the base of Mt. Gushmore, that is constantly fed by "melting snow" waterfalls.
- Cross Country Creek -- a lazy creek circling the entire park, carrying floating guests through a bone-chilling ice cave. Once inside the mysterious cave, guests will be splashed with the "melting" ice from overhead.
- Blizzard Beach Ski Patrol Training Camp -- designed for pre-teens with a T-bar drop, culvert slides and a challenging ice-flow walk along slippery, floating icebergs. Cool Runners is the camp's twin inner tube slide.
- Avalunch and The Warming Hut -- snack bars.
- Lottawatta Lodge -- a North American ski lodge with Caribbean accents, stands ready to serve guests with an appetite.
As legend has it, Blizzard Beach was created by a freak winter storm which dropped snow over the western side of Walt Disney World property and Florida's first snow-ski resort was planned immediately.
However, the plan was short-lived. Temperatures soared and the ice and snow rapidly began to melt. Dismayed ski-resort operators, ready to close, spotted a playful alligator sliding down the "liquid ice" slopes and realized the melting snow created the tallest, fastest and most exhilarating water-filled ski and toboggan runs in the world. As a result, the ski resort/water adventure park was born.
It was a natural. Former ski slalom courses and bobsled and sledding runs became downhill water slides. The chair lift could still carry swimmers to the top of the slides. The ski jump became the nation's tallest and fastest water slide. The melting snow revealed welcoming beaches, a pre-teen play area and many other activities.
The Village at the Blizzard Beach entrance houses guest services such as a tube pick-up area, towel rentals, lockers, first aid, merchandise and a restaurant. Blizzard Beach is located just north of Disney's All-Star Resorts. Call (407) 939-7421 for tickets and information.
More: Photo Tour of Orlando's Top Water Parks.