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How to Enjoy a Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids

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Welcome to Orlando, Florida! Forecast: Sunny, hot, humid, and most likely thunderstorms every afternoon from April through to the end of October. If you are wondering How to enjoy a rainy day at Disney World with kids, we’ve got you covered!

The great thing about Orlando weather, however, is that if you give about an hour or so, the rain will clear leaving beautiful rainbow weather. 

How to Enjoy a Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids
How to Enjoy a Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids

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Rainy days at Disney parks can mean shorter queues, but now with everyone having to prebook park reservations this is not as predictable as before. Annual pass holders may decide to change days but for other visitors it may be the only day they had allocated.

So can you go to Disney World in the rain? The amusement parks and water parks are all well versed in the Orlando ecosystem; they have very rarely fully closed due to inclement weather but there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting places like Disney World during the rainy season. 

Tips for Visiting Disney World in the Rain

First and foremost, the parks are so used to the rain that they usually stay open. I’ve even seen fireworks shows at both EPCOT and Magic Kingdom during a late evening rain shower. I did hear of Disney World closing once a few years ago when a hurricane came through Orlando (which is rare) but even with that, according to cast members, the parks were closed for merely a few hours and reopened the same day.

At each of the four main parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) there are plenty of indoor rides, shows, and eating areas that have no problem accommodating the crowds during the downpours.

Expect ride closures or delays to attractions and some forms of transportation, e.g the ferry or monorail – especially if lightning is close by (not the lightning lane!)

Keep in mind (at the time of this writing), that unless there is lightning within a 10 mile radius, the rides all stay open. Sometimes that allows for shorter lines. So, if you don’t mind getting a little wet, take advantage of this. If, however, you don’t want to get wet, see below for a few items to bring with you to protect you and your belongings from the rain. 

Disney rain poncho
Alternatively buy a Disney Poncho for about $12

Clothing

Bring ponchos! There are plenty of places like Walmart and Target within a few miles of Disney World that sell ponchos for $10.00 or less. Even $1 ponchos are available.

If you can get to one of those stores (or if you can order them to your hotel on arrival), they are well worth the purchase (they are less expensive than ones you’ll find at the parks which are about $12 for an adult size) and you won’t feel guilty when they rip as ponchos inevitably do). They fit into small spaces and are easy to throw into a backpack or under a stroller.

Ponchos will even fit over you when wearing your backpack, plus many of them can double as a stroller cover when your child is not in their seat.

Also, mark your ponchos in some way to make them stand out in the crowd. Use a sharpie and mark your initials on the hood or attach a bright lanyard to the sleeve — just something that helps you identify the people in your party in the sea of ponchos that will emerge. 

Pack an extra pair of flip flops or wear shoes that you won’t mind getting wet. We like to bring a pair of water shoes to wear when it rains, as they are lightweight and dry quickly. When it does rain, there are certain areas of the parks that flood and your feet will get wet; no one will be happy walking around for the rest of the day in soggy shoes. 

Worst case scenario, you can also take a ride back to your hotel and change. If you aren’t staying on Disney Property and drove to the park, once you have paid for parking you can enter and exit as many times that day as you’d like.

If you are staying on Disney property, there are plenty of transportation options ranging from monorail, ferry, water boat to bus to get back to your hotel at any point in the day. It’s also an ideal opportunity to take a break in the afternoon and enjoy the pool at the hotel (which will only close if lightning is in that 10 mile radius). 

Keep checking the Disney World App: This is where you will find all the latest information on ride closures and ride reopening plus the ever changing wait times. When the rain is clearing up, head to the outdoor rides you really wanted to get onto and you may find a really short standby queue. We did this for Dumbo and just walked on.

Bring a Ziploc bag. So handy for your mobile/cell phone for keeping essentials dry. Or to pop wet things into and prevent other items from getting soaked.

Use a waterproof phone case. A universal waterproof phone case is great for whatever the weather, as you are water ride ready as well as rain ready!

Magic Kingdom entrance and exit in the rain!
Magic Kingdom entrance and exit in the rain!

Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids: Magic Kingdom in the Rain

Fortunately, when the Disneys (Walt and Roy) were planning out their parks in Orlando, they took the weather into consideration and while the parks have evolved since Magic Kingdom first opened in 1971, there is still plenty to do when the storms roll in. 

The rides that usually close first with inclement weather are Splash Mountain (which will soon be going through renovations to showcase The Princess and the Frog), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. These are indoor/outdoor fast moving rides. However, there are plenty of indoor rides and shows in each of the lands and many of the outdoor rides remain open. 

First and foremost, you can walk down each side of Main Street and for the most part you can stay indoors. Each of the stores are connected from one end of Main Street almost to the other. Take your time and window shop. Kids are allowed to touch everything (although watch out for the breakable items!) and it’s a great way to see some Disney Merchandise and know what you may want to save your money for towards the end of your trip. 

Indoor Shows and Rides

Some indoor shows to take in (sometimes we like to take a break from the heat and not necessarily the rain with these shows) are Mickey’s PhilharMagic , The Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. All of these shows are about 15-20 minutes and provide a good respite from the heat as well as the rain. 

Some indoor rides with covered lines to enjoy are Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.

Hiding in the Living Sea Aquarium during a rain thunderstorm at EPCOT kids with poncho sitting down.
Hiding in the Living Sea Aquarium during a thunderstorm at EPCOT.

Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids: EPCOT in the Rain

EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) has so much to do and see that I usually separate it into a walk around the countries and the front of EPCOT which is more about the celebration of the future, technology, and nature. Each of the 11 countries has shops featuring items from their region.

Many of the countries have a movie (10-15 minutes in length) showcasing their beauty and some have a ride keeping the kids (and the adults) engaged in the fun. There is plenty of indoor space at EPCOT but be aware, there is also a lot of open area between each section. 

The front of EPCOT (right under the ECPOT ball) tends to flood when it rains. There have been times where we have been over our ankles in water; the good thing is that the area clears fairly quickly after the rain stops.

The EPCOT ball (and Spaceship Earth) is a fascinating indoor ride that takes the rider through the history of people culminating in the rider answering some questions about the things they enjoy to create a short movie with “your” future and its potential. Upon exiting this slow moving ride, there is an interactive area for everyone to enjoy with virtual reality type electronic games and cool new technology. 

As for the front of EPCOT, you can choose your path to the right or the left of the EPCOT ball. To the right is where you’ll find 3 different indoor spaces featuring aspects of the sea and the land.

epcot aquarium
Living Seas Aquarium

Right Or Left From The Epcot Ball

First you’ll find the Finding Nemo ride with an attached Living Seas Aquarium. This is a great option for when the weather turns sour because the ride itself lasts about 5-7 minutes and the exit leads you directly into a two story aquarium with a scavenger hunt to find the animals featured throughout their Living Seas. There is even an interactive movie with Crush from Finding Nemo, where kids get to ask Crush questions. 

Next door, you’ll find The Land. This is also a two story building with a 10 minute movie about weather and natural disasters around the world. It is a little intense; very little children may be overwhelmed but for the 6 and up crowd, it is fascinating.

Following the movie, there is a boat ride (with TONS of hidden Mickeys scattered throughout) that takes you through various ecosystems and new farm technology.

soarin' the land

Last, but certainly not least, is Soarin’ Around the World. This ride is a complete five senses experience. You “fly” over various exciting places around the world (including over the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the African Savannah, and many more) while the Disney imagineers include “smell-o-vision” for each region that just enhances the experience.

Following all the adventures in The Land, there is a chance to sit and relax in two different eating areas (one restaurant and one buffet) with plenty of tables and chairs on which to relax. 

After The Land, you jump into the world of Imagination with Figment. Figment has a ride that takes you through the five senses followed by a play area and character meet and greets. It’s not usually one that we spend more than 30 minutes in but 30 minutes could be enough time to let the sun come back out.

And if not, immediately next door is a 4-D movie theater which (at the time of this writing) features three Pixar Shorts— Get a Horse, Piper, and Feast. You have now walked around to the Canada side of the countries which many people consider to be the start of the World Showcase. 

If you had chosen to go to the left side of the EPCOT ball first you will be taken to the brand new Food Emporium, Creations gift store, and the World of Coca Cola’s test taster area. Next to this you’ll find the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy Ride along with Mission Space (with an indoor play area for younger and older children), the Space 220 restaurant, and finally Test Track.

Test Track is the ride to go on first because this ride will close with heavy rains. It is an indoor/outdoor car simulation and is always affected by the weather. This now brings you around to the Mexican side of the countries which many consider to be the end of the World Showcase. 

Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids: Animal Kingdom in the Rain

Look at Animal Kingdom like a zoo and you’ll have a pretty good understanding of this park. It’s one of the more difficult ones to navigate in the rain due to there being more outdoor attractions but the animals love the rain so you can usually see more when it’s not so sunny. 

Animal Kingdom is separated into seven areas; Oasis, Discovery Island, Pandora- the World of Avatar, Africa, Asia, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and Dinoland U.S.A.

Each area has vast outdoor animal habitats and it’s an amazing park to explore but there are few attractions in each land that are indoors; It’s Tough to be a Bug; Avatar Flight of Passage; the Na’vi River Journey; A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King; The Animation Experience at Conservation Station; The Rescue of Apatosaurus; and Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! 

There are less than a handful of rides that are affected by the rain, including Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and TriceraTop Spin. The Kilimanjaro Safari usually stays open (unless there is severe weather which is rare). 

Rainy Day at Disney World with Kids: Hollywood Studios in the Rain

Hollywood Studios is perhaps the best park to visit in the rain because there is only one attraction and one ride that is affected by thunderstorms— Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Slinky Dog Dash.

The Indiana Stunt show has three scenes that take you through the amazing effects of Hollywood film making. The audience sits in a covered amphitheater, however, the actors and stunt performers work mostly in an uncover area exposed to the elements.

Usually, one or two shows in the late afternoon are cancelled due to the weather so this is a good show to catch early on in the day.

Slinky Dog Dash is an outdoor roller coaster in Toy Story Land that continues running in light rain but could stop without warning when lightning is in that 10 mile radius that I brought up earlier. 

Hollywood Studios has a plethora of indoor rides ranging from the ever popular Star Wars Land to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Plenty to keep you busy on a rainy day; make sure to bring that poncho, though, because there is a lot of walking in between lands. 

As you can see, Walt and Roy Disney (and the imagineers that followed) really kept Florida’s weather in mind in planning each of their parks. There is plenty to do to keep you and your family entertained in rain or shine and it truly is the “Most Magical Place on Earth”. 

FAQs

Which Disney park is best for rainy days?

Epcot and Hollywood Studios are generally the best for rainy days -with more indoor attractions or rides.

Does Magic Kingdom do fireworks if its raining?

In most instances, the fireworks will not be cancelled due to rain.

Does EPCOT do fireworks if it’s raining?

In most instances, the fireworks will not be cancelled due to rain.

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