Top Tips for Beating the Heat at Disney

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Despite what Punxsutawney Phil may have said, winter is long gone here in Central Florida. Highs are reaching the low 80’s nearly every day and that’s just the beginning. We can expect temperatures to get nearly twenty degrees hotter in the sweltering summer months. I get asked all the time how I endure such brutal weather. With that in mind I thought I’d share some of my top tips for beating the heat.

Sun protection might be the most important thing you put on all day. It’s important to apply sunscreen anywhere your skin might be exposed as your clothing moves, especially around the neck. Remember, for sunscreen to work properly it should be applied approximately 30 minutes before you leave your room. You should also plan to reapply several times throughout the day. I know that can be difficult with squirmy kids (or husbands!) but it’s absolutely essential in the Florida sun.

Light weight and light color clothing will also be your best bet to repel sun. Darker colors absorb the heat and get noticeably hotter to the touch in harsh sunlight.  Cotton, linen, and light wool fabrics do a great job of breathing in the heat. The cut of shirts also makes a big difference. A more flowing top that has extra breathing room, especially under the arms, will help you stay cooler. I’m a big believer in using clothes for additional sun protection.  Even in the hottest months I’ll often wear light capris and 3/4 sleeve tops. In the right fabric I’m still comfortable and I don’t have to worry about putting on extra sunscreen.

Beware the jean shorts. I thought this one was important enough to list all by itself! I see young women come to the parks all the time in very short jean shorts. These are terrible for touring the parks because they don’t breath at all and take forever to dry if you happen to get them wet. By the end of the day you can spot even the tiniest girls hobbling through the parks because their shorts have chafed their legs so badly. I’m sure there are plenty of women who wear these with no problems but I see the painful outcome enough that I thought it was worth a warning. Wear at your own risk!

Wearing a hat will not only keep the sun out of your eyes but protect your face from sunburn. I’m more of a baseball cap kind of girl, myself, but I see some very fashionable sun hats in the parks. If you don’t want to mess up your hair I’m seeing more and more people in the parks carry an umbrella to provide their own personal shade. While this does look a little peculiar, you can’t argue with the results. Plus once it gets hot you can bet on it raining just about every day and you’ll be ready!

Staying hydrated seems obvious but it can be tough to do when food and drink aren’t allowed on many attractions. Most people know that you’re able to get free ice water from any counter service restaurant in the parks. That’s a great option but on busier days can be pretty time consuming. If I know I’m going to be in a park most of the day I use a CamelBack to keep water with me at all times. If you don’t want to purchase a specialty backpack you can freeze water bottles to bring with you. These double as ice packs to keep you cool while you wait for them to melt. Just be sure to keep them in a ziploc bag as the bottles sweat and can become a wet mess in your bag.

Citrus Swirl

The Cure for What Ails You

Planning your day around the heat will also make a huge difference. Make sure that you save rides with indoor queues and indoor shows for the hotter times of the day. If your schedule allows, skip the heat of the day all together. This is a great time to head back to the hotel for a nap or a dip in the pool (or both). The summer nights are incredibly pleasant and late night hours are consistently offered at Walt Disney World. Why fight the heat if you don’t have to?

So what do you do if you get overheated at the parks? Well, personally I find a nice, frosty citrus swirl will fix that for you! But seriously, there are first aid stations located in each park. If you find you find yourself dizzy or light headed it’s best to get help. Any cast member in the parks will be able to direct you or assist if you need more urgent attention. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help!

So what are your best tips for beating the heat? Do you have a story about dealing with the heat in the parks? I’d love to hear about the experiences you’ve had in the comments below! As always thanks for reading. :)

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Posted on March 3, 2014

14 Responses to “Top Tips for Beating the Heat at Disney”

  • I’d say definitely take advantage of the couple of water attractions! Get fastpasses as early as possible for the hotter times of the day, it definitely makes a difference and helps you cool off.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:46 pm EST

      Hey Jessica! I need to take that advice this summer. Can you believe I’ve lived here 10 years and I’ve never ridden Kali??! There just never seems to be a good time to get soaked. ;) Thanks for the tip!

  • A simple cooling trick is to take a handkerchief or wash cloth, drench it in cold water (or even in the freezer overnight), then put it around your neck. As the cloth dries or warms, go to a bathroom and drench it again. The neck is so sensitive that it really affects the body’s heat.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:48 pm EST

      Hi Brian! Good tip – but this one never seems to work for me. I think it’s because I have such a mess of hair that the cloth never stands a chance. :) Thanks for sharing, though. I bet I’m in the minority.

  • I always bring a water bottle, and keep it easily accessible. I refill it at water fountains. A lot of times what we think of as “hot” or “hungry” is really just dehydration. You can’t eat or drink *on* many attractions, but most queues allow food and drink. I make a point of having at least a sip of water before every attraction (either in the queue or as I’m walking), and I’ve found that once I have a sip, a lot of times it just feels natural to drink a bit more.

    I’ve tried a camelbak, and they’re great in certain situations, but I find them too cumbersome for a Disney park. Instead, I just re-fill whatever cheap bottle of water I last bought (like the bottles of Dasani they sell in the park wherever they sell bottles of Coke). That way, I don’t have to worry about my bottle getting lost — if I misplace it, it’s no big deal.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:51 pm EST

      Hey James! I’ve been doing a lot of water bottles too lately. It’s easier with my camera bag. The important thing is drinking the water. You’re totally right about feeling hot, hungry, or even sick because of dehydration. Glad you’re a step ahead and keeping hydrated. :)

  • When my family went to DW last summer in mid-July, all of our friends and extended family told us we were nuts. “Why would you go to Florida in JULY?!” they screamed. “It’s SO HOT!” But I had a plan: I wore a marathoner’s waist band of little water bottles, and my husband and I wore only light-weight, light-colored, shirts. We dressed our daughter in two-piece bathing suits under sundresses for quick access to any water attractions (and my husband carried a towel in his backpack at all times). And we were ready to run back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta or dip in the pool, if the heat became unbearable. I thought I was so smart and so on top of it! Turns out, I was. But for a totally different reason. We also carried matching ponchos in that backpack from a local zoo. It was those ponchos that got the biggest workout. Never once did it get too hot, because every afternoon, when the mercury started rising, the clouds would fill the sky and it would POUR. We never had to leave due to heat, and the majority of the crowds fled the parks when the skies opened. It was FABULOUS!!! We had the parks nearly to ourselves, plus, when we got back to the hotel, we could go for a dip in the pool without anyone else around, because the crowds were then heading BACK to the parks after the afternoon rain. Of course, no one can guarantee what the weather will be like in Florida in July, but I like to take full credit for our ability to get on nearly all the best rides without much wait, without overheating and enjoying an overall awesome vacation. :)

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:52 pm EST

      Shannon – this is all GREAT advice! And you can pretty much count on that downpour daily. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Great post. Having lived in humid areas or the desert for most of my adult life, I believe it’s impossible to over prepare for the heat. I think this all goes double for people with kids. All too often we have seen kids who look like they are about to have a heat stroke.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:56 pm EST

      Hey Kenny – thanks for your comment!! I really appreciate that you agree you can’t over prepare. I see miserable kids all the time. The sad thing is with very little prep they could have felt much better.

  • by Kristina Murphy on March 3, 2014, at 10:46 pm EST

    I love wearing my running clothes to the parks! :)

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:57 pm EST

      Haha – you have to OWN running clothes for that! ;) I swear I’m going to get into the marathons one of these days. You’re my hero!

  • My mother and I went to WDW last August. What really helped us battle the heat was to stay well hydrated. Every morning before heading off to the parks, I went to the resort foodcourt and filled up my refillable mug with Powerade and drank it on the bus. During the day, we got free ice water from any counter service location, poured it into a water bottle and added flavoring (such as Crystal Light). This encouraged us to drink more water and stay “ahead of the game” so there was no chance of dehydration. We drank water even though we weren’t thirsty. Upon returning to our resort, we took another trip to the mug refill stations to get another drink or 2 before settling in for the night. It was our first trip during the summer heat and had we not kept ourselves hydrated, I don’t think the trip would have been nearly as enjoyable.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2014, at 5:58 pm EST

      Hey Andrea – that is the way to do it! :) Glad you stayed a step ahead. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without staying hydrated.