Jump into Orlando's world of water parks

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Orlando water parks

People enjoy the wet thrills of Orlando water parks including Wet 'n Wild, left, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, center, and SeaWorld's Aquatica, right.

Nothing brings relief to the dog days of summer like a thorough drenching at a water park. Orlando's all-wet attractions share certain characteristics: lazy rivers, raft rides, wave pools, upscale cabanas and combo-ticket ties to theme parks. Today we dive into distinctive elements of our four full-blown, stand-alone water parks.


SeaWorld's water park, Central Florida's newest, sports a gentle South Seas motif.

•A stand-out for Aquatica is Roa's Rapids, also known as "the crazy river." We suggest grabbing a life vest, lifting feet and going with the flow.

•A recurring theme for its slides is enclosed beginnings. Don't worry. Just glide toward the light.

•Nail-biters are rare here, but there are thrills with the Taumata Racer, a face-first downhill mat ride, and the popular Dolphin Plunge. (Our advice: Check out the dolphins after the ride.)

•More soothing is Tassie's Twisters, which sends you tubing down into a bowl, then into lazier river Loggerhead Lane.

•Did someone say all-you-can eat? Banana Beach Cookout puts out a spread, buffet-style, and it includes a full day of soft drinks.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; off BeachLine Expressway at Interstate 4 southwest of Orlando; $47.99 adults, $41.99 ages 3-9; 407-351-3600, AquaticaBySeaWorld.com.

Blizzard Beach

The theming is a foot-deep at this Disney World park. Its story is set in post-freak-snowstorm Florida.

•The intriguing ski lift has dual purposes: Transport folks to the top of Summit Plummet and establish a ski-resort atmosphere.

•Theming continues into the children's area called Ski Patrol Training Camp. Kids maneuver themselves across iceberg floats with ropes.

•Overall, the intensity level of the rides is lower than at sister park, Typhoon Lagoon.

•There's seating — and wet folks — everywhere, but for a more secluded spot, try the sandy cul-de-sacs behind the mountain.

•Miniature-golf course Winter Summerland is next door. You won't even need a snowmobile to get there.

Details: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; off Buena Vista Drive near Disney's Hollywood Studios; $46 adults, $40 ages 3-9, free age 2 and younger; 407-824-4321; DisneyWorld.com.

Typhoon Lagoon

Disney's older water park, near Downtown Disney, has a lush, established feel.

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