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If you're planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, be prepared for the heat! The parks can get very hot and humid, especially in the middle of the day. Although there are certain months of the year that are cooler, most days are warmer than what many of us are accustomed to. Acclimatizing to the Florida heat and humidity can be difficult for some so I wanted to share some of my favorite tips and products to beat the heat and make the most of your vacation.
Wear light colored, breathable clothing
Light-colored clothing easily reflects the sun’s rays and will help you stay cooler in the warm Florida sun. Choose breathable fabrics such as cotton or something moisture wicking to help you stay cool and dry. Moisture wicking clothing is also great for water rides or if you get stuck in one of Florida’s famous downpours as it will dry much faster than traditional fabrics.
As much as we all love those themed shirts and outfits, it is so important to wear clothing that you will be comfortable in, especially for kids. Yes, it is great to look back at those adorable photos of your little ones in their costumes and princess gowns, but what isn’t adorable is having them overheat in those gowns. If your child insists on wearing a costume, pack a change of clothes as they can overheat and become uncomfortable very quickly.
Comfortable, breathable shoes
Your Walt Disney World vacation isn’t the time to break in those new shoes you just snagged a great deal on at the outlets! There’s nothing wrong with buying new shoes of course, but if you try to break them in on your theme park days your feet will be miserable. You are going to be walking seven or more miles per day at each theme park so comfortable, well-broken in shoes are a must. My personal experience is to always bring an extra pair of shoes and socks in the event your shoes become uncomfortable; walking around in uncomfortable shoes for hours is not at all enjoyable! You can also pack waterproof shoes or sandals that will dry quickly if they do happen to get wet during a pop up afternoon storm. Pro tip: rent a locker at the entrance to the theme park for your extra gear so you don’t’ have to carry it around all day.
Locker rentals at EPCOT
Ponchos or a Lightweight Foldable Jacket
With the heat comes the storms. You may have heard people refer to the late afternoon Florida storms. The heat and humidity often bring rain to central Florida, especially during the warmer months. Although the weather may look great when you leave for the theme park in the morning, the rainstorms can move in fast, and you don't want to be stuck without rain gear. Always pack a poncho or lightweight rain jacket in your park bag in the event of rain. My family prefers a more durable poncho and this zip up style is perfect for those afternoon pop-up storms.
Our favorite Amazon ponchos
Heat stroke and dehydration is real at the theme parks. First Aid sees many guests suffering from the warm sun and lack of fluids daily. Yes, you can get free ice water from any quick service location, but the cups are often quite small. I suggest having a water bottle or reusable cup for every member of your family as you will drink more water than normal. We like to fill our bottles with ice water in the morning so they stay cold throughout the day.
I have also heard of some guests bringing electrolytes or Liquid I.V for extra hydration. This would be especially useful during the summer months or if you plan on “drinking around the world” at EPCOT as alcohol and the Florida heat will hit you differently than what you are used to.
Sunscreen, hats, fans and all of the gadgets to keep you cool
Sunscreen is something that we never go without, especially when visiting Walt Disney World. You are spending many hours in the sun and even if you don’t normally use it, you will want to have sunscreen at Walt Disney World.
Moisture wicking hats are great not only for keeping your head cool in the Florida sun, but they are also great during the rain as they will keep your head dry and will dry faster than wet hair will.
My children love the misting fans with ice water but I have also seen people with these neck fans lately. I like the concept of the neck fan because there is no opportunity for hair to get tangled in it. It is no fun having to cut your child’s hair because it got stuck in the fan (yes, that has happened to us). If you have a stroller, I highly recommend a stroller fan instead of a neck fan for your little ones. Stroller fans are great because you can clip them on the sunshade and have the cool air blowing on your child, especially if they are sleeping.
An alternative to stroller fans are cooling towels. Cooling towels fold up small and require minimal space in your luggage so they might be a better option if you are trying to pack light. Grab one for everyone in your party so you can stay cool all day long.
Cooling towels are a great alternative to fans
Take your time and take breaks when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during warmer weather. If you are staying at an onsite hotel, take advantage of early park entry. This is a benefit for guests at Walt Disney Resort hotels and select other hotels that allows early entry into the theme parks 30 minutes before the general public every day. This benefit is a great way to get a jumpstart on your theme park visit before the crowds and heat set in.
Finally, don't underestimate those mid-day breaks. Arrive at the theme parks early in the morning then head back to your hotel for an afternoon break. You can always return to a theme park in the evening for fireworks and shows. This gets you out of the sun during the warmest part of the day and helps to avoid those mid-day meltdowns.
(mom tip: bring a small bottle of peppermint essential mixed with some carrier oil in your theme park bag and rub a little on your forearms and back of your neck when you feel warm. Peppermint provides an instant cooling sensation and offers temporary relief from the heat)
This list just scratches the surface of some of the ideas to survive the heat on your Walt Disney Word vacation. What else do you use to stay cool and safe in the Florida sun?
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