How to Make the Best of a Rainy Day at Disney World
If you know Florida weather, you know that you will almost definitely encounter a rain shower or two during your Disney vacation. The good news is that Disney World in the rain is still Disney World, and there is still plenty of fun to be had even if you get a little wet in the process.
Our Disney vacation in 2020 was smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Eta. So when I saw the forecast for that week, first I panicked, and then I researched.
Spoiler alert: we still had an amazing time!
But I think a lot of it had to do with being prepared and having the right attitude. So if you’re worried at all about the weather in Walt Disney World, read on for all of my Disney in the rain tips!
What Month Has the Best Weather for Disney World
Since most people are planning their vacations months out, there’s no way to know what your exact week at Disney will look like. This table can at least give you an idea of how much rain Orlando typically gets each month and what the average temperatures look like.
A few things to keep in mind:
First is that even if October and November get a relatively low amount of rain, you are still facing the possibility of a hurricane or tropical storm (since hurricane season runs from the start of June until the end of November).
Second, if you are visiting during the summer months, you can expect to see rain almost every afternoon. The mid-afternoon showers don’t typically last very long, but you’ll want to be prepared. Keep reading for more on that…
Disney World Rain Policy
With the exception of temporarily shutting down a few outdoor rides, Disney will keep all other operations up and running when the skies open up. There are no rain checks for park days, so when it rains you just have to pull out your rain gear and make the best of it!
Here’s what to expect when it comes to different rides and activities in the park:
Do Disney Roller Coasters Run in the Rain?
A little rain won’t necessarily cause outdoor coasters to stop running, but an extreme downpour might delay outdoor rides temporarily. Lightning is a different story. If there is lightning in the area (within 10 miles), you can expect that outdoor roller coasters and attractions will shut down until the storm passes.
You are usually welcome to wait in line while rides close temporarily, and you might even get through the queue faster if other guests decide to jump ship!
Pro tip: If you want to keep an eye on storms as they are passing through, a great app to have on your phone is My Lightning Tracker & Alerts. It will alert you if there are strikes detected in your area.
Disney World Fireworks in the Rain
You might be surprised to find out that rain doesn’t usually cancel Disney fireworks. Unless there are high winds or lightning, the show will probably still go on!
Disney Parades in the Rain
Parades at Disney World have recently been modified in light of the C-word. But in the days of regularly scheduled parades, Disney had a back up plan for rainy days. Instead of sending out the regular characters in their typical attire, you might have the opportunity to see the Rainy Day Character Cavalcade.
While a little shorter than the regularly scheduled parades, the Rainy Day Parade dancers are decked out in the most adorable rain jackets, hats and galoshes.
Does the Monorail Run in the Rain?
Thankfully, the Monorail that connects Magic Kingdom and Epcot and a few Disney resorts, should continue to run in the rain. It’s actually a great option to consider if you don’t want to be in the parks when it’s raining. If you’re at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, you can take a ride to the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or the Polynesian and check out a new gift shop or restaurant.
Does the Skyliner run in bad weather?
While the rain itself is not enough to shutdown Disney’s Skyliner, it has been known to stop running if there is lightning nearby.
Do Disney boats run in the rain?
Like the Disney Skyliner, rain won’t necessarily make the boats stop running, but lightning definitely will.
What Rides Close at Disney World When it Rains?
Some rides will only close if there is lightening nearby, but here is a complete list of Disney rides that could be affected by heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Rides that close in Animal Kingdom when it rains
Up! A Great Bird Adventure, The Boneyard, TriceraTop Spin, Wildlife Express, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest
Rides that close in Hollywood Studios when it rains
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple, Fantasmic!, Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Beauty and the Beast,
Rides that close in Epcot when it rains
Rides that close in Magic Kingdom when it rains
Tom Sawyer Island, Tomorrowland Speedway, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Liberty Belle Riverboat, Astro Orbiter, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, and Swiss Family Treehouse, The Barnstormer
Best Disney World Parks in the Rain
All of the parks have their fair share of indoor attractions and dining, but some are just easier than others to navigate in the rain. Here’s my ranking in order from best to worst Disney world parks in the rain.
For us, Epcot is the clear winner. The way the park is laid out there are several buidings with numerous inside attractions, like the Seas with Nemo & Friends and the Land Pavilion. You can easily kill an hour or more in each building so they are a great place to wait out a storm. Plus, the only ride in Epcot that is impacted by weather is Test Track, so you can still see a lot of the park without running into ride closures.
The rain could also be a good excuse to have a sit down meal. Because, let’s be honest, when we go to Epcot we come ready to eat. They have some of the best table service restaurants in Disney World. Our favorites are Le Cellier in Canada, Via Napoli in Italy, and Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco.
It’s best to have a reservation for a table service restaurant but you can now check to see if walk up dining reservations are available on the My Disney Experience app.
2. Magic Kingdom
Even though Magic Kingdom has the longest list of rides that can be impacted by weather, there are still several long-ish indoor attractions that are a great choice when it rains. Some good ideas are Carousel of Progress, The Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
And if you’re hungry, Magic Kingdom has some excellent indoor quick service restaurants. Cosmic Rays, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and Pinocchio Village Haus all have plenty of indoor seating and don’t require a reservation.
3. Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios is further down on the list because many of the rides have lines that are mostly outdoors. I also find that the gift shops and quick service dining options feel smaller so there are less options when seeking shelter from the rain.
But the good news is that there aren’t many rides affected by weather in Hollywood Studios, so almost everything will still be operating. Toy Story Mania is a ride that rarely has an outdoor line, Muppet Vision 3-D is an indoor show, and Walt Disney Presents is an indoor walk through exhibit about the life of Walt Disney. All are great options to consider when it rains.
If you want to grab something to eat, Docking Bay 7 and Backlot Express are probably your best bet when it comes to having available seating.
4. Animal Kingdom
There are so many outdoor attractions at Animal Kingdom, which is part of what makes it awesome. But it does make it our least favorite park to navigate in the rain. Because Animal Kingdom is the largest in size of all the Disney parks and attractions, the lands are more spread out which means more walking from ride to ride.
However, it is home to a few really great indoor options; Finding Nemo the Musical and Rakiki’s Planet Watch would both help you to pass the time while crossing an attraction off your list.
Finding Nemo will require that the timing is right, and you’ll need to jump on a train and take a short walk into the building for Rafiki’s Planet Watch. But Finding Nemo the Musical is 40 minutes long, and you can spend about the same about of time at Rafiki’s Planet Watch taking an animation class in Conservation Station or visiting the petting zoo at Affection Section.
Packing for a Rainy Day at Disney World
I am “Mrs. Just in Case” when it comes to most things. So this list is everything that I bring for a rainy day. But you may find that a combination of just a few of these things is enough for you to feel prepared. But when I’m packing a bag for 5 people, and my youngest decides he suddenly doesn’t like ponchos and only wants an umbrella, I’m glad that I brought options!
Disposable ponchos are a must! You can get these at the Dollar Store or have them sent to your house from Amazon. I like to bring 2 per person in case one rips. The first option is a family pack that includes both adult and child sizes! (The official Disney ponchos cost around $10 to $15 in the parks so you’ll definitely want to get them ahead of time).
2. Packable Rain Jacket
I like to carry a rain jacket that folds down small enough to carry in my park bag. It can also double as a light jacket if the temps are cooler in the morning or evening.
3. Stroller Cover
You’ll want to make sure you have something to cover your stroller. Wether you’re keeping your little one dry while walking from ride to ride or just keeping your stroller dry while it’s parked outside, you’ll want to have something.
In my post of Disney hacks I suggest bringing a plastic tablecloth as an affordable option. But a legit rain cover is a great baby accessory to have around for more than just Disney. If your stroller didn’t come with one, here are 2 universal stroller covers from Amazon that should do the trick:
4. Flip Flops
You might not want to wear flip flops for an entire day in the parks, but trust me when I tell you that you DO NOT want to walk around in wet socks and sneakers after a rainstorm blows through. If rain is in the forecast I make a point to throw a pair of flip flops in everyone’s park bag so we can all do a quick shoe swap if it downpours.
You can keep it as simple as a pair of Old Navy $1 flip flops. Or if you want more support and think you’ll be wearing them for a longer stretch of time, consider a pair of Crocs flip flops. This is the style I used during our last visit when we had a lot of rain. They are light weight, have some support, and don’t take up a lot of room in your bag.
5. Backpack Cover
I originally bought these backpack covers for our trip to Costa Rica, but I am so glad I packed them in November for Disney! They are super easy to throw on and clip in place and they keep everything inside my bag dry. They come in a pack of 2 and each one has a small storage pouch so they only take up a space about the size of a deck of cards.
You can see it on my backpack in this picture.
6. Microfiber Towel
Microfiber towels are another item that’s great to carry in your park bag. You can use them to dry off a bench before sitting down, or dry off a person after a water ride. This is a set with 3 different sizes in 1 pack.
7. Travel Umbrella
When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with an umbrella! Obviously, smaller is better so you can easily pack it in a backpack or stroller.
Or you can be like me and use all the gear! 🙂
Disney in the Rain Tips and Tricks
1. Keep a positive attitude
The sight of those grey clouds moving in may make you feel like your expensive day is about to be a complete wash. But just remember that the rain usually passes quickly, and if you do get wet, it’s just water and you’ll dry!
Your kids feed off of your attitude too, so do your best to stay positive and make the best of it!
2. Be prepared.
Be sure to pack the things on the list above. Having the right gear and wearing the right clothes will make all the difference when it comes to enjoying a rainy day at Disney World.
3. Head for an indoor attraction.
Rain usually passes quickly in Florida, so ideally you can still cross off an attraction on your list while you kill 20-30 minutes indoors. Scroll back up for the best rides and attractions to look for in each park when you need to stay dry.
4. Run to a ride with an outdoor line when the rain dies down.
When we were in Epcot recently, the line for Frozen Ever After in Norway was stretched all the way through China, the neighboring country. But when it started to rain people scattered to seek shelter. So we entertained ourselves in a gift shop nearby and then jumped in line as soon as the rain started to ease up! The line for one of the most popular rides in Epcot, that would have taken us over an hour to get through, only took took 10 minutes after the rain stopped!
5. Wait it out
It may be tempting to call it quits and head back to your hotel for the afternoon. But if you’re willing to wait for the rain to pass you could experience shorter wait times! It’s the silver lining on a day of not so ideal weather.
Is there rain in the forecast for your most expensive week ever?? It’ll be ok! I promise! I spent so much time worrying that our week at Disney with the threat of a Tropical Storm would be miserable.
But in true Florida fashion, the rain came and went, and we still saw plenty of sunshine! Just like the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Florida, just wait 5 minutes.”
Related Disney World Planning Posts
Planning a Disney vacation and need more tips? Check out some of these helpful posts. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, let me know!
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