Thunder is booming outside my windows as I type this, but storms have been few and far between for the past two weeks. With temperatures spiking as high as 99 degrees in the Walt Disney World Resort area, and hot, humid nights offering little relief from the heat, it’s definitely been one of the stickiest, most uncomfortable Junes we’ve sweated through in a while.
Last week’s heat wave did break on Tuesday, with a fairly impressive storm that lingered over the resort area – including a severe thunderstorm warning and some reports on Twitter of hail falling on Bay Lake. This was following a day with heat index values hitting 107 degrees.
But even after that, the predicted return to afternoon storms fizzled out through Thursday, with just very isolated rain falling around Central Florida. The moisture building up thunderstorms Friday through Sunday of this weekend has been brought in by trough moving westward over the Gulf of Mexico, hauling in plenty of tropical moisture from the Atlantic. When it goes in a few days, so does the high chance of rain each day.
What’s going on with these long dry spells? Stubborn atmospheric ridges, which have been pinning dry air over the peninsula, have been the main problem. And if you like summer sun, I have good news for you: there’s another one of these ridges on the way. It’s going to cut back our rain chances for the first week of July, and bring the heat back up to oppressive levels.
This week’s weather at Walt Disney World
Tropical moisture is expected to depart Florida by Monday, and we are anticipating another week of hot, sunny days with relatively low rain chances. Look for increasing temperatures throughout the week, with the possible return of the upper 90s. When the sea breeze manages to kick up a storm, there could be heavy rain, frequent lightning bolts, and strong gusty winds. But the rain chances will probably remain below 30%. With the west coast sea breeze in control, the resort area will be less likely to see storms.
So after the moisture clears the area on Monday, expect a hot week with a lot of sun and isolated afternoon storms. Nights will be humid and slow to cool, with lows in the mid 70s.
One unscientific tip: the past few July 4th holidays have coincided with some spectacular late-evening thunderstorms at Walt Disney World. We’re talking jaw-dropping lightning, torrential rains and delayed fireworks. Will it happen again this year? Right now, it’s not looking likely. But maybe this particular big weather streak will hold… either way, you’re going to get a great show.
Hot weather tips for Walt Disney World
How are you dealing with the heat if you’re visiting Walt Disney World? Obviously, indoor and air-conditioned activities are the safest, best way to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke. But we know you’re not going to stay indoors during your entire vacation. Let’s look at some precautions you can take to stay safe during extreme heat conditions.
Take it slow. Are you a fast walker? Theme park commandos like to test the limits of “no running, please!” all the time—I’m no exception to that. Still, I slow it down when the temperatures hit the upper 90s. I’m used to working and exercising outside in Florida, but with the humidity and heat index factor, I know there are limits I shouldn’t push. Turning your speed-walking into a slow stroll is a simple way to reduce the stress your body is experiencing as it tries to keep cool in these tropical temperatures.
Make a plan. You’re at TouringPlans, so chances are you already like to make a good plan for your theme park days. Perfect—now make that plan with alternating stops for air conditioning. And I mean real air conditioning, not stopping to browse in one of those shops that has six doors all open to the hot air. Add shows or movies to your itinerary, long ones that let you relax and cool off, like The Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo — the Musical, Impressions de France, or The American Adventure. Schedule them strategically, so that between noon and 6:00 p.m., the hottest hours of the day, you have several long, cool breaks from the heat.
Table-service dining is another great option for a built-in, extended air-conditioning break, especially for a late lunch followed by a resort afternoon. Speaking of which…
The resort afternoon. My number one summertime tip is simply to take a nap in the afternoon, and that goes for both stormy days and hot, dry ones. You’re not only skipping the worst of the weather, you’re skipping the heaviest crowds of the day. A swim and a nap are the perfect way to recover from a humid morning of park touring, and to refresh for a fun night out.
Not sleepy? I can’t relate, but if you’re not in a napping state of mind, check out what activities your resort has to offer. Tours, tastings, and kid’s activities turn up on the resort activity guides, and they can add a little variety to your vacation as well as give you some fun, indoor time.
Dress for the heat. Loose-fitting clothes are your best friend on truly hot days. While your instincts might be telling you to wear your skin-tight workout gear (because hey, you’re going to be sweaty and this will wick the moisture, right?) you could actually be more comfortable in a loose-fitting pair of pants and a light blouse. Hear me out, because I have been wearing professional business attire in the Florida sun for years. Loose clothes, which don’t pin heat to your body, are an absolute delight on a hot, humid day. You know how when you’re sticky-hot, you don’t want anyone or anything to touch you? Yeah, it’s the same concept.
And always wear a hat! Whether it’s a baseball cap or a big floppy sunhat, keeping the sun off your head really will help keep you cool.
Consider the merch. Cooling fans and cooling towels are big sellers at Walt Disney World. They both work on the same concept—evaporation cools you off. On high humidity days, evaporation slows down dramatically, which reduces the efficiency of these items. Of the two, there are definite personal preferences about which works best. The mister fans have the kids’ market cornered, because spraying yourself in the face with water is fun when you’re five. The fan is a plus, as well, although it isn’t exactly high-wattage.
Cooling towels have some popularity; if you use one or are thinking about picking one up in the parks, grab a ziplock bag for storage, and try pouring some ice into the bag to really chill the towel before using it.
Lots of parents swear by stroller fans, but they’re not easy to find once you’ve arrived, so this is a pre-purchase item to add to your planning checklist.
Those are some of my favorite ways to deal with the heat at Walt Disney World. Let’s see yours! Share your best tips in the comments, and let’s stay safe out there.