Months after Blizzard Beach closed the Red Slopes, home of the Runoff Rapids trio of slides, we might finally know why these slides have been shuttered since nearly the beginning of the year.
With the addition of Miss Adventure Falls at Typhoon Lagoon earlier this year, Blizzard Beach now holds the longest streak of any water park without a major new addition. Typhoon Lagoon went over a decade between its two most recent updates. Blizzard Beach hasn’t seen a major update since the park opened in 1995.
Last month, Twitter user @skylor spotted what looks to be construction prep happening in the vicinity of Runoff Rapids. Land clearing in the area began at least a year ago, but no permits have yet to be pulled with the water management district, a move that typically gives the public some indication of what to expect from upcoming attractions.
The lack of water management plans could point to Disney using pre-existing impermeable areas, but that typically calls for at least an update, which we’ve yet to see. The likely option is this current work is just land prep involving things like land stability and soil tests that would be required before any significant new construction takes places
Disney has yet to give any details on the possible new expansion or even confirm that it is happening, but Blizzard Beach is viewed as the more thrilling of the two Disney World water parks. It has one of the tallest body waterslides in the world and the world’s longest “family white water raft ride.” That could be an indication of a new thrill ride coming to the park.
The supposed area where the expansion is going to take place is behind the central “mountain” of the park. Any type of major new ride would likely be visible from Osceola Parkway and Buena Vista Drive.
The water park industry has evolved dramatically since Blizzard Beach opened 22 years ago and many of the more common thrill rides used in the industry today are absent from the ski resort-themed water park.
With Volcano Bay opening at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld’s Aquatica long rumored to be adding a new family raft ride in the coming years, it’s no wonder Disney is looking to update their aging water parks.
Any major updates will likely open before Disney World’s big 50th Anniversary in 2021. In the meantime, Blizzard Beach is celebrating Club Penguin and Frozen. No word on the old rumor of Blizzard Beach getting a permanent Frozen theme updating.