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Our Best 9 Tips for Traveling to Disney World in the Summer

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Our Best 9 Tips for Traveling to Disney World in the Summer

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

Summer in the Orlando area means 2 things: high temps and high humidity.

And, unfortunately, with the high temperatures comes increased chances for rain and thunderstorms.

poncho rain disney world

During the Orlando summer, it will most likely rain and/or storm at least once a day. Sometimes the bad weather will last for a while, 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! There is nothing worse than being stuck in the parks without an umbrella or poncho to protect you.

  • Tip #1: 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. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen. You can still get a wicked burn on cloudy days!

Have a game plan for staying cool

The weather at Disney World in the summer is H-O-T. The temperatures and humidity are no joke, and we guarantee that you’ll start sweating as soon as you step outside your hotel room.

But, even though it is hot, there are some easy things you can do to stay cool.

Here are some of our favorites:

art of animation pool

Swimming

Most obviously, swimming at Disney World is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day, and all the onsite Disney World resorts have multiple pools to choose from.

  • Tip #2: 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.

best disney world summer travel tips caribbean beach

Pools are the least busy in the mornings. The crowds at the pools start to pick up midday, 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.

Attractions

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.

Mickey Shorts Theater in Hollywood Studios

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!

Mid-day breaks

Taking a break in the middle of the day, aka when temperatures are the hottest, is a great option.

  • Tip #3: 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 midday break is sometimes the way to go. You don’t want to push yourself too much, especially on a hot day.

Water parks

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.

Important Note: At this time, only Typhoon Lagoon is open. It’s unclear when Blizzard Beach 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.

Planners will have an advantage

Summer Disney World visitors are often 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.

  • Tip #4: 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

During the busy summer months, Advanced Dining Reservations can be tricky to snag.

Most kids are out of school during those months, and that’s the only time when many families can go on vacation.

sci fi dine in

You can only book dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. Now more than ever it seems difficult to snag a Table Service reservation, so 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!

  • Tip #5: Although dinner reservations tend to be more popular, if heading to Disney World in the summer, we recommend you book a dining reservation for lunch 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.

Try to avoid being in the parks during the middle of the day

The middle of the day during summer will always be the hottest — and busiest. What does this mean? You should prioritize spending early mornings and late evenings in the parks.

Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood Studios

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.

  • Tip #6: If you are staying onsite, Disney Resort hotel guests should definitely take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry, since this means they can enter each theme park 30 minutes before other guests.

Not only can those extra 30 minutes help cut down on wait times, but the earlier you can arrive during the summer means, the better because it will be less hot.

early entry

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.

Plus, guests staying at a Disney Deluxe or Disney Deluxe Villas Resort (plus a couple other select hotels) have access to Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.

These extended nighttime hours allow eligible guests to stay in Magic Kingdom or Epcot for 2 hours past official park closing. Not only does this mean lower wait times, but cooler temperatures!

Pack for the season

polynesian resort moana room

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 before 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.
  • Tip #7: When traveling during the hot and rainy summer months, make sure you pack items that can make your time in the parks easier. Things like umbrellas, sunblock, hats, and ponchos should be on everyone’s lists.

Check out our ultimate Disney World packing list for even more ideas.

Stay up-to-date on changes

remy's ratatouille adventure entrance

Disney World is constantly tweaking things like Park Hours and Genie+.

And, if you did the majority of your planning months ago, there is a strong likelihood that there are some big changes between what you saw back then vs. how it looks and works now.

Genie+ changes can happen at any time

Although Genie+ has been around for several months, we’ve already seen lots of changes.

That’s why it is very important that you double-check the latest news and updates before you head out on your trip.

For example, the latest change we’ve seen is moving Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure from being an Individual Lightning Lane selection (pay-to-ride) over to Genie+.

That one little change can have major changes in how you plan to tour Epcot.

  • Tip #8: Don’t assume everything will be the same. Double-check Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes before you plan to purchase them.

We have lots of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane resources – and we update them (including all graphics) whenever Disney makes any changes. If you did most of your research on Genie+ months ago, make sure you revisit everything ahead of your trip.

Park hours can change at any time

Park hours are constantly changing. And during the summer, park hours are often extended.

  • Tip #9: Always check park hours the night before.

So, you’ll definitely want to track park hours to help plan your days.

Your best bet is to always make sure you double-check the park hours for the next day, before you go to sleep.

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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Allyson Koerner