Tips for Cooling off at Walt Disney World in the Summertime
Florida enjoys year-round warm weather, perfect for spending a few days on our beaches, outdoor spaces and amusement parks. For folks unaccustomed to the heat and humidity, however, a day outside in the Sunshine State can put a wrinkle into anyone's good time. After living in Florida for four decades, I've picked up a few tips for keeping a cool head when the sun's beating down.
The most important tip is probably the easiest to follow: stay hydrated. Pack plastic water bottles filled halfway with ice; refill them during the day and you'll have instant cool water. Refill your bottled water for free in most restaurants with counter service, or buy it there. Avoid sugary drinks, which will dehydrate you and make you feel more thirsty.
Keep a battery-powered water mister (a fan attached to a bottle of water) close at hand; stow it in a backpack or hang it on a lanyard if it's small enough to wear. There's a large water-mister in Disney's Tomorrowland - if you're headed to the House of the Mouse, be sure to run your family through it when the sun's high.
Wear sunscreen, even if you think you don't need it. I can't tell you how many times I've seen tourists burnt to a crisp on the beach or at the pool, thinking they were safely burn-free because they "felt" cool. The same goes for being out on a boat. If you're in the sun and you aren't protected, you'll burn even if you feel the wind on your face. Keep waterproof sunscreen on you and your kids at all times, and refresh it frequently.
Wear light-colored clothing in natural fabrics. You might love the look of your black t-shirt and jeans, but you'll be miserable when it's 90 degrees outside and the humidity's at 74% (the average for Orlando), it's only a matter of time before you wish you'd worn something different. If you're headed somewhere else in Florida, find out what the average humidity and temperature will be before you head out.
Start your day early, and schedule meals well in advance. Don't wait until you're at your destination to figure out what you're going to do around mealtime; most restaurants fill up quickly, and if you want to eat in an air-conditioned space, this is especially important. Make reservations as early as possible. Walt Disney World, for example, accepts reservations months in advance; I book lunch and dinner reservations for my family six months before we head to the park. The best part: done from the comfort of my home, there's no standing in line outside for hours before we enjoy our delicious meal. It's stress-free and a great way to keep cool. The closer to peak dining hours, the harder it is to book a table.
Also, remember that Florida gets near daily monsoon-like afternoon thunderstorms during summer. It may look inviting, but this isn't the time to take a walk in the rain. While the rain will make you cooler, it's also going to feel like a sauna before and after, and because of the lightning danger, you shouldn't be outside anyhow.
Plan ahead. Although you can't predict what Mother Nature's got planned, you can schedule your day so that you're indoors when Florida rainstorms are usually at their worst.
It takes just a little bit of effort to keep you and your family cool during the hottest days of summer.