Everyone loves Disney World, but let’s be honest: the theme parks can get extremely hot during the summer. In order to truly enjoy yourself, you need to learn how to stay cool at Disney World. So here are some of my favorite tips for beating the heat while having fun at Disney World.
How to Stay Cool at Disney World
Let’s begin with my first tip: use a cooling towel.
There are plenty of families who bring cooling towels into the parks. They can be wetted down and placed on your neck, shoulders, or forehead for some quick relief. I have seen people even grab cups of water solely to dunk their towels. They often come in a variety of colors and packs, so you can match your Disney look for the day, and are easily washable and packable.
While not as common, a misting fan is a great way to keep cool without having to refresh a towel or hop on a ride. They are often battery-powered but can be rechargeable, and you wear them around your neck. You may see models with one or two fans, both of which should be adjustable. We have seen these fans run anywhere from $10 to $60.
The biggest benefit is having on-the-go air circulation, which is helpful for those humid days. If you are waiting in a lengthy outdoor queue or sitting around for a parade, you can sit tight knowing you have a little extra relief while others melt away.
Did you know that you can bring your non-alcoholic drinks into Disney parks? It’s true! Plus, you can save some money along the way without having to buy a drink.
There are size, ice, and drink restrictions you will want to consider before packing up for the day. Disney World does not allow glass containers (except for baby food jars or small containers). Also, your cooler cannot be larger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high and you cannot bring in loose or dry ice.
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Cold Drinks, Ice Cream or a Milkshake
If you are like me and prefer having a drink or two in the park, a cold drink or a milkshake are classic methods for beating the heat. Drink prices are going to vary significantly throughout the parks, so you will want to do some research ahead of time through the My Disney Experience app. And if none of that floats your boat, you can always count on a nice, cold scoop of ice cream to cool your entire body temperature.
Some of our favorite locations for a quick, cool drink are:
- Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom for a Dole Whip
- Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom for a milkshake
- Caravan Road at Animal Kingdom for shaved ice
- Choza de Margarita at EPCOT for, well, a margarita
- Gaston’s Tavern in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom for a Le Fou’s Brew
- Les Vins des Chefs de France at EPCOT for a frozen wine slushie
Cups of Free Water
Unfortunately, I have to tell people this a lot when planning for their Disney World trips. You do not have to pay for water (if you don’t want to)!
I understand if you want to have a bottle of water to carry around. But, if you have the chance to save a little money while on vacation, wouldn’t you want to know how? I have never liked having bottled water, especially in the Florida heat.
If you hop in line at any quick service restaurant, or any place that has fountain sodas, you can get free, cool, refreshing water for free. If they only have small cups, you can ask for multiples. Sometimes, they give you really really big cups which is more than enough water. If you bring a water bottle, you can fill it up and be ready for the rest of your day.
Also, there are plenty of water fountains and even water bottle filling stations throughout the parks and Disney Springs. So, there is no need to pay almost $4.00 for a bottle of water! Save the plastic, save your wallet, and save your thirst.
Get Wet on a Water Ride
There is no better feeling on a hot summer day than getting instantly drenched while on Kali River Rapids or Splash Mountain. Even the little splash you feel on Pirates of the Caribbean could provide relief on a warm afternoon. But, these ride queues can be pretty long during the hottest point of the day, when everyone else is also likely looking for relief.
There is one obvious way to get ahead of the line – you can utilize Genie+ and book a lightning lane. Genie+ opens up their lightning lanes at 7:00 AM (as of 2022) to all of the park’s attractions, including water rides. Since these rides are often more popular in the summer, we recommend trying to book them first (especially Splash Mountain). You may be able to get on Kali River Rapids a little easier, so it might not be necessary to use a coveted lightning lane on this attraction.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
When it’s hot in Florida – it’s hot. I wish I could say it cools off, but the combination of heat and humidity can leave you sweating for most of the day. We recommend packing multiple shirts if you intend on visiting the parks in the summer. Better safe than sorry!
Wearing appropriate clothing is vital when hitting Disney parks. That means wearing light, loose, breathable clothing. Consider leaving the jeans at home and wearing more athletic-leisure friendly options like capri leggings or shorts.
But, maybe consider not dressing too skimpy. Disney World does have dress codes in place. We know it’s hot, but it’s not quite the “I have to wear a bathing suit in the parks” kind of hot. Trust us when we say there are plenty of instances where an eyebrow or two was raised at what some people wear in the parks.
Seek Out Air Conditioning
One of my favorite ways to stay cool is to browse shops, which almost always have air conditioning. The Emporium along Main Street, U.S.A. takes you almost to the castle without having to step outside. Most rides have a gift shop at the exit. Take the extra time to make sure you cool down – who knows, maybe you’ll find your next favorite souvenir to take home!
Beyond browsing shops, there are a couple of misting fans throughout the Disney parks that offer quick relief. You can find these at The Cool Ship at Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland or Cool Wash at EPCOT.
Splash Pad at Magic Kingdom
Tucked in the corner of Magic Kingdom lies something almost everyone has a love/hate relationship with – a splash pad. Themed to the traveling circus, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station lets young and old cool off in one of the hottest states in the U.S.A.
You will want to bring either a swimsuit or a second pair of clothing should you choose to take on this endeavor. You can (and likely will) get soaked. But, we’re willing to sacrifice a shirt or two for the chance to cool down.
Visit Early Mornings or Evenings
If you can, we highly suggest trying to get to the parks earlier in the day, taking a break in the afternoon, and coming back in the evening. This is especially pertinent when you are within a short jaunt to your hotel, like if you are staying around Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, or Hollywood Studios.
I know it can feel like you need to rush and do everything you can during your trip because, let’s face it, you paid a lot of money to get there. But, you have to remember that you’re on vacation! We have seen so many families have mid-day breakdowns and tantrums because they push themselves too far. It’s okay to take a few hours to cool off, maybe hit the pool or take a nap, and then feel refreshed to hit the parks again.
Book Dining Reservations
If leaving the parks isn’t an easy option, then grabbing a dining reservation at an indoor restaurant during the hottest point of the day can help cool you down. You can sit, relax, and enjoy some tasty food while keeping the sun at bay. Plus, it can help you recharge for a long day ahead.
With all table service restaurants, we recommend planning well ahead of time so you can book your reservations. You can reserve times for your favorite restaurants 60 days in advance by using the My Disney Experience app, booking on the Disney World website, or calling 407-939-7529.
Stop By a Lounge
If you can’t book a reservation but are looking for a place to wet your whistle, then consider looking for a lounge to sit back and enjoy a cocktail. There are several lounges throughout the Disney parks that offer walk-up seating if there is space available.
Consider stopping by one of these lounges on your next trip:
- Tune-In Lounge at Hollywood Studios
- Space 220 Lounge at EPCOT
- Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom
Catch A Show
There are a few shows throughout the parks that let you enjoy cool air while being entertained. If you have the time, they are a great way for a 15 to 30 minute break from the constant walking and standing in line. Some of our favorite shows include Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom, Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Hollywood Studios, and Muppet*Vision 3D at Hollywood Studios.
I always think it’s a great idea to catch a show like the Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom. Not only is it a fairly long “ride” at 21 minutes, but it’s usually never crowded. It’s also fun and a bit educational, and best of all, you’ll definitely beat the heat while on it.
Get Medical Attention (If Needed)
While it’s not fun to talk about, heat exhaustion and dehydration happens a lot at Disney World. I am one of those unfortunate participates. In April 2021, I was so exhausted from not being acclimated to the heat that I nearly passed out on Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom. Since then, not only do I take great precaution in what I do during the day but I also know where to go if I am feeling under the weather.
Disney has first aid in each of their parks where you can get help, whether you need a bandaid or some extra attention. They have professional nurses on site to give you a hand, so you know you are getting the proper care to get fixed up and back to your vacation.
While most guests know that Florida is hot, not everyone knows how to stay cool at Disney World. To avoid feeling uncomfortable and over-heated, consider buying a cooling towel or misting fan for immediate relief. Hopping on a ride or watching a show can help avoid the sun, and stopping by a watering hole for a cool beverage can be a nice treat. And always drink that water!
No matter what, understanding you and your group’s needs while on vacation is essential to having the perfect Disney day. We hope that you have an enjoying, fun, and refreshing time the next time you’re at Disney World.
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