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  • Writer's pictureCollin Brazan

Your guide to avoiding the theme park summer heat

Updated: May 21

Florida is home to the world's most iconic theme park destinations, but the state is known for its heat and humidity throughout much of the year. With temperatures peaking during the summer, there are a number of ways to make your vacation pleasant despite the heat. Hydrate! We recommend every guest visiting the Florida theme parks brings their own water in an insulated bottle, but if someone in your party either forgets or needs to refill their water source, all counter service restaurants offer free cups of water. Many of the parks, most notably EPCOT®, have added water bottle refill stations across the park. Get Inside!

The most obvious method of getting out of the Florida sun is also the easiest. If waiting for members of your party or just looking for a slight break, finding extended shaded areas can offer the perfect momentary escape. Counter service restaurants often offer some of the best shaded seating in every park. Pair your shade with a cold snack such as a Mickey Premium Bar or Dole Whip for the perfect opportunity to cool off. A lot of guests prefer to grab their souvenirs at the end of the day, but if you’re saving some precious attraction time for when it gets cooler, spending time in shops earlier is the perfect way to get out of the sun. Magic Kingdom® Park’s expansive Emporium and Big Top Souvenirs are great examples of stores that hold much to discover. In Epcot®, you can spend a large portion of your day walking from shop to shop in World Showcase and experience different goods that are inspired by and offered in countries around the world. If you don’t want to carry your new merchandise around all day, you can request at all Disney-operated stores to have it sent to your room for free as long as you’re a Disney Resort Guest, meaning you can shop in the middle of the day and not have to carry anything around when you’re done. Packages are normally delivered by 3 p.m. the next day.

Go Early, stay late Arriving at the theme parks for opening and staying until closing can allow you to maximize the time you spend on attractions and in the parks while the sun is down and the crowds are thinner.

Spending extended time in the parks during the cooler hours of the day means you could potentially have space in your schedule for down time when the heat is at its peak. It’s easy and quick to take a monorail from Magic Kingdom® Park or Epcot® or a boat from Epcot® or Disney’s Hollywood Studios® to one of the nearby resort hotels. There are plenty of options at each resort to grab a cool snack or a drink and spend some time in the air-conditioned resort lobbies to recharge before heading back into the parks when the sun goes down. Alternatively, just catching a monorail or boat ride and remaining on it until it circles back to the park could be just enough for you to get out the heat of the parks. Save indoor attractions for when it’s hottest A lot of attractions were seemingly designed with Florida’s chaotic weather in mind. There are numerous rides and shows that last for extended amounts of time. It’s wise to plan on attending many of the different shows and indoor attractions toward the middle of the day when it’s hottest, and save the outdoor rides for the cooler hours. Character meet-and-greets are often a great way to escape the heat if you don’t mind waiting in line, too. This is especially true for Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, where several of its attractions, like Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition, Maharajah Jungle Trek® Attraction and Pangani Forest Exploration Trail® Walking Tour are almost completely outdoors, so you might want to save attractions like Finding Nemo – The Musical and Festival of the Lion King for when you need a break from the sun.

Utilize Indoor Lines Just as spending time in shows and shaded attractions during the day can hide you from the heat, so too can some of the queues for many of the different rides. A good rule of thumb is that if the ride predominantly takes place outdoors, so will its line. Attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition, Jungle Cruise® Attraction and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad® Attraction have lines that are shaded but still located outdoors. If you have to wait in line for any attractions, save those for when the sun isn’t blazing, and instead wait in a line that is primarily inside. There’s plenty of storytelling and secrets in the queues for almost every attraction, so don’t be afraid to spend some time waiting in line.

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