You’ve scrimped, saved and fastidiously planned out your Walt Disney World vacation, booking the perfect hotel, making advance dining reservations, deciding which attractions to add to your travel to-do list and packing your suitcases with everything you could possibly need. Well, you had better make sure that you have room in your bags for some rain gear, too, because there are dreary days ahead in the weather forecast.
That’s right. Just like in the iconic Alanis Morissette song, “Ironic,” it looks like rain on your Disney day. However, similar to how many of the situations in the lyrics don’t actually count as irony, as much as it sucks to get rained out on your vacation, experiencing rainy weather at Disney World shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, as Florida comes in fifth in the nation in terms of precipitation annually and is the rainiest state when it comes to summer, a rainy day at Disney World should almost be an expectation, particularly if you’re visiting sometime between the end of May to early October.
Luckily, you don’t need to let a little (or even a lot of) rain put a damper on your trip. With some preparation and knowledge, you can still have a fantastic time at Walt Disney World, even during those rainy Central Florida afternoons. In this rainy-day Disney World guide, we’ll go over what you can expect when the skies open up at The Most Magical Place on Earth, as well as give valuable tips and helpful insights for navigating the resort and its parks when the weather is less than ideal. So, put on a poncho or grab your umbrella and let’s dive into what to do when it rains at Disney World.
Preparing for Rainy Days at Walt Disney World: What to Expect During Wet Weather
Although it might be called the Sunshine State, rain is a common occurrence in Central Florida, and that includes Disney World. (Sorry, but no, there isn’t a giant dome protecting the resort from inclement weather. The Disney Imagineers are good, but they aren’t that good.) But don’t worry, fellow Disney fanatics. As long as you’re prepared, you can still have an amazing time at Disney World, even if it’s raining. Here’s what you can expect during Disney downpours and how you can set yourself up for a successful day in spite of some rain showers.
Be Sure to Check the Weather Forecast
First things first: Download a reliable weather app, ideally one with a live radar like WeatherBug, which will help you stay on top of any potential rainstorms headed your way. That way, you and your family won’t be caught off guard by sudden showers while waiting in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You’ll also want to check out the hour-by-hour weather report first thing in the morning to give you an overview of possible precipitation so you can plan out your day as best as possible.
Pack Rain Gear to Keep the Magic Going No Matter the Weather
Although you can certainly stick to only indoor fun, to really take advantage of the shorter lines that come along with a rainy day at Disney World, you’ll want to be dressed appropriately. Here are some things to bring with you so you can still go on rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Slinky Dog Dash without getting soaking wet.
Ponchos – Pick up some inexpensive ponchos that are easy to pack away when not needed but provide excellent coverage during unexpected downpours. A lightweight rain jacket is another great option if you prefer something more stylish than a plastic poncho.
Umbrellas – While they don’t provide full-body coverage like a poncho, an umbrella is another good alternative. Plus, since they don’t take up much space, they’re easier to store once the rain stops.
Grippy Shoes – Leave your flip-flops behind and opt for shoes with good traction so that slippery surfaces don’t become hazardous.
An Extra Pair of Socks and Shoes – Don’t get stuck with wet feet all day. If you aren’t wearing waterproof footwear, be sure to bring some spare socks and shoes to change into once the rain ends. It might mean you have more to carry, but you’ll be much more comfortable and happier in the long run.
Bags with Waterproof Compartments – Keep your electronics safe from water damage by storing them in waterproof compartments or Ziploc bags within your purse or backpack.
Familiarize Yourself with Florida’s Rainy Season
While it can rain at any time of the year in Central Florida, the rainy season typically lasts from the end of May to the beginning of October. During this period, you can expect brief but intense afternoon showers that usually clear up within a few hours, sometimes even as short as 15 to 20 minutes. Hurricane season, meanwhile, officially runs from June 1 to November 30, with August to October being the peak season for a tropical storm.
Take Some Time Out for a Meal
If you’d rather not brave the rain, a shower at Disney World is an ideal time for a meal, whether something cheap and cheerful from one of the resort’s quick-service eateries or sit-down meals at a table service restaurant. Not only can you enjoy some rain cover, but you’ll also be able to refuel for more adventures once the storm ends. However, keep in mind that many other people will have the same idea. That said, don’t be surprised if you encounter a long wait for a table.
Don’t Let a Dreary Disney Day Get You Down
A rainy day at Disney World has its own unique charm: shorter lines for popular rides, cooler temperatures for more comfortable park exploration and, in the case of Magic Kingdom, even some special entertainment options, namely the Rainy Day Cavalcade (more on that in a bit). So, don’t let a little precipitation dampen your spirits. Embrace the magic of Disney World in all its weather conditions.
How to Tackle Outdoor Attractions in the Rain
Even if it’s drizzling, for the most part, Disney World’s outdoor rides and other open-air attractions remain open, meaning that you can still have a great (albeit damp) time. Still, be aware that, for safety reasons, some attractions may have to close during periods of heavy rain or lightning.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of outdoor experiences when it rains at Disney World:
Dress Appropriately – In addition to a poncho or lightweight rain jacket, wear comfortable clothing made from quick-drying materials and waterproof shoes.
Pack Smartly – Keep essentials like electronics, wallets and passports protected by using waterproof bags or cases. A small umbrella can also come in handy.
Have a Strategy – Plan your day around indoor attractions first so that you’re more likely to be able to experience outdoor rides once the weather clears up. You can also prioritize water rides like Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom or, in the future, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (formerly Splash Mountain) at Magic Kingdom.
Take Advantage of Shorter Wait Times – As many guests tend to avoid outdoor experiences during rainy conditions, this could mean less time spent waiting in line for roller coasters like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Slinky Dog Dash and Expedition Everest, as well as other popular attractions.
Embracing the Rainy Day Magic: What to Do at the Theme Parks and Beyond
Don’t let your Disney vacation get bogged down when it rains. If you come prepared with the right gear and know what attractions are best suited to a wet day, you can still make quite the splash even when it’s showering at The Most Magical Place on Earth. There are an array of things to see and do when it’s sprinkling, from the Rainy Day Cavalcade to indoor amusements and activities that won’t get you wet. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite options for each park, as well as other great dreary weather destinations at Disney World.
Whether you’re in Fantasyland or Frontierland, Tomorrowland or Adventureland, Magic Kingdom boasts a pretty decent mix of both indoor and outdoor experiences. Along with the beautiful mosaics in Cinderella Castle, these are the best attractions to target, whether you’re hoping to stay dry or capitalize on short lines and embrace the drizzle.
While outdoor shows and other entertainment offerings like Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire and the Festival of Fantasy Parade are typically unavailable when it’s raining, Magic Kingdom has you covered with the delightful Rainy Day Cavalcade. Held along Main Street, USA, this gloomy weather cavalcade features some of your favorite Disney characters in vintage vehicles and a float-like gazebo, as well as a gang of cast members decked out in colorful rain gear. While certainly not as grand as the Festival of Fantasy Parade, this whimsical processional is a great substitute for a rainy day.
Unlike Magic Kingdom, virtually everything at Epcot is located inside, with the exception of a brief portion of track over at Test Track and the actual walk from pavilion to pavilion. In other words, it’s basically the perfect Disney park for inclement weather. Along with eating your way through World Showcase or enjoying a meal at Garden Grill Restaurant, Sunshine Seasons or really any other dining option at Epcot, other great ways to wait out the rain at Epcot include:
Like Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios has a pretty decent selection of indoor experiences, as well as a few outdoor activities that are also worth braving the rain for. What’s more, many of the attractions at Hollywood Studios are shows. Since these take up more time than a typical indoor ride, they’re a great way to wait out a storm.
Escape the Rain at These Indoor Experiences
Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Toy Story Mania!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Walt Disney Presents
Outdoor Experiences Worth Getting Wet For
Slinky Dog Dash
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Known for its incredible animal experiences and abundant natural beauty, Animal Kingdom Theme Park isn’t exactly an ideal Disney destination for a rainy day. That said, there are still some awesome shows here, as well as a fair number of rides, that are perfect for when it starts to sprinkle.
Escape the Rain at These Indoor Experiences
Avatar Flight of Passage
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Na’vi River Journey
Outdoor Experiences Worth Getting Wet For
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Kali River Rapids
There’s no shortage of indoor activities and entertainment options to provide rain cover and keep you having fun even when it’s damp and dreary at Disney Springs. With seemingly endless stores to explore, as well as some of the best dining The Most Magical Place on Earth has to offer, Disney Springs is the perfect destination for a rainy day. After you’ve finished shopping ’til you drop and stuffing your face silly, try one of Disney Springs’ entertainment offerings, like catching the latest blockbuster at the AMC Theater or going bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
Disney World Hotels
Don’t let the rain ruin your Disney day. Resort hotels offer a great refuge from the damp weather, with plenty of fun and entertainment indoors. Resort hotels can provide an excellent escape from the rain, whether you’re staying onsite or just resort hopping. Have a meal at one of the many incredible resort restaurants or unwind with a drink in one of the unique themed lounges of the deluxe resorts, like Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Enchanted Rose at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or AbracadaBar at Disney’s BoardWalk. Of course, you can always engage in a little rainy-day retail therapy at one of the resort gift shops or even just check out their lobbies. That’s all part of the fun of resort hopping.
FAQs About Visiting Disney World When It’s Raining
We know you might have some questions about visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth when it’s raining. Fear not—we’ve got answers to everything that’s on your mind. Like, first and foremost…
Is it worth going to Disney in the rain?
Absolutely. Though a bit of precipitation may put a slight damper on the experience, there are still many indoor rides and activities to be enjoyed at Disney World, even when it rains. Plus, a rainy day can mean shorter lines for rides and fewer crowds overall, meaning that it can actually be possible to accomplish more than during busier, better-weather days.
Is Disney still fun if it rains?
You bet! With so many indoor options available across all four parks (and outdoor experiences, too, if you don’t mind putting on a poncho), you’ll never run out of fun things to do even if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. And let’s be honest—splashing through puddles with Mickey ears on is pretty darn magical.
Is Disney busy on rainy days?
Damp and dreary days at Disney World can actually be less crowded than sunny ones since some guests choose not to brave the weather. This typically means shorter wait times for popular attractions and more space to explore the parks at your leisure. That said, don’t expect Magic Kingdom or Disney Springs to be ghost towns just because of a few rain showers. Many guests will simply take their fun inside instead by going on some dark rides, seeing a show or getting something to eat. In other words, to truly take advantage of smaller crowds, you can’t be afraid to get a little wet.
Do people leave Disney World when it rains?
Bad weather might deter some guests from staying in the parks all day long. However, it won’t be completely empty, as true theme park enthusiasts know that this means shorter lines and less crowded walkways. So, grab your poncho and embrace those puddles.
Which Disney park is best on a rainy day?
Each of the Disney Parks is doable during rainy weather. However, some of them are better than others due to their unique mix of attractions. In our opinion, here’s how each of the parks at Disney World ranks for a rainy day:
Epcot – With its numerous World Showcase pavilions (rainy day drinking around the world, anyone?), as well as plenty of indoor attractions like Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo & Friends and The Land Pavilion, Epcot is an excellent choice for wet weather adventures.
Hollywood Studios – Home to several thrilling indoor rides, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, as well as kid-friendly attractions that are perfect for families, like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Toy Story Mania, Hollywood Studios offers lots of excitement away from the elements.
Magic Kingdom – Although there are more outdoor attractions at Magic Kingdom than what you’ll find at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, this park does still have more than enough indoor rides and shows as well, including classics like Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion, to make it worth visiting even in inclement weather.
Animal Kingdom – While many of the attractions at Animal Kingdom are outdoors and, not to mention, lots of space between everything, which means even more time spent in the rain, you can still enjoy a number of indoor experiences, like Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!, Dinosaur and Avatar Flight of Passage.
Do they shut down the rides when it rains at Disney World?
Safety is always of utmost importance at the Disney Parks. As a result, some outdoor experiences may temporarily close during heavy rain or lightning storms until conditions improve. Indoor experiences typically remain open unless there’s a non-weather-related issue.
Do the Disney water parks stay open in the rain?
Just like the theme parks, the water parks at Disney World, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, also stay open even when it’s raining. However, should it start to storm with thunder and lightning, the slides, wave pools and other rides will close down until it’s safe for them to reopen. Shops and restaurants, meanwhile, will remain open for guests to enjoy in the meantime.
Does Disney give refunds for rainy weather?
No, Disney World does not offer refunds to guests due to rain. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be in business, particularly since it basically rains every day (though not necessarily all day) during the summertime. However, if an attraction you have a Lightning Lane return time for is closed because of bad weather or technical issues, you may receive an experience pass for use on another ride later in the day. Check with an attractions cast member or Guest Relations for more information.
Well, friends, that brings our guide on how to spend a rainy day at Disney World to a close. Have you ever been caught in a shower or storm during your Disney vacation? What did you end up doing? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how you can make even the rainiest of days a little bit brighter by saving some cash with our discount Disney World tickets.