Since Disney World in Orlando, or rather Kissimmee, receives more rain annually than Disneyland in Anaheim, California, we will focus on the World for now. It is not uncommon, especially during hurricane season, for it to rain everyday in Florida. Luckily, the rain doesn’t usually last very long and you will only be avoiding the outdoors for a short time. When it does rain, though, you still want to make the best of your Disney vacation. Going by park, here are several suggested activities that you can try out with your family or friend group when it’s too rainy to venture abroad.
Orlando’s rainy season runs from mid-May through the end of September. This also coincides with the park’s busiest season as well as the highest temperatures of the year. For Disney World it is smart to make contingency plans in case it rains. Bring ponchos, umbrellas, and know what rides or shows you can take when it’s raining. However, it almost never rains for very long and the rain is warm so if you do walk through it, it’s not that uncomfortable.
Magic Kingdom: There are several shows and rides classified as “indoor” at Magic Kingdom and you are never far from a shop or restaurant in case you get caught unawares. Between Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Main Street, USA there are tons of attractions and shops to duck into. Here are a few suggestions:
Attractions: Hall of Presidents, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Stitch’s Great Escape, The Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, ‘it’s a small world,’ and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
You can’t go wrong with the shops on Main Street, USA or in any of the other areas for that matter. Main Street is probably the highest concentrated area of the park for easy hops to and from shops like the Confectionery, the Emporium, and the Town Square Theater among others.
Epcot: Although Epcot seems spread out, there are a multitude of attractions that you can experience while it’s raining. Aside from walking between the pavilions at the World Showcase, most of the attractions are indoors. You just don’t want to be caught in between the World Showcase and Future World as there is quite a distance between the two and you will get soaked.
Future World: Captain EO, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Soarin’, Living with the Land, The Circle of Life, The Seas Pavilion, Innoventions, Ellen’s Energy Adventure
World Showcase: American Adventure, Impressions de France, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, O Canada! narrated by Martin Short, the many art and cultural galleries like the House of the Whispering Willows in China and the Gallery of Arts and History in Morocco.
Hollywood Studios: Hollywood Studios is easily the most concentrated of the parks, but also the smallest. Every inch of the park is filled with activities, attractions, and indoor shopping venues for easy escape from downpours. While several shows are outdoors, there are shorter distances between awnings, restaurants, shops, and such so you never have to be out in the rain for long.
Attractions: MuppetVision 3D, Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Great Movie Ride, Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania!, Rock n’ Roller Coaster
Most character meets at Hollywood Studios are held indoors like those at Pixar Place and Streets of America. Shopping along Sunset Boulevard is an excellent option during downpours and most of the shops are connected so you never have to step outside to go from one to another.
Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom is perhaps the worst park to be caught out in the rain simply because it’s almost all outdoors and it’s the largest park. There are fewer awnings, fewer indoor restaurants, and fewer indoor rides because of the African aesthetic and wildlife viewing attractions. However, there are a few like these suggested activities that are great for rainy days.
Attractions: It’s Tough to be a Bug interactive, 3D show located in the Tree of Life, Finding Nemo: the Musical, Festival of the Lion King, Dinosaur the ride, and Conservation Station.
Downtown Disney, though it isn’t a ‘park’ per se, is full of attractions. There aren’t any rides here but it’s like one giant shopping and dining district with the single largest Disney store in the world, the Rainforest Cafe, live entertainment at the cafes and clubs, and a multi-floor arcade at DisneyQuest. Some of the best dining in the entire park is in Downtown Disney, making for a great post-theme park destination to cool off and relax.
When I was recently at Disney World, we got caught in the rain every single day. By far the best park to be when it’s raining is Hollywood Studios just for the close proximity between attractions, the number of activities, and the fun atmosphere. Hollywood Studios also has fewer rides but more shows than some of the other parks, and shows are perfect for the downpours as the rain is usually done by the time the show is over.
Luckily, the designers at Disney knew what they were doing when they made the parks. Every inch of the park down to the floor tiles are interesting. Most if not all of the rides have activities or fun things to watch while you’re waiting in line or stuck inside. Star Tours has R2-D2 and C3PO animatronics greeting you, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has interactive games, and the Tower of Terror is beautifully and eerily designed to look every inch the creepy old haunted hotel. Every indoor space is designed to hold your attention and encourage you to have fun. Disney just wants you to have the time of your lives because it’s the Most Magical Place on Earth!
If you’re still unsure of what to do, or you are anxious about traveling to Orlando during the rainy season, check out our blog on the best times to visit Disney World.