10 Ways to Deal with the Heat at Disney World
I am a teacher. My parents are teachers. As such, we have always had to schedule any trips to Disney around school vacations. Because of this, we’ve always gone in August. Now, I’m sure you know that Orlando in August is a sauna, to put it mildly. I have always had issues with the heat, after getting what my parents think was a minor case of heatstroke as a kid. It doesn’t take much to make me want to melt into the pavement.
But I love Disney World, and I’m not going to let the temperature stop me. (Though someday, SOMEDAY, I’m going to go when I can wear jeans and a sweater.)
These tips are useful, and they usually help me when I’m getting to my limit.
Drink water. A lot of it.
This one is a bit self-explanatory. You have to stay hydrated, even when it seems like its oozing out your pores as fast as it comes in. Bring bottles of water with you, buy them, or ask at any quick service for ice water. Just make sure you’re drinking.
Take advantage of the AC.
Disney World, as a whole, has a lot of places where you can get out of the heat. The only park where I find this a challenge is Animal Kingdom, and I must admit that while I love the animals, I frequently opt for a shorter visit in the park just because it seems hotter than all the others. Regardless, take a break inside a shop or restaurant and cool off a little when you need to.
Use a mini fan, folding fan, or misting fan.
Some people may argue against this one, but several years ago, I was too hot, and my Dad was concerned and bought me one of the misting fans at Epcot. They’re expensive, but I’ve still got it, it still works, and I’ve pulled it out to pack and take with us this year. You can buy mini ones that clip onto your bag, you can just buy a little battery operated fan, or even a folding fan. (In the China pavilion, they’ve got lots, and they’ll personalize it!) They really are useful for moments when you can’t get into air conditioning, or your waiting in line for a ride, or you just need a little extra air. And as a bonus, when you eat lunch, ask for a cup of ice and put it into the mister bottle to keep the water REALLY cold.
Know your limits.
Maybe I should have made this one the first post, because it really is important. You have to know when to quit. There’s no point in powering through the parks, only to collapse somewhere between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Be Our Guest just because you didn’t say you needed a break. These people you’re likely with are your family and friends. They care about you. If people in your group want to go do their thing, let them. Having someone get seriously ill because of the heat will be way worse than slowing down and having to postpone a ride or two. My husband can handle heat far, far better than I ever could. He can go for hours. I can’t. I’ve learned that I have to say when I need a break, because he won’t always know. (Though he’s pretty good at realizing.)
This goes with the last one. Take your time. Its Disney! Don’t run through the parks (unless, of course, you’re doing a marathon or something. Then, by all means, run.) – enjoy yourself. Along with this, if you are staying on property, make sure you look up the Extra Magic Hours for the days you are staying. If a park opens earlier in the day, it might be a good bet to try that park. Same thing with staying open late. Nighttime is so much more comfortable!
Take a break midday.
This one really applies the most if you are staying on property (and I totally recommend you do. But that’s another blog post.) because otherwise it isn’t necessarily worth the loss of park time. If you are, however, I recommend taking a midday break back at your resort. You can go back, get a drink in the food court, and then relax in the air conditioning. You can nap, take a swim, or just freshen up a little. Even just an hour back at the resort will help you get cooled off and recharged for the rest of the day.
Wear a hat or visor and use sunscreen.
For myself, I am not really a hat person. I think they make me hotter. However, a visor is perfect for this. It will help keep your face shaded (and therefore not so sunburned) which is much more important than you think. Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to withstand some sun, but I go from pastry to crispy critter in less time than it takes Pooh to eat a jar of honey. You don’t want to be sunburned. It hurts, and it doesn’t help you stay cool. Not to mention all the other things it can lead to. Let’s just put on the SPF and prevent all that.
Get a cooling towel.
Okay, so maybe this is a personal preference, but I really like these cooling towels. I bought one when I still rode a motorcycle occasionally, and when I bought it, I was super skeptical about what it was going to do for me. And then I tried it, and it really did help. So well I went out and bought my dad and brother each one. They’re pretty simple, and you can get a small one that doesn’t take up too much space. When you want to use it, just soak it in some water from a sink or fountain and drape it around your neck (or wherever.) I’d bring a small baggie to put it in when you don’t want to use it anymore, that way it can’t get things damp in your pocket, purse, or bag.
Wear appropriate clothing.
This should be a no-brainer, but I’m putting it here because I’m so guilty of doing this. If the temperatures are forecast to be in the 90’s (or higher) choosing to wear denim capris may not be the best choice. And let’s not even think about jeans. Wear light colors and light fabrics. Cottons, things that breathe. And while I say light colors, don’t wear white. The Florida afternoon summer thunderstorm will come. And if you’re a lady and you’re wearing a white shirt, things could be a little more…transparent…than you’d like.
Know the warning signs.
You and those you are traveling with (not just those who are sensitive to it) need to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I was once at another theme park near my house in Virginia. I watched a teenager go from smiling to passed out in her friend’s arms in about three seconds, and when the park medics came, she revealed she hadn’t had a drink in hours. It was almost 100 degrees that day. Its no joke. You don’t want to be ill ever, but definitely not on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth. Drink fluids, stay cool, and take care of yourself and each other!
I hope these tips help you on your vacation. Its certainly been a good reminder for myself, and I’ve added a few items to my packing list. (Where did I put that cooling towel?) Do you have other tips for beating the heat? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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