Disney World adds free water park admission for hotel guests

February 26, 2024, 10:18 AM · Walt Disney World is adding a new benefit for guests who stay at one of its on-site resorts - a free day at one of Disney's water parks.

The new perk takes effect next year. It will allow guests staying at any of 31 Walt Disney World Resort hotels to get into either Disney's Blizzard Beach or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon on their check-in day, at no extra charge. The free admission will be given to anyone on the room reservation.

Disney has been operating its two water parks only one at a time since the pandemic, with park operations rotating seasonally. Currently, Blizzard Beach is open, through March 16. Then it will be Typhoon Lagoon's turn.

The free day should help boost attendance at Disney's water parks, while providing guests a fresh solution to the dilemma of what to do on an arrival day, when your potential time in the parks is often limited.

Disney's hotel guests also get 30 minutes of early entry to the theme parks daily, with guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort getting extended evening hours at select parks on select dates. They also get a 30-day head start on advance dining reservations at the resort.

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Replies (3)

February 27, 2024 at 12:42 PM

I don't get this. The Disney water parks tend to have limited hours (typically close between 5-7 PM), so if this perk only applies to your check-in day, you'd have to arrive pretty early in the day to take advantage of it (probably before 2 PM). Then there's the issue with pulling out swimsuits from luggage in the lobby and changing either at the water park or in a public restroom assuming guest rooms are not available until 3 PM.

Quick story - We often drive to Florida from the DC region, and typically do so overnight, planning a "lighter" first day when we arrive (usually BGT or SW, where intense planning isn't necessary and stress isn't as high). One year we did the overnight drive, and arrived in Orlando @8 AM, grabbed breakfast at the Waffle House off I-4, and planned a day at Typhoon Lagoon before checking into our first hotel. We figured we would leverage the less-active water park day to our advantage and planned to change into our swimsuits in the park. Well, as we walked into the water park in our street clothes (more suited to a chilly October day in DC instead of a warm Florida sun-soaked day), a CM approached us and asked if we needed any help. We just asked for directions to the changing rooms. We talked for a bit, and I guess she felt bad for us, and "pixie dusted" us with a cabaƱa for the day.

All of the Disney resorts have pools, and many of them have some type of water slide or other water park type of attraction/structure/splash pad (and open later into the evening). If guests want to relax or hang out by a pool on their arrival day, it's more likely that they're going to do so at their resort's pool instead of trekking over to one of the water parks.

I'm sure some guests might be swayed by this perk, but this wouldn't move the needle for me. It also shows how little Disney regards its own water parks, which have not seen any significant improvements or major changes in nearly a decade. Universal wouldn't even think of doing this with Volcano Bay.

The real question then, is this more of an indictment of Disney's water parks or Disney trying to get creative to fill their resorts, indicating they're nervous about vacancy rates in advance of Epic Universe.

February 27, 2024 at 12:41 PM

Actually, first day at Disneyland, first thing my family did after checking into room was hitting the pool. And a few times at WDW would fit in water stuff so I can see a family thinking fun to show up in the morning then head to a park for a few hours, get it out of the way for fun.

February 27, 2024 at 1:31 PM

@MikeW - I could see hitting the pool, but getting to one of the water parks can be a chore. Maybe if you're driving in and have a car, it's a valuable perk, but if you're flying in and are relying on Disney Transportation, it can be a real pain, and not really worth all the effort considering you could just hit your resort's pool instead.

Let's say you're flying into MCO and you plan to take Mears or a ride share to your resort. If your flight touches down at 10 AM, you might be able to get to your resort at noon. After you've dropped your bags, changed into swimwear, and ridden the bus to the water park, it's probably already after 1 PM (probably closer to 2). I haven't been to the Disney water parks lately, but my experience is if you show up that late, you're probably not getting an ideal chair location. While you could probably hit the highlights, it's unlikely you'd be able to fully experience either water park before it closes. Sure, it wouldn't cost you anything with this perk, but is it really worth all the hassle and effort?

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