Ask any Disney World annual pass holder what to do when it rains at Disney, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: stay put. Florida is known for its strong and powerful rain storms that leave just as quick as they come. Waves of people exit the parks at the first sign of rain, which can be great for people who choose to stick it out. Here are some great tips (that the locals don’t want you to know about) to make the most out of Disney even when it’s raining.
Come Prepared to Disney
If you are coming to Disney between March-September, chances are it’ll rain at least a little during your visit. Coming to Disney prepared for the rain will enable you to stay comfortable and safe. Rain ponchos are available for purchase in all of the Disney parks, and they’ll cost you about $9 each. You can find emergency ponchos at local stores like Walmart and Target for cheaper, so consider buying them before you get into the parks. You can also purchase umbrellas inside the parks, and they range from $10-15. Again, bringing your own or buying them before you enter may be more cost-effective. When it comes to dressing for Disney, shoes are one of the most important decisions you will make. Sturdy, comfortable, and durable tennis shoes are a must for a day at Disney. Families that spend all day experiencing the parks can easily walk 8-9 miles in a single day! Tennis shoes will help you move quickly through puddles and slippery sidewalks when it rains as well. Some people bring an extra set of clothes or a towel and keep it in the lockers that Disney provides for a small daily fee. This comes in handy if you get caught in an early morning downpour and don’t want to walk around the parks all day in wet clothes.
Where To Go When It Rains
During heavy rainstorms where lightning is present, many rides will temporarily shut down. But this does not mean your fun has to shut down as well. To continue your Disney experience while you wait for the rain to die down, check out some of these things to do that are perfect for beating the rain listed below:
Take A Monorail Tour
A rainy afternoon is an excellent opportunity to sit back in an air-conditioned monorail and take a tour of the Disney Resorts. Rest your tired feet and dry off in one of Disney’s colorful monorails. The monorail takes you through many of the resort’s hotels, and you can get a bird’s-eye view of Disney’s sprawling grounds from up high.
Shop At The Disney Resorts
If you are in the mood for a little shopping, jump on one of the monorails and get off at one of Disney’s luxury resorts. Take a tour of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. You don’t have to have a room at any of these resorts to take advantage of the high-end retail shopping or the on-site restaurants. You can spend hours walking the extravagant grounds of these hotels, and before you know it, the rain will have passed! Jump back on the monorail and continue your day at the parks.
Try a new Disney Resort or Park Restaurant
When it starts to rain, many people will seek shelter in close by restaurants. Restaurants can get packed during a rainstorm, so time is of the essence. When you can tell the rain is about to start, duck into the nearest restraint and find a seat. Disney is great about having plenty of quick-service options for families that want to eat and then get back to their fun. However, some table service restaurants provide a more formal dining experience. Restaurants such a Spice Road Table and Rose and Crown at Epcot or Yak and Yeti at the Animal Kingdom are great places to enjoy fantastic food while you wait for the storm to pass. If you want to enjoy lunch at one of the resorts, consider:
- Victoria & Albert’s at The Grand Floridian resort (Best for a romantic, quiet, slow-paced fine-dining experience)
- Jiko – The Cooking Place in Animal Kingdom Lodge
- California Grill at the Contemporary resort.
- Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club resort.
Find The Characters
A rainy afternoon at Disney is a great opportunity to seek out some of your favorite characters for an autograph, hug, or picture. Check your Disney character guide for places and times where you can find Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and all of their friends. If you are in Epcot, check out the Character Connection. There are almost always Disney characters here, and it is a refreshing and covered shelter from the rain. Instead of waiting in line during the warm and dry part of the day, spend this time riding rides and save your character experiences for when you need to be out of the rain.
Magic Kingdom in the rain
The Magic Kingdom is probably the best Disney park to visit if you are anticipating a rainy day. Almost all of the rides are indoors or covered, so you may just get wet as you make a quick dash through the rain from one indoor ride to the next. Many rides in the Magic Kingdom operate rain or shine, including:
- Haunted Mansion,
- It’s a Small World,
- Pirates of the Caribbean,
- Space Mountain,
- Under the Sea
- Peter Pan’s Flight and
- Winnie the Pooh
Epcot is one of Disney’s more open parks, meaning if you get caught in a downpour, you may have to travel a bit to find shelter. However, there are things at Epcot to do when it rains. There’s wine tasting, shopping, and plenty of internationally-inspired architecture to dip into an escape the rain.
Hollywood Studios is known for its shows and live performances. Watching live show such as Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, For The First Time in Forever A Frozen Sing Along and Voyage of the Little Mermaid are all inside. They last anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes, which is about the same time the average Florida summer rainstorm lasts. While the Tower of Terror usually closes if there are signs of lightning, thrill rides such as Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania stay open rain or shine.
The live and exotic animals that live in Animal Kingdom are what draws so many guests to this beautiful theme park. However, it can be hard to thoroughly enjoy and see all of the animals when it’s raining. Some of the animals will go into hiding, while others will come out and embrace the storm. If it’s raining too hard to visit the animals safely, there are plenty of other things to do in the Animal Kingdom while you wait for the storm to pass. You can ride Dinosaur, Avatar Flight of Passage, or sit back and watch Finding Nemo The Musical. The Festival of The Lion King is a family favorite and a great way to escape the rain and hang out with your favorite lion cub and all of his friends.
Rides That Close During The Rain
Disney takes safety very seriously. This means that in the event of severe weather or lightning, certain rides will temporarily shut down until the storm has passed. If you anticipate rain during your trip to Disney, you may want to get these rides out of the way before the storm rolls in. These are some of the rides that could shut down if the weather gets too severe:
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Jungle Cruise
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
- Liberty Belle Riverboat
- Astro Orbiter
- Swiss Family Treehouse.
- Fantasmic – Disney Hollywood Studios
- Test Track – EPCOT
The Best Time to Visit Disney
For the best weather at Walt Disney World, October – December are cooler months with sun shine and also some great Disney World Events, like Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. You can be swimming one day in your Disney Resort pool, and in a light jacket the next. But one advantage to October – December is that it’s normally not extremely cold. Summer has ended and so have the majority of the daily thunderstorms too.
The Worst Time to Visit Disney
To avoid rain, avoid June, July and August in Orlando Florida. The 3 PM thunderstorms roll in almost daily and the humidity and heat of the Summer can make standing in line not to enjoyable. You will find lighter crowds in the Summer at Disney World and with some planning you could schedule your days to try and avoid some of the heat. But Disney during the Summer can get pretty hot.
Bring Your Patience
One of the best things you can do to truly enjoy your Disney day in the rain is to come with plenty of patience. Florida rain storms don’t last very long, so if you can find a way to wait it out, you increase your chances of being able to spend the rest of your day enjoying the park with slightly shorter lines. One of the perks of Florida’s infamous afternoon rain showers is that it can cool down the parks during some of the hottest seasons. Many guests can be found running, playing, and dancing in the rain, thankful for a quick cool off in the middle of a hot, busy day. So come prepared, bring your patience, and have a rainy day game plan. With a little bit of preparation and patience, you can enjoy The Happiest Place on Earth even when it rains.