Walt Disney World in the summer can be a fantastic place to visit…if you are prepared.
To help, we’ve gathered our best Disney World summer travel tips when heading to the most magical place on earth.
Here’s what we recommend:
Be Prepared For Rain
Weather at Disney World in the summer is H-O-T. The temperatures and humidity are no joke. There are even times you’ll start sweating as soon as you step outside your hotel room.
But, also know that with the high temperatures comes increased chances for rain and thunderstorms.
During the Orlando summertime, it will most likely rain and/or storm at least once a day. Sometimes the bad weather will last for awhile, whereas other times it passes quickly.
And just because your weather app says rain isn’t in the forecast, that doesn’t mean a storm won’t sneak in. You should always be prepared! It is known to rain at the most unexpected times when you’re at the parks.
Always keep an eye on the radar, because you never know when rain will hit, especially if you want to squeeze in as many attractions as possible. Depending on bad weather, many outdoor attractions will temporarily close.
Make sure you have at least an umbrella and a poncho with you to be safe. Plus, you should definitely have some sunscreen handy.
For even more tips, take a look at our guide on how to handle the weather at Disney World.
How To Beat The Heat
Looking for ways to cool off?
There are several ways to do exactly that, including:
Most obviously, swimming at Disney World is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. There are so many great resort pools to take advantage of.
If swimming is a must-do, but you want to avoid crowds, consider starting your day at the pool and head to the parks later in the day.
Pools are the least busy in the mornings. The crowds at the pools start to pick up mid-day and they will be quite busy towards the end of the day as people start returning from the parks.
There’s also a good chance park crowds won’t be as busy later in the day compared to in the mornings. Temperatures will also be cooler later on.
A great way to battle the heat is by going on an attraction or watching a show. Looking to cool off fast? Choose a ride or show that’s inside and doesn’t have an outdoor queue.
There are lots of popular attractions that are primarily inside (hello, air conditioning!), like Space Mountain, “it’s a small world”, Soarin’ Around the World, and Flight of Passage, to name a few.
But, if you want to cool down quickly, you also have to consider wait times.
There are plenty of Disney World attractions with low wait times that are not only fun, but can help you cool off when you need it the most.
These are just a few of our favorites by park:
- Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Epcot: Living with the Land, Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, The Seas Pavilion
- Hollywood Studios: Mickey Shorts Theater, Walt Disney Presents
- Animal Kingdom: Animation Experience at Conservation Station, It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Taking a break in the middle of the day, aka when temperatures are the hottest, is a great option.
We recommend getting up early and rope dropping so you can squeeze in as much as possible before heading back to your hotel for a much-needed rest.
Whether you choose to take a nap, hang by the pool, or just chill, taking a mid-day break is sometimes the way to go. You don’t want to push yourself too much, especially on a hot day.
Similar to swimming, you may want to dedicate an entire day to a water park. There are two on property: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
At this time, only Blizzard Beach is open. It’s unclear when Typhoon Lagoon will reopen.
What better way to stay cool all day long than by sliding down on water slides?
During hotter days, water parks can get busy, so you should definitely plan in advance.
If you don’t have time to hop onto an attraction, but you’re in dire need of combatting the sweat why not purchase a personal fan?
There are handheld and neck fans that can be lifesavers when the sun is beating down on you.
There’s plenty of options on places like Amazon. We recommend ones that are rechargeable instead of the kind that use batteries.
Planners Have an Advantage
Summer Disney World visitors are different than those traveling at other times of year – they tend to be more laid back, spontaneous travelers as opposed to planners.
That means people who do choose to plan will have an advantage and can use the info to navigate the summer crowds.
Get up early, have a rough touring plan, take afternoon breaks, make dining reservations (and/or have ideas on where to grab quick service food), and know what’s open during your trip dates and you’ll be ahead of most people.
Make Dining Reservations
When parks reach capacity, Advanced Dining Reservations can be tricky to snag.
Let’s face it, summer is usually a pretty busy time of year. Many kids are out of school during those months and that’s when families can go on vacation all together.
As of publication, you can only book dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. And with capacity in restaurants limited, you definitely want to be on top of your game when it comes to booking meals.
We have a guide on how to get difficult reservations at Disney World, which will hopefully help!
If heading to Disney World in the summer, we recommend you book a dining reservation during the middle of the day when it’s super hot. This way, you can sit down, enjoy some A/C, have a good meal (and possibly a tasty beverage), and simply relax.
Time Of Day Matters
The middle of the day during summertime will always be the hottest — and busiest. What does this mean? You should prioritize spending early mornings and late evenings in the parks.
This way, you’ll have cooler temperatures and hopefully less sun. There are also usually less crowds during these times of days, which can mean lower wait times for attractions.
As difficult as it might be getting ready to go early in the morning, it usually pays off. The goal is to get to the parks before opening.
More often than not, parks open anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes before official park opening. Depending on the form of transportation you choose, you’ll have to get in line for transportation early.
This also means you might be able to get in line and on rides prior to official park opening. It’s unclear if or how Early Theme Park Entry (this is replacing Extra Magic Hours for Disney World’s 50th anniversary) will affect this, but we’ll let you know.
Also, did you know that you can stay after official park closing?
To be clear, you must be in line for an attraction before the park officially closes to be able to ride.
But, you can also hang out in the main park area, like Main Street, U.S.A., to take photos and shop. Speaking of the latter, some stores stay open at least an hour after park closing.
Packing Is Key
What to pack for any vacation can be difficult, but when it comes to packing for a summer visit to Disney World, you don’t want to forget the following:
- Multiple pairs of shoes in case they get wet thanks to rain and to help if you get blisters. Speaking of the latter, don’t forget band-aids!
- Lots of sunscreen! Make sure you buy sunscreen prior to your trip, because it is expensive at the parks and hotels.
- An umbrella for both rain and sun. You may want to use one to help block the sun on hot days.
- Something you might not think of — patience. If you’re not used to visiting Disney World, crowds, temperatures, schedules, and more can be overwhelming. So, you’ll definitely need a lot of patience at times.
Check out our ultimate Disney World packing list for even more ideas.
Don’t Miss The Epcot Festivals
That means there are only 9 days out of the summer months when there isn’t a festival happening at Epcot!
If you’ve never been one to before, even though each festival is themed differently, there are some common experiences with the most popular being booths where you can purchase food and drinks.
Plus, there’s entertainment, photo-ops, scavenger hunts, and more.
Track Park Hours
Park hours are constantly changing. Usually, park hours are even extended during busier times of year, like summer.
So, you’ll definitely want to track park hours to help plan your days.
Here are a few links to help you out when it comes to hours, figuring out the best time to visit, and which summer months are the busiest:
- Crowd Calendar — June, July, August, and September
- Best Times to Visit
- Magic Kingdom Park Hours
- Epcot Park Hours
- Hollywood Studios Park Hours
- Animal Kingdom Park Hours
There’s a lot to remember when it comes to planning a trip to the most magical place on earth during the summer, but hopefully our best Disney World summer travel tips help guide you in the right direction!
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