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What to do if it rains at Disney World (with tips!)

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What to do if it rains at Disney World (with tips!)

Your dream vacation has been planned for months and your bags are packed and sitting by the door. The last thing left to do is check that pesky weather forecast.

And that’s when you see it: rain.

And there’s not just a day or 2 with rain in the forecast. Oh, no. From the looks of it, it could potentially be raining every day of your trip.

We receive lots of emails from families worried that Mother Nature will ruin their vacations – which is totally fair because oftentimes, the forecast for Orlando looks scary. However, with a little advanced planning, we promise that the weather doesn’t have to be anything more than a slight annoyance.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to handle rain at Disney World

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through them, we may receive a small commission. We only recommend products we use ourselves, but if you’d rather not use the links below, you can find most products by searching for them in your favorite website browser.

Will it rain on my trip to Disney World?

There are definitely times of the year when rain is more likely to occur than others. Like summer, for example.

When visiting on your summer break, you may be expecting sunny skies and warm temps, but instead it isn’t uncommon to see rain in the forecast for every. single. day.

That may look scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

The key to not letting the rain ruin your trip is to be prepared before you go. 

Hurricane or summer storm?

First things first: 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?

Rain in november

Although June – November is officially considered hurricane season, most storm 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. Find out why we don’t usually recommend Disney’s travel insurance.
  • 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 here.

Does Disney give refunds for rain?

Disney’s official policy is that it does not offer refunds for rain.

rain at magic kingdom

The show must go on, and even when it is rainy, Disney World is open.

Now, of course if Disney does happen to close for a weather event (like a hurricane) they will issue refunds then.

But, if it is just a rainy day, the parks will remain open and no rain checks or refunds will be given.

What about special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party?

If you’ve forked over the big bucks to attend a special event like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the hope is you’ll be able to enjoy it without having to worry about the rain.

But, even if it does rain, the event is still very likely going to happen.

Speaking from experience, we attended the first Christmas Party in 2019 (the last year it was held). And it rained. And rained. And rained.

It was miserable.

Rain in front of cinderella castle

In fact, it rained so much they had to cancel the parade out of safety concerns for the performers. And even though they were able to shoot off the fireworks, you could barely see anything because the clouds were so low and the air was so thick.

rain in front of cinderella castle

So, the weather is definitely something to think about before you purchase your ticket. You can always wait to buy your party ticket until closer to the actual event, but you’ll have to weigh the chance of bad weather with the possibility of the party selling out on the night you want to attend.

Do the rides shut down when it rains?

Yes. They absolutely can. Attractions that are outdoors – like Slinky Dog Dash, Expedition Everest, Test Track, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, to name a few – will shut down, especially if there is nearby lightning.

Disney does do a good job of getting things back open again, but safety comes first, and they aren’t going to send people out on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during a lightning storm.

If there is a must-do attraction and the day you plan to visit, there is a strong chance of rain, you might want to consider riding it early in the day.

What if I have a Genie+ reservation and the attraction is closed due to rain?

If a ride is closed during your return time, you will receive a “Multiple Experience” return pass, just like the old FastPass and FastPass+ days.

Certain experiences won’t be included, but you’ll be able to choose another attraction to ride depending on what’s available.

Once the Multiple Experience converts to a Genie+ Lightning Lane selection, it counts as used, and you’ll be able to make another selection.

Will there be fireworks if it rains?

Almost always, that answer is “yes.” Unlike at Disneyland where nighttime fireworks are often cancelled due to wind, fireworks and nighttime entertainment is typically not cancelled at Walt Disney World.

The one exception to this is Fantasmic!.

Because it involves live actors, they will cancel it for bad weather since it is dangerous for them to perform on slick surfaces.

Do they cancel the Festival of Fantasy parade for rain?

The middle of the afternoon is the prime time for rain showers at Disney World, which inconveniently is also around the time for the 3:00 Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom.

Unlike fireworks that can be done despite the weather, Disney will cancel the Festival of Fantasy Parade if it is raining. It is simply too dangerous for the performers to be on the wet pavement during storms.

Rainy Day Cavalcade

As an alternative, when the Festival of Fantasy Parade is cancelled, you’ll often find that the Rainy Day Cavalcade is shown. It’s very brief, but super cute and includes Cast Members in rain gear as well as characters in the Main Street Vehicles.

Rainy day cavalcade

The castle stage show Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire might also be modified, with the cast members remaining stationary and the performance shortened.

Does the Skyliner close if it rains?

During storms or high winds, or if lightning has been detected nearby, the Disney Skyliner does close. When that happens, bus transportation will be provided.

Do the boats at Disney World run in the rain?

Like the Skyliner, when lightning is detected nearby, the boats will also pause operations.

If you think you might run into issues due to rain, make sure you save a link to our Navigator to your phone. It will show you all your different options for getting around the entire Walt Disney World Resort area.

Which park is best on a rainy day?

Although you can find things to do in the rain at all of the parks, if you are planning ahead for a particularly rainy day, our vote for the best park to visit (if you want to stay dry) is Epcot.

Epcot has 2 pavilions (conveniently located close to each other), with a combined total of 6 attractions, that can make rainy days a bit less of an issue.

Land Pavilion (World Nature): Located in World Nature, the Land Pavilion is a giant building that houses 3 attractions (Soarin’, Living with the Land, and Awesome Planet) and 2 restaurants (Sunshine Seasons, which is Quick Service and Garden Grill, which is Table Service).

Land pavilion

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion: Also located in World Nature, the Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion is home to a giant 5.7 million gallon aquarium (there’s a complimentary scavenger hunt that you can pick up a booklet for inside the building), plus 2 kid-friendly attractions: The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. You’ll also find Coral Reef, which is a Table Service restaurant connected to one side of the building (you have to exit the main building to enter the restaurant).

The seas with Nemo and Friends sign

If the forecast looks to be especially rainy, the fact that these 2 pavilions are close together and that they have a lot of family-friendly things to keep you busy, make Epcot a good option for those extra-rainy days when you just want to avoid the elements.

Add in a meal or snack at one of the restaurants, and they could easily provide you with several hours worth of dry entertainment.

Does Disney World allow umbrellas?

They do, but we don’t really like them for rain because it can be hard to navigate the parks with one. We do, however, like to use them to keep the sun off us.

If you want to get an umbrella, look for small umbrellas that also offer UV protection. We have these umbrellas from Amazon (affiliate link):

Travel umbrella

What to do if it rains

If the rain isn’t heavy and there isn’t danger of lightning, our best advice is to put on a poncho and keep moving! Indoor attractions will be open, and the lines typically get shorter during rainstorms.

But, if you are in the parks and the skies open up with a heavy rain or lightning, you’ll probably want to find someplace to take cover.

Best places to get out of the heat and rain graphic

Here are some spots you can go to hide out from the storm:

Shops: Shops are good in a pinch, but when the rains start, they can fill up FAST. So, keep that in mind if you have a stroller or large group.

Quick Service dining locations: Quick Service restaurants are also a good option, but, keep in mind that some limit access to people ordering or to those with a Mobile Order pick-ups ready. If it looks like it might rain, it might be worth it to place a quick order for a drink or snack, that way you’ll have a spot to relax while you wait for the storm to clear.

Magic Kingdom

In just about every land, you’ll find at least 1 attraction that will be a good option for getting out of the rain.

Plus, Magic Kingdom is home to the famous “Rainy Day Cavalcade”, which is the mini parade that runs when the weather is too rainy for the Festival of Fantasy parade.

Epcot

Epcot is HUGE, and what we like about it is that there are a couple of pavilions conveniently located near each other where you can spend entire afternoons in the air conditioning and out of the heat and rain.

Here’s our favorites:

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is a bit trickier. There are limited indoor Quick Service dining options, and the easiest attractions to use as respite from the sun or rain have unprotected queues. But, the good thing is that even though most of the shows here are still outdoors, they are covered and last quite a nice stretch which means you’ll have a longer period of time to sit and dry out.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is by far the most difficult park to find easy-to-access attractions that can get you out of the rain.

Our best advice is that if you need to get out of the rain, mobile order at a Quick Service location (Pizzafari is a good choice). If that isn’t an option, try to find a covered queue like the ones for the attractions below:

Rainy day tips

The truth is, when it is rainy outside, the parks will be a lot less busy. So if you can handle it, you will often find that you can get a lot done during a storm.

Have a good weather app on your phone

If you don’t already have one, download a good weather app on your phone. You’re looking for one that doesn’t just do forecasts, but one that can alert you if rain is going to start.

We use Dark Sky, but after Apple purchased it, it is no longer available for Android users.

We’ve also heard good things about Rain Alarm, but if you go the app store for your device, you’ll find several to choose from.

If you don’t already have a favorite, we recommend downloading a couple and testing them out at home before you leave for your trip.

And then, when you get to Walt Disney World, make sure your location settings are set so that it automatically updates to where you are; otherwise, you may not get the correct updates and alerts.

Bring good ponchos

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. But, they are thin, and they stick to you and can be very hot and uncomfortable.

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.

Poncho and drinks

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 $12 each for adults, and around $10 for kids, which isn’t too bad considering you’re paying Disney prices. But, you can definitely find good quality ponchos for much less at home.

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. Ask us how we know.

Protect your stuff (cell phones, strollers, etc.)

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 (affiliate link) 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.

Protect your 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 regularly, 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.

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Do you have other tips for dealing with rain at Disney World? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Heather Thomas