Evidence of the Ice Gator

Blizzard Beach is a study in bold contrasts. If you don’t know the story behind the park, you might find it a little confusing to spot snowmen and icicles in the middle of sunny Florida. As with everything at Walt Disney World, there’s a rich and complex story line at work here, creating an interesting and immersive environment. A close look at the park’s creative details will tell you a great deal about the ski resort that was and the water park that’s haphazardly come to exist in its place.

1. Mt. Gushmore

Mt. Gushmore

The centerpiece of Blizzard Beach is a mountain known as Mt. Gushmore. This single highlight showcases the park’s entire story. As the tale goes, Florida was once hit by a freak snowstorm that turned this mountain into the perfect ski spot. Entrepreneurial locals jumped on the chance to build a unique resort around this attraction and a small ski town sprang up around the mountain. Unfortunately, warm weather soon returned and the melting snow turned the resort into a water park instead.

Fortunately melted snow is just as much fun, and a lot less chilly. Mt. Gushmore was once the peak of the ski mountain, but now the ski runs are filled with melting snow, making them ideal for use as waterslides. You’ll spot guests hurtling down the top of the slide, though the ramp that aims outward toward the park is just for show. Guests actually continue the plummet downward and do not, in fact, launch off the end of the ski jump.

2. The ski lift with footwear provided

Ski Lift

The ski lift at Blizzard Beach offers a fun and perfectly themed way for guests to get to the top of the mountain. Look closely and you’ll notice that the riders look a bit overdressed for the waterslide. The design of the lift chairs makes it look like each guest is wearing a pair of skis. Though the dangling skis aren’t really on your feet, they can make for some fun pictures if you can catch a shot of friends or family on the way up. It’s not often you’ll see skis and swimwear paired together, but silly contrasts like these are what Blizzard Beach is all about.

3. Abruptly renamed buildings

Snowless Joe's

A lot of work went into building this ski resort, but it was turned into a water park abruptly when the snow started to melt. This is evident throughout in the quick changes that local business owners made to their buildings to accommodate the changing environment.

Look closely at the signage and you’ll see how buildings have been cleverly repurposed. In the picture above, Snow Joe’s Ski Rental became Snowless Joe’s Locker and Towel Rental. Other elements like this are common around the water park so keep your eyes open and see if you can spot what each area used to be.


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