With the first official day of summer just around the corner I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some hot weather packing and touring ideas. If there’s one thing to know about Walt Disney World during the summer months it’s that its HOT! Being prepared for for the dog days of summer can make all the difference between enjoying your vacation and being miserable. First, let’s take a look at some things to bring with you on your trip to make your trip more pleasant.
First and foremost, do not leave home without sunscreen. As far as concerned there is no debate on this issue. Everyone has their own preferences for in terms of SPF, but having protection is essential. I generally will pack a larger bottle in my checked bag and then have a small travel sized one to carry around in the parks to reapply. Reapplying the lotion is also key to preventing sunburn and discomfort. Every few hours dab a little more onto your face and other exposed areas. Nothing is worse than a really bad sunburn on vacation! If you have forgotten your sunblock it can be found in the gift shops in Disney resorts as well as retail areas in the parks. However, the price they charge is ridiculous and the selection will be limited so try to bring your own.
Be sure to wear light colored clothes. Dark colors absorb the sun’s heat and will only make you more uncomfortable. However, I’d stay away from white (especially for the girls out there) because there is a good chance you will get wet during your day in the parks. Just think of how embarrassing and uncomfortable to unload from Splash Mountain and realize your shirt is now totally transparent? I also recommend lighter weight clothes for your summer time vacation; think khaki over denim.
Also, when considering what to pack don’t forget a hat. You would not believe what a difference covering your head makes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wear one all day and get hat hair! If you keep one in your bag you can pop it on when you start afternoon heat. Simply putting on a hat can shade your face and scalp from sunburn and provide a bit of relief from the rising temperatures.
Another must have for every member of your party is a poncho. Summer thunderstorms are almost guaranteed daily in the Orlando area. It’s best to be prepared for these short downpours by tucking a poncho into your bag in the parks. Disney sells them all over property, but those folks looking to pinch pennies can find them elsewhere for much less money. It’s worth noting Disney Parks ponchos are usually only displayed when it looks like a storm is coming or it’s actually raining. Don’t be afraid to ask the cast members behind cash registers to sell you a poncho; they’ll be happy to oblige!
Here’s a few tips for the ladies heading to Disney World. For starters go easy on the make up. With lathering on sunscreen and sweating like crazy all day its just going to get gross. I really love using Burt’s Bees colored chap stick in the parks. They are small tubes that will easily fit in a pocket, have SPF protection, and just provide a little color for your pout. It’s a great no fuss way to not feel totally unmade up. I’m also a fan of using waterproof mascara. You never know when you are going to wet between rides like Kali River Rapids and a sudden summer downpour, and who wants a photo in front of Cinderella Castle with eye makeup streaming down your face? Also, make sure to be well supplied in hair elastics or whatever your method might be to put your hair up.
And now let’s take a look at some touring strategies to make your trip fun despite the heat. The best thing you can do is get yourself out of bed and get to the parks before opening. Be on hand when the cast members start allowing guests through the turn styles. First of all it is cooler early in the morning so you will be more comfortable hoofing it around a park. Secondly, most people do not opt to get out of bed early in the morning so the parks are much less crowded. Try to see some of the most popular rides before the crowds swell and then high tail it out of the park in the early afternoon. Head back to your resort for a nice break including maybe a nap or dip in the pool. This way you will miss the heaviest crowds and the highest heat levels in the mid and late afternoon. Head back to the park later to hit some of the attractions you skipped in the morning, have a nice dinner (preferably in air conditioning), and take in the evening entertainment. If your group is staying on Disney property take advantage of the evening extra magic hours to beat the heat too.
My other early morning suggestion is to take as many of your group pictures as possible in the morning before the heat and the inevitable afternoon storm hits. This way you and your family can look comfortable and not sweat stained in front of the castle in your scrapbook. As an added bonus, you’ll have fewer folks milling around in the background since the parks are less crowded at that hour.
I can’t emphasize the importance of staying hydrated while touring! Make sure you drink plenty of water and snack from time to time. Bottles of water are available throughout Disney property. However, if your group gets a rental car I suggest stopping at a grocery store to grab a case of water. This is a much more economical way to stave off heat exhaustion and you can pick up some snacks, forgotten toiletries, or whatever else suits your fancy. I’m always sure to drink a ton of water at WDW because I know how my body reacts to heat. On a September trip one year I thought I had been drinking enough, but I did not eat enough. I thought I was going to pass out in Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan Pavilion. Lesson learned! After having a little nibble and some advil I was back in action.
If you do find yourself feeling a bit under the weather due to the oppressive heat, do not hesitate to pay a visit to the first aid stations. All of the parks have these facilities and can be found on your park map. The few times I have had to use them for minor injuries (they treat a lot of blisters) the cast members could not have been nicer and more helpful. They are there to help guests with all sorts of ailments. They see dehydration all of the time and will know exactly what to do to help you feel better or determine if your case is too severe for them to handle and will arrange transportation to the hospital. Please do not ignore your symptoms if you are feeling dehydrated!
Another thing to do is to seek air conditioning. Having a long table service lunch, for example, will allow you to cool off while being waited on during the hot afternoon hours. Many attractions offer a respite from the heat as well. Take in one of the films in World Showcase, feel patriotic at the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, or just keep swimming at Finding Nemo: the Musical at the Animal Kingdom. The time off your feet and out of the sun will do you wonders. Shows and longer attractions are also great to hit during that mid afternoon thunderstorm. By the time the attraction is over you might have just missed the summer shower.
Also, why not take a day to explore one of the Disney World water parks? Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are great places to spend a hot summer day. The same early rising rule applies with the water parks. The lines for various slides will be much shorter early in the morning. So get there early, get your locker, and get sliding! Later in the afternoon you can rest in the lazy river or float in the wave pool when the crowds start to increase. Or if you are on a tighter budget, take one day to relax around your resort’s pool. Many of the Disney resorts have well themed pools complete with slides.
Now that I’ve shared my ideas for surviving the Florida heat, what are some of your ways to stay cool? Please share them so others can benefit if they are heading to WDW this summer!
For more tips and tricks for touring in the heat check out this episode of WDWtoday!
Next week I’ll take a look at a fan favorite restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…