Surviving Disney World in the Summer: The Ultimate Guide

February 19, 2022

Although some may advise against visiting Disney World in the summer, most families can't avoid it. Often, summer break is the only time the entire family can vacation together. And with a few adjustments, it can be the best summer ever!

Between the scorching sun and the endless crowds, experiencing the magic of Disney in the summer can be a challenge. With this guide, you’ll be well-prepared for a summer vacation to the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Be Prepared

Why, yes; that was a Lion King reference.

For a wonderful vacation, you must prepare beforehand. This means packing theme park essentials which include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A hat
  • A camera
  • Extra batteries
  • A phone and/or camera charger

Having these items with you throughout the parks will ensure that you have a great experience.

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events at Walt Disney World Resort

Hydrate Throughout the Day

Thanks to the heat, you can become dehydrated—unless you take action. No one wants to deal with a fainting spell in the middle of a ride queue for Peter Pan’s Flight.

While at the park, there are multiple water fountains and places to purchase bottled water. However, for frugal travelers, bringing a refillable water bottle is your best bet. Do note that glass containers and bottles of any kind are prohibited in Walt Disney World theme parks.

Find Ways to Stay Cool

The hardest part about a trip to Disney World in the summer is the heat. It is imperative that you stay cool throughout the day to avoid fainting, sun poisoning, and other ailments caused by the heat.

While there are many ways to stay cool throughout the day, here are our top tips:

Family in front of Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USABuy a Fan

Before you begin your trip, visit a convenience store and buy a spray bottle with a fan. Fill it with water, turn it on, and spray away. If you forget to purchase one beforehand, several stores in Orlando and the theme parks stock this portable fan.

Bring a Cold Washcloth

Many Disney World fanatics swear by this cooling tactic. The night before you enter the theme park, wet a washcloth, freeze it, and put it in a plastic bag the next day. When you begin to overheat at the park, place the washcloth on the back of your neck or forehead.

Get an Early Start

Arriving at least 30 minutes early at the theme parks will increase your chances of cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. It’s a win-win scenario if you ask me!

Check Out the Indoor Attractions

If you can’t take the heat, head indoors. Many of Walt Disney World’s top rides are inside, including Space Mountain, Soarin’, The Haunted Mansion, Toy Story Midway Mania, Mickey’s PhilarMagic, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and more.

Fog Surrounding the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom at Night - Orlando, Florida, USAChoose Your Attire Carefully

Your choice of attire has a drastic effect on the outcome of your day at Disney. As a rule of thumb, shorts and a T-shirt work just fine. If you’re prone to being chilly, bring a light jacket or sweatshirt. Otherwise, leave the jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatpants at home.

Your choice of footwear is also crucial. While tennis shoes will provide the most support, they are heavy and don’t allow the foot to “breathe.” They can be a nuisance after water rides such as Splash Mountain, as well.

On the other end, flip flops and sandals are lightweight and breathable but can be painful to walk in all day.

Weigh your options and make your choice!

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World®: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Consider Your Meal Choices

Between Dole Whip, turkey legs, and ice cream, Disney World is filled with food. However, not all food items are created equally. In fact, your food choices have a direct impact on your experience at Disney World in the summer.

In the morning, eat a healthy breakfast full of protein, fruits, and vegetables. This will give you the fuel you need to conquer a day of rides, characters, and more. While Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes are tempting (believe me, they’re tempting), they don’t contain the nutritional value you need for prolonged energy.

While in the park, eat lightly. Don’t chow down on fried food and desserts. It’ll slow you down and make for a not-so-lovely crash. Instead, choose healthy food items and indulge once your day in the park is over.

Disney Dole WhipTake Advantage of Genie+

With Genie+ you can skip the line and hop right on the most popular rides! Using this service allows you to skip waiting in the blistering hot sun for (what will seem like) an eternity.

Since you only have a certain number of Genie+ uses per day, it’s best to use this service when crowds are at their peak.

Plan ahead by choosing your Genie+ attractions and times beforehand.

Related Post: Disney MagicBands: How They Work

Head to the Hotel

If you took our advice and arrived early in the day, you’ll have already experienced a ton by lunchtime. With this in mind, if the sun becomes too much to handle, head back to your hotel for a bit.

Go for a swim in the pool, take a nap, or just watch TV. Since the parks are open late into the night, you can rest up for a few hours and come back with more energy.

Plus, by the time you come back, most families will be finishing their day. Meaning, you can enjoy fewer lines, more fun, and cooler temperatures once again.

family in pool at disney's caribbean beach resort

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Brave the Rain

Alternatively, if going to the hotel doesn’t sound ideal, just look at the forecast. While Disney World in the summer can be unbearably hot, it’s also known for random bursts of rain.

When the first rain clouds roll in, take a look at the crowds. Once it rains, the lines will begin to clear out and people will rush out of the park.

This is what frequent visitors refer to as “Nature’s Genie+”. Put on a poncho, brave the rain, and enjoy the rest of your day!

Book a Room at a Walt Disney World Hotel

Walt Disney World hotels offer a multitude of advantages for guests.

One major benefit provided to guests is the complimentary park and airport transportation. Instead of renting a car or hailing a cab/Uber/Lyft, you can rely on Walt Disney World to take you where you need to go.

Whether you use Lyft to get to and from the airport or the Disney Bus System to access the parks, you’ll have a care-free experience sans Orlando summer traffic

Related Post: The Grown-Up Guide to a Walt Disney World® Vacation for Adults

Also, the buses are air-conditioned, so you’ll beat the heat once again!

Pool and Exterior View of Disney's Yacht Club Resort - Orlando, Florida, USAVisit the Water Parks

There’s more to Walt Disney World than the four main theme parks. For cooler thrills, head to one of Disney’s water parks including Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach!

To visit the water parks, make sure you choose admission options such as "Water Park Fun and More" when purchasing your Walt Disney World tickets.

Our advice applies at the water parks, too: bring sunscreen, eat well, and stay cool.

Family Floating down the Cross Country Creek at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park - Orlando, Florida, USAThink About Your Children

You’re likely going to Disney World in the summer because your children are on a school break. As such, the wellbeing of your children will drive the majority of your decisions throughout the trip. For the best experience possible, always know the answers to these questions:

  • Will my children need a stroller?
  • Do I have small activities/toys packed to capture their attention while waiting in line?
  • What are my kids’ energy levels like throughout the day?
  • Have I packed snacks/drinks for the day?
  • What characters do my kids want to meet?
  • What rides are my children tall enough to go on?
  • Are my children wearing weather-appropriate clothing?

Related Post: Disney World Bucket List: 9 Experiences You Can't Miss

Armed with these answers and our advice, you’re ready to conquer Walt Disney World in the summer.

family with two children standing in front of disney castle at walt disney world daytimeBook Your Vacation to Disney World in the Summer

My last bit of advice is to take advantage of the Disney World packages available from Tripster Orlando. Find the perfect package for your family and enjoy your vacation!

Have Any Disney World Summer Vacation Tips to Add?

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