You're all set for a day in the most magical place on earth - but the weatherman warns that you are going to get wet. So, how do you handle this?
The very most important thing that you need to do is to make the conscious decision to make the best of it and still have a good time. Yes, it stinks that you'll be in the rain. Yes, you will get wet. So what?
The fact of the matter is that rainy days do hold down attendence, so brave souls can expect to spend less time in line - especially in light of the fact that Disney almost never closes any ride simply due to rain. A large percentage of locals that might have taken a day trip to WDW will elect to take advantage of better weather on another day. Less hardy vacationers will choose to stay at their resorts, or will spend less time in the parks than they otherwise might have done. If you simply make up your mind ahead of time to deal with the weather and not give up, you'll see the lighter than normal crowd thin even more as the day goes on.
The vast majority of Disney guests will use ponchos to help fight the rain, as umbrellas can be a pain to carry and stow at a theme park. If you don't have "real" rain gear (which can be pricey, and is also truly stifling to wear in Orlando at almost any time of year), then odds are, you'll go the poncho route, as well. There are two schools of thought for wearing ponchos at WDW - you plan ahead and bring your own, or you buy them from Disney.
If you bring your own ponchos on your trip, you have the ability to either purchase a higher quality item than Disney sells in the parks, or to save money on inexpensive disposable ponchos (Disney ponchos cost eight dollars apiece on our last trip in October 2011). Furthermore, you'll have the advantage that your family won't easily blend in with the 98% of other guests wearing identical Mickey rain gear.
However, there are a couple of huge advantages to buying the Disney ponchos. First off, they are sold at almost every retail location in the parks and resorts of Walt Disney World. Secondly, one poncho purchase will last you the entire length of your stay. If you are like most people, it can be difficult for an entire family to make it through a full day on poncho use without at least one (if not every single one of them) tearing at some point in the day - all of the walking, taking them on and off, and getting in and out of rides just begs for rips. If you rip your poncho, however, all you have to do is take it to the nearest retail location, and Disney will replace it for free, no questions asked. Suddenly, that eight dollar purchase doesn't look quite as bad.
Finally, if you do wear ponchos (especially of the Disney variety), consider packing extra pants and/or underwear in a waterproof bag - at least for younger kids. The Disney rain gear will not protect your entire leg, and after a long day, you can get a real boost from changing.
Next, you need to make a plan for dealing with the rain. Some parks (such as Magic Kingdom or Holywood Studios) lend themelves better to rainy days than do others (such as Animal Kingdom), but every park has a selection of indoor attractions, be they shows, exhibits, or rides. It seldom rains steadily all day long in Florida; most of the time (especially during the warmer months), rain instead comes in showers that come and go. If possible, duck inside during the rain, then hit the outdoor attractions during the lulls.
Of course, sometimes, there is no such thing as a workable plan. During our last trip, we managed to run into an actual record setting rainstorm; it started raining before daylight on Saturday morning, and did not stop raining until halfway through Sunday afternoon... with much of the rain being of the very heavy and/or sideways varieties. We tried modifying the above plan, hitting the indoor attractions when the rain was harder, braving the outdoors when it was lighter. Of course, everyone else had the same basic ideas; we saw lines at Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion that were easily twice as long as any others we had seen all week. Nevertheless, we pressed on - and sure enough, by late afternoon, the park began to completely empty.
We rode Splash Mountain in the rain, figuring that we were already wet, and that we couldn't get much wetter (we actually got soaked to the skin). I took my two young sons on the Mad Tea Party three times in a row with no wait. I took the same two boys onto Astro Orbiter three more times in a row - without ever even getting off the ride (they never filled more than four rockets per ride). Yes, we were uncomfortable... but we made some great memories that day that I wouldn't trade for anything.
When it's all said and done, I'd rather not have to deal with the rain while at WDW. But life is life, and sometimes, it rains. If you're on vacation at Disney, you've already spent the money and set aside the time, so don't back down. Make up your mind to have a good time, make the most of the situation, and press on. You might be surprised how much fun you still manage to have.
By Author. All Rights Reserved. Date
January 08, 2012
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