We’ve been to Walt Disney World for more than a few years in a row now, usually in September, and it almost always rains. Sometimes for a whole week. At first, we were wondering if the deals you get in the off-season were really worth vacationing in the rain. And then we realized Disney in the Rain is just as good as a vacation without rain. Here’s what we learned and how you can make sure mother nature doesn’t ruin your next vacation in Florida.
Disney World in the Rain
We’re sharing this post because we’ve seen our share of disgruntled vacationers at Walt Disney World during the unpredictable Florida rains through spring, summer and into fall. We feel horribly for some of these poor unfortunate souls because this may be their once in a lifetime trip to Walt Disney World! This may be something they saved for years to afford! And their best chance at feeling that overflowing joy you feel when you step into Walt Disney World parks. Our best advice to you folks? Just let it rain. It doesn’t have to ruin your day.
Don’t Let the Florida Rain Ruin Your Vacation
If you’re like most people visiting Walt Disney World you’ve got a jammed-packed schedule filled with dining reservations, rides, and character visits. A month’s worth of planning probably has you holding the most perfect vacation plan ever in your hands. Unfortunately, the rain is not in your control. And contrary to popular belief you don’t need to cancel your day’s plans just because it’s raining.
In fact, unless you’re facing hurricane weather or lighting storms, Walt Disney World operates as usual. You also don’t have to resort to “just shopping” which is what many people do at Disney in the Rain. Let this be a warning that gift shops will be crowded when it’s raining. You also don’t need to resort to indoor-only attractions.
GET THE RIGHT MINDSET for Disney in the Rain.
Okay, so tip one for Disney in the Rain. There’s nothing you can do to stop the rain. Accept this. Don’t try to escape the rain. There’s nothing worse than being with a bunch of other grumpy people all trying to escape the rain. Be with the cool people riding all the rides. Try to remember what it was like when you were a kid- isn’t that why you’re at Disney anyway? Rain is awesome. It smells good, is better than the sweltering heat, creates puddles, and washes away any delusion that you had control over your vacation.
GET THE RIGHT DISNEY RAIN GEAR
Ponchos!: Yes. That’s right. Whether your poncho is a 3 dollar one from Wal-Mart or a 10 dollar one at the Disney gift shop. Nothing says prepared like a poncho. Just buy some ponchos from amazon and call it a day. Make sure everyone you’re traveling with has one. We’ve resorted to shopping bags over our heads in dire times when we’ve forgotten ours, which just looks ridiculous. Be prepared. We like Coleman and Totes ponchos best simply because they’ll last through a few vacations.
Backpack or Crossbody bag: These are easy to wear under your poncho and it’s the best way to keep hands free and stuff dry.
Hat: Sometimes its windy… a hat can ensure either that your poncho stays snug on your head, or can make sure your head doesn’t get wet.
Flip Flops, Crocs or Mesh shoes: The sooner you realize that bare feet dry faster than thick socks and tennis shoes the sooner you can ward off that pending cold sure to strike if you’re feet stay wet all day. And it may be “all day”. While we don’t think that flip-flops would be a great support for your feet, you won’t be in them that long. Birkenstocks have better support, and so do Sanuk flip-flops. Toms are also an option as cloth shoes will dry faster.
THE RIGHT RIDES AT DISNEY IN THE RAIN
For the most part, roller coasters don’t shut down unless it’s lighting. We always take advantage of the rain by bee lining it to the rides that are usually packed. For the most part, most rides in the Magic Kingdom are indoors and ideal to get you through a storm.
Take advantage of rides that have really interesting indoor line queues. It’s raining anyway and what else are you going to do with that time?! A plus side is that the parks usually clear out a little during the rain so your wait will most likely be shorter! Rides with lines we love? Frozen Ever After, Peter Pan’s Flight, Under the Sea- Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Kali River Rapids, and Expedition Everest to name a few.
Magic Kingdom in the Rain
Splash Mountain is always a joy because you get wet anyway. Rides or attractions in Magic Kingdom if you’re determined to Stay Dry. Tomorrowland People Mover, Carousel of Progress, Enchanted Tiki Room, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, Under the Sea-Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey’s Philharmonic, Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Animal Kingdom in the Rain
Expedition Everest is a favorite, but if it’s hard rain ….this ride will feel like you’re being stabbed a million times with tiny pieces of glass, in the face. We’ve done it once and were tempted to try it again. In the words of small children, it’s hurt-y and ouch-y. But you can also count it as an extreme sport… so whatever works.
It’s tough to be a Bug, which is located inside of the Tree of Life, is fun for little ones if you’re looking to escape the rain and want to skip out on being pelted in the face with water on Everest! Festival of the Lion King is an amazing show that we recommend rain or shine but can be incredibly handy during rainy periods as it is covered. Navi River Journey and Flight of Passage in Pandora are both indoors and excellent rides during the rain.
Hollywood Studios in the Rain
Hollywood Studios is probably one of the easiest parks to escape the rain because of all of their shows! We love Beauty and the Beast and Voyage of The Little Mermaid. Star Tours and Muppet 3-D are favorites and both are also inside. You can also head to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway for a mostly indoor queue and the new Mickey Shorts Theater.
Epcot in the Rain
The Lands and The Seas provide a very excellent escape from the rain. Explore the aquarium, take a boat ride on Living with the Land or ride Soarin’. The World Showcase also has several areas that can be explored inside while it rains. Our favorite is probably Mexico with its open-air market and Grand Fiesta Tour boat ride, which almost never has a long wait. Almost all the World Showcase countries have a show or indoor opportunity to protect you from the elements.
THE RIGHT RECOVERY
Whether you and yours are piling onto the midnight bus a half-hour ride to your resort OR into a car parked a mile from the entrance out in the Zurg Parking Lot here’s your post-rain tips.
What to at Disney When Everything is Soaked?
The resorts at Walt Disney World all have laundry mats. This is a great way to meet other fellow Disney-in-the-rain travelers and share stories. The laundry mats are very user-friendly and accept debit/credit cards in case you don’t have extra cash on hand. Most Orlando hotels have laundry service as well… don’t be a hero by draping wet clothes around the hotel room-just get them washed and dried.
You’re Cold and Wet and your tolerance level is through the floor?
The resort gift shops are open late for the cold meds, poncho, or cozy sweatshirt you may now need and most food courts are open until 12am for that rapid refill of tea, coffee, or cocoa.
How to Prepare for the Storm at Disney Tomorrow?
If you’re lucky enough to be there one day when it’s raining, you’re usually lucky enough to be there for two. Read back through the above notes to make sure you can handle another day in the rain. If you decide you just can’t do it you can stay at the hotel or resort, head over to Disney Springs for bowling at Splitsville or have a movie-packed afternoon at AMC Fork and Screen Theater.
Don’t let the rain get you down. It will happen. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for 6 days straight. We had one vacation 10 days long, and it never stopped raining. You can enjoy your Walt Disney World vacation rain or shine! Rainbows are included for free with almost every rainy Walt Disney World Vacation. And after all, it’s still the most magical place on earth. Enjoy it, and have fun.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.