How To Do Disney World in the Summer

Sunscreen
Sunscreen - Photo by Steps To Magic

The idea of going to Central Florida in the summer can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible as long as you know what to expect.

Here’s a quick guide on how to do Disney World in the Summer


Pack Accordingly

Everest in the Rain with Dustin
Everest in the Rain with Dustin – Photo by Steps to Magic


This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’re going to be dealing with humidity and heat that will soak your clothes immediately after you step foot outside.

When I was in WDW for my June 2019 trip, I doubled up my shirts, socks and undergarments just to make it through the days without feeling “blah”. If you need pants, bring a light breathable pair.


Footwear Matters

Dustin and Mickey at Town Square Theatre
Dustin and Mickey at Town Square Theatre

Not only will you have to contend with 20-30k steps a day, but there’s also the mid-day torrential downpour which will destroy any hope of a non-squishy shoe. I’ve brought down sneakers in the past, but my success last summer was with a pair of “adventure sandals”. They are tested for things like hiking & fishing…so anti-skid and good flexibility & support without having to wear socks.

I had a second pair of mesh shoes for times when we had a table service reservation or if my sandals were in need of some “airing” out lol! This style is great because it’s another “no-socks” brand, which will allow you to forget about socks completely.



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Hats

Adulting Hat
Adulting Hat – Photo by Steps to Magic

For all of you who know me…I like hats. What I don’t like are “Hat Tans”, because who wants to have two shades of tans on the top of your head. When I’m in Florida, my goal is to be protected from the sun during the times that we need it, but to spend some time mid-day without a hat. This will allow your head to breath and to even out that pesky tan line.

Oh, make sure that you have a ‘Dry Fit’ or one with UV protection, like this one. It’s less about the sweat and more about the torrential downpours that these will help with.


Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning in Dinoland USA
Air Conditioning in Dinoland USA – Photo by Steps to Magic

Whenever possible, you’ll want to duck into a store or a dining location and soak in some air conditioning. This is a common sense thing, but it’s shocking how many folks think that they can just push through without any sort of relief and then they pay for it the next day 100%. Be smart and don’t be a hero.

Related Article – Best Air Conditioning at Disney


Water

Water Fountain at Animal Kingdom Lodge Bus Stop
Water Fountain at Animal Kingdom Lodge Bus Stop – Photo by Steps to Magic

I have a full article about the places to get Free Ice Water, but this point is about drinking more than you think you’ll need. Before you jump in line for an attraction, fill up your water bottle.

We picked up the TeakWood Swell Bottle and it saved us more than once during the crazyness of the Florida heat. Why Swell? It comes down to the design of the water bottles, which are double insulated stainless steel. This means the liquid that you put in, stays that temperature! Cold liquid will stay that temp for 24 hours and hot drinks will keep the temp for 12 hours. There are a number of styles and sizes, but whatever you choose…keep it filled and you’ll be happy:)


Mid-Day Break

Aerophile Balloon at Disney Springs
Aerophile Balloon at Disney Springs – Photo by Steps to Magic

I love this one, because it speaks to my theme park days perfectly. I love being at the park for rope drop (aka at opening) and then playing things by ear for the rest of the day…looking something like this:

  • Theme Park at 8am til 12pm
  • Back to the Resort between 1-3pm (shower & quick nap)
  • Theme Park from 4pm til Close
  • Evening at Disney Springs OR Orlando Premium Outlets

There’s more to it depending on the day and what your plans are. If you’re not able to head out of the parks due to time constraints or reservations, make sure that you plan for a “refresh” mid-day.

This includes a stop into a restroom for a t-shirt change and reapplication of deodorant and sunscreen (mostly deodorant though…because heat = smelly folks)



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Rain

Torrential Rain Storm in July
Torrential Rain Storm in July – Photo by Steps to Magic

It will rain, so being prepared for that will save you so much stress. I got stuck in Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for 50 minutes during a torrential rain storm, and I was lucky to be close enough to duck inside before the skies opened.

There’s a full article about Rain at Disney, so take a read of that.

This isn’t your local “rain storm”. Rain in Central Florida is harsh, mean and evil…and sometimes a poncho just won’t hold up. Be flexible and know that most times the rain won’t last all day.


Reservations (FastPass & Dining)

50's Prime Time Cafe Check-in
50’s Prime Time Cafe Check-in – Photo by Steps to Magic

This is where you get to plan to be “flexible”, as the goal is to use all your Fastpass reservations mid-morning and then you could try to get another less-popular one day-of for the evening. If you’re going to be in the same park for the entire day, then don’t worry too much about planning for after the sun goes down, because most attractions become walk-ons or lesser waits when the families start to call it a day OR if there’s a Fantasmic or Fireworks show to see.

I’ve always loved getting my lunch Advanced Dining Reservations (aka ‘ADR’s’) for 1130am (in-park) or 145pm (at-resort) and then doing my evening reservations for either 445pm or 7pm.

Sometimes it boils down to what’s available and where you’ll be for what meal…but summertime is all about being out of the parks during the mid-day heat.


Water Parks

I’m not a big fan of water parks, but I know friends and family who absolutely love them! When I asked for a couple words of wisdom for this article, here’s what they said:

  • Thunder and Lightning will put a halt to things quicker at the water parks than at the theme parks.
  • Get spray suntan lotion because it’s easier to re-apply when you’re outside
  • Bring pool shoes, as the pavement gets super hot…even if they try to keep it cool with water.
  • DRINK water all the time. Don’t do sodas or anything sugary, because you need to stay hydrated to combat the heat.

When I worked in the Canadian Pavilion at EPCOT, the summer heat was something that we became accustomed to over time, but it’s difficult to train your body if you’re only there for a week.

Be aware of your breaking points and prepare to be in the heat by going for walks mid-day in the days before your vacation.

Hope this helps!

Disney World in the Summer
Disney World in the Summer – Steps to Magic

Written by Dustin Fuhs

I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality! If you want more Theme Park fun - listen to the We Like Theme Parks Podcast at https://welikethemeparks.podbean.com/

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