A Disney vacation involves months of planning, costs of airfare (or gas), accommodations, park tickets, plus the logistics of getting your family to Orlando. But you can’t control the fickle Florida weather. In fact, for central Florida, storms are part of the daily weather pattern during the summer months. Not fair, right? Since even a little rainy weather can put a crimp in your vacation style, use these tips to plan ahead for your next Disney trip.
Although you can control some factors to help ensure that your vacation will have the perfect weather during your next Disney vacation (the time of year, checking long-range forecasts, etc.), Mother Nature tends to like surprises. But you don’t have to let the weather spoil your vacation. Even a rainy day can be a lot of fun and help create family memories that will last a lifetime.
My family hasn’t had a Walt Disney World vacation yet that didn’t involve some (or even a great deal of) rain. But we’ve learned to roll with the weather and still create amazing memories. Read on for tips to make your rainy day at Disney World the best it can be.
First of all, Stay Calm.
Florida rainstorms tend to be over quickly instead of lasting all day, so don’t panic if you see clouds rolling in. But those brief rain showers don’t always cut through the humidity. In fact, they can sometimes make it even worse, so staying dry will definitely help with the comfort factor for the rest of your day.
No matter what the weather does on your day in the parks, don’t let it get to you. It’s still an amazing experience to be at any of the Disney parks, whether wet, sticky, hot or dry. Yes, standing in the pouring rain to watch a parade or fireworks show is uncomfortable. You can still make it a fun experience for your kids by letting them splash in puddles or twirl around in the rain.
People and clothes will dry, but the memories you make that day are once-in-a-lifetime. They will be something your kids will remember forever. Try to keep your frustration or disappointment to yourself to help make those memories positive ones for the kids.
Pack clothing that dries quickly.
The best clothes for a rainy day in the parks in the summertime are those made of thin synthetic or cotton blend fabrics that dry quickly. This way, you and your family – especially kids – won’t feel uncomfortable walking around in wet clothes.
Waterproof shoes or sandals are a great idea too. Heavy rain can ruin leather shoes and make walkways slippery. Plus, there’s almost nothing more uncomfortable than squelching around the parks in waterlogged socks and shoes. On our most recent Disney World trip, I learned this the hard way after an unexpected rainstorm soaked my tennis shoes. I bought a pair of Mickey Mouse flip flops to get through the rest of the afternoon, but they were an unplanned, and expensive, souvenir. Also, flip flops aren’t really recommended for riding roller coasters since they can fall easily off.
Dress in Layers.
Dress in multiple layers. You can easily remove an outer layer if it gets wet. Plus, rain can be cold even if the temps are hot outside. And those air-conditioned indoor spaces are often colder than you think. Tank tops are great for outdoors in the heat, but throw a light shrug or hoodie in your bag, just in case. Not carrying a bag? Just tie a thin shirt around your waist by the sleeves.
Ponchos are a necessity. Really.
You don’t need expensive or fancy rain gear. Those knee-length ponchos can protect you from the rainy weather, as well as from sitting on wet seats on the rides. Bring ponchos for everyone, and if you can, buy them beforehand off-site at a grocery or dollar store. Yes, you can buy the Disney Parks rain ponchos at any of the parks if you need to, but they are definitely pricey. On one trip I bought four clear plastic adult rain ponchos at the Winn-Dixie near our vacation rental home for $3.99 each and paid a dollar more to get my youngest daughter a pink Minnie Mouse one.
We usually carry the ponchos in our backpacks and re-use them several times, just stuffing them back in when we don’t need them since they’re light and compact down easily. On our latest trip, I forgot to re-add the ponchos to our bags on our last day. Unfortunately this resulted in my kids and I waiting under the awning of a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom for an hour while the rain poured down. We finally gave up and got completely soaked as we dashed our way to the park exit.
Protect your electronics.
Protecting your cameras, phones and tablets from the rain should be high on your priority list. You can buy custom water proof covers for most electronics. For a cheaper solution, bring a couple of small Ziploc bags to put your devices in while it rains. (Check out 7 other ways Ziploc bags make great travel hacks.) Umbrellas also help while you use your phone or grab a quick shot with your camera, if there’s just a little rain coming down.
Plan your day wisely.
Plan your day according to the weather forecast. If it’s going to be extra hot, plan for stops in air-conditioned spaces, like restaurants, gift shops or indoor shows. It’s a good opportunity to see some of the amazing shows they have in the Disney parks or try indoor rides like Soarin‘ at Epcot. Plus you get to rest your feet for a little while too. Threatening clouds or raindrops are also good opportunities to browse through shops or stop for a meal. Since many rain showers blow over fairly quickly, you can often avoid getting wet altogether.
It usually rains in the afternoons in Orlando, so book indoor attractions for the afternoons. Book FastPasses so you can ride outdoor rides either early in the morning or late in the day.
Rent the right equipment.
Need to rent a stroller for your child or motorized scooter for a family member? You should know that there are several options; the best choices are the ones that come with a built-in overhead cover that can protect from the rain.
And if Nothing Else, Just Get Wet.
Well, you’re going to probably get wet anyway, right? May as well give up even trying to stay dry and just embrace the drenching. And while you’re wet, take the opportunity to ride the water rides, provided it’s not thunder storming. Or head out for an afternoon at the water parks. It is just water, after all.
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Have you visited Disney Parks in the rain – what were your experiences? Leave a comment below.
This is a updated version of a post written by Margalit Sturm Francus.