Florida summers can be brutally hot and humid, but with school schedules offering summers off, it's still a popular time for a Walt Disney World vacation. And if you aren't tied to a school schedule, the heat and humidity can last into the fall as well. So here are some tips and tricks to keep cool and make the most of your Disney vacation each summer.
1. Get Up Early and Stay Out Late
This is probably the best advice for beating the mid-day crowds any time of year, but it serves more than one purpose during the summer months. The first few hours are crucial for low crowds and relatively low heat and humidity. For lowest wait times, plan to be at the park gates about 30 minutes before the opening time for resort guests. Then, once the sun goes down enjoy the parks in the evening for another break from that Florida sun.
2. Take Advantage of Your Resort
When the sun starts to get really hot and the lines get long, return to the resort to cool down, take a nap or go for a swim. The resorts offer great amenities, so might as well take some time to enjoy them! Then, set out to the parks again when you are refreshed and the sun starts to go down. You will still get a lot accomplished and miss out on the most severe heat of the day.
3. Dress for Success
Wearing the appropriate clothing and gear is essential for surviving the summer months at Disney World. You should consider how you will dress from the top of your head down to your toes. A sun-shielding hat, sunglasses, light moisture-wicking or cotton clothing, and comfortable tennis shoes with moisture-wicking socks or athletic sandals are a must for everyone in your party during the summer months. If you are traveling with little ones or babies, consider a stroller fan for keeping them cool. We also packed our suitcases to include more than one complete outfit per day for each of us, knowing we would likely sweat/swim and shower or change clothes before venturing back into the parks in the evening.
4. Pack a Park Bag
If you normally don’t carry a bag to the parks, now is the time to do so. Grab a crossbody purse or light back pack, and throw in the essentials to keep you free from sunburn, sweat and stink! That’s right, you will want to pack sunscreen, deodorant and maybe even an extra set of clothes if you do plan to be in the parks all day. Don’t forget a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. Disney quick-service restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water if you ask and newer park areas like Pandora or TRON offer water bottle refill stations. Cooling towels, misters or neck fans are also all great options to help keep you cool throughout the day.
5. Utilize Air Conditioning
If you are in the parks and need to cool down but can’t or don't want to return to your resort for a nap or swim, there are options to take advantage of some air conditioning. My favorite way is to book a table service restaurant for lunch. This will give you the opportunity to sit and relax in the air conditioning, rehydrate and refuel for the rest of your day. If a table service restaurant doesn't appeal to you, check out our list of the best attractions to cool down during the summer months. There are so many options that you will still get to enjoy the magic of Disney World while slowing down to recharge. There are even a few shows that can make for a great power nap spot. Shopping is also a great choice with all the parks having large shopping options so you can stay in air conditioning for a while while you browse, like the Emporium on Main Street USA.
6. Enjoy a Frozen Treat!
Indulging in one of the many frozen snacks such as a Dole Whip or a Mickey Premium Bar is a perk of that vacation life. Find your favorite or try a few, no one will be judging you for a little frozen treat! There are always timeless classics or seasonal and limited-time offerings. One of my favorites is an ice cream cookie sandwich or a specialty soft serve or float!