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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Surviving Summer Heat at Walt Disney World

It’s summer time and the heat is on!  Even though we are located smack dab in the middle of the Midwest, the temperatures at our home have been higher than at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the past few days, and it’s not the first time.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Anyway, it is a bit of data that I use to combat the “why would you ever go in summer?” question.

In addition to having your body already adjusted to the summer heat and humidity that a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort will give freely to your vacation, there are other ways to beat the heat.  We learned many of them when touring the parks last July.

Tour the parks early.  Yes, it’s vacation, summer vacation at that, and you want to sleep in.  Don’t!  The parks are coolest and least crowded early in the morning.  You get to beat the crowd and the heat.  The complete opposite of this tip will also work, but it may mean that you become nocturnal.  And, that is to sleep during the day and hit the parks later in the evening and take advantage of the extended park hours typically found during the busier summer months.  I know someone who is allergic to the sun and sunscreen, so this might be the only way she will get to experience Walt Disney World.

Take breaks.  I offer this advice somewhat tongue in cheek, as we typically don’t follow it or shall I say, have never followed it.  The husband will chuckle when he reads this and I want to take some huff out of his puff before he blasts me for offering this as a tip.  So, more gently, it is advisable to take a break at your resort with a swim in the pool or a nap in a dark, cool room during the mid-day heat.  But, we are here to say that you can survive, and quite well, I might add, without taking the breaks.  Especially, if you are not touring the parks late at night.

Pack for the weather.  Light weight, light colored clothing works best.  There are now several lines of clothing that offer sun protection as well.  Hats, visors, sunglasses can all go a long way in keeping cool.  An umbrella can offer both protection from sun and rain.

Hydrate.  Drink plenty of water and then drink some more.  We tote one refillable water bottle and then take advantage of the free cups of ice water at counter service locations.  So, when we order lunch, let’s say, I will order the beverages that come with our lunch along with 1 or 2 large cups of ice water.  We take the ice water with us, but order it with our meal so we don’t have to wait twice at the counter—more efficient!

Tour strategically.  This tip is offered in addition to the tour the parks early tip and can help if you don’t plan on taking a break from the parks.  It goes something like this. . . know which attractions will offer respite from the sun and heat and hit those in the afternoon.  For example, within steps of each other at the Magic Kingdom are Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World.  I know—they are in 4 different “lands” but trust me, you could count the steps from one to another.  Enchanted Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree are back-to-back.  Anyway, all of the attractions mentioned are inside, in air conditioning, and offer moments to sit.  A guest could easily kill two hours of park time with these 5 attractions.  You could also add on Peter Pan’s Flight and Mickey’s Philharmagic for just a few more steps!  There’s a late afternoon at the Magic Kingdom.

In EPCOT—The Living Seas Pavilion and The Land Pavilion both offer significant indoor entertainment and attractions during the late summer afternoon.  If you find yourself on the opposite side of Future World, Ellen’s Universe of Energy is almost a full hour of sit down, enjoy the dark, in an air conditioned attraction.  Who wouldn’t leave refreshed and revitalized?

If you’re in Hollywood Studios—Tower of Terror and Rock-n-Roller Coaster both offer well themed indoor queues and headliner attractions.  Another option is to hit the Animation Courtyard for Playhouse Disney, Magic of Animation, and Little Mermaid—all inside and with seats.  Add on One Man’s Dream and the Great Movie Ride for even more air conditioned comfort.

Animal Kingdom—well, this park isn’t billed as one of the hottest parks for no reason.  There just isn’t as much air conditioned comfort here as there are in other parks, but that is changing.  Finding Nemo the Musical is offered inside in air conditioning, as is Festival of the Lion King.  Problem is, they are far from each other.  Dinosaur also offers some sit down, albeit quick, comfort from the heat and so does It’s Tough To Be A Bug.  News is that Beastly Bazaar—a shop on Discovery Island, is being remodeled as an air conditioned character meet and greet location. 

So, yes, you can too beat the summer heat at a Walt Disney World park with a few essentials and a bit of a plan.  We survived and so can you!

What are your beat the heat strategies for park touring?

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