There are many benefits to visiting Walt Disney World in the summer. Since it is no longer peak season, you’ll experience fewer crowds, shorter lines, longer hours, and fewer ride closures.  However, one thing summer in Orlando brings is heat, humidity and afternoon rain showers.  The summer weather does not have to be a vacation ruiner if you plan ahead.  Structure your days wisely and bring along a few essential items and you and your family can have a wonderful summer trip! Here is our guide to helping you and your family stay cool and survive the summer heat at Walt Disney World!

ARRIVE EARLY!

Take advantage of the Morning Extra Magic Hours.

On selected days of the week, Disney resort guests may enter a Disney theme park 1 hour earlier or stay in a selected theme park 2 hours later than the official park-operating hours. Not only will the mornings be cooler, but the crowds will be lighter, which will allow you to do the most attractions in the shortest time.

Morning Extra Magic Hours

  • Magic Kingdom has Morning Extra Magic Hours on Friday. Evening Extra Magic Hours are often on Tuesday.

  • Epcot Morning EMHs are on Thursday, with evening EMHs on Monday.

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios Morning EMHs are on Sunday, with Evening EMHs on Friday.

  • Animal Kingdom’s morning sessions are on Wednesday and Saturday. Animal Kingdom rarely has evening EMHs.

TAKE IT SLOW.

It can be difficult when you’re somewhere as exciting and fun as Walt Disney World, but it’s important to take it slow and give yourself time to sit and relax. Rushing around in the heat is the surest path to exhaustion and you’ll end up getting less done than if you took your time.

TAKE A BREAK MIDDAY

Take a break in the middle/hottest time of day and enjoy the rest of the parks at night.

Around noon head back to your hotel for a much-needed break, go swim at the pool, get lunch or take a nap.

If you don’t want to head back to your hotel or you aren’t staying on site, find a Disney restaurant that accepts lunch reservations and spend time being waited on and relaxing in the wonderful air conditioning.  Or head over to Disney Springs and catch an afternoon movie at the AMC Theater or go bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Or consider resort hopping or enjoy a nice meal (inside or outside the parks). Plan to head back to the parks around 4:00 pm.  This will help you avoid the hottest part of the day.

No matter what you do during your midday break, you’ll be able to head back to the parks later in the afternoon feeling relaxed and refreshed which will make your Disney experience a much happier one!

Important tip! Don’t forget the umbrella.

During the summer, prepare for a daily afternoon rain shower.  These showers head in and out quickly, but it’s a good thing because many non-Florida residents don’t realize that these showers happen daily and they will leave the park or go eat under cover. So this might give you the opportunity to take advantage of shorter lines.

STAY COOL IN THE PARKS

If you don’t want to take a midday break, find ways to stay cool inside the parks.

Magic Kingdom

Cool attractions:

  • Space Mountain –  This popular ride may have one of the longest wait times, but the queue is mostly indoors and sure to keep you cool.

  • After you exit Space Mountain, you’ll find yourself in the air-conditioned Tomorrowland Video Arcade. This is also accessible from the outside and provides a place to entertain the kids and the adults to cool off! Hint: Besides the arcade, there’s a convenient charging station on the back wall.

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

  • Splash Mountain. You have two choices here: ride the ride and get fairly wet or stand on the bridge before the big drop and catch some mist as riders plummet down the mountain. Note that both options won’t have you escaping the heat, but they will have you getting a little wet and thus cooling off.

  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – While some of this 10-minute long ride is outside, those parts are undercover to offer some protection from the sun. The inside parts through Space Mountain are cool and refreshing!

Shady with a cool breeze:

  • Swiss Family Treehouse

  • The Liberty Square Riverboat

  • Walt Disney Railroad

Sit down, relax, and cool down:

  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

  • Hall of Presidents

  • Mickey’s Philharmagic

  • The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

  • Country Bear Jamboree

  • Enchanted Tiki Room

For a cool mist:

  • Casey Jr. Splash N Soak Station in Fantasyland.

  • Cool Scanner in Tomorrowland

  • Tikis in Adventureland

Hollywood Studios

Relax and take in a show:

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage

  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Indoor attractions:

  • Walt Disney Presents is a nice spot to cool down. You’ll meet characters, there are interactive games for the kids, and if you head around to the back, you can see an animator drawing in their office…..this is a good low traffic area that’s perfect for trying to get a baby to nap.

  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream is another cool spot.  It’s the history of Walt Disney and how Disney World came to be.

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

  • Star Tours

  • Toy Story Mania

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Although not indoors, don’t miss the Coke Misting Station near the back lot area.

Animal Kingdom

Avoid Animal Kingdom on the hottest days. Very few attractions are indoors and there are few shady areas to find any relief. If you have no choice, go early! Take advantage of extra magic hours and then leave before it gets too unbearable. Or take that midday break and return late afternoon or early evening.

Here are a few additional ways to stay cool in the park:

  • Finding Nemo the Musical (45 minutes)

  • Festival of the Lion King  (30 minutes)

  • Dinosaur has an indoor queue.

  • Save Kali River Rapids for last because you will get drenched!

Epcot

Most of the attractions at Epcot are indoors, so walking will be your biggest exposure to the heat between attractions.

  • In Future World-West you’ll find: Soarin’, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival and The Circle of Life.  Located inside The Land Pavilion are two attractions: Living with the Land and Behind the Seeds.

  • In Future World-East you can find the Advanced Training Lab, Innoventions, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track.

  • Also, don’t miss the Coke Misting Station near Test Track.

Be prepared to deal with the heat if you’re walking around the World Showcase. Your best bet is to go into each country’s pavilion if you are able.

  • China, France and Canada pavilions all have short films inside.

  • American Adventure is a great resting spot, particularly if you catch the Voices of Liberty.

  • Frozen Even After (Norway)

  • Gran Fiesta Tour (Mexico)

DRINK WATER

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity, without sufficient rest and fluids, can quickly lead to dehydration, which can be serious if left untreated. Be sure to keep your family hydrated at all times, especially children.

Early signs of dehydration include:

  • Fatigue

  • Thirst

  • Dry lips and tongue

  • Lack of energy

  • Feeling overheated

  • Water is the best choice for staying hydrated. Lemonade will only increase your thirst, Cokes and sodas loaded with sugar will make you tired.

  • Do not wait to drink water until your first day. You should start drinking lots of water a few days before your trip. If you wait to drink until you feel thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated.

  • You can find bottled water at stands throughout the park and they count as a snack credit.

  • There’s no reason to go broke buying water bottles inside the parks. One of the great things about Disney World is that you can bring in your own drinks and snacks. Bring in your own water bottle and ask for free cups of iced water from any fountain soda kiosk or quick service restaurant (no purchase necessary).

  • Fill up your water bottle at the water fountains located throughout the park. Refill water bottles when you walk near one—don’t wait until you run out.

  • If you have the opportunity, stop by Walmart or Costco and buy water bottles there.  Chill them in your room’s refrigerator for the next day. Better yet, freeze the water bottles the night before. The next day the ice will melt soon enough and you’ll have an icy drink when you need it.

VISIT A BABY CARE CENTER OR FIRST AID

  • If you begin to feel ill or find that you require medical assistance, please visit one of the First Aid centers. Nurses are available during normal park operating hours to offer over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies so that you can begin enjoying your vacation again.

  • Make sure you know where the station is within each park you are visiting as to alleviate confusion later.

  • Baby Care Centers are also able to help guests with mild dehydration. Their centers are Air Conditioned and have access to cold water, with over the counter medications and juices available for purchase. This is also a great place to relax for a few minutes while the children cool down, away from the hustle and bustle of the shops and indoor queues.

  • Also, don’t hesitate to seek out Disney Cast Members who will be able to assist you in finding appropriate care in an emergency.

At each of the four main parks in Walt Disney World, Disney First Aid and Baby Care Centers are located next to each other. The water park locations only have First Aid Centers. These facilities can be found at the following locations:

  • Magic Kingdom: Between Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace, in a small courtyard

  • Epcot:  In the Odyssey building, on a path between the Test Track area and the Mexico pavilion

  • Hollywood Studios: Next to Guest Relations at the park entrance

  • Animal Kingdom: On Discovery Island near the bridge to Africa

  • Typhoon Lagoon: Behind Leaning Palms

  • Blizzard Beach: Beside Lottawatta Lodge

DO SOME SHOPPING

Did you know that you can walk the entire left side of Main Street USA through the Emporium store instead of through the heat of the street? The right side of the street is trickier; Although the first few stores connect, you can’t stay indoors all the way to the end of the street.

The main street in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Hollywood Blvd), connects on both sides all down the street.

While there are no connecting stores in Animal Kingdom or Epcot, there are still plenty of air-conditioned shops/attractions along the way to wherever you are going. Duck into a store or attraction and get out of the heat as much as you can whenever you can.

SPEND THE DAY AT A WATER PARK

There’s no better way to cool down than spending the afternoon at one of Disney’s water parks, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach.

When you buy Magic Your Way base tickets for Walt Disney World, you can add the Water Park Fun and More option. The nice thing about this option is that it is one add-on cost, no matter how many days of park admission you’ve purchased, and you get a fun option for each day of park admission.

Arrive at the water parks early before the crowds arrive to get a good spot. You could spend an entire day playing in the water park, especially if you rent a cabana where you’re really set with a great separate place to call your own.

Another great option is to spend a half day at a water park, go back to your hotel for some downtime, and then enjoy an evening at one of the four theme parks.

RELAX IN A COOL, AIR-CONDITIONED DINING LOCATION

We always suggest you make dining reservations for lunch or dinner when possible. However, for those times that you don’t have a reservation or just want to eat at a quick service location, look for one that provides indoor seating.

Magic Kingdom

Quick Service Locations with indoor seating:

  • Pinocchio Village House

  • Tortuga Tavern

  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

  • Columbia Harbor House

  • Casey’s Corner (limited indoor seating)

  • Gaston’s Tavern (limited indoor seating)

Bongos Cuban Cafe Disney Springs

Epcot

Quick Service Locations with indoor seating:

  • Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (limited indoor seating)

  • Tangierine Cafe (limited indoor seating)

  • Sunshine Seasons

  • Sommerfest (limited indoor seating)

  • Liberty Inn

  • Katsura Grill (limited indoor seating)

  • Electric Umbrella

  • La Cantina De San Angel

Animal Kingdom

Quick Service Locations with indoor seating:

  • Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (limited indoor seating)

  • Satu’Li Canteen

  • Restaurantosaurus

  • Pizzafari

Hollywood Studios

Quick Service Locations with indoor seating:

  • PizzeRizzo

  • ABC Commissary

  • The Backlot Express

ENJOY FROZEN SWEETS AND DRINKS

A frozen sweet or drink can also be the perfect remedy for a warm day at Walt Disney World. Who doesn’t love the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich or Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar? Try the vanilla soft serve, shaved ice, slushies, milk shakes, smoothies, and more!

Magic Kingdom

  • In Adventureland at  Aloha Isle you’ll find the famous Dole Whip, the frosty pineapple soft serve dessert. For a special treat, try the Dole Whip float!

  • If you’re not a fan of pineapples, stop by the Sunshine Tree Terrace (also in Adventureland) and try the Citrus Swirl. This is the Dole Whip’s orange counterpart. Get it in a cup or as a float with orange soda.

  • During your time in Fantasyland, take a break from the hot sun and enjoy  LeFou’s Brew from Gaston’s Tavern. The refreshing beverage is a sugar-free frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow that is topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam.

  • At the Plaza Ice Cream Parlour on Main Street, try one of their signature sundaes, the All American or Mickey’s Kitchen Sink. Don’t miss the Donut Sundae which is made up of a glazed doughnut, cinnamon apple topping, a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and peanut butter chips, hot fudge, and milk chocolate Mickey ears, topped with a cherry.

  • At Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies, you’ll find the Millennial Pink Milkshake. This strawberry milkshake comes topped with fluffy cotton candy and house-made Mickey-shaped marshmallows.

Epcot

  • Gelati in the Italy pavilion has several different flavors of gelato that can be served in a cup, cone, or between two chocolate chip cookies.

  • Stop by the Japan pavilion’s Kabuki Cafe, which offers refreshing shaved ice in rainbow, strawberry, melon, cherry, and tangerine flavors.

  • In the French Pavilion, try the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich at L’Artisan des Glace.

  • The Test Track Cool Wash in Future World at Epcot provides a quick spot to cool off with a refreshing frozen drink, coca cola, fanta blue raspberry, and raspberry lemonade.

  • At Innoventions West you’ll find what seems to be an ordinary souvenir shop selling Coca Cola-branded merchandise. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll realize that the shop serves free unlimited soft drinks from around the world, making this the perfect place to quench your thirst.

Animal Kingdom

  • In Animal Kingdom’s World of Pandora, several unique snacks can be found in the new land, but the Night Blossom is one-of-a-kind. The frozen mixture of limeade with apple and desert pear, topped with passion fruit boba, is the only non-alcoholic option at Pongu Pongu.

  • Warung Outpost in the park’s Asia area offers a variety of refreshments, such as the non-alcoholic Shangri-La Berry Freeze. However, the Triple Yeti blast is a concoction for the adventurous over-21-year-olds. The beverage is a combination of Kali River Mango, Maharaja Lime and Bali Hai Strawberry margaritas.

Hollywood Studios

  • At Hollywood Studios’ Indiana Jones-inspired Oasis Canteen, you can find several different sweet treats like ice cream in a waffle cones and root beer floats. By far, the most decadent dessert at the snack stand is the funnel cake, topped with soft serve vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping.

A FEW LAST THINGS….

What to Wear

When you’re spending all day out in the hot sun and high humidity, you’ll want to dress appropriately to be as comfortable as possible.

  • Wear light colored, loose, cotton fabrics (T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, etc.)

  • Moisture wicking clothing is a great option to keep you dry. Moisture wicking t-shirts absorb wetness before it has a chance to soak through your top. You can also buy moisture wicking shorts, underwear and even socks! Whether you’re wet from an afternoon rainstorm, a water ride or you just sweat a lot these will help you stay cool and comfortable throughout the day. You can buy moisture wicking clothing almost anywhere. Sport stores, Target, Walmart, Kohl or Amazon all have a wide variety to choose from.

  • Bring several different pairs of comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, so it doesn’t matter if it’s sneakers or sandals or flip flops as long as it’s comfortable. Also, beware that your shoes will probably get wet at some point. So it’s always good to have a backup pair of shoes and socks (if necessary). There’s nothing worse than walking around in a soaking wet pair of shoes and socks.

  • Popular shoe brands include Skechers, Crocs, Keen, Teva and Chaco.

  • Rain ponchos. Be prepared for daily afternoon showers. If you don’t want to carry around an umbrella pick up some inexpensive ponchos before you leave home.

Don’t Forget the Umbrella

  • Wearing a hat is always recommended, but umbrellas do much more than keep you dry while in the parks, they provide your own personal shade bubble. This will protect your skin from sun burn and make you feel a little cooler in the middle of the day. At first, you may feel awkward for carrying an umbrella around when there’s not a cloud in the sky but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Stroller Tips

  • Use a stroller that has a wide sunshade. Umbrella strollers are great for light weight and ease of carrying on and off the buses. However, most of the time their sunshades are not that great. A sunshade will keep your little one cool, and protected from the sun.

  • Consider purchasing clip on fan for your stroller. This will help your kiddos stay cool on even the warmest days. Check out this stroller fan from Amazon!

  • If necessary, you can rent a stroller from a location in Orlando.

Don’t Forget the Essentials

  • Sunscreen – Spray or liquid for your arms, legs, neck, etc. and a stick sunblock for the face

  • Sunglasses

  • Misting Fan – You can buy these at the park or save money and buy them for half the price from Amazon or Walmart.  Check these out:  Travelon 3 Speed Folding Fan or Deluxe Handheld Misting Fan

  • Hat – Sun hats are the best way to keep your face and neck protected.

  • Cooling Towels – Buy from Amazon or Walmart.  Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad is also highly recommended.

  • Small, portable cooler – Pack with water bottles and wet wipes or a zip lock bag with a wet wash cloth. These work great for quickly cooling off sticky, sweaty kids in the parks.

  • Water Bottle –  We love these stainless steel bottles.  Your water will stay cold for up to 24 hours, bpa free, and never sweat.