When planning a dream vacation most people find themselves checking (and rechecking) the weather forecasts as their trip approaches.
And, if the weather reports you are looking at include a trip to Florida, it's not unusual for the forecast to be plastered with a variety of weather conditions that could potentially have an impact on how you plan your day.
We receive lots of emails from families worried that Mother Nature will ruin their trips. However, with a little advanced planning the weather doesn't have to be anything more than a slight annoyance.
Let's take a look at the best ways to handle Florida weather...
What will the weather be like when I visit?
Florida is known for its sunny skies and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, it is also known for more extreme weather such as hurricanes and oppressive heat and humidity.
The monthly dashboards will give you a good overview as to what you can expect that month in regards to the weather at Disney World. In most situations, when it comes to the weather it is better to be prepared than it is to just try to "wing" it.
Level 2 WDW Prep Members also have temperature info in the calendar tool to help choose dates based on temps and hurricane season.
Heat & humidity
If you aren't used to high heat and humidity it can come as quite a shock to your system. There are, however, some things you can do to minimize the effects.
Start early, leave after lunch
The best way to maximize your time for park touring while avoiding the mid-day heat is to start before the parks even open, and then plan to leave as the crowds take over and the heat and humidity approach "surface of the sun" levels.
It will be tempting to stay - but don't! Head back to your hotel. Get out of the sun. Nap. Take a shower.
Basically, give your body a break and a chance to cool off. As the sun begins to set you can head back to the fun - rested, recharged, and ready to go.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The heat and humidity will zap you faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialiholycowitshot. Drink lots and lots of water. All of the counter service locations will give you a free glass of ice water or you can bring in your own.
Some people report a slight sulfur-esque (sulfur-y?) smell/taste to the water so if you think that might bother you consider a filtering water bottle or ordering bottled water for your room and carrying that with you.
Stop the chafing
Not every guest will have this problem, but chafing can ruin your trip if it happens to you (and high heat and humidity are the ideal environment for chafing to occur!). There are lots of products that can help and if you feel a problem coming on, it is better to prevent it than it is to try to treat it.
Thighs and feet are common problem areas and you'll find lots of great advice on how to battle prevent chafing in this overview on choosing shoes for your trip.
At the parks, you will see lots of spray misting fans for sale. Although they seem expensive, they work really well. You can get something similar at Walmart, Target or Amazon.
For little ones in strollers, there are clip-on fans that run on batteries that can be super helpful. Be sure to bring extra batteries since you'll probably be running the fans all day.
Wear the "right" clothes
Not only are the right shoes important, the right clothes can make all the difference, too.
Shirts, shorts and socks designed to wick moisture away are very helpful but even avoiding heavy, non-breathable fabrics can help and hats, visors and sunglasses are useful for protecting your head and eyes from the powerful rays of the sun.
Sunburns aren't just something you get at the pool. Even though most of the queues are indoors or in the shade, you'll still be spending a lot of time in the sun.
Pay attention to the instructions for re-application and make sure to protect delicate areas like your ears and even your scalp, especially where you part your hair.
Book a dining reservation
If your trip doesn't allow you the luxury of taking a mid-day break, consider booking a Table Service reservation at the park you'll be visiting for lunch. Lunchtime meals are often less expensive than dinners (so keep that in mind if you are on the Dining Plan and are trying to maximize your value), and it will get you off of your feet and into the air conditioning for a nice break.
During the summer, it is not uncommon to see rain in the forecast every day of the week. However, while rain during a trip might be a slight annoyance, it doesn’t have to ruin your fun.
Know your rain
Not all rain is equal. In the summer, you are likely to have rain showers every day. These showers will happen during the afternoon heat - they’ll bring heavy rain (for a bit) and then clear as the evening approaches.
Do you know what is great about this type of rain? If you schedule a daily break during the hottest part of the day you’re likely to miss most - if not all - of the heaviest of the showers.
But, what about rain in the forecast during hurricane season? Although June - November is officially considered hurricane season, most activity takes place in August, September and October.
What to do if you haven't left home yet:
- If you're traveling during hurricane season, book travel insurance. You can research trip insurance options using InsureMyTrip.com to compare various plans. If you choose to get trip insurance, you should buy it within 14 days of paying the deposit on your trip to make sure you get maximum coverage.
- Hurricane predicted to collide with your trip? If you are at home just before a hurricane, you can possibly cancel your hotel reservation and reschedule for a later date. You can read Disney's full hurricane policy at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy/.
Already at Disney World? Move your fun indoors. Arcades at resorts and shops in the parks are a great way to spend time while the rain comes down.
Or you could visit these attractions which are indoor or covered and usually have a low wait time.
Plan your rain gear accordingly
Not all rain gear is created equal. If the rain chances during your trip are small, Dollar Store ponchos might work and they are definitely great to use on attractions where you might get wet like Splash Mountain & Kali River Rapids.
However, if your trip has the possibility of lots of rain it might be a better idea to invest in some sturdier ponchos that can stand up to heavier downpours.
If you forget to bring your ponchos, nearly every store on property sells them. Even if you don’t see them, they’re there, hiding behind counters waiting for the skies to open and the guests to pour in. The ponchos on property cost around $9 each, which isn’t too bad considering you're paying Disney prices.
Don't forget to pack a Ziploc bag to store your wet ponchos in after you use them! And, you'll want to remember to hang your ponchos out to dry as soon as you get back to your room. Wet ponchos can and will mildew very, very fast in the Florida humidity.
Protect your stuff
Cell phones, cameras, strollers - a downpour can mean disaster to all of them. Even if you have water-resistant cases, consider carrying appropriately sized Ziploc bags as backup to protect your electronics.
Stroller covers can come in very handy, but even a shower curtain and strong clips can serve the same purpose to protect your stroller and all of its contents.
If you find yourself in the parks needing something to cover your bags or cameras, you can usually get one of the plastic Disney bags from the stores for free. Just be advised that sometimes the plastic blue shopping bags have been known to have the blue ink rub off onto fabrics.
There have been reports that in some stores Disney World has switched to clear bags, so maybe they’ve caught on that the blue ones can cause issues when wet.
Don't have wet feet
One of the fastest ways to have a miserable trip is to wind up with blisters, and one of the fastest ways to get blisters is to walk around in wet shoes and socks.
This is one of the reasons why it is recommended you bring at least 2 pairs of shoes to Disney World. Not only can it help your feet to switch out shoes on a regular basis, it also gives you a spare pair if you wind up in a downpour.
If you think you might be in the parks during the rain, consider bringing a pair of shoes that dry quickly. Keens and Tevas are both popular brands of shoes that can both handle the rain and dry out fast.
Whatever shoe you choose, though, make sure that they have decent traction because the pavement can get slick when wet.
Do you have other ideas for dealing with Florida weather? Feel free to share in the comments.