Since we wanted to take our family to Disney before we moved it meant going in August. The heat was a little intimidating but we planned carefully and discovered a few tips that made it a little more bearable.
In no particular order, here are 10 tips for surviving Disney in the Summer.
1. Baby Care Centers
Each park has a Baby Care Center that is the perfect retreat especially on those exceptionally hot days. Each center is cool and has a private place to nurse or pump. There are also toys for quiet play and in most cases a TV playing Disney movies. In each location there is a store to purchase baby items including food, diapers, and some over-the-counter children’s medications.
The Baby Care Center at the Magic Kingdom is located near the First Aid Station between Casey’s and The Crystal Palace.
The Baby Care Center at Epcot is located in the Odyssey Center between Test Track and the Showcase Plaza.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios the Baby Care Center is located inside of Guest Relations near the main entrance to the park.
The Baby Care Center at Animal Kingdom is located to the left of the Tree of Life in the building right before you cross the bridge into Africa.
There are no centers at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach but the restrooms have changing stations.
2. Character Dining
Character dining is a great time to get out of the heat and enjoy a nice sit-down meal and meet some of Mickey’s friends. Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, and Tusker House are a few of our favorites. Some of the meals require early reservations like Be Our Guest but most you can make about 30-35 days out.
Luckily we had lunch sit-down reservations on some of the hottest days and it was such a nice break to sit in the nice cold air conditioning for two hours. Since we made early lunch reservations we were able to go back into the parks and ride a few more rides before we headed back to the hotel for nap time.
3. Magic Hours
Each day there are Magic Hours at the different parks for resort guests. It’s a great opportunity to get into the parks early and use your Fast Passes to knock out a few rides before it gets hot and busy. You can also plan to head back to the parks after dinner for the late night Magic Hours once it cools down a bit. To plan ahead check out a list of the Magic Hours here.
4. Resort Pools
While it may seem like a waste of time and you may think; “I could swim anytime”, resort pools are a great place to hang out in the middle of the day when the sun is blazing away. Most resorts also have amazing kiddie pools for the young children as well. At Caribbean Beach the life guards were very attentive to the water and won’t even look away when they answer a question. Throughout the day there are fun, cast member led, poolside activities and games for the kids. This is a great time for the parents to relax under an umbrella sipping on a cold tasty beverage with an umbrella of it’s own.
5. FastPasses, Indoor Queues, Character Meet ‘N Greets, and Shows
As a ticket holder you are able to register for THREE FastPasses per day in ONE park. While we were there, I found out you can actually add on a 4th FastPass once you have used your initial three FastPasses. This must be added using one of the FastPass kiosks in the park. If you travel to another park during the same day and you have used your FastPasses for the day you may add an additional FastPass fort the new park but this must also be done at the kiosk in the park.
If you feel yourself getting overheated, choose a ride with an indoor queue line. There is an awesome indoor play area for kids in the tent between the two Dumbo rides. You can actually get a pager that will go off when it’s your turn to ride. The Kilimanjaro Safari queue may not be indoors but it is in the shade with fans and there is plenty for the kids to look at.
Waiting in line to meet a Disney character is a good opportunity to get out of the sun and let the kids sit for a bit to eat a snack and drink some water. A few of the lines I waited in were next to a wall to sit and it was mostly in the shade. Caity was even able to take a cat nap while we waited.
You can also beat the heat by finding an indoor show like American Music Machine (Epcot), Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage (Hollywood Studios), Finding Nemo The Musical (Animal Kingdom) or Meet Mickey at Town House Square (Magic Kingdom). You can also FastPass these shows to add a built-in break to your day.
6. Parent Swap
Unlike other amusement parks Disney has an interesting way of facilitating Parent Swap. Lets say you are visiting Disney with a few people. Two people can stand in line OR use a FastPass to ride Haunted Mansion, when they go through the entrance they need to mention to the Disney Cast Member that they would like to do a parent swap. The rest of the family needs to be near to prove that they are with the riders. The cast member then hands them a Rider Switch Pass allowing up to 3 people to enter the ride using the Fast Pass line when they are done the initial ride. This is fun because the person(s) waiting with the kids can then go on the ride with other members of your group and not have to ride by themselves. This time is great for the kids to take a break in the stroller to cool off or even push them around a nearby gift shop for a little extra cool-down time.
We also learned since each person can only get 3 FastPasses per day at ONE park your party can split them up and essentially use the FastPass lane for 6+ rides. Now I am sure that is not what Disney intends you to do BUT unlike the way it works at other amusement parks (waiting at the exit and jumping on right after your party gets off) you do still have to wait in a line.
7. Plan Ahead
I definitely encourage you to download the My Disney Experience App before you arrive. Everyone in your party can link together to see dinning reservations and FastPass selections. It’s also a great app to keep on hand to look at ride wait times, where the Disney Character Meet ‘N’ Greets are, the closest bathroom or first aid stations, and maps of the park.
8. Free H2O
It’s a must to bring along your own water or water bottles but if you find yourself low, you can get a free cup of water at most of the Disney food service locations. Don’t forget you also get a drink with your Dinning Plan, this is a good chance to get some water to keep yourself hydrated.
9. Cool Off Stations
There are tons of locations at each park where you can cool off a little. Near Test Track in Epcot there is a Cool Wash station and in Magic Kingdom there is the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak to name a few. Even if it’s only for a moment you will be amazed how much cooler you will feel.
10. Disney Dinning Plan
In most cases you get a snack per day with your Disney Dinning Plan. There are hundreds of snacks to choose from but find something that will cool you down. Since you are on vacation, feel free to indulge in a tasty ice cream treat in Magic Kingdom or cash it in at one of the many Starbucks locations for a Venti Iced Tea Lemonade (my personal favorite). If you don’t want calories you can also choose a Smart Water or fresh cool fruit, just to name a few options.
While these were in no particular order, I did save the best for last, gadgets. Last year I shared our extensive packing list which pretty much stayed the same this time. Most of the additional items I added above are probably no surprise when trying to keep cool in the heat and should be on top of your packing list. Just in case you do forget something many of the shops and resorts have what you need. If you have a vehicle you can also stop by the near by Walmart where they have tons of Disney merchandise and anything else you would need.
Visors are great because they allow the heat to escape out of the top of your head while keeping the sun out of your eyes. Rob and I also raided the Under Armour Outlet before we visited this time. What a difference their clothing made with staying cool. I am pretty much hooked on their yoga pants and Rob loved their boxer briefs.
Sunscreen is very important and while it doesn’t matter what kind just make sure it isn’t expired and that you reapply often especially if you were lucky enough to get the front seat on Splash Mountain.
There were two things we found on Amazon that ended up being perfect in the park. The first were a set of the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads which cooled us off without getting us wet. They were great to put around the kids necks to lower their body temperature and to keep Caity cool during her naps. The other was a set of Dreambaby Stroller Fans. I like how lightweight and safe they are because of the foam blades. I was pleasantly surprised at how powerful the breeze was.