Blazing temperatures during Orlando’s hot summer months are great for fun in the sun and for working on your tan. However, high humidity and heat will mean you’ll need to cool off regularly throughout the day. Fortunately, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios provide plenty of places to cool down, splash around, and get completely soaked. Check out this list of the coolest spots and the best water rides at Disney and Universal:
Disney’s year-round water park is the obvious choice to visit and cool down on a hot summer day. This is where most of the water rides at Disney are located, with daring body slides, family tubing rides, a giant wave pool, and more. Themed as a tropical island turned nearly upside down after a large storm, water flows everywhere here. Some featured attractions at this waterpark include Crush’ n’ Gusher, a family water coaster that shoots you through one of three tube slides; the two-acre wide wave pool (the largest one in North America), which produces six-foot waves every 90 seconds; and Humunga Kowabunga, a colossal body slide that sends you careening down a 200-foot drop. You’ll need a separate water park ticket to visit Typhoon Lagoon. Advanced reservations aren’t required.
Universal Orlando’s water park certainly makes a statement, with its huge volcano icon (called Krakatau) that blows smoke through its top and features churning waterfalls that cascade into a flowing pool below. Volcano Bay is unique because all attractions have virtual queues, so you can spend more time hanging out at Waturi Beach (the park’s main pool area) than waiting in line. Every guest is given a wearable bracelet upon entering the park. All you have to do is tap your bracelet at the attraction you want to ride’s entrance, and you’ll be given a return time. Notable rides at Volcano Bay include the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, which plunges you down a waterfall in a four-person canoe; Ko’okiri Body Plunge, featuring a 70-degree drop through the Krakatau volcano; and TeAwa, a not-so-lazy river which includes waves and rapids.
Splash Areas & Cool Zones
There are several splash areas and fountains located throughout Disney and Universal. One of the best places for littles to splash around is the Casey Jr. Soak-n-Splash Station in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. This circus-themed area features elephants snorting water through their trunks, leaping fountains, and more. There’s a bathroom nearby to change, and the closest merchandise location sells bathing suits and towels if you forget to pack your swim gear. There is also a small fountain splash area just outside the Mission: Space attraction at EPCOT that is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. If you’re shopping at Disney Springs, you can stop by the Mickey-shaped fountain near Once Upon a Toy. At Universal, Camp Jurassic (an interactive play area for kids) has several water features, including cannons and fountains.
Water Rides and Attractions
Kali River Rapids
You’ll get absolutely soaked on this family raft ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is the wettest you’ll get on a non-water park ride at Disney, which can be a welcome relief on a hot day. You’ll spin through rapids, waterfalls, geysers, and a 20-foot drop into a drenched river.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
You may not get wet on this ride, but you’re surrounded by water during every part of your journey here. The ride features several viewing windows into The Seas, the nation’s second-largest aquarium. Get a peek into the marine life that call EPCOT home during the ride, then explore the two-story aquarium once you exit the attraction. From manatees to sea turtles and manta rays, you can see a large variety of fish and wildlife through the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the aquarium. You can easily spend an hour or two in this air-conditioned getaway at EPCOT.
Pirates of the Caribbean
As a boat ride with a gentle drop and several water effects, you can get surprisingly wet on this ride. Your best chance for a splash is after the dark hill drop and before the village scene, where you’re caught in the crossfire as two pirate ships set off cannons at each other—creating splashes from wayward bombs in the process.
Jurassic Park River Adventure Ride
This huge flume ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure set records when it opened. At the time, the ride’s 85-foot drop was the tallest drop of its kind at a theme park. This ride takes you on a tour of the infamous Jurassic Park. A few twists and turns make you come face to face with a T-Rex, and the only chance of escape is down the flume.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
Also at Islands of Adventure at Universal, this log flume ride packs a punch, with a 75-foot drop themed after the classic cartoon featuring one of the most famous Canadian Mounties.
When you want to take a break from the excitement of the theme parks, there are plenty of ways to enjoy water fun at your Disney or Universal Resort. Every resort on Disney or Universal property has at least one pool and enough activities to spend a whole day relaxing at it. For an upgraded resort pool experience, rent a cabana for the day. Your family will have reserved seating on the pool deck, comfy lounge chairs, guaranteed shade, and other perks. The pool at Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal and the Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are worth checking out!
Plan the Coolest Vacation with Just Add Magic Travel®
There are plenty of ways to cool down all year round with water rides and attractions at Disney and Universal, which makes traveling during the summer an enjoyable experience. Whenever you decide to visit Disney or Universal, let Just Add Magic Travel help you get there. Get started planning with a free quote today! Also, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list for the latest travel updates.
For more planning tips, check out our top ways to beat the heat in the summer at Disney and our top Universal hotel picks.
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