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A few weeks ago I got back from another spectacularly fun trip to Walt Disney World. Everyone had such a blast and we got so much accomplished. Every fear that I outlined in my last blog post was proven irrelevant. Now, that’s not to say we didn’t have some bumps in the road. The biggest bump in the road that we encountered turned out to be more like a puddle. A big puddle. Maybe like a monsoon that didn’t stop for 2 days straight. I’d never encountered that problem and certainly didn’t expect to on this trip because the forecast predicted “scattered thunderstorms.” What we experienced was definitely not scattered. A more accurate depiction would have been, “constant downpour of rain”. Had I known that I think we would have come more prepared. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to give you all some tips on how to deal with nasty Florida rain storms if and when you should encounter one.
First and foremost my friends… come prepared! This was our biggest downfall. We ended up spending $7.50 each for cheap pieces of plastic with Mickey Mouse on it. I had issues with having to hold the hood down to cover my face since the hood really isn’t big enough. The Disney ponchos don’t exactly keep your arms dry unless you tuck your arms inside. I really think that next time there is even a slight chance of more than a sprinkle of rain on my vacation I’m going to pack my own rain gear. I saw a full rain coat and rain pant outfit the other day at Target and that would have been amazing to have at Disney World on those days of constant rain. I don’t even care how stupid I would look in photos! I’d be totally dry! While you may think that bringing an umbrella is a super smart idea, it’s sort of a pain to tote around unless you have a good place for it when you go inside. For those of you super cool people that are lucky enough to drive to Disney World, think about packing rain boots in the car if your outlook is rainy. Walking in flip flops is difficult because your feet slide around and walking in tennis shoes is uncomfortable when they are drenched. I sure wish I was smart enough to bring a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. Don’t be dumb like me. Bring a hat or a visor (yeah, a dorky visor). You ladies will thank me later when your eyeliner isn’t smudged.
For those of you that like to tote around a lot of stuff in the parks, please keep in mind that when it’s a monsoon outside you really can’t avoid getting some things wet. Keep your electronics in bags. Think about doing something that I never do… renting a locker. One of our days at Animal Kingdom the weather was so nasty that I found myself annoyed carrying around my big camera bag. Then the next day at Magic Kingdom I left the camera bag in the hotel room and regretted it when the rain stopped mid way through the day. The solution would have been to rent a locker! Lesson learned.
Please be aware that Disney will close some attractions due to heavy rain and lightning. Safety always comes first, of course! The amount of attractions opened far surpasses those that will close for bad weather so keep your chin up! Take advantage of seeing indoor shows and attractions that are a bit longer. Keep in mind that roller coasters sort of hurt during spitting rain . If you can just keep your head down the whole time, then have at it, but know you’re going to be like my group shouting, “Ow! Ow! OW!” Instead of voluntarily putting yourself through the pain of Expedition Everest, go see Finding Nemo: The Musical. Instead of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, go venture through all of Fantasyland since the attractions are close together. As long as you’re not a walking lightning rod in Epcot, take a stroll around the World Showcase. Take the time to really SEE what each pavilion has to offer. Many of them have films that most people just skip past but I actually really enjoy them and all their cheesy glory. Bring earplugs to Norway’s film though. Again, you’ll thank me later.
The best thing about visiting parks during rainy days is that so many people don’t want to visit parks in the pouring rain. When I was at Disney World last it was Labor Day weekend. Two of those days had crowd levels of 8 and 9. Luckily, those were the two rain days that we had! Everything at Animal Kingdom was a walk on when we were expecting to encounter annoyingly long lines. If you hate crowds and long lines as much as I do then look at rain storms as a blessing.
If you’re wanting to avoid the parks in bad weather then you’re left with a few options on Disney property. Downtown Disney is smart because of all of the shopping that you can get done. The downside to Downtown Disney is that everyone will probably have the same idea and you’ll find more crowds than you’re expecting. Disney Quest would be a really great idea if you can beat the crowd there. It can keep your family busy and dry for hours. Restaurants tend to get many more walk-ups since folks are just looking for a way out of the rain sometimes. It’s a good idea to have your Advanced Dining Reservations taken care of ahead of time anyway. As Scar says, “Be prepared!”
My last super cool idea is to do one of my favorite things in any sort of weather… Resort Hop! Take the monorail to the resorts that surround the Seven Seas Lagoon and explore what each place has to offer. Stop for a drink and some sushi at the Kona Island Sushi Bar at the Polynesian Resort. After that, take a photographic tour of the Grand Floridian Resort. That place is so beautiful and if you’re never been inside you’re truly missing out. I love to walk around the stores and pretend like I can actually afford the things they sell. Once you’ve had enough of that, head on over to the Contemporary Resort and have another drink at The Wave‘s truly hip bar while waiting for a table at the restaurant.
Don’t let crummy weather get your group down! Hiding away in your hotel room isn’t what you paid for. For those of you that have experienced less than great weather at Walt Disney World, what did YOU do to stay dry and have a fun time?