Florida may be the Sunshine State, but the forecast doesn’t always know that. But fear not! A rainy or blustery day at Walt Disney World can still be magical. So whether the elements are forcing you indoors or you plan to conquer the parks no matter what, take a look at my Tips for Managing Inclement Weather at Walt Disney World.
Disney Springs is my go-to destination when less than magical weather is in the forecast. The stores keep me indoors for the most part, but Disney Springs has other indoor entertainment options too. I recommend catching a movie at the AMC Disney Springs 24 with Dine-In Theaters or maybe bowling (and dining) at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes next door. Seriously, eat at Splitsville. Their sushi is some of the best on Disney property.
Another option is Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB and The Void. It’s an indoor hyper-reality experience employing your senses and recruits teams of four to go undercover to recover Imperial intelligence. This addition to Disney Springs has received rave reviews from guests. Do note all guests must accept a waiver, and guests under 16 years must have a parent or guardian present to sign documentation.
Watch a Show
When taking on the parks during a Florida downpour, head to the nearest show for some cover and entertainment! The theaters in the park accommodate huge crowds all while offering great views of the stage. So when the storm clouds gather, head to the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress, Hollywood Studios’ Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, Epcot’s American Adventure, and Animal Kingdom’s Finding Nemo – The Musical and Festival of the Lion King.
As most rides span a few minutes at most, taking refuge in an attraction may not keep you warm and dry for long. But the Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover are exceptions. Pirates of the Caribbean has a covered queue with a longer ride time than most. Hopefully that Florida thunderstorm will have blown over by the time you disembark the attraction. Now the PeopleMover is outdoors, but it’s covered and allows guests to experience the park without being exposed to the elements, unless there’s a lot of wind with the rain.
At Hollywood Studios, guests looking to dodge a storm should check out Star Wars Launch Bay and Walt Disney Presents. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases props and costumes, familiar settings from the films, and merchandise ranging from art to action figures. Walt Disney Presents features exhibits about Walt Disney himself and the parks today. Previews of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are currently on display. Guests can also check out previews of upcoming films and character meet and greets.
Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends is where I go during stormy weather. Along with a Finding Nemo-themed dark ride, this pavilion is home to a 5.7-million-gallon aquarium, several exhibits, and a gift shop. I can spend a lot of time at The Land Pavilion too thanks to Soarin’, the Living with the Land boat ride, Sunshine Seasons for meals and snacks, and The Garden Grill Restaurant.
Animal Kingdom has few ride options for inclement weather. Depending on the situation, guests can still experience Kilimanjaro Safaris; but if anything, I recommend Flight of Passage at Pandora – The World of Avatar. If the guests aren’t in the exterior portion of the queue, hop in line to get indoors. While the wait may be long, a spin on Flight of Passage is worth it; and the queue is one of Disney’s best!
To explore more of Walt Disney World without ever getting wet is to resort hop via Monorail. You can loop from the Transportation and Ticket Center or Magic Kingdom around to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I’m a firm believer that every guest should check out these resorts at least once as they are attractions within themselves! Personally, I could spend hours at the Grand Floridian exploring their shops and listening to live music from orchestra or pianist. I also love the idea of indulging on Dole Whips at the Polynesian’s Pineapple Lanai instead of waiting in line for one in the rain at the Magic Kingdom.
Pack and Prep Accordingly
When bad weather is on the horizon, but you’re still determined to explore the parks, wear water resistant clothing and shoes. You should also pack a poncho (bring your own as Disney’s are expensive) and something warm.
Need to pass the time, but not necessarily waste that valuable vacation time? Consider booking a character meal. A character meal guarantees the chance to meet multiple characters all while you dine, and the interactions are truly magical. It’s a must-do for any Disney World Vacation.
Embrace the Weather
Now this tip isn’t feasible for all types of weather; but if at all possible, I encourage guests to embrace less-than sunshine-y days. Why? Crowd levels are often lower on stormy, rainy days; and if you’ve spent good money on park tickets, it’s worth donning a poncho to get your money’s worth. Braving the elements is an adventure in itself! Some of my best Disney Park memories include splashing in puddles on an empty Main Street, U.S.A. and braving a tropical depression during a trek around World Showcase.
Enjoy a Resort Day
Each of the Disney World Resorts are highly themed and offer a ton to do beside just offering a place to sleep. If weather forces you and yours to stay at your resort during your vacation, plan to experience all that it has to offer! All resorts currently provide an arcade and a nighttime movie, which is usually moved indoors during bad weather. Cast Members win at creating games and activities for kids too. But the Deluxe Resorts totally deliver in this department. This category of resorts offer classes, crafts, and tours, along with multiple shopping and dining opportunities.
Do you have any tips for how to deal with less than magical weather at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments.