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Disney World: When It Rains…

Our dreary, very wet weather here in Buffalo today has me thinking about things I’ve learned in my many visits to Disney World about how to deal with inclement weather and still have fun at the same time.

First off, DO NOT BUY MICKEY PONCHOS IN THE PARKS!!!

You’re talking almost $40 for a family of 4 to get ponchos there. And while they are very durable, and very cute, the are expensive, and a real pain to lug around when they are soaking wet. And of course, at that price you’d feel obligated to keep it and take it home with you.  And what of the things I find most funny is watching all the guests RUN in to the gift shops to buy ponchos, and by the time they cash out and get back outside, the rain stops! So, before you leave for your vacation, go to Target or Walmart and get disposable ponchos! You can find them in the camping department, and they are only $1! 0004786938365_300X300 Check the forecast before you go, if it’s going to be smooth sailing, then you probably won’t need them. But if there’s predicted rain, then get them just in case. I would suggest 3 ponchos per person for your vacation. And, just keep a couple in your park bag. They are small and come in a little ziploc pouch. AND, when you’re done with it, you just toss it in the trash! Mission accomplished. If you will be using a stroller, it’s a good idea to have a few extras for that too, it will help keep the stroller and all your belongings nice and dry in those lovely stroller parking areas. Because sadly, they are all outdoors, with no cover most of the time.

Keep in mind that rain in the Orlando area is very random, except in the summer months, since that’s their rainy season. You might get a steady rain all day long. Or you could get a pop up downpour thunderstorm that only lasts a few minutes. And, it could be raining at your resort hotel, and not at a park! So, just watch that weather forecast every morning. Because, weather in Florida is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get!

The parks, and what to do in the rain:

Most people will suggest taking a day “off” and going to Downtown Disney to play at Disney Quest or to see a movie at the AMC theater. BUT, Downtown Disney is wide open, and there’s a lot of walking outside without any cover. So, unless these are must do’s on your list then I’d say skip it. These locations tend to be very busy on rainy days, and while AMC can easily accomodate a large crowd, Disney Quest can be pretty cramped.

Magic Kingdom:  There is a decent mix of both outdoor and indoor attractions at Magic Kingdom. I don’t feel it’s the ideal park to visit in the rain, but the one positive is that it won’t be very crowded, so you can pretty much walk on to a ride with little to no wait. I would suggest things like Mickey’s Philharmagic, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Small World, Pooh…basically any of the rides indoors.  One thing that can pass the time nicely is the Carousel of Progress. It’s 45 minutes long, so you stand a really good chance of hopping on during the rain, only to find clear skies when the ride is done!

Hollywood Studios is a great park to visit in the rain. Every attraction, with the exception of the parades and Fantasmic take place indoors. And while the shows and things like Jedi Training will be shut down in bad weather, the rest of the park is yours for the taking. Hollywood is great too, because there are plenty of covered areas to walk under in the rain. A few places that are great for passing the time, because you can spend more time there: Animation Courtyard, Animation Academy where you can take classes and learn how to draw Disney characters. In that building there are great little interactive play areas for the kids. And, you can see Sorcerer Mickey and several other characters with very little wait!  The Great Movie Ride is another great idea. It’s a longer ride, making it ideal in bad weather. You can kill some time having a nice meal at the Sci Fi Dine In Theater. Kids love it there, great theme, great service, and really great burgers and shakes. Toy Story Mania for sure! One of the newest attractions at Disney World, it’s very popular, and in the summer months you can easily see 2 hour wait times. But in bad weather, the wait will be substantially shorter, and so you can spend a day just riding TSMM to your heart’s content!

Epcot: I think the best idea here is to stick with Future World. There’s less walking between attractions. All of it is indoors. And you can spend a few hours in places like the Nemo Pavilion. The Land has several attractions you can enjoy, as well as a nice food court for quick meals. And, of course, no trip to Epcot is complete without a ride on Soarin’! Again, in the busy season you could wait 2 hours to ride, but during bad weather, you could get lucky and only wait 15 minutes!  Another great place to kill time is Innoventions. There are plenty of things to do and see in there. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is great, it’s another 45 minute ride. Just beware that if you have little ones it’s a dark ride with huge, noisy dinosaurs, so it could be a little scary for those mini humans in your family. Just keep in mind that rides like Test Track won’t be open in bad weather, for safety reasons.

Animal Kingdom: Not the best idea in the rain. Too wide open, lots of walk, you’ll get many, many deep puddles due to the terrain. But, if you really, really want to be there that day, there are a few attractions that can be fun. Festival of the Lion King, Nemo the Musical and Dinosaur are great places to pass the time. And, if you don’t mind getting wet, why not hop on Khali River Rapids?!  Again, some things will be closed, Expedition Everest and possibly the Safari come to mind. Another great place to pass some time is at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You take a covered train up there, and the majority of things to do are indoors. There are nice bathrooms there, a gift shop with some snacks. You can watch the vets take care of some the the animals. We’ve seen them perform a few procedures at Rafiki’s. The last time we were there they were giving an antelope a dental checkup. Under sedation, of course.  And, you can see some characters there as well! Stanley, Jimminy Cricket, and Rafiki can be found here. And we’ve seen Tigger on occasion as well.

So, there you have it. My top tips & tricks for having fun in the rain at Disney World.  I hope this little blerb of what to see and do will help you on your next visit, when the weather is less than ideal. So, until next time, remember:

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.”

 

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