OK, maybe it’s not quite Karen Carpenter-esq, but it’s the truth for me and it should be for you. If it starts to rain at Disney, the day is far from lost. In fact, you might be able to do more. Sounds strange, so let me explain.
It is the rarest of occasions for Disney to shut down a theme park due to weather (think hurricane), so rain, thunderstorms, etc. do not close the turnstiles. Some outdoor attractions may temporarily close until the weather passes, but most stay open.
While the turnstiles stay open to allow guests in during the rain, they really get a workout letting guests out. Many quests run for the exits when the rain starts, either unwilling to get a little wet, not wanting to look unfashionable in a rain poncho or figuring the attractions will close down. When this happens, my advice to you is don your disposable poncho (more on that below), stay in the park and enjoy the low wait times. You will be able to accomplish more, see more in less time or accomplish what you want at a more leisurely pace. Either way, you win.
Arrive in Florida Prepared. Before leaving on your vacation, stop into your local dollar store and pick up some “disposable rain ponchos.” They are usually sold in packs of two and while you could certainly try and fold them up after the rain dissipates and reuse them later, at fifty cents each, it’s not really worth time or effort (those suckers are hold to fold!) When the rain stops, just dispose of the poncho and keep on enjoying the park. I usually pack one per person per day of the trip and always have plenty.
Keep an eye on the forecast each day. If rain is predicted for most of the day, you may want to bring an extra poncho as well as some dry socks and a hand towel in your backpack. Wear shoes that dry quickly in and plan a lunch time visit back to the resort to change shoes.
In the summer months (June into September), you can bet on a thundershower each afternoon, usually between 2 and 4 PM. The rain usually doesn’t last long but can be heavy at times; driving many unprepared guests from the parks and temporarily closing some outdoor attractions (think Dumbo or Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom). Take this time to enjoy the many indoor attractions at the parks – more than once I have ducked in to enjoy the Carousel of Progress during a downpour and exited the attraction to find the Florida sun shining down again. Tommorowland in the Magic Kingdom has a great selection of indoor attractions all within a close walk of each other. Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Innoventions are great choices at Epcot as are the Animator’s Studio and Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios and Dinosaur or It’s Tough to Be a Bug 3D at Animal Kingdom,
Outside of enjoying the lower wait times, what else can you do during the famous (or is it infamous, you know, more than famous) Florida rain?
Shop. Face it, you are at Disney and gifts shops are more common than suburban Starbucks. This is a great time to duck in, dry off and see how the Mouse can adequately separate you from your wallet. Plus, if you forgot your handy dandy dollar store poncho, displays of ponchos will magically appear as the rain stops. (Unfortunately, this magic appearance comes at a price a few steps above $1.)
Eat. Grab a snack or a drink at one the counter service restaurants. If you are anywhere but the Magic Kingdom, enjoy a cocktail while watching the rain fall – the Rose and Crown at Epcot, the Dawa Bar at Animal Kingdom or 50’s Prime Time at the Studios are great choices. A hidden gem during the rain is the Writer’s Shop at the Studios, great place to grab a coffee or latte and a carrot cake cookie and relax while the animals line up two by two outside.
You can also visit the arcade in Tomorrowland or many of the stage shows, or simply be a kid and jump in the puddles. The key is the rain doesn’t need to stop your vacation, or even slow it down.
What are your favorite in the rain activities at Disney?