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Staying cool — and keeping your kids cool — is at upmost importance during your Disney, not only for your comfort and sanity, but also for you and your family’s health and well-being. Here at 7 ways to heat the heat and not let the Florida sun ruin your vacation.
1. Don’t go to Disney World in the summer.
Yeah, I know. some of you are rolling your eyes at me right now. I don’t say this to be snarky, but to make sure you re-think the obvious first.
If you haven’t already scheduled your trip yet, is there any other time that could work for your family? Personally, I would do anything in my power to avoid going to Disney World in June, July, or August — not just because of the heat, but also because the crowds are usually worse during those times. I remember literally dripping sweat in late September as I stood near the entrance of Epcot with my girls waiting to get Daisy Duck’s autograph and thinking, “I don’t even want to know what it’s like here in July.”
Having said that, I know a lot of families don’t have the luxury to consider non-summer vacation times. And heat is almost guaranteed to be at least somewhat of an issue no matter when you go. So let’s move on t0:
2. Wear cool clothes.
and I love these socks for hiking and imagine they would be great to wear to Disney World if you do the socks-and-sneakers thing.
Personally, I prefer to wear sandals to Disney. It’s cooler, easier, and more comfortable if you get the right kind.
The Best Women’s Sandals for Walking in Disney World
As odd as this may sound at first, I’ve discovered that I like wearing dresses in the Disney parks. They are cooler — certainly cooler than denim shorts — allow for more air flow, and I feel prettier in them. That may sound silly, but hey, if I’m going to have my picture taken all day long, I don’t want to be wearing something that I feel dumpy in.
I forget where I bought the dress in this photo with Dale. Knowing me, it was probably Kohl’s, but I can’t find it online right now. This purple dress that I also bought for my last trip is still currently available:
Although those two dresses above both worked well for me, in retrospect I see that both of them have flaws. The top one is too long, and the second one isn’t made out of the best material for staying cool.
For our next trip, I’ll be looking to get something more like these:
The right kind of hat can really help too, both with staying cool and looking cute:
3. Find a Place to go get wet!
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get wet at the Disney parks.
Animal Kingdom’s Kali River Rapids can actually get you drenched, so save that for early or mid-afternoon when you feel like you’re going to die from the heat. The Jumping Fountains at the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot are fun to watch, and kids love them. In the Magic Kingdom is, of course Splash Mountain (although lines will be long) and the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, which is near the train station in Storybook Circus is.
My kids had a great time at the mists in Adventureland at the Magic Kindgom, and even made some friends. (TIP: This is right by Aloha Isle, which makes it a great place to take a full-blown break and grab a Dole Whip or three.)
And don’t under-estimate the value of going back to your hotel (whether it’s on or off property) and hanging out in the pool for a while. The pool has always been one of my kids’ favorite things about our Disney trips.
4. 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. I personally prefer to take advantage of that rather than lug around water bottles for everybody, but the younger your kids are, and the the more of them you have, the less I would rely on that being your only means of having drinking water.
Try to stay away from caffeine and alcohol, which both have dehydrating effects. And sad as it is, sugar doesn’t do you any favors when you’re trying to stay hydrated, either. Water, water, water.
5. Bring a Frogg Togg Chilly Pad.
On our last trip, when it was just me and the girls, we brought along a couple Frogg Togg Chilly Pad Cooling Towels..
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of us “wearing” them, but it was a particularly nice combination with the sundresses I was wearing. I would drape it around my shoulders like a shawl and hold it by ends in the front, which was actually quite comfortable. I also liked how it gave the added sun protection for my neck, shoulders, upper back, and arms. (My Irish/Polish redheaded self needs all the help it can get.)
The only downside to the Chilly Pads is that they can only do so much for so long. They feel great when you first wet them and apply them, but after about ten or fifteen minutes, the effect has faded considerably. So yes, they definitely work, but they’re not a miracle cure.
For the record, we did NOT experience the problem that a lot of these 1-star reviews discuss.
6. Take advantage of the indoor attractions.
There are some Disney attractions that seem like they were made just for being able to escape the heat. In fact, some people will argue that it’s the only value that some of these attractions have. I’ll leave that discussion for another day, but here are some places you can visit in each park to get away from the sun:
Magic Kingdom — Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (which I will always continue to call “The WEDWay People Mover”), Mickey’s PhilharMagic, The Hall of Presidents, or Country Bear Jamboree. (FYI, I’ve heard that Hall of Presidents is the perfect place to nurse a baby. I’ve never seen The Hall of Presidents OR nursed a baby while in Disney World, so I can’t speak to that.)
Epcot — Living with The Land (which is a great ride for finding Hidden Mickey’s) and The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in the Mexico pavilion is not bad, especially if you’re a Donald Duck fan, and definitely one ride where you don’t have to worry about long lines.
Animal Kingdom — Festival of the Lion King will keep you cool and entertained for a full 3 minutes. It’s Tough to Be a Bug is another possibility, but be aware that some small kids might be scared by it, and some people of any age might not be thrilled to experience of being sprayed by termites and inhaling the stench from stink bugs.
Hollywood Studios — Voyage of the Little Mermaid is an obvious choice, especially if you have raving Ariel fans in your group. Muppet Vision 3D probably won’t make anybody’s Top Ten List for Disney World, but it’s cute and fun if you’re Muppets fans like we are. I think Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream sounds pretty interesting, although I’ve never actually seen it because the desire the ride Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster a second time always wins out in the end.
And don’t forget the option to just duck into some gift shops for a little while and have fun with hats!
7. Use a misting fan.
We’ve never used one of these, but for a few bucks, it seems worth getting one to tuck into your Disney park bag if you’re going during the summer. If nothing else, it’ll give you something to distract you with a little while you’re waiting in line.
I’ve seen some people report being very happy with the O2COOL Carabiner Misting Fan, which is also available at Wal-Mart.
BUT I’ve also read some blog posts saying that it’s worth it to pay double to get the Disney Squeeze Breeze, the hand held pans that they sell at the parks. They claim that the O2COOL is a piece of junk and that they Squeeze Breeze, with the Disney characters on it, makes a nice souvenir.
If you’re like me and kind of obsessive about reading reviews before making a buying decision (or you just find it somewhat entertaining), you can check out the reviews for the O2COOL or read this discussion about various misting fan on DISBoards.
I hope this post gave you some helpful ideas for beating the heat on your family’s next Disney World vacation!