It’s about the time of year when the afternoon storms begin at Disney. And hurricane season. And this year the rains came a little early. It’s been raining in Orlando for the past week or so and this made me think about the things to do when you are on property and it’s raining.
No one likes to have it rain for their vacation. No one likes wet feet. But Disney is an expensive vacation, so you have a choice: make the best of it or let it ruin the trip. Choices.
Also, I am just going to caveat this by saying we were down there in August two years ago when a tropical storm blew through. We didn’t let it ruin our trip, it just altered our schedule for a while.
Ten Things to do in the Rain at Disney:
1.Go to the park.
Rain keeps people away. It keeps locals from heading to a park. It keeps people who don’t want to be wet away. It keeps people who are offsite with a limited number of days away. Crowds will be lower. The rides and attractions will be open.
If you go to Epcot, Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios you can ride all the indoor rides. I have a list, ask me and I will send it to you.
Personal Favorite: Go to Animal Kingdom. Why? Because Florida is hot, and the animals don’t all like hot. Raining? Animals will be more active. One of our most memorable safari rides was after the afternoon monsoon. BUT (and this is a big but, ha-ha) most of the Animal Kingdom attractions are outdoors. It does not have as many indoor attractions as the other parks. You may be wetter than you want.
2. Take the morning or afternoon to resort hop. Call a Minnie Van ($25) and go visit other resorts. You could do the monorail loop resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian) or the Epcot resorts (Boardwalk, Beach and Yacht Club). Create a snack crawl for the kids or a drink crawl for the adults. Get Photopass photos in the lobbies. Look at the recreation schedules in the hotel lobbies and participate in the indoor recreation activities. (At the deluxe resorts when it rains the Recreation Cast Members bring the activities inside.)
OR head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Animal Kingdom Lodge has the most extensive recreation schedule of all Disney resorts. It has interesting, different activities scheduled all day long. These are free to Disney Resort Guests. The activities include things like cookie decorating, wine tasting, storytelling and parades in the lobby. Your kids can collect beads for the activities they finish and trade them in for a reward.
3. Grab a movie at Disney Springs. I don’t know about your children but mine LOVE the movie theater where you can eat a meal. Disney Springs has a Dine-In Movie Theater. Find something the whole family can watch, buy tickets and enjoy the time together.
4. Did you know Disney Springs has a bowling alley? Splitsville is a large, family friendly bowling alley. It also happens to serve excellent food. My kids love bowling. And we don’t get to go that often. They would be excited to spend a morning or afternoon at the bowling alley at Disney Springs. During the day the prices are discounted. Head over to Ghirardelli after for ice cream.
5.Catch the “Rainy Day Cavalcade” at Magic Kingdom. This is a parade that only runs during the rain when they can’t run the regular parade. It’s a special, fun treat for guests who are in the park when it rains.
6. Take advantage of the spas at the resorts. This one is not cheap, but it is fun. There are full service spas at Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs. They offer both packages and a la carte services. They even have offerings for children. There are slightly smaller spas at the Beach Club and Coronado Springs Resorts as well.
7.Enroll your kids in an activity and go to a lounge for a snack and/or drink. There are several resorts that offer that children’s activities in the afternoons. One such offering is the Wonderland Tea Party at the Grand Floridian. Cast Members host children with Alice and the Mad Hatter for two hours of cake, songs, games and a craft. My children did this last summer and loved it. They’ve requested to go back this summer. (When my children participated there were only three children in the entire class, and two of them were mine. The pictures were priceless.) My mom and I went and got our hair done at Ivy Trellis and had a drink at Mizner’s at the Grand Floridian. Happy kids, happy adults.
8. Create an adventure, scavenger hunt, crawl for your family. This doesn’t have to be complicated. You could ask the front desk for park maps and pick one thing from every park you want to taste, ride or see. Tell your family you have a challenge for them and away you go. You’re going to get your feet wet, you may need ponchos and it may be less than ideal. But if you’re bouncing around with a mission, using the monorail or busses, you won’t be in the rain the entire time.
9. Rent a car from the Disney Car Care Center. The Car Care Center is located on Disney property. They have Alamo rental cars available. They will come and pick you up (and return you at the end of the day) from your resort. Go into Orlando and visit the science center, the Sea Life Aquarium, the Mall of Millenia. Orlando also has a Crayola Experience and an American Girl store at the Florida Mall.
10. Go over to the Wilderness Lodge and ask for the Hidden Mickey Hunt at the front desk. This is a free scavenger hunt you can do in the lodge with your family. Grab a snack at Roaring Fork. It’s not going to take all day, but it’s going to take a couple of hours. If you want to take more time, hop on the boat over to the other monorail resorts and explore those.
Bonus Activity: Dial Guest Services from your resort phone number. Sign-up for the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot. This is an inexpensive tour that everyone in the entire family can do. It’s in the Living with the Land pavilion. It runs for about 90 minutes. In this pavilion, you could do the tour, ride Soarin’ (coordinate a Fastpass with the tour), ride Living with the Land and eat at Sunshine Seasons. This would take several hours. (If you can get into Garden Grill you should add it to this plan.) I know, you have to get to the Land Pavilion but once inside you could happily spend a couple of hours exploring.
Here are some other things to consider:
Sneakers get wet and are hard to dry. Consider a Keen/Teva type shoe if it’s not cold. If you have wet sneakers, stuff them with newspaper at the end of the day and/or try putting them in the dryer.
Everyone should pack ponchos and/or raincoats for the trip.
Laundry facilities are available at all resorts. We ALWAYS do laundry while on vacation. It’s easy at Disney (you can use your room charge or credit card on the machines) and it will get you dry clothes.
Bring a poncho or stroller cover if you have small people. Wet strollers are hard to dry at Disney.
Restaurants typically see tons of cancellations during rainy days. This is your chance to get in to places you couldn’t prior.
I know people say that a rainy day at Disney is better than home. But really, it’s what you make it. No one likes to be rained on while on vacation.