Tips to Stay Cool at Disney World (plus best cooling towels & portable misting fans)
Did you know that the temperature in Orlando, Florida in July is an average high of 92 degrees?
And did you know that the average Disney World guest walks close to 10 miles a day?
That can be a very unpleasant combination — and even a potentially deadly one.
And even if you’re not going in July, you’re going to have to deal with some amount of heat. The average high temperature in April in 84 degrees, which is still pretty hot to be walking around all day.
But never fear! After reading this post, you’ll have a full set of tools in your arsenal to keep you and your family cool during your upcoming vacation.
Table of Contents
- 1 Heat Exhaustion at Disney World
- 2 What’s the Hottest Disney Park?
- 3 What to Wear to Disney World in June, July, and August
- 4 The Best Cooling Towels for Disney
- 5 The Best Misting Fans for Disney
- 6 The Best Stroller Fans for Disney
- 7 How Do Disney Characters Stay Cool?
- 8 The Best Places to Cool Off in Each Disney Park
- 9 Drink Plenty of Water
- 10 Pools and Water Parks
Heat Exhaustion at Disney World
- Children under the age of 4
- Adults over the age of 65
- People who are obese, have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or other certain medical issues
- People who are taking diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, and other certain medications
The most common signs of heat exhaustion are:
- Dark-colored urine (which is a sign of dehydration)
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
If you or someone with you is experience these symptoms, immediately go to the closest air-conditioned spot (which we’ll talk about in a moment), drink some water or a sports drink, and take a cool shower if possible.
If symptoms are still not better within about 15 minutes, seek medical treatment.
What’s the Hottest Disney Park?
For years we’ve been saying that one of the things we enjoy about Animal Kingdom is that it’s nice and shady.
Well, apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Tons of people say that Animal Kingdom is the hottest park by far because:
- The trees block all the wind
- It has the highest humidity due to the plants
- There aren’t many indoor attractions
Personally, we think Hollywood Studios — especially Toy Story Land — is the worst park for heat. No shade plus blazing hot concrete — mmmm, that’s a nice combination.
I think Epcot could be either the best or the worst park for a hot day depending on what you choose to do there.
On one hand, you could easily hang out inside The Land pavilion for 2-3 hours. On the other hand, you could walk all the way around the World Showcase and feel like you’re on the surface of the sun.
I even found a vote for Magic Kingdom being the hottest park:
There’s A LOT of standing around in the heat. So much body heat! You’re always rubbing elbows with people. The lines are huge and most are outdoors. Besides Space Mountain and Pirates I think every line is outside (as in not enclosed completely).
You can’t escape being outside because the indoor rides are over in 10 minutes max and then you’re pushed outside again … There’s no escaping the heat at Magic Kingdom …..unless you want to ride Carousel of Progress over and over.
All that to say that there is no definitive answer on which park is the hottest (although most people seem to think it’s Animal Kingdom.) It’s a good to consider each park’s pros and cons when plotting out your itinerary.
What to Wear to Disney World in June, July, and August
Here’s what you don’t want to wear:
- Dark clothing
- Heavy costumes (for the kids)
Some people find that wearing athletic, workout-style clothing is the most comfortable way to stay cool. I guess that makes sense, since you’re walking and sweating all day, but personally that would drive me crazy.
My Disney outfit of choice is a light sundress, preferably made of cotton.
I think dresses are cooler than shorts — certainly cooler than denim shorts — allow for more air flow, and I feel prettier in them, especially when I dress them up with some cute Disney accessories.
The dress in the photo above comes in 18 different designs, so if you fall in love with the style, you can get a couple different ones for your trip.
Other reviewers thought it was very flattering and liked how it was not an empire-style waist. As one woman put it, “The material is thick enough to smooth my belly but still light enough for very hot days.”
I would agree!
I find most of my dresses by searching “casual womens sundress” on Amazon.
Here are some nice-looking options currently listed:
ETCYY Women’s Summer Casual Sleeveless Swing Dress with PocketsAUSELILY Sleeveless Loose Swing Dress with PocketsECOWISH Womens V-Neck Spaghetti Strap Sleeveless Mini Swing DressBohemian Geometric Casual Sundresses with Pockets
Women are often concerned about wearing dresses to Disney because they don’t want any “bun slippage or peek-a-boos” when they hoist themselves in and out of Space Mountain.
I’ve found these Jockey slipshorts to be perfect. They give you a little more coverage, smooth you out a little bit (although they are definitely not Spanx), and are more comfortable than you might think.
As far as what shoes to wear, I really prefer wearing sandals. They breathe easier, are less prone to cause chafing, and you don’t have to worry about your socks getting sweaty or soggy.
The Sanuk Yoga Sling sandals are by far the most popular shoes among my readers.
I wish I could wear them, because they’re super-pretty and not very expensive, but for some reason, they just don’t agree with my feet:
Instead, I’ve worn the Merrell Slide Sandals for my last four or so Disney trips. They’re not as cute as the Yoga Slings, but they’re not hideous, and they come in a few different colors.
More importantly, I can walk in them for hours and have my feet still feel great.
The Best Women’s Sandals for Walking in Disney World
My husband Rob swears by these types of shirts for dealing with the Florida heat:
One last note about what to wear — June through September is the rainy season at Disney World, so make sure you pack some ponchos or travel umbrellas!
The Best Cooling Towels for Disney
I discovered cooling towels about three Disney trips ago, and now I would never go without one.
So what is a cooling towel?
It’s made with some sort of magical material (sorry, I’m not a chemist) that you wet thoroughly and then wring out. It stays dry to the touch, so it doesn’t drip all over the place or get your shirt wet, but it stays cool until it fully evaporates.
I like how, in addition to keeping me cool, the towel also gives me added sun protection for my neck, shoulders, upper back, and arms. (My Irish/Polish redheaded self needs all the help it can get.)
Frogg Togg Cooling Towel
This is the cooling towel we use, although there are others, which you’ll see in a moment.
Frogg Togg towels are 35 x 13 inches, have UPF50 + UV protection, and claim to cool 30 degrees below ambiant air temperature.
Frogg Togg is proud of the fact that, unlike microfiber cooling towels,
their “Chill Pads” are biodegradable and will decompose over time when buried or thrown away
On our last Disney trip, Rob decided to buy another on when we were at Animal Kingdom. It was a different brand, by Coolcore, and Rob said it definitely didn’t get as cool as the Frogg Togg towel did.
So there’s some scientific research for you:
rogg Togg > Disney park cooling towel.
Amazon reviewer Linda Abbott calls it a “lifesaver” and has some tips and precautions:
I have no idea how this works, but I’m grateful that it does. We got these for a trip to Disney World in Florida during the hot part of the year. The parks get sweltering. All we had to do was wet the towels in the morning when we left. When they got warm, all we did was snap them and like magic, they were cool again.
A couple of things to know … First, you need to rinse them before using them. The instructions that come with them clearly tells you this and you really need to do that. I think they put something in them that keeps them soft while they’re on the shelf. .They don’t dry soft. At the end of the day, when you rinse them out, they will dry in whatever shape you put them in. If you put them over a towel rack, it will dry hard, folded in the shape it took over the towel rack.
If you fold it wet to put away, so it will dry folded, we found out the hard way that you’re going to get mold. You need to let it air dry.
The two biggest complaints about the Frogg Togg:
- It gets moldy (which we have never experienced, but you have to be carefully how you dry and store it.
- When it dries, it’s like a piece of cardboard, making it potentially awkward for packing and storing. I would agree that that’s annoying.
There are several reviewers who say that Frogg Togg is “much better than the other cooling towels I’ve tried,” but they don’t go into any detail.
Although we love our Frogg Togg and found it cooler than the Disney park cooling towels, we can’t really say it’s “the best” because there are several we haven’t tried.
Here are two other cooling towels that are highly rated:
Alfamo Cooling Bandanna
The Alfoma Cooling Bandanna comes in 4 different sizes and over 15 different colors.
It claims to stay chilled for up to 3 hours and reduce body temperature up to 30 degrees.
Alfoma’s big selling point is that, unlike the Frogg Togg, it dries soft and pliable, making it much easier to pack and carry.
Reviewers also liked the physical feel of Alfamo better, calling Frogg Togg “heavy and thick and leathery” and Alfmmo “cold and slinky and super easy to tie in many different ways.”
Chill Pal Microfiber Cooling Towel
I’m a big fan of using microfiber when I clean, so I was curious what people had to say about these cooling towels.
The least expensive of the 3 cooling towels listed, these come in one size (12 x 32 inches) and claims to be a “softer and more fashionable option.”
Amazon reviewer shellynn9876 calls this a “life changing purchase”:
We purchased these for hot days at Disney World and they are a complete game changer. Many other brands I read dried stiff like cardboard, not these little beauties! They are soft, comfortable and last the entire day and night.
I wet them and loosely ring out before putting them in the convenient little zip pouches they come in. Then we head out for 8-10 hour day at Disney parks and they last the entire day. THESE ARE A SCORE!!
The Best Misting Fans for Disney
A misting fan is a good idea if you’re going to the parks during the summer. They’re pretty inexpensive and small enough to easily tuck inside your purse or backpack.
O2COOL Deluxe Handheld Battery Operated Water Misting Fan
The OO2Cool Deluxe is “Amazon’s Choice” for mister fans.
It comes in 6 different colors and requires 2 AA batteries, which are not included.
While many people raved about how great this fan was for their Disney trip, others called it “junk” that breaks easily.
Small Carabiner Keychain Misting Fan
This misting fan requires 1 AA-Cell battery that is not included. One battery almost certainly won’t last your entire trip, so be sure to bring some extras.
Amazon reviewer email@example.com has a couple tips for using this fan:
These worked great for our recent trip to DisneyWorld. They are lightweight and easy to carry.
I have two recommendations if you purchase:
- Change out to a more sturdy carabiner. The carabiner that comes comes with it is flimsy and not easy to use.
- Put a piece of duct tape over the battery cover. One of ours fell off while we were in the park.
For the price and portability I would still purchase again.
The Best Stroller Fans for Disney
If you think enduring the heat is tough, it’s even worse for babies and toddlers, who can’t regulate their body temperature the same way we adults do.
Clipping a mini-fan to the stroller can help regulate the air flow and keep your child more comfortable.
Their use isn’t just limited to strollers or Disney vacations, though. You can also clip them to places like your laptop, lawn mower, or treadmill.
Here are three highly rated stroller fans:
SkyGenius Battery Operated Clip on Mini Fan
The SkyGenius Mini Fan comes with a USB cable and rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery. It has a speed control dial, so you don’t have to worry about your baby’s face getting blasted with air.
It’s adjustable, so you can clip it on in the most convenient spot and then turn it to wherever you need to air to go.
Reviewers were very impressed by the power of this fan, even though it was small and lightweight.
Amazon reviewer Amy W.C. says this fan was a lifesaver during their trip:
So we’re at Disney World, and I’m pushing around my 3 year old in his stroller. He passes out the first couple days and starts sweating profusely in his stroller. I thought, “I need one of those stroller fans!!” I ALSO didn’t want to spend $100 (not really) on a stroller fan from Disney…which they had, but were in VERY short supply!!
So I ended up going on Amazon (thank GOD for Amazon), and I found this one and had it shipped next day to our hotel! The next day when he fell asleep he was perfectly content, not all sweaty in his stroller!!
This specific fan is a MUST if you’re going to Disney at any time of the year!! One night I forgot to charge it and it actually lasted two days!! It may even last longer, but I didn’t stick around to check, as I didn’t want it dying on me when we needed it the most!
Anyway, an absolute MUST when it comes to Disney, or any park or place where your kid will nap in their strollers!!
OPOLAR 5000mAh Portable Fan with Timer
Th OPOLAR portable fan is adjustable and has 3 different speed settings
In addition, it has a timer, so you can use it at night to help you fall asleep without draining the battery.
Reviewers were impressed with how long-lasting the battery was.
Other than the timer feature, I could not find a lot of difference between the SkyGenuius and the OPOLAR. Both appeared to be long-lasting, high-powered fans with the option of adjusting the speed.
How Do Disney Characters Stay Cool?
If you’ve ever felt ridiculously hot while wearing a t-shirt and shorts at Disney World and are wondering how on earth Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh stay cool, the short answer is:
It’s a myth that there are fans or mini air conditioning units built into Disney character costumes.
According to Mental Floss, employee contracts and OSHA regulations have fur character spend 30 minutes inside, then 30 minutes resting inside.
However, if the outside temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, characters will be outside for only about 20 minutes.
Face characters (for example, princesses) usually have outdoor sets of about 45 minutes.
The Best Places to Cool Off in Each Disney Park
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get wet at the Disney parks. Some involve you getting wet (sometimes very wet), while others are just a nice place to sit in an air conditioned building.
Best Places to Cool Off in the Magic Kingdom
WedWayTomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover — Take a relaxing tour through Tomorrowland. It’s almost guaranteed there won’t be a line, and if you want, you can ask the Cast Member if you can stay on and ride it a second (or third) time.
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic — A 3D film starring Donald Duck and featuring songs from some of your favorite Disney movies.
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station — This is a circus-themed water play area in Fantasyland, next to Pete’s Silly Sideshow. You might want to be prepared by having bathing suits and/or extra clothes for the kids in your Disney backpack, because your kids might, in fact, get soaked. Restrooms are conveniently located nearby.
- Splash Mountain — If our family had to vote on our favorite ride in Magic Kingdom, I think this would be the winner. It’s fun, it’s peaceful, and the drop at the end gives you a great view of the park and is exciting without being terrifying. You may get a little wet … or a lot wet!
- Totem Poles in Adventureland — My kids had a great time playing at these one year, and even made a couple friends.
Best Places to Cool Off in Epcot
- Epcot Splash Pad — An oval splash pad on the main path from Future World to the World Showcase that has both leap frog and vertical fountains. It’s likely your kids will get drenched, so again, be prepared with extra clothes. (If you need plastic bags for your wet things, just stop inside a souvenir shop and ask for a large plastic Walt Disney World Resort Bag.
- The Land Pavilion — As I mentioned earlier, this is a great indoor place to park yourself if you need to get out of the heat for a couple hours. You can:
- Ride Living with the Land
- Go on the Behind the Seeds Tour (you can make a reservation that day)
- Ride Soarin’
- Watch the film Awesome Planet
- Eat at Sunshine Seasons food court
- East at The Garden Grill with Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale
Best Places to Cool Off in Animal Kingdom
- Kali River Rapids — The line for this can be long, but if you have an afternoon Fastpass, it’s a great way to cool off.
Warning: depending on your luck, you may get absolutely drenched on this ride. Some people (whose names are Jen) like to ride it wearing rain ponchos.
- Festival of the Lion King — Located in Africa, this 30-minute, Broadway-style show is filled with songs, acrobatics, and puppetry.
- Finding Nemo: The Musical — A 40-minute musical featuring original songs, vibrantly-colored puppets, and underwater special effects
Best Places to Cool Off in Hollywood Studios
- Toy Story Mania — Once Rob and Rebecca were in Hollywood Studios together and ducked in here and got on line, having no idea what it even was, just to quickly escape the heat.
The queue is indoors, attractive, and entertaining, and the actually attraction (a 4D arcade game starring Toy Story characters) is really fun too.
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration — A 30 minutes karaoke-style performance of songs from Frozen in an indoor theater. If you want to get a chance to catch paper “snow,” be sure to sit near the front. Also, be aware that this is not a meet and greet.
- Toy Story Mania — Once Rob and Rebecca were in Hollywood Studios together and ducked in here and got on line, having no idea what it even was, just to quickly escape the heat.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid — A 15-minute musical using live action, puppets, and movie clips.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is really important at all times, but especially when you’re outside in the heat.
If you haven’t already heard, you can get a free cup of ice water at any counter service restaurant.
However, I wouldn’t count on that being your only source of water. Instead, bringing your own filtered water bottle so you can refill it at any time without having to suffer with the nasty taste of tap water.
People often recommend eating things like Mickey ice cream bars, Dole Whips, and Citrus Swirls as a way to cool off.
I hate to be a buzzkill, but according to this article in Time magazine, the fat content in ice cream actually makes your body warmer, not cooler.
So what food does actually cool you down?
Life is so unfair.
Pools and Water Parks
One of the best ways to beat the Florida heat is to have a smart schedule: Hit the park before rope drop, go back to your hotel for a nap and swim in the afternoon, and then head back to the park in the evening.
There’s also the option to spend the day at one of Disney’s two water parks, Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon.
We’ve never been to either water park (our vacations have never seemed long enough to fit it in) but the general consensus seems to be that:
- Blizzard Beach is better for kids and more fast-paced
- Typhoon Lagoon has a better wave pool and more shaded areas
If you can’t decide which one to go to, just hop on whichever bus arrives at your stop first!
How do you stay cool at Disney World?
So what about you?
- Do you have a “spot” where you like to duck into when the heat is getting you down?
- What do you like to stay cool at Disney?
- Which water park do you prefer, Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon?
- What are your experiences with cooling towels and misting fans?
Let us know below in the comments!