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.

•The action is centered on the surf pool. The shipwrecked Miss Tilly sounds the whistle that indicates an upcoming wave, summoning screaming swimmers to brave the choppy waters.

•I believe Humunga Kowabunga translates roughly into "the wedgie-maker slide." A nice seating area is provided to watch the dramatic drop.

Crush 'n' Gusher literally has its ups and downs — it's a rollicking raft ride with a roller-coaster feel, thanks to water-jet propulsions.

•There are wet and dry options for experiencing Shark Reef, which actually does have real sharks. You were expecting animatronic?

Castaway Creek can be overpopulated with tourists and inner tubes, but we've found using the entrance near Happy Landings Ice Cream to be an easy entrance and exit to the lazy river.

Details: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; near Downtown Disney; $46 adults, $40 ages 3-9, free age 2 and younger; 407-824-4321; DisneyWorld.com.

Wet 'n Wild

The International Drive mainstay packs a lot of attractions into a small space and appeals to teens and young adults.

Intensity is high on select rides, especially Bomb Bay, where the floor drops out from underneath your feet, beginning a trek down a nearly vertical slide, just you and your swimsuit. Every rider exits the area with a wide-eyed look and/or rapidly speaking Portuguese.

The sign for Storm suggests you be a strong swimmer because you're going down a chute, around a misty cauldron and unceremoniously dumped out the bottom. It's so disorienting a worker calls out "this way, this way" to flailing Storm survivors.

The park sells express passes that allow front-of-line access for select rides. The price varies — Sunday's charge for unlimited cuts was $40. By afternoon, some waits were 60 minutes.

Piped-in music is more contemporary than the themes found at other water parks. But if you want to hear sounds of the '70s, head to the mouth of the Disco H20 ride, where they are on endless loop.

Parking is across Universal Boulevard, but be careful as pedestrians and drivers alike tend to play a perilous game of chicken.

Details: 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 6200 International Drive, Orlando; $47.95 general, $41.95 seniors and ages 3-9, free age 2 and younger; 407-351-1800; WetnWildOrlando.com

dbevil@tribune.com or 407-420-5477
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