How to Deal With Summer Heat at Disney World, From a Guest of 30 Years

After going to Disney World for 30 years, I know how to survive the heat.
Megan duBois

  • I’ve been going to Disney World for 30 years, so I know that summers in Orlando can be brutal. 
  • I’ve learned to bring a small handheld fan into the parks to beat the heat.
  • I also love to hit the water parks late in the afternoon instead of in the morning.

Disney World is one of the most-visited theme parks in the world, and during the summer, the crowds and heat can both be high.

I love going to the parks to ride my favorite attractions and eat at some of the best restaurants, but the harsh Florida heat can greatly impact a trip.

After visiting Disney World for more than 30 years, I’ve learned how to survive the dog days of summer. Here are my top tips.

I like to visit the water parks in the afternoon.

Cloud cover does wonders for cooling down a hot Florida day.
Megan duBois

One of my favorite things to do at Disney World is visit one of the two water parks, which alternate being open throughout the year. This summer, Typhoon Lagoon is open.

As the days get longer in June and July, there are certain nights when the water park is open until 8 p.m.

I love getting to the park around 5 p.m. when most people are packing up and the heat of the day is starting to cool down. It’s a great time to hit some big water slides and the lazy river for a few hours.

Additionally, Typhoon Lagoon hosts H2O Glow After Hours, a separately ticketed event during which the park is open until 11 p.m. on select summer nights.

This is a great way to spend time in the park without the blazing sun making the water feel too hot.

A small handheld fan is a lifesaver while walking through the parks.

I always have a portable fan in my park bag.
Megan duBois

Summer temperatures in Florida can reach over 100 degrees, and that’s not even factoring in the high humidity.

One of my theme-park essentials is a handheld, rechargeable fan. I like ones that can fold to fit into a small fanny pack or purse, but neck fans are also popular around the parks.

I whip out the fan whenever I start feeling too hot. But I’ll also use it in air-conditioned queues since the fan can direct the cold air right to my face.

Skip afternoons at the park and go in the evening to watch the fireworks.

I like to catch a few rides and a fireworks show at the parks in the evening.
Megan duBois

Afternoons are going to be the hottest time at the theme parks. After doing a few things in the morning, I like to head back to my hotel for a few hours before returning to the parks in the evening.

Once the sun starts to go down, the air feels slightly cooler, which makes theme-park activities much more enjoyable.

My general rule of thumb is to get to the park by 5 p.m. to maximize my evening time. I usually hit a few rides and watch any nighttime shows, like Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom

Finding longer shows or rides is a great way to cool down.

Haunted Mansion is a nice, slow-moving indoor ride.
Megan duBois

If you plan on being at the parks in the morning or afternoon, I suggest prioritizing longer shows and indoor rides. Sitting for a while can be extremely satisfying on a hot day.

Some of my favorites are Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom, “Festival of the Lion King” at Animal Kingdom, and The American Adventure at Epcot.

I like to alternate between one indoor attraction or show and one outdoor activity to avoid getting too hot.

Look for water rides and splash pads.

Journey of Water is a newer walk-through attraction at Epcot.
Megan duBois

If you need an instant refresh, water rides are a great option. You may get wet, but the instant cool-off is worth a few wet splotches on a T-shirt. Plus, you’ll inevitably dry quickly in the sun.

A few of my favorite water attractions are Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom and Journey of Water at Epcot.

There are also some children’s splash pads around the parks, like the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station at Magic Kingdom.

If you’re staying all day, consider making a table-service dining reservation.

Yak & Yeti is a nice sit-down restaurant in Animal Kingdom.
Megan duBois

I don’t recommend staying in the parks all day in the summer, but if you must, consider making a sit-down reservation for lunch.

If you aim for any time between 1 and 2:30 p.m., you should get the opportunity to relax, cool off, and take a break from the crowds while avoiding the big lunch rush.

I’ve had an easy time grabbing last-minute reservations at places like The Plaza in Magic Kingdom, Via Napoli in Epcot, and Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom.

Avoid driving to the parks, if you can.

The monorail is usually cooler and quicker than driving back to the Disney hotels.
Megan duBois

It may be tempting to drive to the theme park for the day, but if you’re staying at a Disney hotel, I think the complimentary transportation is a better option.

The parking lots can be exceptionally hot when the heat starts radiating off the tarmac, and you’re car will likely be scorching by the end of the day.

Instead, I prefer to hop on one of the Disney buses, the monorail, or a boat.

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