It’s getting to be that time of year when school is out and families will be heading down to Disney World for summer vacation.
For the regular visitor, navigating Disney World in the summer heat can be a task, let alone if you’ve never been and haven’t ever experienced it firsthand.
The average temperature for Orlando from June to August pretty much stays in the 90s, with the occasional day in the high 90s.
Also, need to keep in mind you’re traveling a little further South than maybe you’re accustomed to traveling, so that’s also a factor with the humidity also hanging around the 90 percent range.
Throw in having to do lots of walking and then waiting in lines when you get to where you’re going, Disney World can be a hot, sweaty mess of a trip.
So, today I’ll give you some of my tips for coping with the Florida heat during your trip.
- Stay hydrated!
I know it kind of sounds like something very simple, but you couldn’t begin to imagine how many people have their trips ruined by not staying properly hydrated. And by that I mean water or sports drinks, not soda. My family usually brings two water bottles (usually aluminum-based to keep the water cold throughout the day) and keep refilling it during the day. You can always get an ice cold glass of water at any quick-service restaurant (or kiosk that has a soda machine) for free, you just have to go ask. I like to take that glass of ice water and pour it into my water bottle and put it back in the backpack. So, start drinking water before you get to the park and continue drinking throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. I made that mistake last year in late April and ended up spending the night in the hospital with severe dehydration. Take if from me, you don’t want your vacation ended early because you neglected to drink enough water.
- Take a break
This is where staying on property at a Disney resort really comes into play. When the sun is directly overhead (so from 11:30 a.m. to about 2 p.m.), that’s when you want to get out of the sun. You can either take the break in the park with a long lunch at a sit-down restaurant, or you can hop on the bus/boat/monorail and go back to your resort for a few hours. There are ways to take a break in the park without sacrificing fun (more on that later), but the easiest way is a lunch reservation. If you head back to the resort, the options are plentiful. You can either take a nap, take a quick dip in the pool or just go back in the room and chill for a few hours. Whatever you decide to do, taking a break during the hottest time of the day will save a lot of energy and allow you to return to the park refreshed and ready to tackle all the nighttime activities such as parades and fireworks. If you choose to stay in the park and don’t take a break, I can assure you that you WILL hit a wall around 5 or 6 p.m. and it will make for a miserable experience for at least one person.
- Poncho up!
Florida is the Sunshine State, but sometimes that sunshine comes in the form of a liquid. Yep, it rains in Florida. And it’s usually early afternoon when you’re returning from your break (sometimes you can actually time it to where it rains while you’re napping, but you’re not always that lucky). So, if you’re in the park when it’s raining, don’t head to the exit. Instead, poncho up and continue your touring. The good thing about Disney is that a vast majority of the rides/attractions/shows are inside, so a little rain won’t close too many rides. A lot of guests will leave the park when it starts to rain, thinking there won’t be anything to do, and you will take advantage of all the shorter lines. And before you know it, the sun will be back out. Couple of bonus tips: Buy your ponchos before you go. You can pick them up at pretty much any store that carries sporting goods, like Academy or even Wal-Mart. They will be a lot cheaper than having to buy them in the parks. Hey, you might not need them, but better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Secondly, knowing that it might rain during your trip, always bring a backup pair of shoes, in case your first pair gets soaked (and if it rains, they probably will get soaked). Having that second pair of dry shoes for the next day will feel good. And it’s a lot better than staying up all night trying to dry shoes with the small hair dryer.
- Duck in and out of the heat
As I mentioned earlier, you can actually take a break in the parks without taking a break. There are several good attractions for getting out of the heat, getting off your feet and even taking a quick nap. If you can, plan those kind of attractions for the time of day when the sun is hottest. Attractions such as Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, People Mover, etc. are all nice breaks from the heat. The easiest way of beating the heat at Disney is to stay out of the sun. And you can accomplish that with some careful planning. Plan to ride attractions that have outdoor queues during early morning or late afternoon/evening hours. Then use your time in the middle of the day to see the shows/attractions that will blast some of that nice air conditioning.
- Dress light
Disney during the summer months is not the place to dress to impress. T-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes are perfectly fine, as long as the shirts aren’t vulgar (so anything with Ohio State Buckeyes on it is not allowed, just kidding. Or am I?) Resist the urge to wear something heavy, just because you think it looks good on you. Instead, go to Academy, Wal-Mart or Target and invest in some dri-fit or other microfiber-type shirts. If you want to dress them up, find someone who can do some vinyl applications on them to make them a little more personal. My kids love wearing their old baseball/soccer jerseys because they’re light, airy and don’t retain a lot of moisture. I can’t stress enough how much walking you will be doing. I’m talking 5-10 miles per day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be walking 10 miles in a pair of blue jeans. So, my advice is to keep it really simple, really light.
Those are my top five tips for coping with the heat. There are others, but those are the ones that stick out to me. I would add that you should bring a wash cloth or rag with you in the morning and prepare to wet it throughout the day to wipe down faces, cool off necks, etc. I’d even go a step further to wet it at night before you go to bed and then put it inside a ziploc bag and into the freezer in your room. You’ll wake up to a nice cold wash rag you can throw in your backpack and when you need it later in the day, it’ll be nice and cold for you.
So what are your tips for coping with the Florida heat? Anything you do before the trip (like start walking a few weeks prior to the trip to start preparing your body for all the miles)?
Let me know in the comments. And remember if you’re planning a Disney trip, or know someone who is, let me take care of all those pesky details I mentioned earlier. Let me plan your trip for you (free of charge of course) and you can just show up and have fun. Email me at FTJBrady@gmail.com for more information!
Thanks for reading and sharing and remember to always let your conscience be your guide.