Making The Most Out Of A Rainy Day At Walt Disney World
Just How Much Rain Are We Talking About?
During the winter months it is uncommon to see very much rainfall while at Walt Disney World. However, during the summer months, when the parks are at there busiest, it rains nearly every afternoon. Its almost like clockwork. In fact the joke is that you can set your watch to the 3pm thunder storms. And, just like many other places in the world, there are even whole days where it rains nonstop. So, what exactly is there to do during those periods of rain? How are you supposed to keep your kids entertained without spending too much time at your hotel room? Do you really need to buy an over priced Mickey poncho?
Afternoon Rainfall at the Parks
So, you and your family are walking down Main Street USA on a lovely afternoon in June when suddenly the sky turns dark and out of nowhere it starts pouring. What are you going to do? Have no fear, your day is not ruined! During the summer it rains nearly everyday in the afternoon, like clockwork. You have several options here:
- Go back to your hotel and pop in a movie until the rain stops
- Grab a set of ponchos and keep on trekking
- Take shelter in the shops
- Get yourselves to an indoor attraction (each park has them)
If you have younger children the first may be your best option. As any parent can tell you it is not fun having to tote around a toddler that is upset because their feet are wet. This afternoon shower could also be the perfect excuse to get your child to take a nap before hitting up the parks again for the evening.
If you and your traveling companions are not afraid of getting a little wet why not grab a set of ponchos and keep on with your day? Very few attractions get shut down in light rainfall. It is important to note that if there is lightning all outdoor rides will be shut down. The ponchos won't do anything to keep your feet dry, but they will prevent you from the uncomfortable sensation of wet clothes for the rest of the day. It is not uncommon to see people head to the lockers, or even their backpacks, to grab a pair of flip flops.
Taking shelter in gift shops is one of the most popular ways to ride out a rainstorm. It keeps you dry and gives you a chance to slow down the pace of the day. However, that being said since so many people opt to do this shops fill up quickly. In the heat of summer being around more people than necessary is the last thing most children want to do. Think about it, do you want to be stuck in a room with a bunch of sweaty and cranky people for a half hour? I thought not. Though sometimes it is impossible to avoid taking shelter during particularly bad storms.
Indoor attractions that had been empty earlier in the day suddenly become more popular when it rains. This is because most rides and attractions are air conditioned, and unlike shops they don't have doors that are going to be opening and closing so often that the air inside is just as humid as it is outside. Another nice thing about the these attractions is that they typically take a half hour or so to sit through. This usually is enough time for an afternoon shower to clear up. Well, it gives you enough time to get to another attraction between storms that is.
Which Park Has The Best Activities For Rainy Days?
There are four theme parks and two water parks currently on the Walt Disney World property. So, which of them is best for spending a rainy day? By logic we can eliminate the water parks first. At the first sight of lightning they are shut down until thirty minutes after the storm has passed. Speaking from experience there are not a whole lot of shops to hang around in and a whole lot of people trying to avoid leaving the park.
Each of the four theme parks have a fair selection of indoor rides and shows as well as restaurants. Out of them Animal Kingdom is the largest and, while it does have a large amount of trees, has the least of amount of shelter from the rain. The vast majority of the rides and activities are outside and have long walks between them.
The Magic Kingdom has nearly all of its rides inside. But, the lines for nearly all of those rides are outside. This means you will have to stand out in the rain just to take shelter inside on a five minute ride. Main Street USA offers strips of connecting shops on either side. These shops have items that you can only get at the Magic Kingdom and rain storms often provide guests with the opportunity to give these stores a good look. However, you and a few hundred of your closest friends have this same thought. Toss in some strollers and angry children and you have a good time right there.
EPCOT (the experimental prototype community of tomorrow) is larger than the Magic Kingdom and boasts a large number indoor pavilions. Each pavilion, the Land and the Seas, has a main attraction ride, Soarin' and Finding Nemo respectively, and when guests take shelter from the rain they often take a look at what else these places have to offer. There is also Innovations. These two buildings are like a giant playground for the young and old alike. Not to mention it is always interesting to see what technologies have been predicted for the future. Of course, my personal favorite is going through the shops in the different countries. Yes, you will have to spend some time out in the rain. But, seeing the culture associated with other nations, in my opinion, makes it worth it. That and it gives you an excuses to play the countries game. Desserts around the world or drinking around the world for the adults. (Please note that it is not advised to complete the drinking game in one day let alone one rainstorm.)
Disney Studios is the smallest of the Disney parks. It also has more indoor attractions and shows, when compared to the size of the other parks that is. Because the park itself is so small you will not have long walks between each attraction. Disney Studios also has some of the best shopping of all the Disney parks. If you have young children the Playhouse Disney section is a great option. One of the best things about Disney Studios is that nearly everything is indoors.
Outside of the Parks What Else is There?
So the weather forecast is calling for rain all day and you have decided to not go to the parks for the day. What exactly is there for you to do? That is an easy one:
- Downtown Disney
- Explore the Hotel
- Hotel Hop
Downtown Disney, which is soon getting a facelift, has a wide range of things to appeal to every age group. There is an AMC theatre that shows all of the latest movies, even the non-Disney ones. This is not your average run of the mill movie theatre it also serves real meals. There is also the world's largest Disney store. This store is broken up into several connecting stores that are themed: boys, girls, house items, mens, women's, and so on. Be forewarned it is almost impossible to not get lost in this store so make sure to keep a close eye on all children. One of the best activities for a rainy day is Disney Quest. Imagine a five story interactive theme park filled with old arcade games and 3-D rides and you have Disney Quest. Time literally seems to stand still and it doesn't matter if its raining cats and dogs outside.
Each Disney resort has activities. Most often these activities go unused because people either don't know about them or are too busy at the parks. Arcades can be found at most of the resorts. Nearly all resorts now offer DVD rental programs, which are free for DVC members. And of course each room has cable equipped with all the Disney Channels.
Resort hopping is becoming more popular amongst Disney guests. It is a free activity and allows for a change of scenery while providing a slower paced day. As long as you are willing to wait for a bus you can go to any Disney resort you want to. Riding the monorail loop and stopping at each of the resorts along the way is a nice way to spend a morning. Its interesting to see how you can travel less than five minutes and see Polynesian, Victorian, and contemporary themed hotels. Even the food matches the hotel. And lets be honest, what kid doesn't love a ride on the monorail?
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