Are you looking for ways to stay cool at Disney in the summer? Find our best tips including what products to pack, what to wear, and more to escape the heat at Disney. This list will also help you if you are visiting in fall or spring or even winter because Walt Disney World is hot all year long! Check out all our Disney posts here.
Pack a personal fan for everyone in your group
While you can’t always stay indoors at Disney, you can and should carry a small personal fan for everyone in your party, especially for the kids. Most of the small personal fans are USB powered, can be easily recharged wherever you find a charging point, and some can also be charged with a power bank! They are powerful enough to whip up a small wind around the kids and keep them cool and happy. The fans come in different types from clip-on stroller fans for babies and toddlers to handheld USB fans for adults.
Another option is to get a misting fan to keep babies and kids cool in the humidity. My preschooler loves his misting fan and keeps spraying himself with water. If you are confused about whether to get the personal fans or misting fans, I would suggest a combination of both to use and switch as per your needs. While most of these fans are available inside the Disney stores they are extremely expensive and we recommend buying them for cheap before you go.
Dress for the heat!
One of the best ways to stay cool is to dress appropriately for the weather. If the forecast is for an extremely hot and humid day, then avoid blacks and synthetic materials. White or other light colors are great at reflecting heat while cotton and other natural fibers let your skin breathe – thus acting as a natural cooling system. I’m always divided between wearing long cotton/linen pants vs opting for shorts in summer: both have their advantages so I would suggest dressing as per your preference. However, long blue denim is an absolute no unless you are ready to sweat it out. If you are planning to wear tanks or shorts then I would recommend packing layers for the cool evenings. Also pack in hats, bandannas, or scarves to cover your head.
Wrap a cooling towel around your neck
I first came across cooling towels when I was taking our son on his first trip to India in the summer heat. Since then I have been a huge fan. You need to simply soak the towel, wring out the water, and shake it to feel ice cold. When the towels are dry, they feel soft just like regular towels. My son doesn’t want to remove his while we are in Disney or while hiking. The towel that we bought comes in its own travel case which is a big plus. I simply wet the towel before we go to Disney and put them in my backpack until we need to use it. I have also often used it as a sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt. Simply drape a cooling towel over your neck and use it to wipe as needed. Rewet it whenever you see a water fountain. That’s it!
Wear comfortable and airy shoes
Wearing comfortable shoes is an essential part of your Disney experience year-round. While summer tempts visitors into wearing flip flops, these are actually one of the worst footwear to wear at Disney. Flip flops aren’t meant for walking miles and miles, which you’ll surely be doing inside the Disney parks. I also hate wearing walking shoes or sports shoes in the summer because my feet get sweaty. If you prefer shoes, then opt for moisture-wicking socks or even better wear cute and comfortable walking sandals like these by Plaka. For kids, crocs are a good bet for airy and waterproof shoes.
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
You will be walking a lot in Disney with the little fry – and when I say a lot – I mean 8 to 12 miles every day! You need to drink ice water and stay hydrated to keep cool. One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to keep sipping water every half an hour so that you never reach the thirsty stage. I buy the kids a Disney themed bottle so they are happy with the bright colors and love to sip on them. We usually refill our bottles whenever we spot a water fountain and never let them get empty.
As soon as you see a shady spot, rest for a minute and recoup
If you are staying at Disney Resorts, then definitely head back in and cool at the pool or take a nap in your room. But if you are like us and want to do Disney on the cheap then you have probably purchased a one day ticket and are staying outside the park in a budget inn! In that case, we recommend taking a few minutes to rest and recoup as soon as you see a shady spot. Drink some cool water, wipe the kid’s faces, and then trudge on ahead. The best heat defense is not letting the kids get overheated and cranky in the first place!
Alternate outdoor rides and activities with indoor attractions
Disney has lots of indoor attractions and shows which you can use to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. Our personal favorite is the Enchanted Tiki Room at both Disneyland Anaheim and WDW Florida. My kids love to see the Polynesian themed show and watch the birds, flowers, and plants come to life and sing the Tiki Room song while they sit in an air-conditioned environment. The shows at Disney theme parks are also a great way to spend some time indoors.
If you are traveling to Disney by yourself, then you will love this solo guide to WDW.
Let the kids splash and cool down at water play areas
Most of the Disney theme parks have some kind of water play area where little ones can have a blast and get soaked. We recommend bringing swimsuits or spare clothes if you plan to do this. Even if the park doesn’t have a water play area or splash pad, it may have rides where you will get wet. We love the Splash Mountain at both WDW and Disneyland to cool off during the afternoon. Just sit in the front and your party will be soaked through and through! There are also many splash play areas located in WDW Orlando which can be used to get away from the Florida heat. The Magic Kingdom has the Casey Jr. Splash and Soak Station while Epcot has its own splash pad which is a hit with the kids.
Eat lots of Mickey ice cream bars and Dole whips
Take advantage of all those treats Disney offers to stay cool. You will find great frozen treats, shakes, and drinks at almost every corner of Disney theme parks. Our favorites are Disney Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and the Dole soft serve pineapple whip. Other great treats include the Mint Julep in New Orleans Square and Clarabelle ice cream at Toontown in Disneyland. You can also find these in WDW along with ice cream sandwiches, cookie sundaes, gelatos, and macaron sandwiches.
Take the time to have a nice sit-down character dining experience
If you are going to hit the attractions non-stop at a hectic pace, then you are going to get sweaty and feel overheated irrespective of the weather. A great alternative is to use the morning to ride outdoors attractions then have a nice meal indoors in the blazing hot afternoon sun before venturing out again around 2 or 3 pm. Character meals are a great way to ensure that kids enjoy mealtimes plus adults get to eat good food. We resisted character meals initially because of their cost but then came around when we saw how much the kids enjoyed them. The kids will stay engrossed in seeing the fully dressed characters walking around and taking photos while you can sit back and enjoy a drink. Most of the character dining experiences need advance reservations and can get sold out so we recommend booking them as soon as you plan your trip.