Orlando’s water parks at night are best bet to cool off this Summer

It's going to be a long, hot Summer.

You can finally get away with not wearing sunscreen at Aquatica Orlando waterpark.

During the evening, with the humidity finally letting up and the sky getting dark, the water park comes alive, glowingly, for the after-hours special ticketed event that runs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on select nights thru Aug. 10. Tickets start at $49.99.

The event features a foam party, short water slide lines and a laser light show with dance music in the wave pool. What it doesn’t feature: Orlando’s unbearably hot sun.

Part of the selling point of AquaGlow is the exclusivity. Park President Brad Gilmore, said the nighttime event has a smaller attendance, although he did not provide specific numbers when asked.

“We’re limiting attendance, so it’s going to be a very controlled, curated experience with limited wait times on our rides,” Gilmore said at a media event that showed off colorful-themed food playing up the event’s neon theme, lights over the lazy river and party-like atmosphere with music.

Aquatica Orlando’s new experiment — its longest and most ambitious nighttime event — is happening more at Orlando’s water parks. While special ticketed events are more common at theme parks, water parks are starting to launch them too, said Carissa Baker, a University of Central Florida assistant professor who studies theme parks.

Disney World is offering a similar special ticketed event at Typhoon Lagoon. Tickets start at $75 for Disney’s H20 Glow from 8 to 11 p.m. on select nights through Aug. 31.

“Events like Aquatica’s AquaGlow or Disney’s H20 Glow After Hours provide additional revenue for the parks and a unique experience for guests. It is a nice touch in the hot weather because while it is usually still warm, it is certainly more comfortable in the evening,” Baker said.

“Since these events are newer in our market, I will be interested to see whether they will gain a following. I can see them doing so because of our consistently warm climate and the novelty factor.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .

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