You are at the Happiest Place on Earth and it starts to rain, what is the best strategy for the day? What if anything shuts down? How do I stay warm? So in case, you didn’t know, Walt Disney World is in Florida. I know what you’re thinking, “duh” and it may seem like I’m being smart but this is often overlooked. Florida gets a lot of rain and seems like there is a chance of a passing shower or storm just about every day. This can be anything from a light drizzle to a full-on downpour, which can be cold….yes, even in Florida you can have cold rain. As I figure, I’d still rather be at Disney World and a little wet. So how can you make the most of the rain at Disney world?
Updates: This post was originally published on 8/31/2018 and updated on 4/21/2021. This article contains updates throughout as much has changed in the past couple of years. Each section has been updated if needed with accurate information. Will continue to update for accuracy in the future as well.
Here are my top 9 ways to make the most of the rain at Disney World.
Most of the tips do come down to some forethought ahead of time. So let’s jump right in!
1 – Choosing Which Attractions to Ride
Some rides are great for when it’s raining, one of my favorites is Splash Mountain – you’re already going to get wet and the rides line usually drops when it starts raining, Kali River Rapids is another good ride, if not in the middle of a thunderstorm. If it’s lightning out, then more rides will close.
2 – Catch an Indoor show
Depending on the timing, you may be able to get in a show before the storm passes. If in Hollywood Studios, can possibly see either Frozen or Little Mermaid. At Animal Kingdom, may be able to see. This is a great way to pass time during the storm and be able to enjoy the day, especially if you are going with young kids. Its always good to be able to see the shows, during rain at Disney World, helps keep you out of the rain, get a break and you get to enjoy the show!
Update: This is difficult with the restrictions of 2020 but is slowly starting to open back up. Soon the Lion King show will open back up in May of 2021. Most of the shows have been closed down for the majority of 2020 but are starting to look closer to opening. It may not be an option right now, but it should be within the next couple of months.
3 – Take time to meet the characters
Another way to wait out a storm is to get in line for characters. Always good to have extra pictures with the characters and keeps the kids entertained while the rain passes. There are a lot of characters that are under cover, such as Peter Pan or Tiana at Magic Kingdom or Baymax in Epcot in the past. One thing to note, I have not found that these lines decrease during the rain; but if you don’t want to be caught in the rain, this is a good option.
Update – This has changed quite a bit in the past year with social distancing. Now there are areas to meet characters but from a distance. There are also fewer characters available to meet but this is still a viable option as a way to get out of the rain in some cases.
4 – Pack for the rain
There are a couple of different things that I recommend: Ponchos and a change of shoes. I don’t mind getting a little wet but if it starts to downpour, I will occasionally opt to wear a poncho (It depends on how stubborn I’m being that day). But ponchos are a great item to pack. I usually forgo buying ponchos at Disney if I can help it due to the price. I can pick them up at Dollar store, for well a dollar. The season does make a difference as well. If you are going in December and it starts raining, you may want to pack a sweatshirt as well. Planning for the season can make a big difference in your comfort level.
5 – The right footwear also helps
I also recommend packing an extra pair of shoes or sandals. I don’t mind walking around in a wet shirt for a period of time but walking around in drenched shoes gets old quickly. If you plan on heading back to the resort if it starts raining, then you don’t need to carry them. We usually stay in the park and make the most of it, so I slip a pair of cheap sandals in the carry bag. The other options, especially for kids are crocs; water drains through them so their feet aren’t soaked the entire day. The biggest thing is traction; most sandals don’t have the best grip, let alone when it’s wet. So keep that in mind when choosing footwear.
6 – Go to Disney springs/ shopping
Shopping is always fun at Disney World. If you want to avoid the rides and there are no shows, you can get in some shopping! If you are a Disney Resort guest – you can have any purchases shipped to your room. Going to Disney Springs is also a great option for shopping and food. It is nice to walk around and explore if it is a light rain, and a power walk between stores if it is raining a little harder.
7 – Choose the right park
If there is a higher chance of rain at Disney World, then you can plan accordingly. I recommend either Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom for rainy days. They have a lot of indoor/undercover rides and they have plenty of shows/characters. Animal Kingdom is one that I don’t recommend in the rain for a couple of reasons, Animals may take cover and Everest, one of my favorite rides, just isn’t as fun in the rain; specifically downpours. If it is down-pouring, it can sting a little when you’re going 50 MPH. There will be more to do at either of those parks in the rain to keep everyone in your family happy. Epcot is a good option for exploring the countries if you don’t mind getting a little wet.
Update: This is still true, even in 2021, however, this is more if in the afternoon. Now there will need to be a reservation to a park in the morning but can park hop in the afternoon. You will have more freedom after 2pm. But something that you can take advantage of as many of the rain showers that pass through is typically in the afternoon.
8 – Rent a locker
A simple fix to keep your stuff dry during the storm. Cost a little extra $7 for a small locker and $9 for a larger locker at the last check. This is for the entire day at one of the parks. The lockers can be used for storing purchases or dry clothes, among other things. There is a $5 fee as a “Key Fee” but this is returned after the key is returned.
9 – Make the best of the time
Even if it’s raining, you are still in Disney World; the most magical place on Earth. Even in less than perfect weather, there is still a lot to do in the parks. Between the shows, shopping and rides, you’ll find something for everyone. If you plan a little ahead of time, you can still get a lot done and lower the inconvenience of the weather. I’ve seen a passing shower and everyone scatters, so there is only a few people on Main street. It makes it nice to take pictures with fewer people in them.
What are your favorite things to do to pass the time with rain at Disney world? Is there any tips that I missed, let me know in the comments