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Don't Let it Rain on Your Parade: Rainy Days at Disneyby Liliane Opsomer, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 01-10-2013
Rain is a common occurrence in Orlando, especially during the summer months.
Don't be deterred; there is actually lots to do, and visiting the parks, albeit a little wet, gets much easier. As soon as it starts raining, many people will exit the parks, leaving them a lot emptier for you to enjoy. Take advantage of the exodus. Besides, with masses of people departing it will be hard to get on the buses or the tram to the parking lot! This is the moment to take out your rain poncho and head for the rides, which have much shorter queues.
Do yourselves a favor and come prepared with a rain poncho. While having one with Mickey Mouse imprinted on it sounds appealing, I suggest you buy one at a dollar store before leaving home and have it handy. Not only would you pay a premium price for Mickey raingear at the parks, but guess what, everybody else will be running around in the same identical outfit making it much more difficult to keep track of your family. I never take an umbrella; they just don’t work in the parks. You can rent a locker and store your raingear away or just keep it in your backpack. Another handy item is a few plastic bags to store the wet ponchos in. Keep additional plastic bags at hand to protect your camera and use cheap $1 ponchos to cover your stroller. And yes, it will be windy, so take a few clothes pins to keep the plastic on the stroller!
Be sure to cover your footwear, it is no fun to get blisters due to wet socks and sneakers. A second pair of dry socks is also a good idea. I even have a pair of flip-flops in the backpack. They are great for riding Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids and they come in handy during a rainstorm.
In the parks go for the indoor attractions and shows, such as Festival of the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tower of Terror, The Hall of Presidents, O Canada, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, The Haunted Mansion, and Finding Nemo – The Musical, just to name a few. One of my favorite things to do is to take the Behind the Seeds Tour at the Land Pavilion at Epcot. At $18 for adults and $14 for children ages 3-9, it is one of the more affordable tours offered at Walt Disney World. It lasts about an hour and you get to go through the greenhouses and labs and see the techniques Disney uses to grow their plants. Kids will love the experience, as they get to participate in activities along the way. Keep in mind that some outdoor attractions such as Test Track and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be closed for safety reasons during a rainstorm.
The Magic Kingdom is connected to three fabulous Disney resort properties by monorail. Go and explore the Contemporary Resort, where the monorail actually passes through the hotel. You may want to see if Chef Mickey's has availability and enjoy a character meal. If it is late in the day, don’t assume that the fireworks are canceled. If you want to play it safe, stay at the Contemporary and view the fireworks from their rain-protected viewing area. Head to the Polynesian Resort and explore this great hotel. The lobby alone is worth a visit, where a cast member makes leis and is always willing to share stories and knowledge. If you are ready for a drink, the Tambu Lounge on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House is my all time favorite. You can sit at the bar, or in the adjoining lounge where there are enough electrical outlets to recharge your phone!
The Grand Floridian is just a skip and a monorail stop away. This elegant Victorian resort is said to be modeled after the Del Coronado Hotel in California, and will take your breath away. Think palm trees, a grand piano providing live music, and an open-cage elevator transporting guests to the second floor shops and restaurants. The Grand Floridian is also home to 1900 Park Fare, the restaurant where the Supercalifragilistic Character Breakfast takes place. Guests enjoy a buffet breakfast in the presence of Mary Poppins, Alice in in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Eeyore, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. At dinner the restaurant hosts Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner. And while everybody rejoices to meet the princess and her beau, it is Lady Tremaine and her evil daughters who steal the show.
So what else is there to do? Of course there is always shopping, but you will not be the only one who has this grand idea. If you decide on visiting Downtown Disney and you have younger children in your party, head for the Lego Store. Your kids can spend lots of time playing there without you even making a purchase. The newly opened Splitsville bowling alley boosts 30 lanes, offers two kitchens including a sushi bar, billiard tables, and live entertainment. And wouldn’t it be a great day for the movies? The Downtown Disney AMC has a wide array of latest flicks for you to enjoy and there is always DisneyQuest with games galore.
For parents with young children, a rainy day might be a good day to sign up the kids for any of the children's programs available. On property you have Simba's Cubhouse at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Never Land Club at Disney's Polynesian Resort, Cub's Den at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Sandcastle Club at Disney's Beach Club Resort and Camp Dolphin at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. And while the kids are having fun you can relax at the hotel with a good meal, a book, or why not try out the spa?
If you wanted to treat your little Princess to a makeover, this is the perfect day for a visit to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. By the time the Fairy Godmother in Training is done with her work, the sun should be out again. If not, don’t forget an umbrella to protect the new look! Please don’t waste a park ticket on this; there is no reason to have the makeover done inside the Magic Kingdom. There is a lovely boutique right in Downtown Disney. For reservations call 407-WDW-STYLE (407-939-7895).
In the mood for a show? The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, a popular family-style dinner show at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, might just be right for you. Contact 407-WDW-DINE to make reservations. Prior to your show, weather permitting, take the boat over to Wilderness Lodge and explore this turn-of-the-century National Park lodge-inspired property.
Last but not least, just relax at the hotel, play a board game, watch TV, and rest. Tomorrow will be another day at the parks.
Rainy Day Links:
About the Author: Liliane was born in Belgium and has been living in New York City for 25 years. She is the co-author of the “Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids”, a guidebook that provides detailed planning and touring tips for a family vacation. She is passionate about travel, Disney, and hobbits. She is the proud mother of a son who just graduated from Florida State University’s Film School. Liliane contributes to UndercoverTourist, JohnnyJet.com and TravelMole on a regular basis and just started her own blog.
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