A few weeks ago I embarked on some serious USA traveling. The BF and I went to Colorado for a few days, we came back to Boston for 2 days and then I flew down to Florida to meet up with my parents. For you new readers, I’m a Florida native. Born, raised and went to college there. I am always in Pensacola for Christmas and I try to make it back there in the fall too. This year we decided to switch things up and meet in Orlando for some water fun.
First stop…Typhoon Lagoon!
Despite being in Florida the majority of my life, we didn’t spend much time at Disney. It was a really long drive (about 8-9 hours) and it just didn’t make sense to travel in our own state. I also never really went to a water park. Sure, I’ve been down a waterslide, but never to a park dedicated to just water fun. I felt like I was an 8 year old as we were walking in the gates. I was so excited and just ready to be in the water!
My Dad was excited too. Oh, and true sign that we live in Florida? Those are camo crocs. Heh. I actually really like them.
Any time we do anything Disney related we hit up the disboards for tips and recommendations. One of the main tips from folks for Typhoon Lagoon was to visit Shark Reef early in the day. We made a beeline for this attraction as soon as we put our stuff down.
The park has a HUGE wave pool that is pretty hardcore. I had read that quite a few people have been scraped along the bottom of the pool when the wave hits so I just tested the edge of the water.
That was enough for me. It is a pretty strong wave and I wasn’t in the mood to visit the emergency hut at Typhoon Lagoon. We did watch all kinds of kids scrape their butts across the concrete flooring. Heh. It was entertaining.
By far, my favorite part of the park was the lazy river. There are several entrances to the river around the park. You just walk into the river, wait for a tube to float by and then hop in. It takes about 15 minutes to go around the whole park. You can get out at any of the designated openings. My parents and I must have floated around 2 times our first time in and then a few more additional times later in the day.
Watching each other try to “hop” into the tubes was one of the highlights of the day. There is no helping each other out when we find something funny.
We managed to ride almost every single ride there except some waterslide that dropped 5 stories. I have no interest in swallowing my bathing suit through my butt. Because we were there near the end of the season there were very few lines to wait in.
Just like any Disney park, everything matches the theme. Even the little storage huts and cast entrances match the Typhoon Lagoon theme.
A few tips should you ever find yourself at Typhoon Lagoon…
1. Go in October! We visited the park on the last weekend before they closed up for the season on a Friday. Everyone goes to the big parks on the weekend. So while it was busy, it wasn’t so crowded that I wanted to scream at small children. Plus, it is blazing hot.
2. Rent beach chairs! There are tons of beach chairs available throughout the park, but by renting we passed that whole running to get the “perfect” spot experience. We just walked to our assigned spot, left our towels and went on our merry way. This was the perfect spot for my Mom to relax while my Dad and I flung ourselves down a waterslide or two.
3. Go to the Shark Reef first thing in the morning! They soak the snorkels and masks in a disinfectant, but first thing in the morning they are pretty dry and that gross taste isn’t as strong. Plus, you have plenty of time to go through the attraction and not feel rushed!
After our waterpark adventure, we hopped in the car (dirty bathing suits and all) and drove over to Crystal River, FL. Why the heck did we go to middle of nowhere Florida? To swim with manatees!
My Mom isn’t a big fan of swimming with creatures so she sent my Dad and I off to Crystal River Watersports early Saturday for a morning of manatee spotting. Manatee season is in the thick of winter, but Crystal River has 20-30 year round manatee residents.
The water is kind of cold in that area so we got all suited up in wetsuits.
It was a gorgeous morning on the water. The sun was out and it was pretty warm. Lovely. On our trip we saw several sleeping manatees and got a chance to interact with a calf (~400 lbs) while he was chowing down for lunch.
I was surprised to see that he had so much algae on his back. As I was petting him, I was also cleaning off his back. I’m such a caregiver.
The water they live in is only about 3 feet deep so we stayed floating on the water’s surface the whole time. I kept feeling like I was going to float right over him.
Once our little guy was done eating he swam off. You can’t follow manatees (it will scare them) so we just hung out in the water and randomly saw a few more manatees.
And a baby!
I realize that these photos are probably boring, but when I look at them I just get so excited. We had such a GREAT TIME! These creatures are amazing! It was so cool to be a part of their environment and interact with them. I can’t wait to go back and see tons of them in season.
We spent the rest of our time in Florida back in Orlando. We visited Downtown Disney, hung out at the resort pool, and just had a great time.
Any time I get to spend with my parents is much appreciated. However, this trip was just SO FUN. Everything from the weather to traveling times to lack of crowds was on point.
I hope they can live up to the hype in December.
Hope you guys had a good weekend! Tomorrow is my cortisone shot and I’m officially freaked out about it. Is this going to hurt?! I guess not as much as surgery could, right?! Fingers crossed!