Survival of the Wettest

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?

Stacey Lantz

Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, Stacey believes she lives far too many miles away from Walt Disney World. In her spare time she enjoys singing/dancing, spending time with her nieces, and of course, talking about Walt Disney World to anyone that is willing to listen. She's been blogging about all things Disney since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @Stacey87.

14 thoughts on “Survival of the Wettest

  • October 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    We were at Epcot this summer when the skies opened. We ducked into innoventions and had a fun afternoon!

    • October 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      I love it! The rain forces you to go inside of attractions that you “forget” about sometimes or like to skip.

  • October 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    My son and I went in May of 2009 and it rained all day for 5 straight days. We went to the movies and did alot of shows. After a while you just make the best of it. The one great thing is there are no lines.

    • October 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      That’s the way to look at it! The AMC theater at Downtown Disney is a great option!

  • October 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Ugh, we were at WDW in June and it rained all 4 days – pretty much non-stop. It got pretty old by the last day. I brought ponchos from home, but they were so cheap I actually put money down for Disney’s which were a tad sturdier and could be worn more than once. The child sizes also fit better than my Target ones. I agree about the shoes – I can’t count the number of times my feet would completely slip through my slides! The one thing that kept us sane were the baseball caps we brought with us – for some reason rain’s much more tolerable if your head’s dry!

    • October 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      The baseball cap is sort of something you don’t think about until you’re in that situation. I found myself really truly annoyed at holding that darn poncho down over my head constantly. Then my arm would get soaked from being outside of the poncho. You said it, though! A dry head is a happy head!

  • October 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    My wife and I did an “us” trip to Disney a couple years ago. Day one was sunny. Days 2-5 were days of record rain and flooding for the area. Non stop torrential downpours for four days! Yes, of course we were still in the parks!

  • October 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    We were there in Nov. 2010 when it rained for three days straight. We gave up on our dollar store ponchos real quick and bought the Disney ponchos — but we paid $14.00 a piece for them. Where did you find them at half the price?

  • October 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    We just got back from a week at the world. The last full day we were there (at a non-Disney park) was just a forecast for scattered thunderstorms and the crowds were nonexistent! The only time it actually rained was during lunch, which we missed because we were inside eating. But we had decided before we left the hotel for the park that morning that if it did rain, we’d just ride the water rides over and over again…when you’re wet, what’s a little more water, right? Ironically enough it was one of the water rides that had the longest wait time…guess people were really hoping to get soaked that day one way or another!

    • October 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      We rode Splash Mountain in the rain and it was really fun! It was totally pouring when we rode it and since the weather was less than perfect they didn’t turn the jets on. We barely got wet at all. It was so nice!

  • October 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Wifey and I were quite happy with the 88 cent WalMart ponchos I packed for our trip. It was convenient to put them on as we were entering the park on a drizzly morning, and they held up through all the action of the day!

    • October 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      That’s awesome that you found something that worked. Kudos! 🙂

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