May 2021 Orlando Attractions Guide: The Best Water Parks
As the mercury climbs, water parks once again take center stage in Orlando—but there’s plenty of fun to be had on dry land, too.
Whether you’re looking for new ways to chill, or plan to visit old favorites, Orlando offers myriad water park attractions as we head into the steamy summer season.
Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort has adopted temperature screenings, limited capacity and aggressive cleaning procedures, making water play safer than ever. A tropical oasis full of wild and mild water rides, the water park is named for its centerpiece 200-foot volcano. Among the different experiences guests find here are the leisurely Kopiko Wai Winding River, the South Sea-inspired Waturi Beach and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 125-foot drop alongside the volcano. universalorlando.com
Disney’s Blizzard Beach has also enhanced its health and safety measures and welcomes back guests for some wintery-themed water fun. Get propelled through 1,200 feet of twists and turns at the family-oriented Teamboat Springs; the inner tubes on the super-wide water slide rotate randomly for unpredictable fun. Hardcore thrill-seekers will love Summit Plummet, which rockets you 12 stories straight down through a darkened tunnel and into a massive spray of whitewater. Looking for something a little more chill? Cross Country Creek is one of the longest lazy rivers in the country; you’ll glide through cool caves, illuminated grottos, under bridges and past a lush green forest on this thoroughly relaxing float. disneyworld.disney.go.com
For fun in the sun, you can’t beat spending the day at SeaWorld’s Aquatica, and new this year is Riptide Race, where you can challenge your bestie to a wild competition. Start at the top of a 68-foot tower before careening down the 650-foot slide that includes twists, turns and tunnels. After working up an appetite, stop by one of the park’s two new dining experiences, Ke-Re’s Bar and Papa’s Cantina, for some instant refreshment. aquatica.com
Guests at Gaylord Palms Resort can also splash down in the new Crystal River Rapids, a new water attraction at the resort’s Cypress Springs Water Park. Inspired by spring-fed Florida rivers, the exhilarating plunge whisks guests around twists and turns in the refreshing water, which is also heated during cooler months for year-round enjoyment. The rapids attraction joins other aquatic activities at the resort, including the FlowRider Surfing Experience, a water playground and racing slides. For some serenity, visit the adults-only South Beach Pool, or soak your cares away in the twin spas. Guests looking to enhance their poolside experience can also book premium pool seating or private cabanas. marriott.com/gaylord-hotels
Now through the middle of May, Gaylord Palms Resort celebrates Once Upon a Spring with a curated group of family-friendly activities. Join Mother Goose and her friends for the interactive show Paint Me a Fairytale, and as a special keepsake, guests take home a watercolor paint set and coloring book. Next door, visit the ART Bar for whimsical cocktails and mocktails, featuring the fresh flavors and colors of the season. marriott.com/gaylord-hotels
At the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, kids of all ages can enjoy special activities inspired by fairies! Through next month, the resort has transformed into a mystical fairy garden, complete with fairy-themed story times, scavenger hunts and character meet and greets. Grown-ups can also celebrate the season with make-your-own bouquet and succulent workshops, as well as Immunity Support massages, part of the spa’s Bloom & Boost program. marriott.com
Return of the Dinner Show
Experience the high-energy antics of Tony Brent as Orlando’s favorite dinner show returns to the stage. WonderWorks Orlando has revived its popular The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, and guests are able to stay socially distanced while participating in this one-of-a-kind experience. Be sure to take stock of your personal items before you leave—they may vanish into thin air during the show! This family-friendly evening starts at 6 p.m., with a hand-tossed cheese or pepperoni pizza, salad, beer, wine and soda included in the ticket price. wonderworksonline.com
Gettin’ Piggy With It
Time to get your little piggies in a row. In 2022, LEGOLAND Florida Resort opens its new standalone resort, the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park. Sure, there will be plenty of sunshine, but you won’t miss out on any “muddy puddles.” Meet Peppa and her friends, then snort and giggle on pint-sized rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes and water play areas. There will also be oink-tastic live shows. The whole family will squeal with delight! Additional details on rides and attractions will be released this summer. Stay in the loop by signing up for email updates at the company’s website. peppapigthemepark.com/florida