Visiting Disney World During Storm Season

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Besides the heat, humidity, and crowds, there’s another downside to visiting Walt Disney World during the summer: it’s rainy season. Although hurricanes aren’t generally an issue (and even then, they only pose a potential problem late August through early October), regular storms are. While prolonged rain or storms has the potential to ruin a vacation, with some preparation, you can roll with the punches and have a great time, despite the weather.

What you need to know for rainy days versus during hurricanes and tropical storms is radically different. With the exception of certain attractions and entertainment that might shut down for regular storms, it’s business as usual for Walt Disney World during the rain. That’s not the case during hurricanes and tropical storms, when operations can be brought to a screeching halt. Luckily, that’s very uncommon.

Although the prospect of visiting during rain or hurricane season might be unsettling, there also is some upside, as you’ll read…so it’s not all bad. Here’s our advice for maximizing your enjoyment during the unpleasant parts of storm season!

Regular Storms

There’s a real-world adage that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. If applied to Walt Disney World, that adage would probably be that the only certainties are a 3 o’clock parade and an afternoon shower. Short afternoon showers are fairly regular  in Walt Disney World any time of the year, but during the summer and early fall, they are especially common. Plus, unlike the spring showers that might last for 10 minutes before the sun returns, summer storms can be marathon downpours that don’t relent for a few hours.

The prospect of rain should not keep you out of the parks (let alone from not visiting Walt Disney World during these months), as packing $.99 ponchos from Wal-Mart and maybe some waterproof shoes (or sandals) is all you really need to pack to make touring during rainy season a breeze. Plus, the rain will scare plenty of other guests away, so a nice afternoon shower might be just the thing to lower those crowds for you. (Although rain isn’t nearly as effective in Walt Disney World as it is in Disneyland–a light sprinkle there and all of the SoCal locals run for the exits!)

If it’s raining when you get up or the forecast is calling for a lot of rain on a particular day of your trip, we recommend going about your day as you normally would. We know, we know, this flies in the face of the “visit DisneyQuest” or “head to Downtown Disney” advice that many people parrot, but we think that’s simply not good advice. First, unless video game graphics from the 1990s are your cup of tea, you’re likely to be disappointed by DisneyQuest. Second, even putting aside our disdain for Downtown Disney, going there in the rain instead of a theme park doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Besides the huge World of Disney, which is approximately twice the size of Manhattan or something like that, you’re going to spend less time in each shop than you would in a single attraction. This means that there’s more walking around outside there than you’d have in a theme park! It’s not like the stores are connected via a network of underground tunnels. If you’d get wet in the parks, you’ll get wet at Downtown Disney. Plus, Downtown Disney is a waste of time (sorry, had to get that shot in there).

A rainy day at Walt Disney World is better than a sunny day at home! Tips for visiting WDW on a budget:

If we weren’t going to go to the regular parks, we’d go to the water parks. I mean, why not? You’re going to get wet there anyway, so what’s a little rain? We’ve been to Blizzard Beach when it started raining, and for some reason, the place cleared out! If you don’t want to go to a theme park or a water park, consider your hotel’s pool. If you really, really hate the rain, wander around your resort (have a meal?). Unless you’re from SoCal and are thus scared of rain, there’s no reason to let the rain completely derail your plans. If it’s raining, lots of other guests won’t be in the parks, so you’ll be able to do more than normal! If you do want to go to the parks, but don’t want to get wet, here are some things to do in the parks while it’s raining to minimize your outdoor exposure.

Basically, this is just a list of longer indoor attractions, with some twists. The list could also function as “places to go to nap” at Walt Disney World. Don’t be surprised to see it copied and pasted into a later post on that exact topic! 😉

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Magic Kingdom

  • Carousel of Progress – rarely has a line meaning you can ride repeatedly if you’d like.
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – depending on the demand, you might be able to ride repeatedly; gives you a birds’ eye view of rain status.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – grab a snack or meal at Pecos Bill after, as the attraction dumps you out right there.
  • Hall of Presidents – grab a waffle sandwich or dessert at Sleepy Hollow and take it to the covered seating area after.
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – shortest show on this list, but it has a covered pre-show, too.


  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure – possibly the longest attraction at Walt Disney World, the pre-show plus the show here can easily eat up an hour. 
  • American Adventure – another place that can eat an hour when you combine the Voices of Liberty with the show. If it’s still raining after the show ends, go back in to take a look at the art in the lobby gallery.
  • The Land Pavilionin Future World, Innoventions is a popular pick for a place to go during storms, but the problem with that is that Innoventions is far less enjoyable than wandering around in the rain getting soaked. Go to The Land, instead. In an ideal world, you’d start here by grabbing a Soarin’ FastPass, then doing the other two attractions in The Land, having a meal at Sunshine Seasons or Garden Grill, and then using your Soarin’ FastPass. The timing of that plan will probably only work in the case of a morning storm, though. If you have a bit of money, the Behind the Seeds at Epcot tour is a GREAT (and relatively inexpensive) way to kill an hour and a half or so, too.
  • Captain EO – much more enjoyable if you’ve had a few adult beverages beforehand.
  • Impressions de France – the same could probably be said for the other World Showcase films, but this is one we can watch again and again; it’s so great that we consider it one of Walt Disney World’s most underrated attractions.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – the outdoor stage shows are likely to be canceled in the rain, so this is a next-
  • MuppetVision 3D – awesome pre-show and awesome post-show; consider dining at Pizza Planet or Mama Melrose after the show to avoid rain.
  • Great Movie Ride – one of Disney’s longer rides, linger in the queue looking at the displays if you want to kill time.
  • One Man’s Dream – possibly the best option in all of Walt Disney World if you’re a serious Disney fan and it’s raining; you could easily spend a few hours in here combing over the displays and watching the film.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Finding Nemo: The Musical – the wait for this is outdoors, so show up no more than 10 minutes before a show is scheduled to start; you should have no trouble getting in when it’s raining. 
  • Festival of the Lion King – a long, indoor show; covered character meet & greets are nearby to kill time, too.
  • ??? – if you can avoid going to Animal Kingdom when it’s raining or a lot of rain is in the forecast, that might be best. It’s definitely most enjoyable in nice weather.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Let me preface this by saying that I can only find evidence of hurricanes having caused Walt Disney World to close on five occasions. Ever. It closed in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd; in 2004 on separate occasions in a six-week span for Hurricanes Frances, Charley, and Jeanne; and, it closed in 2005 for Hurricane Wilma. That’s an average of about one closure per decade. The odds are against your trip to Walt Disney World being severely impacted by a hurricane, unless you’re using a DeLorean to visit 2004.

I’ve heard of some travel agents strongly encouraging guests to purchase travel insurance if visiting Walt Disney World in late summer or early fall. I can’t say that I agree with that advice, but then again, I’m not risk averse. We only purchase travel insurance when going abroad, and that’s only in case I get in a fight with a monkey and have to be hospitalized.

If the numbers above don’t ease your mind a little, Walt Disney World has a Hurricane Policy that will allow you to get a refund on any package booked through Disney. Of course, this won’t cover your airfare. Fortunately, recent storms have caused significant changes in severe storm policies among major airlines, so that shouldn’t be an issue, either. If that leaves any gaps in expenses you’ve paid for, any decent credit card will have you covered.

If you normally purchase travel insurance anyway, or you still want travel insurance specifically for hurricane season, make sure you get coverage that actually will do something for you in the event of hurricanes or storms. Most basic policies do not provide coverage for weather, so you’ll want to actually read the policy before you buy. In most cases, you’re going to have to purchase a more expensive policy that allows cancellation for any reason.

Have had a lot of questions about Disney Vacation Club recently, but can't think of any new articles to write to help answer them. What would YOU like to see me cover with regard to DVC?Needs to be something NOT covered in these two articles:

The closest we’ve ever come to a real tropical storm at Walt Disney World was during our August 2008 visit. Tropical Storm Fay made its way through Florida at the end of our trip, and although it only really affected us in terms of rain and some crazy skies (that photo above was taken just before the storm; it’s been edited, but the sky really did look a bit surreal), we did get to see some of Disney’s emergency preparedness firsthand. Based upon that experience, I’d have no hesitation to stay at Walt Disney World during a hurricane or tropical storm. In fact, I think it’s probably one of the absolute best places to stay.

For one thing, in terms of safety, Walt Disney World was built for strict compliance with hurricane readiness standards and has earned “StormReady” status from the NOAA. for this type of thing (regardless of how uncommon they are). In terms of preparedness, Disney is absolutely on the ball. You literally wouldn’t be able to leave your room without receiving a status update (on your door) of what’s going on, how operations will be affected, and what to do in case of an emergency. Likewise, the in-room televisions have more information than you’re likely to need on Disney’s information channels. Disney errs on the side of caution with this stuff, and you’d pretty much have to bury your head in the sand to not know what’s going on. Even then, if it’s a beach at one of the resorts (besides perhaps an abandoned beach at River Country), I suspect a Cast Member would approach and give you a flier with the emergency information. Probably a security Cast Member, as burying your head in the sand is sure to draw some sort of attention from them.

A good attitude to have when the weather gets bad (or when anything goes wrong, for that matter), is that a rainy day at Walt Disney World is better than a normal day at home. Roll with the punches, improvise, and have a good time. As you probably have gathered from the tone of this post, a little rain isn’t the end of the world. In fact, I usually hope that we get some rain during our trips! Not only does it make the parks less crowded, but it makes for some awesome conditions for photography. All of the photos in this post were taken before or after storms, and I think they really benefited from the conditions. There’s a silver lining in just about everything, if you look for it.

Your Thoughts…

Do you agree with our mentality about visiting Walt Disney World when it’s raining? Which activities or attractions do you recommend when it’s raining? How do you feel about the controversial subject of travel insurance? Share any of your thoughts or questions in the comments!

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69 Responses to “Visiting Disney World During Storm Season”

  1. Mallory says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the fact that a good attitude is really needed for a trip to Disneyworld during rainy season. We we were there last year in June (almost a year ago!) and it was right during TS Debbie – The first hour or two I was a total grumpy gills, but after a while, I gave up and knew that our whole trip would be ruined if I didn’t put on my big girl panties and accept the fact that I was going to spend most of the trip soggy. And so I did just that, and we had a GREAT time. In fact, our very last day the storm finally cleared up and we went to Magic Kingdom, where it was INSANE, and I realized just how much the rain actually helped us:)

    • Angela says:

      We were there in June during T.S. Debbie, too! You’re so right; a good attitude is the best thing to pack. In spite of the crazy conditions, we embraced the magic and made a conscious decision that the rain wasn’t going to bother us. It didn’t, but it was amazing to see how much it affected those around us. The people that were determined to have a good time were having a blast, and the ones that were determined to be miserable were exactly that. I’m glad you decided to have fun during the chaos last year! I know our Disney World stories from that trip were much more interesting when you added in the battle with T.S. Debbie!

    • Lisa says:

      We were there too! Didn’t stop us, got the umbrella’s, put on the flip flops and off we went. One morning was extremely bad, so we made a quick trip to an outlet store and by the afternoon it cleared up enough to keep going again. Our first time in the MK for breakfast before the park opened was raining, so the pictures weren’t the best, but it was empty and awesome!
      We always have umbrella’s and poncho’s on every trip. Love it when it’s raining because it really does scare everyone off!

  2. Meg says:

    Like any good Floridian, I agree completely with this advice. Most of our afternoon storms don’t stick around for long and those “in the know” hunker down (or walk around, if it’s just a rainstorm – yay ponchos and flip flops!) while everyone else scrambles away. Parks after a storm are awesome and desolate. As someone who worked at a theme park (though not a Disney one) for years, I have been sent HOME after a storm sends people running to their hotels. Heck, when Disney had that free ticket on your birthday deal, it poured for hours from opening until just before lunch. I bought a poncho and basically had the park to myself; I did 3/4 of MK in about the hours, plus a few repeats.

    For wary visitors, be brave and reap the benefits. But stay safe too, the lightning is a nasty side effect of rain!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think footwear is the biggest thing for me. I rarely wear flip flops to the parks these days (always end up with blisters when I do), and wet shoes can make for a miserable day. Given these things, we try to avoid the rain by doing indoor attractions.

      When we went to Paris, it was forecast to rain everyday, so I bought waterproof shoes to wear. I looked like a total dork, but my feet never got wet!

  3. Kayla says:

    Those summer showers also make smartphones (radar) and park hoppers extra useful. Sometimes the showers are small enough and property is large enough that if it was raining in one park, it may not be raining in another. We used this strategy several times on an August trip, when it rained every afternoon.

    Two unfortunate consequences of the storms though, the marina rentals and pools shut down if there is lightning in the area. You may not see or hear the lightning, but those closures cut down on available activities if you’re at the hotel for a break.

  4. Leslie says:

    I totally agree, stick it out! We were in HS one September & it absolutely poured for about 3 hours but when the rain stopped the place was a ghost town. We had the best day ever! Walked right on TT & RR over and over again.

  5. Angie says:

    Good timing for this article! We were in MK this Saturday when it started pouring around 3 and stayed that way into the evening. We escaped to the Tiki Room but there was a leak in the roof and water rushed through the ceiling. Due to this and the lightning, they stopped the show and opened the doors to make it a rain shelter. We found out later they stopped all of the rides due to the lightning. Some did reopen an hour or two later but People Mover was down for a long time. We’ve waited out many storms, but were very surprised by the closing of so many rides this time. (Too many people congregate under the sheltered area at the ride exits, so they closed many because of safety.)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Wow, that’s interesting (especially the Tiki Room leak!). I’ve heard of rides closing due to lightning, but never because of crowding at the exits. It must have been raining pretty hard!

  6. Stephanie says:

    We were at WDW for the past two weeks and we had plenty of rainy days. We just got out our raincoats and carried on. The one day we didn’t bring raincoats was our HS day because we wanted to go light without bags. The security bag check line at HS is always sooooo long! Of course it really rained that day! We were watching the Indiana Jones show, and they had to stop it because of the rain. Most people stayed in the stadium waiting out the rain, but it was blowing in on us anyway, so we just dealt with it and got wet. One day we were at AK, it rained, we decided we’d done all we wanted there, so we headed to Blizzard Beach and had a perfect non-crowded afternoon! We always bring our own raincoats though, I hate the feel of those ponchos sticking to me!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s why you need to carry the Wal-Mart (or Target) $.99 ponchos even if you carry your own raincoats. These ponchos are so compact that they can fit in a pocket, so you can take them with even if you don’t have a bag. When you’re done with them, just throw them away!

      • Layla Martin says:

        Last year we went during Hurricane Isaac. It rained the first two days. We bought only one throw away poncho for each of us because I thought we could just use them over and over. Trying to roll up 8 open, wet ponchos in a Disney Princess book sack is a sight! This year I am doing as you suggested…buying multiple ones and just throw them away! Freedom!

  7. Kevin says:

    It’s only rained twice for about an hour each in >30 days we’ve spent at WDW with our daughter. She just loved splashing in the puddles.

    When we honeymooned at WDW in August ’96 it rained every afternoon. An indoor show or nap at the hotel and it was over, so it had hardly any effect on us.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Twice in over 30 days?!? Remind me to plan my visits when you’re there, as that is some insanely good luck!

  8. Sara Swain Roberts says:

    The only time we really struggled with keeping in good spirits during the rain was when it poured while we were at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The majority if the entertainment was canceled and it was not very fun getting wet in our costumes. My kids were really bummed, as it is the favorite part if our trip, always. We still went and tried to make the best of it and hit every trick or trest spot, since that was the only thing to do. But I have to say that Disney went out if their way to accommodate all guests who attended and they were given tickets to the party on the next night or a complimentary Park Hopper to make up for the ticket.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Didn’t think of this, but you are TOTALLY right. We were at a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the rain several years ago, and it stunk. Most of the entertainment was canceled, but the worst part was that it was barely sprinkling at times (almost like it was teasing us!), so the cancellation announcements were last minute. We knew things might be canceled, but we had to get spots anyway. I think the entire park was on pins and needles hoping the sprinkling wouldn’t turn into serious rain before each show…but like clockwork, it always did.

      We still had fun walking around and enjoying the ambiance, but the hard ticket parties definitely are not as fun when it rains…and there’s not a whole lot you can do to work around the rain in that situation.

  9. Alyssa says:

    Great article! We were in WDW in April and it rained for almost our entire 5-day trip! I was a little grumpy about it at first (this was our first family trip, with 2 little ones in tow), but the kids didn’t mind and the rain actually kept the humidity and crowds down! We had our ponchos and a shower curtain to cover the stroller, and we were set. The rides only stopped in MK once due to lightning, but otherwise it was business as usual in the Parks. And Wishes was still held every night despite the weather (unlike Fantasmic), though we never got to see Tinkerbell fly. Overall it was a great trip, and we will cherish all of our “poncho pictures” for years to come!!

    • Layla Martin says:

      Thank you for that tidbit on using a shower curtain for the stroller. We have two littles that will be in a stroller this time and I always felt sorry for those kids whose parents put that plastic bubble that totally closed them in…I kept having to breathe deeply when I saw them! The shower curtain idea gives the kids more air. That stroller plastic should be outlawed! (breathe in…breathe out)

      • Kevin says:

        Depending on the stroller, another poncho can also work nicely as a stroller cover. Although I hadn’t thought of a shower curtain!

      • Heather says:

        I used one of those character birthday table clothes, and it fit my double perfectly. It was even decorated Mickey Mouse :)

  10. Thomas says:

    The only real unavoidable downside to the rain is Florida air-conditioning. Particularly in the hotter months, the indoor attractions, resorts, and restaurants will be air-conditioned to their maximum levels. While that’s a relief, most of the time, when you’re soaked, or your extremities are soaked, you’ll find yourself shivering uncontrollably.

  11. Laura B says:

    As a former Floridian from just south of O-town, the only problem I have with this article is that your are TELLING EVERYONE OUR SECRETS! I love the parks in the rain, b/c it really does empty out. Some of my most peaceful and memorable trips involved afternoons in the rain, when it seemed like my family and I were the only ones left in the park.

    Your mention of 2004 brought back many memories of the photos I saw as the storms hit the parks. My hometown (Wauchula, FL) was also hit by all three of those storms, and my grandmother and several friends all lost their homes. What a crazy summer that was! (and by the way, even if I WANTED to go back to that summer, I’d have to go to that “other-park-that-shall-not-be-named” in order to hop on the time-traveling DeLorean. Blasphemy!!!)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I wouldn’t worry about the secret getting out unless the 11 people who read this blog all happen to be in the parks on the same day! 😉

      • Linda Salvanto says:

        Make that 12. I just began reading your posts as my children are taking me to wdw next year .I am too excited for words. Absolutely love reading everything you and your lovely wife have to say. I especially have enjoyed your engagement and disneymoon. Keep up the good work. I learn something new everyday. Thank you.

  12. Ducky_Love says:

    I would challenge avoiding AK in the rain. You haven’t experienced the safari if you haven’t been in the rain. The animals just love a good shower! We just did this Saturday and it never disappoints. We invested in good rain coats, crocs, and a rain cover for our backpack. This setup has served us well at DL and here at home. Especially in the summer heat going in the rain is often more enjoyable than waiting for the sunshine.

  13. Rune says:

    Definitely agree with all you’ve said here, coming from Wales we’re used to a lot of rain and so it’s good to go to WDW for a spot of sun, however a rainy day is never a bad thing and it never spoils the trip if you keep upbeat about it.

    It’s an amazing feeling to suddenly realise that you are the only 2 people stood in the hub in front of Cinderella Castle at 11am on what should be a hectic morning in the park. Also some of our fondest memories of WDW are during late night Extra Magic Hours on rainy evenings when there’s been barely a handful of folk in Tomorrowland and no lines for anything at all park-wide.

    Which leads me on to say oh my goodness Tom, the photos that go with these pictures are absolutely stunning!I love all the neon around Tomorrowland and the Fountain of Nations area in Epcot anyway but after rain when the reflections shine out it just takes it to a whole new level of colour. Looking at them really made this (wouldn’t you know it, rainy) morning. =)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Agreed on the empty parks! Some of my best memories in Epcot and the Magic Kingdom are from those times after storms have cleared and I’ve gone nuts taking photos.

  14. KatyBeth says:

    MK in the rain is the best, if you can get over being wet. My best MK visit was a week before Christmas, three years ago. It started raining 15 minutes after rope drop, so the park was deserted until about 4pm! I walked onto everything I rode (which was almost the entire park) before dinner, had my picture with 17 characters, saw the parade, ate at counter services I avoid due to crowds, etc. If you’re willing to get wet, the experience is worth it!

  15. Heather says:

    We had the best day at AK during Hurricane Isaac last August. Everest was a walk-on all day, a lot of time at AK is inside anyway (at the shows), and the safari rides were the best I’ve ever been on- the coming storm made the animals very active.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It’s crazy to hear this about the Safari. I would have NEVER thought to do KS in the rain. That’s the great thing about blogging–even when you’re the author of a blog post, you can learn something new! Thanks! :)

  16. Jacky says:

    Living in Florida you never know when it’s going to rain! Today they said no rain and guess what? It’s been pouring all day. I have been to Disney in all times of the year and have gotten rain probably on each visit…give or take. After one day at Epcot where my husband and I got rained on in Epcot and were soaked we decided to take ponchos and umbrellas every time we go to a park. We ended up buying the expensive Disney ponchos at Epcot…I know, I know. It gets worse. We bought the ponchos so we could leave the park because we were soaked and the minute we did it stopped raining. UGH. So now we never go to a park without them! Also, I wouldn’t recommend wearing flip flops to the parks when it might rain. Personally, my flip flops tend to fall off my feet because your feet get soaked. So it’s like all slippery. Plus the whole blister thing! I don’t understand people who go to the parks in heels at 12pm but hey that’s another topic!

  17. PattiRP says:

    We have been to DW in June, July and September (2X) and each time we dealt with some rain. It really was not a big deal. We’d stop for a bite to eat or hit a show just as you suggested. Once, during one of the worst storms we encountered, we just rode Pirates 8 times in a row. I suppose some would saw that was a bit monotonous, but we challenged our kids (then 4 and 7) to find something new each time. It worked out great!

    This year we will going in August — Shades of Green offered a 40% room rate discount for this August about a week after Hurricane Isaac last year … that was such a good deal that we could not pass it up! But I have been preparing the kids already to expect lots of rain every day and to try to think up things we can do when that happens. They don’t seem daunted at all, as we are all in agreement with your opinion that a rainy day at Disney is better than a regular day at home!

  18. Lori says:

    We just returned home yesterday from one weeks stay at Disneyworld (staying at the All Star Movies Resorts, one of our favorites). The day we arrived it was raining, actually it rained nearly every day but only for short bursts. Magic Kingdom in the rain is amazing as there were not a lot of people at the park and the lines for the ride were very short, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean 4 times within 45 mins. How can you not be happy at Disney even when it is raining, so funny seeing a sea of plastic as nearly everyone had on Disney Plastic poncho’s.

  19. Jeff says:

    Lived in Central Florida for the past 40 years and the only downfall to summer storms is not the rain, it is the lightning. Typically unlike anything you will ever see anywhere on Earth it IS DEADLY. That said, we go to the parks several times a month and many times we welcome the rainy days, especially the all day rain as it pretty much empties the parks. If you dress accordingly (I agree with no flip-flops) like non leather shoes, and bring a light rain coat you can have a real blast. We were at the parks last week right in the middle of TS Andrea and they were empty. Great article.

  20. Mark says:

    I am really hoping for some rain when I head down in October for the Tower of Terror 10 miler. Most Disney World attractions are covered or inside. The entire park does not shut down when a storm comes unlike a Cedar Point or a Six Flags.

    Living in the west now, I love rain storms and do not get enough. Maybe this is the kid in me, but I love to play in huge rainstorms. I always have a rain coat and besides, it is a warm rain and will dry up quickly.

  21. Jordan says:

    Any tips of how you protect your camera in the rain? I’ve seen a couple items on Amazon that I’m debating getting, but I’m curious what you do.

    • Jeff says:

      For a point and shoot I have always used a ziplock bag. While hiking I have crossed rivers with my camera in my pocket and never had a problem while it was sealed inside. If you are using a SLR….REI sells some camera bags, but leave the SLR at home. Point and shoots take decent photos and are a lot easier to carry around.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        I think this advice is YMMV depending upon how much you care about photos. Besides, at night, the wet pavement makes for GREAT photos with a DSLR!

  22. Kelli says:

    I was happy to read this, and so glad you recommend staying the parks! We went to disney in May and it ended up raining A LOT! But the day that it rained non-stop all day, ended up being my favorite day. The crowd at Magic Kingdom disappeared and we were able to walk right up to all the rides with zero wait. It felt like running around the park with VIP access, just because it was pouring rain! I did learn that I’m going to bring a rain cover for our stroller next year, and buy the $5 ponchos or rain coats instead of the .99 kind.

    Also, the first day that it rained i didn’t bring my camera with me because I was scared it would get wet. When it rained the next day, I decided I was bringing my camera with me anyway, and I am so glad I did! I put it in a large ziplock bag inside my backpack. (although I was warned by the security search people that it could get humidity in the ziplock…but it never did). But many DSLRs have some degree of weather proofing, and ultimately I have my camera insured, so I decided even if it got wet, it would be worth it!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Just out of curiosity, why will you buy $5 ponchos over $.99 ones? Did the cheaper ones not work well?

      As for humidity in the bag, just throw a silica gel packet in there!

  23. Rick says:

    We did AK 3 weeks ago during TS Andrea on a Thursday. Had to go because our Fl resident tickets blacked out that Sat and we had MK for Friday with pirate makeup, bippity boppity, and dinner in the castle already booked.
    Crocs and ponchos secured and a cover for the stroller, we were off. There was a steady rain right up until the 3pm Nemo show. The lines were non existant (15 min max for Safari and Everest)and there were just enough places to dry off a little and head back out. Time the shows, dry to dry your feet often, and enjoy the liquid sunshine!

  24. Amy Wonsil says:

    We never let rain dampen our spirits at Disney!! One year it rained so hard at MK, the entire area in Tomorrowland by Buzz flooded…we just tromped on through, after riding Space Mountain 3 times in a row with no waiting!!! The younger kids stuck around Buzz and rode it with no waits for about half an hour! Leaving a park is not in our game plan :)

  25. Alison says:

    You cracked me up with the DeLorean comment.

    We were actually there in October of 2004. We saw that aftermath of Frances and while we were there, Jeanne hit. That day was spent in our hotel room, but the next day we headed to the Magic Kingdom. I couldn’t believe it. It was like fairies had been at work all night cleaning it up. It was spotless! And pretty empty of crowds, I must say.

    • Alison says:

      Oops. Sorry, it was late September.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It’s pretty crazy how quickly they can manage to get the parks looking good. We were there until 4 am once the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (one of the busiest days of the year). The next day the park was open at 7 am, looking as good as ever!

  26. Karen says:

    We are hopefully planning on booking our honeymoon for Disney the entire month of August and I was freaking out about the rain and storms but you have put my mind totally at ease thank you!!

    Any tips on

    1. What shoes/clothes to wear that will dry out quickly/not be squelching in soggy shoes.

    2. Good photo ops for rainy days?

    Thanks 😀

  27. Jonny R says:

    I completely agree that you can’t be scared off by the rain and more so you should enjoy it, in all honesty a favourite memory of mine in WDW is the storms!

    However I massively disagree with the point about going to the waterparks in the rain – it would be madness to be near any body of water when there’s any risk of lightning. Also in my experience (admittedly 10 years since I was there) they used to close the waterparks when storms were approaching.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      They close the water parks when there’s any risk of lightning, so it’s a moot point. You can only go when it’s *just* raining. I’m not recommending anything dangerous.

  28. Betty says:

    Thank you for this article! I was a little worried and bummed out about the weather forecast coming up the next week because this will be my first time at Disneyworld and I was expecting good weather. However, this article puts my mind to ease about going to the parks. :)

  29. Gareth says:

    Some very sound advice there, I remember last time I visited Florida in July. Evey day it would rain at 5pm with out fail and last for a good hour or so, and it never stoped me enjoying the parks, just got out my mac-in-a-bag and went about as usual.
    Was fun to watch everyone run for the hills as it were, while I went about as if the sun was ou. Being British and used to rain I just got on with my holiday. No need to let some rain spoil a holiday.

  30. Nick says:

    I take myself to Disneyland every year for my birthday (February). Last year, it rained. I’d really lucked out on my WDW trips, never got in the rain–but it rained the first day I was at Disneyland. It was GREAT–put on some rain shoes, a poncho–and enjoy your very own private Disneyland/DCA. No lines for anything! (well, except for Indiana Jones). The locals flock to the exits in panic. Riding California Screamin (walk-up, no line) in the rain is a trip in and of itself.

  31. Cheryl says:

    During our June trip, TS Andrea decided to join us. For the better part of a day it was torrential downpours and high winds. Being properly prepared with umbrellas and cheap ponchos we braved the day and headed to MK. It was wet, empty, wonderful and FUN! We rode many rides over and over without getting off (including the new Voyage of the Little Mermaid). Priceless memories made in the puddles that day! :)

  32. Susan says:

    On our first trip to Disney World, we had three or four afternoons of rain – and it couldn’t have worked out better! Since we planned our character meals in the early afternoon, two helped us avoid the rain. The parks cleared quite a bit and it was so enjoyable. It’s was amazing how many leave due to rain. I would suggest if you have flexibility in your itinerary to plan trips to MK on days it may rain since its so busy. There is SO much to do out of the rain that it really doesn’t damped the trip at all!

  33. Maria Capurro says:

    Dear Tom,
    Thanks A LOT for so much interesting and useful information!!! I’m a big Disney fan and I’m taking my 3 kids for the first time this year, really excited!!!!
    After reading this post I was wondering if any rides close when it rains. For example those which are absolutely under the rain, as Dumbo the flying elephant. And what about the parades, Fantasmic and fireworks?
    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Thanks again and ALL THE BEST!

  34. Andrea says:

    We went last June for our first time and TS Andrea was not very fun. My mom had said what you so it rains there everyday so not a bit deal but this was torential downpours. I’m lucky we had the cheap ponchos and some umbrellas. Downside the ponchos were ripping and many attractions did close up I which were things we wanted to see. Didn’t help we had a cranky friend with, which I thought was impossible for being in Disney. We made the best of it and can’t wait to go back. We did do Disney quest on a very rainy day and left the cranky friend in the hotel room.

  35. Jennifer says:

    I have one question about the rain. I’m used to it raining in cold weather. I haven’t been to Florida when is raining. My family is planning a trip for June/July. I know how hot it will be then but when it rains I’m wondering what the temperature will be like? I’ll have three small children with me and I don’t want to risk them getting sick if it’s too cold. Any advice would be helpful.

  36. natalie says:

    is this year in may in disney world getting bad storms durning near the end of may we going to be traveling i just wounder is it be nice or not day. i afriad the thounderstorm an tornado.

  37. Robin says:

    I’m a long time central Floridian and annual passholder.
    Oh the stories of the rain I could tell you. Please be very careful
    In the summertime storms. We are the lightning capital of the world.
    We were also staying at WDW during Hurricane Jeanne in 04. We live
    Where they all crossed paths that year. We have so many memories
    From that trip. The cast members were great. Turns out our weekend
    Trip ended up being 10 days long because our street was hit by a tornado
    During the hurricane. They gave us storm refugee rates.
    Our kids have stories to tell thier grand kids from that trip.

  38. Stacy says:

    Thank you for this wonderfully positive and informative article. My family and I are visiting WDW for the first time in mid-July. I am significantly less nervous about rainy day fun after reading your article!

  39. Regina says:

    Thank goodness I found this blog! The grand kids, 2 5-year-olds and an 8 year old, my mom and I will be heading to WDW on Monday, June 16, 2014. We have a 650 mile drive, and it’s looking like some rain the entire trip!

    I feel so much more comfortable knowing that all will not be lost. Plus if I told them we’re not going because of rain I think they’d kill me!!

    Thanks for all the wonderful information!!

  40. Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I are bringing our 7 year old daughter next week and we are SO excited! I am actually hoping it DOES rain to thin out some of the lines we’ll face…specifically the new 7 dwarfs mine train! every time I check the line time online it’s over an hour, sometimes even 2 hours! So bring on the rain!! we’ve got our ponchos and sandals and we are ready!!!

  41. Terri Jensen says:

    We were there in May on a very rainy week and noticed most of the rides in the parks closing due to lightening. Then a swarm of people with fastpasses returned to the rides after the rides reopened making the lines for people without fastpasses come to a halt.

  42. Janice says:

    Your article was so funny, I laughed so much at some of your innovative indoor suggestions. About to fly tonite (!) on a 26 hr journey from Sydney with 2 kids to Orlando, first time WDW for us, we were at sunny Anaheim 2 yrs ago and never had to consider weather. What do you know, I organised this trip since April not even bothering to check weather conditions in Florida, I assumed it was sun sun sun all the way, couldn’t get any sunnier. The word thunderstorm and hurricane never came to mind, nor did travel agent say anything…..??? At least I am now prepared altho alas, only 2 ponchos, have to get an overinflated priced one at the resort shop, which is OK as long as it has Anna and Elsa on it, everyone will be fighting to put that one on. I have no worries about rain, having lived in a tropical Asian country all my life, it can be a blessing amidst humidity. You know what worries me more, it’s myself at my age, slipping on the wet road and breaking a leg or hip! If not for that, I could happily walk about in the rain as long as there’s no threat of lightning. Have to go pack now.

  43. Noella says:

    Magnificent website. Lots of useful info here.
    I’m sending iit to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And certainly, tank you on yyour sweat!

  44. tinkerbell1221 says:

    your totally right!

  45. Cynthia says:

    I like how you comment a lot on people from SoCal lol. But rain doesn’t bother me. What scares me is the lighting… So do people still go to the water parks when there is lightening?

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