There is no denying Disney World gets hot. That central Florida climate climbs to insufferable levels of heat and humidity, particularly in the late summer months. Just the thought of standing in long lines and walking around in the baking sun for hours is enough to send anyone packing for Elsa’s Ice Palace.
You can have a really great time in Disney World even in the hottest months. Disney planned these parks appropriately for the Florida climate year round. All you have to do is a little extra planning on your part and you can beat the heat at the Orlando theme parks.
Dress for Hot Weather
It all starts with bringing the right attire for surviving the heat. Pack short or sleeveless shirts, shorts, hats, sunglasses, and swimwear. Comfortable shoes with holes for ventilation is also a must. If you are a light packer, that is all you need. Some people like to cover their bases and bring a little bit of everything. It’s always good to be prepared, especially in winter, but in the hot summer months shorts and a t-shirt will feel just as comfortable at night as in the intense afternoon heat.
Don’t worry too much about dress codes. Even if you have a fancy dining reservation, formal attire is never expected. As long as you are dressed appropriately to be in public you will be fine.
Remember also to apply sunscreen daily as well. Surprisingly, many parts of Disney World have wide open spaces and very little shade. Protecting your skin from UV radiation should be top of mind whenever you head out on your next adventure.
Find Indoor Spaces
Disney Parks are sprawling and very exposed to the sun. Even the lush environments of Animal Kingdom belie a lack of shaded walkways. The wide diameter of Magic Kingdom hub is completely unprotected from the sun and Epcot’s labyrinthine gardens offer no shelter from the swelter. The solution? Get in doors whenever possible.
This is actually really a simple and natural part of your day at any of the four theme parks. Indoor Spaces were designed to hold many guests and there are a surprising number of ways indoor activities make up your total Disney World experience.
In Epcot, for example, the Future World Pavilions are structures that house indoor dining attractions and entertainment. Even after experiencing a ride, most of them have continued interactive play for guests to enjoy before going back outside.
Dine indoors or in the shade whenever possible. Magic Kingdom has dining locations everywhere with vast indoor dining capacity. some dining areas are upstairs where most guests don’t go, so look around for an accessible staircase if the ground level is crowded.
Take advantage of shows that take place inside of theaters for a nice break from the heat. Some lines for attractions do have you standing in the sun, and getting around the parks will have you exposed most of the time, but if you take advantage of the indoor spaces around you periodically the heat will never get too unbearable.
There are places located in the parks where you can shake the heat off by cooling down in a splash area. Epcot has a couple of them on the eastside of Future World near Test Track. Magic Kingdom has a Casey Jr. themed splash area in Fantasyland.
So far Epcot and Magic Kingdom are the only two parks that have these splash zones, but they are the ones who need it the most. Animal Kingdom has shady nooks and crannies to take comfort in and the observation deck over Kali River Rapids. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is mostly comprised of indoor shows and dining options.
For a real soaking wet time try out the your resort pool, or visit the water parks. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are perfect escapes on a hot summer day. They offer all the family fun of a regular theme park with waterslides, lazy rivers, wave machines and other water attractions and activities for all ages to enjoy.
Another good planning tip is to pack your own bottled water in your luggage. You can get a 24 pack of the same bottles they sell in the park for the same price as one bottle. Make sure you always have a bottle with you and remember to drink it. You can save yourself about $100. You can also ask for ice water at any food location and they will give it to you free of charge.
There are a lot of refreshing iced beverages to keep cool with in the parks, too. All of the parks offer alcohol, so remember to keep hydrated especially if you are partaking in the beer, wine, or cocktails.
Start and End Late
One last tip is to start going to the parks later in the day. Spend the morning and afternoon in the comfort of your hotel room, or at the pool. Then after two, when people are starting to leave the parks for the day, you go out for some fun.
The night air in summertime is so nice at Disney World. The added bonus is that there are usually less crowds. Also, you will be present for the nighttime spectaculars they have at each of the parks (Happily Ever After, Magic Kingdom; Illuminations, Epcot; Fantasmic!, Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom) If you do this plan, pay attention to the extended magic hours and which parks are open later, since it is different each day.
Even on the hottest days, you can remain relatively comfortable by following these basic tips. When you dress light, have protection on and have access to water you are on the right track. You don’t have to bake in the heat. Take it one attraction at a time and when in doubt shop around or find a shady bench to sit at for a little bit until you’ve cooled off.
Do you have a favorite way to keep cool in the parks, or a favorite resort pool? Share your experience in the comments.