Coco Key Water Resort opens on I-Drive in Orlando
The Coco Key Water Resort in the tourist corridor in Orlando opened in April 2010 and features a waterpark. Guests not staying at the hotel can pay admission to use the waterpark. Out in the sun is Parrot's Perch, an all-wet play island with slides, water cannons and a 400-gallon bucket that dumps every 30 minutes. (DEWAYNE BEVIL/ORLANDO SENTINEL)
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The colorful water slides located in the curve of Interstate 4 eastbound are just about ready for riders. CoCo Key Water Resort is part of a remodeled International Drive hotel that officially opened this week, but even folks who aren't staying there can experience the watery attractions (Florida residents get a discount.)
I think of the structure as being the old Ramada Inn, just a block or two north of the I-Drive/Sand Lake Road intersection. But it began life as the Hilton Inn South in May 1970 -- pre- Walt Disney World. As the story goes, Disney execs stayed there and cast members for Disney's Contemporary Resort were trained there.
The recent incarnation has undergone a major rehab, including a gutting of the rooms and the addition of the water park, which works its way from a kiddie area back to slides from a 60-foot tower.
Minnow Lagoon is for the littlest ones with a zero-depth entry, mushroomy water features, soaker cannons and milder slides. It's under a canopy, which is a great break from the sun.
Next is Coral Reef Cove, more of a tween/teen area featuring water volleyball and the Cyclone slide (48-inch height requirement). Behind those windows is a large arcade/gaming area.
Adjacent to Minnow Lagoon is a hot spot for parents: The Wet Rooster Tiki Bar (with a full bar).
Out in the sun is Parrot's Perch, an all-wet play island with slides, water cannons and a 400-gallon bucket that dumps every 30 minutes.
Finally, the big slides. The water wasn't turned on for them Thursday during our walk-through but will be Friday. A curvy one on the right is called Over the Falls, a body slide with a 40-inch height minimum. A yellow tube is Surfer Splash (42-inch minimum) with 1- and 2-person tubes, and a red slide is Boomerango, on which two-person tubes leave the tower, go up a ramp, experience a sense of weightlessness before sliding back down.
Nonresort guests can experience the water park elements for $19.95; Florida residents pay $14.95. There are birthday party events available as well, but be warned: There's a 6-foot bird character named CoCo involved.
For more info, call 407-351-2626 or go to http://www.cocokeywaterresort.com.