Friday, June 7, 2013

Surviving the Summer at Walt Disney World

Orlando gets pretty hot in the summer time. Actually, it starts getting hot in April and usually lasts until October. Add in some high humidity during the summer months and you are talking about walking around in a sauna all day. But for many people, it is one of the few times of year they can visit the Disney parks – kids are out of school, so they don’t have much choice. Rest easy, though; there are ways of enjoying yourself in the summer months at Walt Disney World if you know some basic tips that really helped us during our summer visits.

One of the best ways of beating the summer heat is to avoid the parks during the hottest part of the day – the mid-afternoon. “But I paid a lot of money for this trip and we are going to spend every minute we can in the parks!” Yes, I know you paid your hard earned money for this trip, but you should ponder this: would you rather spend all day and night in the park and have your kids (and, in turn, you) be miserable or would you like to have a wonderful, memory-making time in the parks? If you chose the wonderful time, you have chosen wisely. A way to achieve that is to plan to arrive at the parks 30 minutes before they open. In addition, if you have properly planned at least a basic plan for what attractions to go to first (or have had an awesome Disney-focused travel agent help you plan your vacation for you) you are ahead of the game. Once the park opens, go immediately to your first planned attraction. Do not stop to visit characters or get breakfast (you should have already eaten before you left your resort!) Be sure to follow the list of the first few attractions to visit in order. This will help you see/ride the most popular attractions before lunch. You can visit or for customized touring plans to help you avoid the long lines if you didn't use a Disney-specialized travel agent for your trip planning.

The next stage of summer heat exhaustion avoidance – go back to your resort for an afternoon break. This is one of the most important things you can do to help make your trip more enjoyable for everyone. I guarantee that any child under the age of about 7 will start having a meltdown by 5pm (many even sooner) if they are forced to stay in the park all day without some type of cooling down break in the afternoon. Grab a counter service meal on your way out of the park or back at your resort’s food court. Let the kids (and you) take a nap after lunch to recharge. Or go take a dip in the resort pool for a while. You paid good money for your awesome resort, so take advantage of some of the amenities! Be sure to take a quick, cool shower before heading back out to the park around 5pm – you will really see how refreshing that can be on a hot day. If, for some reason, you can’t make it back to your resort in the afternoon,  at least have a nice leisurely table service meal for lunch to get out of the sun and get cooled off a bit.

The most important tip is to stay hydrated – and that does not mean drinking sodas, tea, and/or coffee. It means water, agua, and H2O. Sports drinks are also good.  Be sure to drink plenty of water intermittently throughout the day, even if you don’t think you are thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you are already showing signs of dehydration. Did you know you can get free cups of ice water from any concession stand that serves soda from a fountain dispenser in the parks? Take advantage of that. They do this to help you stay hydrated. Some people do not prefer the taste of the Orlando unfiltered water, but you can easily overcome that by using mix packets you add to water (Crystal Light, Koolaid, store brands) or a few squirts of Mio. Dehydration will also cause the fussing, tiredness, and meltdowns that other kids may exhibit – but not yours, because you followed these tips!

Another tip – try some of the frozen treats available in the parks. Mickey bars, Dole Whips, various ice cream novelties – they can all help keep you cool (and help you keep your cool.)

1 comment:

  1. Yes, indeed . . . it's one of the hardest piece of advice to share with inexperienced Disney travelers: your vacation is BETTER when you get those breaks during the too-hot-afternoons.

    If you're staying on property, there is so much amazing stuff to do - include relaxing at an amazing resort. If you're off property, you still have A/C, possibly a pool, and some recreation to recharge your batteries!

    What I like is that the park hours get later when the crowd expectations are higher. Quality time > quantity time.

    Good blog!