Being located smack-dab in the middle of the Sunshine State, and having average temperatures of 80 degrees or higher eight months out of year, Walt Disney World is practically a tropical destination. As such, it is necessary to plan appropriately to make sure you and your family are prepared to withstand this intense heat, humidity, and sunshine. And since we’re all the “Type-A” Disney World trip planners, there are definitely some tricks we all have up our sleeves to beat the heat and keep cool in Disney World. It’s great to make sure you pack comfortable, loose fitting clothes, plenty of sunscreen, and incorporate a mid-day nap/pool break in your daily Touring Plan. Once in a while, we find ourselves in the parks during the heat of the day and need to find an air conditioned sanctuary to help us keep our cool (literally and figuratively)! So, here is a list of the top ten places in the parks to find a cool corner of air conditioned sanctuary to revive you before you complete your Touring Plan mission.
Carousel of Progress (Magic Kingdom): Proudly sitting in the corner of Tomorrowland (close to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin), Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a slowly rotating indoor (air conditioned!) auditorium that takes guests on a time-traveling adventure. Watch how technology and innovations impact the lives of our favorite turn-of-the-century family. This is a fun 20-minute show with pretty cozy chairs. If you manage to avoid taking a brief nap, you’ll have the catchy tune stuck in your head all day. It’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow…
Country Bear Jamboree (Magic Kingdom): Right next door to Pecos Bill Tall Tell Inn and Café, it’s a great spot to soak in some of that great bear culture. Being only a 10-minute show, this entertaining reprieve from the heat is brief. On the bright side, your backside probably doesn’t want to be sitting on those bleacher-style benches much longer than 10 minutes. It’s a cult-classic and has an avid following, while others find it hokey. No matter which camp you fall into, it’s still a great break from the Florida heat. Just remember, don’t feed the bears.
The Hall of Presidents (Magic Kingdom): Mixing education with entertainment (edutainment, if you will), Hall of Presidents is a classic Disney attraction in the center of Liberty Square. Spend a bit of your afternoon getting to know some of our nations founding fathers. Recently updated in 2009 to include President Obama and a new narration from Morgan Freeman, the show has a bit more pizazz than you might remember. The show’s run time is approximately 23 minutes and boasts some seriously comfortable seats. The auditorium beckons you in with the promise of cool air and the lulling soliloquy from Morgan Freeman, you may need a caffeine boost after the show to revive you from your relaxed state. As a bonus, the air conditioned sanctuary is not restricted to just the show auditorium, if you just need a quick little break, feel free to meander the attraction lobby. Peruse the historical artifacts on display or engage in conversation with the cast members about their favorite president.
Finding Nemo: The Musical (Animal Kingdom): Animal Kingdom is one of the toughest parks to stay cool in. There are few indoor attractions, so finding some much needed AC can be challenge here! Luckily, on the walkway between Dino-Land and Asia, there is a large theatre showing regular productions of Finding Nemo: The Musical. This is a 30-minute Broadway style show. Live performers are coupled with larger-than-life artistic puppets and act out the thrilling story of Nemo’s adventure and Marlin’s quest to find his son. Though you may seek out this theater to escape the jungle-like heat in Animal Kingdom, you’ll love every minute of this creative retelling of the Pixar classic story.
It’s Tough to be a Bug (Animal Kingdom): Flick and his insect friends invite us to join them in the base of the Tree of Life to see what an integral role bugs play in our daily lives. Fun, creative and unique, this show may not be for those who aren’t fans of our six (or eight) legged friends. This eight minute show offers some fun insight into the life of bugs while escaping from the Florida heat. As you exit the theater, enjoy lingering in the shadow of the Tree of Life and be sure to examine the animals engraved in the trunk. See if you can spot your favorite critter.
Impressions de France (Epcot): World Showcase in Epcot offers several informative films about the host countries in different pavilions. Impressions de France is definitely one to check out. It’s the top pick as a country film for this post because it offers decent seating (unlike the films in Canada and China), and it’s in the middle of the World Showcase trek, so by the time you hit France, you’re probably ready for a little break to rest your feet and recharge your battery. This 18-minute film offers some great scenes of the beauty of France and some familiar classic music as you tour through this country on film.
Mexico Pavilion (Epcot): Mexico in World Showcase is unique among the countries since almost all of the pavilion is located indoors! Enter the Aztec-inspired temple and explore the treasures and mystery of Mexico. There is plenty of shopping, San Angel Inn Restaurant, and La Cava del Tequila. You can even enjoy a mini luxury cruise around Mexico hosted by the Three Caballeros. Nothing can help escape the heat and recharge like a refreshing beverage at the bar in La Cava del Tequila or a few minutes of leisurely browsing among the shopping kiosks.
The Land Pavilion (Epcot): Home of popular destinations like Soarin’, Sunshine Seasons, and Living with the Land, the Land Pavilion in the Future World area of Epcot has plenty of attractions and snacks to help you cool off. All sheltered in the glorious indoor air conditioning, you can spend hours in this pavilion without working up a sweat.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Hollywood Studios): An indoor Broadway style musical production, this show will entertain the little ones and give the adults a break off their feet and much-needed AC-powered recharge. With a light mist as you join Ariel in her under seas adventure, this show is a nice refreshing retreat.
Animation Academy (Hollywood Studios): A hidden treasure in the back of the Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios. Not only can you find sanctuary from the Florida heat and humidity, you get to learn how to draw one of your favorite Disney characters by an authentic Disney Imagineer. Plus, at the end of the lesson, you get to keep your drawing. 30-minutes in the delightfully air conditioned studio, interactions with an Imagineer, and a free souvenir makes this one of the best retreats, yet!
The bonus of this great list of retreats is that each one also works for anyone looking to escape any Florida downpours, as well! So, whether you’re escaping the heat or rain, be sure to check out these amazing attractions. Which ones are your favorites? Where do you go to find an air conditioned haven? Be sure to add to this list in the comments below!