With the arrival of summer, vacation season begins and many families will be visiting Walt Disney World. While a Disney vacation is a special one, visiting central Florida in the hottest part of summer will require some planning if you want this to be a magical vacation…and not a miserable one. So let’s talk about some ways to stay cool if you will be traveling to Disney World this summer.
Keeping in mind that everyone’s definition of “hot” differs, let me give you a frame of reference if you have never been to Disney World in the summer. I am a warm-weather lover. In fact, I am actually a hot-weather lover. Summer is by far my favorite time of the year, and I am happiest when temperatures are well into the 80s. So if I say that it is too hot for me….well you get the picture, right?
I love Disney World at any time of the year, but being at the parks when the heat index is close to 100 is too hot for me.
So then, in order to keep our cool, here are some of our family’s favorite heat-coping strategies:
- Do not stay at the parks from open to close. Really. It is just too much. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing little ones with beet red faces and sweat pouring off of them, sitting in their strollers crying, as their family waits in yet another line in the Magic Kingdom. Don’t do it. Plan for a break back at your room every day. Whether it’s to go to the pool or take a nap (and we’ve done both) everyone will really be much happier if you do this, when you return to the parks in the evening.
- Consider which are the outside attractions and which are indoors and air-conditioned, and plan accordingly. As in, do the outside ones first thing when it is coolest…or later in the evening after sunset. Plan to be in as much air conditioning as possible after 11 a.m. Keep in mind that those air-conditioned places are good for naps too….
- Think about the rides/attractions that are wet and will cool you off, and plan for those as well. By that I mean that when it is hottest and you really want to go on Splash Mountain to cool off…so will everyone else. Plan your Fastpasses accordingly.
- Have access to lots of water to drink. Bring water bottles with you and refill if needed. We have often frozen them overnight, and then put them in the backpack frozen the next morning. It’s also a great way to cool off the back of the person carrying the backpack.
- Mister fans are great. Save some money by getting some at home to bring with you. And remember to bring extra batteries.
- Really think about touring the parks with the weather in mind. For example, World Showcase is just not the place to be in the heat of the day. As much as I love that area, it is just miserable walking in the sun around the lagoon, because there is not much shade. World Showcase is an evening place for us in the summer. Animal Kingdom is another park where I would very carefully think about how long I wanted to be there during the heat of the day. Seriously, even the animals know to take it easy in the afternoon there….so you will truly see more of them if you go early or go late.
- Go to the parks when they open. Really. You will get a lot more done when crowds are lower first thing (because most people do not want to do this), and will be in perfect shape to have lunch and then leave for your break (see #1) just as everyone is arriving for the day.
- Prepare to use lots of sunscreen. Bring it from home because it is much cheaper than buying it at the parks.
- Know where the First Aid Stations are in each park in case someone gets overheated and needs assistance, and keep an eye out for where you can go inside to cool off quickly if needed: gift shops, food court, Hall of Presidents etc.
- Remember that Florida has pools everywhere for a reason.
Take it from this hot-weather loving person: your enjoyment of Disney World in the summer will be in direct proportion to how much you plan in advance for keeping cool. These are just a few things we have done to cope with the heat and there are of course many more tips for handling the heat.
What are your favorites?