Planning for Rain During Your Disney World Vacation

Share This!

You know the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, here in Orlando the showers start in April but don’t really end until some time in September or later! And if you’ve been watching the weather you know that we’ve gotten apocalyptic rain for the last week. So what do you do if the clouds come out for your Disney World vacation? Well, you don’t have anything to worry about because I’m going to give you all the inside tips on how to have fun rain or shine!

1) Head towards the big, angry clouds. When most people see huge storm clouds looming over the parks they make their way to the exit. I feel the exact opposite about those massive, grey clouds. When I see a monsoon heading for Disney World, I’ll go out of my way to stop by. It’s fun to be one of very few people heading in, as tons of people can’t exit quickly enough. Most attractions are indoors and suffer no interruption during the rain. The only difference is the considerably shorter lines when there’s a little liquid sunshine!

20140429_191221
Yep- I suggesting you head TOWARDS this!

2) The rain normally passes quickly – or misses all together! Those big clouds aren’t a very good indicator of when or where the rain will actually fall. I’ve spent entire days at Disney under thick, grey clouds without a drop of rain. Or storms will often pass by quickly. In these cases it will just pour buckets for a hour or so then it will be like nothing ever happened. The sun will come back so ferociously that the wet pavement will actually steam! The first hour the sun is back out is a magical time to be in the parks. Since most guests left before the rain started it takes a while for them to trickle back in, leaving you to enjoy the park.

3) But if it sticks around you’ll need a rain outfit. The best advice I can give anyone wanting to try Disney in the rain is to put together their rain plan before they get to the park. There’s nothing worse than an overpriced Disney poncho or flimsy umbrella. If you’re planning to go the poncho route then pick some up at the dollar store before your trip. They pack very easily and you don’t have to feel any guilt tossing them. If you’re planning to go the umbrella route… don’t. Crazy, sideways, Florida rain thinks your umbrella is cute but will soak you anyway. Personally, I’ve invested in a good rain coat, Crocs, and a baseball cap. With that combo I’ve been able to stay dry even touring in the worst rain.

4) Special rain only experiences. Yes – this is really a thing! Of course, there isn’t anything “official” or “published,” but cast members will go out of their way to not put guests out in a storm. When I go to Disney in a downpour I tend to head for The Haunted Mansion. My record is getting to ride this six times in a row to avoid wet weather! I didn’t even have to exit my Doom Buggy for two of those rides! How many people can say that?

This is the only time I've seen elephants bathe in the sun!
The only time I’ve seen elephants bathe in the sun!

5) Go to Animal Kingdom. I’ve seen lots of advice to the contrary – stating that Animal Kingdom is a fair weather park. But the animals love, love, love the rain! Especially on hot summer days they just come alive in stormy weather. Some of my best safaris ever have been during storms. Even better? There’s no line because most everyone is afraid to get out in the weather. Top secret information: The elephants are most likely to take a bath in the rain!

6) Bring a camera. Of course, bring a Ziploc bag too! Some of the prettiest pictures of Disney are after the storms roll through, leaving the ground drenched. Now, I need to take my own advice because I’ve never done this myself! Being a local it just never seems to make sense to drag my gear out in the rain. (That’s one of the only down sides of living here. You can do everything “tomorrow.”) Ironically, I have lots of rainy day photos from Disneyland! 🙂 You can always rent a locker to stow away pricey electronics. You’ll regret not bringing them when the storm passes.

7) Look out for rain only shows. At the Magic Kingdom when the parade is cancelled there’s a special Rain Day Cavalcade. Basically, cast members and some of your favorite Disney characters come out to play in the rain dressed in their rain coats. It’s shorter than the normal parade but a novelty and it’s worth it to say you’ve seen it. Even better you can normally hang out in a doorway of a shop on Main Street for a great (and dry) view!

8) Not up for the challenge? That’s okay! Lots of people don’t think playing in the rain is any fun. We get plenty of sunny days and there are lots of fun things to do indoors. Resort hopping is one of my favorite ways to spend a day at Disney. The hotels are all so different and beautifully themed! You could also take in a nice meal, simply call for reservations at 407-WDW-DINE. DisneyQuest is another popular spot in a downpour. Even better it’s right next door to the AMC Movie Theater and all the shopping offered at Downtown Disney.

So what do you think? Will you be braving some wet weather on your next trip? Do you have any fun stories of being stuck in the rain at Disney? Do you have any other ideas for rainy weather? Please let us know in the comments below and as always thanks so much for reading!

Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

31 thoughts on “Planning for Rain During Your Disney World Vacation

  • May 7, 2014 at 7:14 am
    Permalink

    Good article. I will also agree with your animal kingdom in the rain comment. My family spent a very nice afternoon in AK during a light rain, put on some ponchos and kept on. So few people and so many animals playing in the rain. all the wet greenery made it feel like a rain forest, it was… magical.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Wendy – you’ve done one of my all time favorite things! My hubby knows that when the clouds roll in I’m going to want to head to AK. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 8:22 am
    Permalink

    Great article. However, I have disagree about DisneyQuest. On rainy, cold day last March we went to DisneyQuest for the first and last time. It was horrible! Several of the “attractions” were broken, the cast members were miserable, and trash was everywhere. It felt like a run-down, long forgotten place. We had vouchers with our AAA package, so we didn’t pay for admission. If we had paid the nearly $50/person, I would have been demanding a refund.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 9:29 am
      Permalink

      Totally agree! We received free vouchers too and we still felt like we wasted our time. Rides were broken, unsupervised kids, dirty… We had high hopes as our 1 daughter LIVES for video games. The only disappointment of our entire trip though. I’d recommend to pass on this and spend that time wandering Downtown Disney instead.

      Reply
      • May 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm
        Permalink

        Hi Lisa and Tiffani… what Ron said. 🙂 I figured if I left DisneyQuest out someone would say I should have included it. Personally, I’ve been skipping it for a long time. It’s sad – I remember when it was really nice! 🙁

        Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 9:29 am
    Permalink

    Disney quest is popular during the rain. No one said anything about it being good.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm
      Permalink

      Tee Hee- Amen, Ron!! 😉

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 9:47 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for the great, little article! Love it as always. ♥ Rain never can stop me at WDW. I love to explore the shops or to enjoy the indoor attractions or just sit at a try, cozy place and watch the people while it rains. Mostly the rain is gone, if I step out again of a ride. My favorite times to visit is October or spring and so I’ve mostly luck with the weather as well! 🙂 Very excited to read the next “Daisy” article!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Vanessa!! You’re going to love the next one!! 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 10:01 am
    Permalink

    I second the pre-planning tip for rain gear. Last year on our Honeymoon my wife and I purchased light rain jackets from Totes that folded into their own pocket. The fact that they fold so small made them the perfect jacket to tuck into our day-bag. When the rain came we simply reached into our bag, threw on the hooded rain jackets, and kept on with our day. (As a side note we were in Animal Kingdom on one rainy day and there was something fun about skipping through the rain while others hid out under the few structures available, though we did have to evacuate Expedition Everest due to lightning that started mid ride [Cast was amazing as always, helpful and generous]).

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Zach – I almost included in the post that we have great outlets locally. I’ve picked up brand name rain coats for less than $20 that keep me nice and dry. They are way better than anything you can get in the parks!

      How cool about walking off of EE! I’m jealous! 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 10:43 am
    Permalink

    fortunately we have never been in torrential rains at WDW, but we spent the Easter 2012 weekend at Disneyland, in the middle of a massive storm. We knew it would be like this before we left, so I made sure everyone had an extra pair of shoes, extra warm clothing, and a long raincoat with hood! True, it was no fun schlepping everywhere in the rain, but the relatively empty park (on a holiday weekend, no less) made it worth it! We would have preferred a sunny day, but it was still far more fun being at Disneyland and on the rides than stuck in our hotel room (or staying at home).

    Plus rides like Splash Mountain are no issue at all when your outside is already dripping wet!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Helen – Disneyland is even harder. So much of their rides, lines, and boarding areas are exposed to the elements. Good for you for powering through it!! 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 11:52 am
    Permalink

    We were in Disney one year (2008) when a tropical storm was hanging out by Orlando for a few days. It rained for 3 days straight day and night (mostly drizzling but enough to be bothersome). I kept wishing I had my water proof rain jacket and pants, plus boots. It was summer but none of the parks sold a decent rain jacket. Having said that at Magic Kingdom we were able to go to Fantasyland and there were no lines. We were the only ones there. It was quite amazing! We were soaked but happy to do anything we wanted without wait! Just us and cast members and once in a while you’d see another family. Now every time we go I check the weather forecast for the week and if there’s rain I carry all my rain gear so we can walk around and enjoy an empty park!!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm
      Permalink

      MBW – that is the way to do it! Glad you have nice rain gear. It really makes all the difference!

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm
    Permalink

    One tip I would share is that even in the summer, if you are wet, the air conditioning indoors can feel really cold. Our rain gear consists of our rain ponchos and light sweatshirts tied around our waists. We love visiting the parks in the rain as the crowds are definitely lower!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Deb – that is a really good point. In the summer they don’t seem to turn down the AC so it is REALLY cold if you’re wet. I’m always shielded by my coat so I didn’t think of that. I will look for a spot to add that into the article. Thanks for the great idea! 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm
    Permalink

    I agree – Disney in the rain is fun! We were at WDW in October of 2011 – at the tail end of a sub-tropical storm, and I’ve never seen so many active animals on the savannah at AK. The safari ride was awesome and the guide went a bit slower as there wasn’t a line up. Elephants and rhinos were abundant, as well as giraffes and even lions!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Karri – I’m so glad you tried it! I think AK in the rain is one of Disney’s best kept secrets. The animals love it – even the big cats. They are always more active when I’m there in the rain too! 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm
    Permalink

    “Florida rain thinks your umbrella is cute.” Ha! Yeah, we always come prepared with the cheap ponchos. Seriously, who cares if you get rained on for a few minutes? No one is looking like a runway model walking around in 85 degree weather all day anyway.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm
      Permalink

      Haha, Leslie – I’m glad you liked that line! Sometimes I don’t think people understand how violently it rains here. They bring cute little umbrellas and get soaked head to toe! Carrying around a wet poncho is a drag… so I deal with the decidedly less cute ones if I’m ever stuck in a pinch. And you’re right- the high is 90 today… modeling season is over! 😉

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm
    Permalink

    We had the good fortune to have a Kilimanjaro Safaris FastPass that coincided with a rain shower, and I had NEVER seen as many animals, or such active animals, on any previous or subsequent safari. Even the driver said it was one of his best.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Jan! Isn’t it the best?? My best safari ever it was raining so hard there was standing water where the vehicle pulls up to board. You couldn’t even see the ground! Anyone that says to skip AK in the rain hasn’t tried it!

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    Permalink

    We visited Memorial Day weekend 2012. We’d taken our rain ponchos to the parks everyday and it was sunny each day. On the last day, I was tired of carrying them and not needing them, so packed them in our luggage. Wouldn’t you know, we got hit with a downpour from a tropical storm and were soaked. Lesson learned.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Mrs. Norcross – that is another thing about Florida rain I should have warned you about. It knows when you aren’t prepared. I often bring my rain coat to ward off rain! 😉 At least you have a fun memory from your last day! (hopefully it wasn’t a long trip home)

      Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm
    Permalink

    We caught the tail end of hurricane Isaac whilst in AK and were ushered undercover, we weren’t allowed out in the rain due to lightening and ended up stuck for 2 hours until we could leave the park at the end of the day. But always have our ponchos packed & ready to go. Weathered the rain in MK when Daisy came by at the beginning of the parade and decided that she wanted to straighten DD’s hair, lol

    Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm
    Permalink

    I wish we were able to enjoy a fun rainy safari ride! The day we went to AK, it rained TOO much (rain up to our ankles!). Everything was shut down, even Wilderness Explorer booths 🙁

    Also, I disagree about dollar store ponchos. We got ours from the Dollar Tree and they were small and cropped short. Our sleeves and shorts still got wet. If someone has a different cheap poncho place to try, please feel free to share 🙂

    Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm
    Permalink

    If you have an SLR type camera, you can buy a rain sleeve that will fit over the camera and your hand so you can take photos in the rain (or on rides where you might get wet for that matter). Rain sleeves are inexpensive and rainy day photos are generally great. Nice even light and somewhat unique too.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm
    Permalink

    I almost got caught by the rain MLK weekend, 2011 but I heard the day before that the rain was coming and got a poncho. It was fun in MK that day. The ONLY ride with a line was Peter Pan!

    Reply
  • May 9, 2014 at 7:33 am
    Permalink

    I actually think the WDW ponchos are pretty good for what they are. Far ans away better than the cheap ponchos you would get at Walmart or a dollar store.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2014 at 5:41 am
    Permalink

    Most of the tie it is so embarrassing the sudden arrive of rain while you are at any awesome tourist destination. After reading your article I gain enough information that I can enjoy the rainfall if I am at Disneyland. I am currently planning a Disney tour and also created an itinerary at http://www.joguru.com/. Your article is really so useful for me and I will definitely try to follow all yours guidelines. I will also suggest to all my travel companions to read your articles. Thanks for the post.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *