Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney World in the Rain: Poncho vs. Umbrella vs. Jacket

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When you’re visiting Walt Disney World, the question isn’t if it will rain, but rather when it will. Once you encounter the inevitable downpour, you have three possible ways to protect yourself: a poncho, an umbrella, or a rain jacket/coat.

Many guests have strong opinions about which is the optimal form of rain protections, but truth is, there are the pros and cons of each.

Many folks find umbrellas to be a practical solution.



  • Can potentially protect more than one person.
  • Can protect bags you’re carrying.
  • When wet, can be clipped to the outside of bag to facilitate drying.
  • Many are compact and easy to carry.
  • Can be used as a parasol for sun protection. (Important in Florida heat.)
  • Keeps your face dry. Important for guests wearing glasses and for guests wearing masks during the pandemic.
  • Easy to share with others.


  • Ineffective during heavy wind.
  • Could poke/bump other guests in crowded walkways.
  • Must fold/unfold when going in and out of spaces.
  • Larger/sturdier models may be heavy.
  • Unlikely to fit into a pocket.
  • Likely leaves your legs exposed to water.
  • Keeps a hand occupied – thus making that hand unavailable for carrying packages or holding onto a child.


Ponchos can cover your bags as well as your body, but they can be too voluminous for some.


  • Lightweight.
  • Many can be folded to be compact.
  • Can be used as a blanket to cover a chilly child.
  • Can be used as a tarp to cover a stroller or mobility device.
  • Can be used as a blanket to sit on wet grass (for example in the Magic Kingdom hub) or on hot pavement (for example when waiting for a parade). [Note, during the pandemic parades are on hiatus.]
  • Useful for protection on water-intensive rides such as Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids.


  • Disposable ponchos are not environmentally friendly.
  • Difficult to get a good fit. Hoods often fall off, particularly with less expensive options.
  • Once the shower has ended, what do you do with a big wet poncho?
  • Must be removed for some indoor rides (Rise of the Resistance, for example). Repeated over-the-head on and off could leave you damp.
  • Possibly difficult to re-fold.


Themed raincoats are often sold in the parks.


  • Can get accurate fit. Hood will usually stay up.
  • Adds a layer to trap heat (good in cold weather).
  • May have pockets to help you store other items.
  • Some models are long enough to cover your legs.


  • Leaves bags/backpacks exposed to rain.
  • Adds a layer to trap heat (bad in warm weather).
  • Shorter models leave legs and derriere exposed to rain.
  • Difficult to share with other members of your party if you’re not the same size.

Personally, I was a poncho girl for many years, mostly because of the versatility of being able to use it as a stroller cover, but once my children were out of their stroller years, I moved on, primarily due to two issues – 1) Walking around with a wet poncho after a soaking just got too gross. 2) I rarely wear ponchos in the non-Disney world, so it seemed impractical to buy them only for vacations.

I’ve transitioned to mostly carrying a small umbrella. It’s usually enough to keep me dry until I can get somewhere indoors to wait out a passing shower. I also bring a larger raincoat, similar to the LL Bean Women’s Trail model, that I’ll wear if rain is expected all day.

What’s your Disney World rain gear strategy?

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

7 thoughts on “Disney World in the Rain: Poncho vs. Umbrella vs. Jacket

  • While it’s been too long since I’ve been at the parks and had to make such a decision, for me the choice has always been umbrella.

    Agreed, they can be a bit dangerous in crowded areas; I’ve been poked numerous time by careless brolly wielders. However as I literally stand head and shoulders above the crowd at 6′ 6″, my bumbershoot keeps my head dry and is safe for those around me. If my legs get wet, so be it. Can’t find ponchos or rain coats that would cover enough of me anyway…

  • We still have yellow ponchos that we purchased in 1997! Think we got our money’s worth!

  • We find it way too muggy to wear the ponchos, so we take small umbrellas to keep the rain off our heads. If other parts of us get a little wet, that’s ok. We won’t melt. 🙂

  • We buy disposable ponchos from Target at about $1 each – I know this is t very good for the environment but it’s so convenient as they are packed up so small that you can put 2 or 3 in your pockets and dispose of them after use – quite often if we wear them when going on an attraction where we will get wet, people in the queues ask us for our ponchos so we pass them on. Of course, this was pre COVID so probably wouldn’t happen now.

  • For us it depends on the deluge. We always pack the umbrellas and carry ponchos in our bag. If it’s a light rain the umbrella does the job. But we’ve been there where it rained hard most of the day. For those days we poncho up. Rain won’t stop us from enjoying the park!

  • I usually wear a baseball cap under the hood of a poncho. It seems to keep rain out of my face better. But when you’re in a ECV, it’s really hard to stay dry!

  • “Poncho up!” Thats our rallying cry for when the afternoon shower hits. As we watch people huddle under awnings and inside stores, we put on our ponchos and move to the next indoor attraction.

    We use a small mesh bag for our ponchos that are attached to our fanny packs (yes, we are a fanny pack family, too!). When the shower ends, we shake them out, roll them up, and place them back in the mesh pouch to finish drying.


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