Orlando may be the home of Walt Disney World Resort and theme parks, but since it is HOT in Florida sun for many months of the year, you may also want to add a day at a water park to your next vacation. Luckily, there are also some terrific water parks and many hotels with amazing pools, lazy rivers, and water slides on property. Over the years, we have scouted out the best water parks in Orlando to pick from and stayed at some hotels with awesome pools and play areas too!
Best Water Parks in Orlando
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Here are the best Orlando water parks to include on your next Florida vacation:
The best water park we have ever been to — even better than the one at Atlantis Bahamas — is Universal’s Volcano Bay. The newer water parks are only getting better with the infusion of technology, and Volcano Bay is leading the pack with its TapuTapu wristbands and virtual queue. Riders can “tap in” to get a spot in the virtual queue and then the wristband will notify them when it is their turn on the slide.
Forget the concrete pools you find in places like Water Country USA or Perfect Day at CocoCay. Hanging out on Waturi Beach in front of the volcano, the massive wave pool at Volcano Bay, feels more like a tropical island than Central Florida.
You will also find a lazy river, rapids river, body slides, tube rides, and the cool Krakatau Aqua Coaster. Young kids will enjoy splashing around at the Runamukka reef play area. Older kids will get a thrill on the the Ko’okiri body plunge drop slide. As an adult I appreciated the dining options from the on-site restaurants, making it easy to spend a whole day.
Island H2O water park at the Margaritaville Orlando Resort is one of the newer Orlando water parks and I think it is one of the best Florida water parks. This is another park where technology enhances the water park experience. Instead of a virtual queue, Island H2O offers visitors a mobile app that personalizes their experience.
First up, you can pick the music and special effects on the raft ride and tap in to link up the app with cameras on the slides to capture photos and videos. Visitors can connect with others in their party to track their location throughout the park and even set alerts if your kids move outside of designated play areas.
Island H20 has rides of all thrill levels for the entire family including a drop slide, toddler area, lazy river, tube slides, dumping buckets for younger children, and so much more at this water theme park located just 10 minutes from the Disney parks and is not limited to hotel guests.
Read my full review of Island H2O!
If you are looking for big thrills, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark, delivers and then some. Aquatica is always upping the bar with rides that are faster, scarier, and more fun, like the first dueling racer ride, Riptide Race and Reef Plunge, that transports riders through tunnels of marine life, including Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, sardines, and other cold-water fish. Ray Rush is an awesome raft rider and KareKare Curl also delivers a vertical wave wall for those weightless-feeling drops.
In addition to its slides, Aquatica offers the Loggerhead Lane lazy river ride, lagoons, and 84,000 square feet of sandy beach. Younger guests are going to love the new Turi’s Kid Cove with tipping buckets and spraying jets. If you don’t want to wait in lines, you can pay extra for QuickQueue and get front-of-the-line access. To make the whole family more comfortable, you can also rent cabanas or premium lounger seating. And for families with members on the spectrum, SeaWorld Orlando is now a Certified Autism Center.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
With all there is to do at Walt Disney World — from Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios — many guests never even make it to Disney’s water parks. Blizzard Beach is an OG park that is scheduled to close in March 2023 for a renovation.
It is designed to look like a ski resort melting under the hot sun. The theming is what you would expect from Disney’s magic, complete with a ski gondola lifting visitors to the top of the taller slides. Blizzard Beach has something for all ages, with several areas designed specifically for the toddler set or younger kids. Those seeking thrills will want to ride the Summit Plummet, which drops a terrifying 12 stories straight down.
My friend Leslie has an excellent review of Blizzard Beach on her Disney Deciphered podcast. Also keep in mind that each of the Disney Water Parks closes for one to two months at the end of the year or beginning of the year and these times vary so check the website for when you are planning to visit.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park is scheduled to reopen in March 2023 after extensive renovations. At Typhoon Lagoon, the theming is more beach-like compared to Blizzard Beach. The story behind the theme is that it was created by an epic storm that made the storm-soaked Mount Mayday and hurled surfboards and boats into palm trees. Some people like this theming better because it feels more “vacation like”.
Surrounding the mountain, a 56-acre topsy-turvy tropical paradise was formed—full of waterways, rivers, rapids and slides. While there are more areas for kids at Typhoon Lagoon, it is slightly lacking on the thrills, with the scariest being Humunga Kowabunga with a five-story drop in the dark. Miss Adventure Falls, a thrilling raft ride, is another favorite attraction.
Typhoon Lagoon does have a giant wave pool (North America’s largest and the water park’s signature attraction in the world) where you can even take surfing lessons. Altogether, many prefer Typhoon Lagoon between the two Disney water parks but it really depends on your family and their preferences. Unlike other Disney parks, Typhoon Lagoon doesn’t currently require a park reservation, but that is subject to change so be sure to check before you go.
LEGOLAND Water Park
Just outside of Orlando Florida in Winter Haven, you will find LEGOLAND Florida, home to the theme park, water park, LEGOLAND Hotel, and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. This water park is NOT open year round, so be sure to check if you are visiting in the winter.
The LEGOLAND Water Park includes a lazy river, wave pool, body slides and tube rides, and play areas, including one for toddlers. While this water park isn’t as good as some of the others as a stand alone park, it is a great way to beat the heat when you are spending a day or two at LEGOLAND with a combo ticket.
Read my thoughts on whether or not LEGOLAND is worth it.
Bonus: Discovery Cove
So while Discovery Cove isn’t a water park with slides, there is plenty to do in the water at this all-inclusive day resort. Guests have the opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, hand-feed exotic birds, and encounter playful otters.
Visitors can also relax and explore rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers and white, sandy beaches.
Orlando hotels with great pools!
There are so many hotel choices in Orlando that properties need to offer great amenities and activities to stand out. Many have really stepped up when it comes to elaborate pools, lazy rivers, water slides, and even on-site water parks. These are some of our favorite Orlando hotels with water parks or amazing pools:
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort may be right next to Volcano Bay, but it offers plenty of fun in the water without leaving the hotel property. Guests can enjoy two pools, a zero-entry pool with a water slide, a kids’ play area, a lazy river, underwater music, a pool bar and cabanas to rent.
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
Eric from Travel Babbo likes the Four Seasons Orlando so much that his kids would rather hang out there than go to Disney World. The Four Seasons Orlando offers a five-acre water park, Explorer Island.
There are splash zones, interactive fountains, water slides, a lazy river, and pools, including a shallow infinity pool. The Four Seasons also has an area for pool volleyball and basketball.
Reunion Resort in Kissimmee offers one, two, and three-bedroom villas. This resort community offers guests access to its five-acre water park when booked direct through the resort. The water park includes water cannons, a lazy river, four waterfalls, water slides, rope bridges, a zero entry pool, water volleyball, water sprays and a giant water dumping bucket.
Adjacent to the pool area guests can also enjoy ladder ball, billiards, ping pong, foosball, hula hoop games, relay races, corn hole and giant chess.
Encore Resort at Reunion is also nearby and offers multi-bedroom vacation rental homes with private pools and also has its own water park. We stayed at an amazing 14-bedroom vacation home in Encore with our extended family a few years ago and this community is perfect for groups or multigenerational trips.
Hilton Bonnet Creek
A few years ago we stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando, which is next door to its sister property the Hilton Bonnet Creek. While the pool at the Waldorf was fun and swanky — and we especially enjoyed our private cabana — we had more fun walking next door to enjoy the pool at the Hilton.
The Hilton Bonnet Creek offers a three-acre lazy river complex in a lush environment. Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort
My friend Monet from The Traveling Child loves the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort and it is her favorite resort near Disney. The resort offers seven pools. The pool at North Village has a small water slide, splash pad and dedicated kiddie pool. Meanwhile, the pool at River Island has a larger water slide and a lazy river.
Westgate Town Center Resort
Westgate Town Center Resort in Kissimmee offers vacation rentals from studios to spacious four-bedroom villas. Guests and owners can enjoy the on-site Shipwreck Island water park for an added fee.
Shipwreck Island offers a pirate ship, lazy river, and water cannons. Even Shipwreck Island’s palm trees are equipped with jetted fountains that add to the fun.
The Grove Resort
The Grove Resort in Winter Garden is just six miles from Walt Disney World, offering everything from standard rooms to three-bedroom suites. The resort fee includes entrance to the resort’s water park, Surfari.
Surfari Water Park offers a FlowRider Double surf simulator, dual water slides, a 695-foot lazy river, a kids’ activities pool, and a zero-entry pool.
Caribe Royale Orlando
The Caribe Royale Orlando is an all-suite Orlando resort and a Disney Good Neighbor hotel. It’s a great option for families who are looking to be close to the parks, yet still have plenty of room to spread out.
The resort offers plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, including an expansive pool with a waterfall feature and a 75-foot waterslide. Families can reserve a private cabana near the pool or enjoy poolside movie nights on the weekends. When you get hungry, there’s a poolside restaurant, called Calypso’s Pool Bar & Grille, serving Latin- and Caribbean-inspired food.
Coco Key Hotel & Water Resort
CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort is a family-friendly hotel with a one-of-a-kind 54,000 sq. ft. canopy-covered/outdoor water park located on International Drive. The hotel also offers a large arcade, three restaurants, and a shuttle service to Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando.
Guests receive four passes daily to the on-site water park, which offers 14 slides and rides including a special lagoon for toddlers and young children.
Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa
The Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa offers two large pool areas, the Relaxation Pool and the Pirates’ Plunge Pool. The Pirates’ Plunge Pool has a zero-depth entry, making it very family-friendly. Kids can enjoy shooting water cannons, tumbling waterfalls and the amazing water slide that goes through the Pirate Ship that is wrecked in the middle of the Pirate-themed pool.
Jacuzzi-style hot tubs, comfortable poolside loungers, and hammocks are a big hit with parents.
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Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel. She is also the publisher of YourTimetoFly and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.