Growing up, we always visited Disney World in July during school breaks. As a kid, the heat never seemed to bother me. As an adult, however, I swore I’d never visit Disney World in the summer since it’s just SO hot. Fast forward a few years to having a five year old heading to kindergarten, and we were back to visiting Disney in June and early July. I was skeptical, but the trip just reaffirmed for me that Disney is amazing any time of the year- even in the summer!
So whether you’re limited to the summer because of work or school, don’t let that deter you from having an amazing time. Below are a handful of tips to make sure you’re prepared to tackle Disney in the summer.
1. Stay Hydrated
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to stay really hydrated all day when you’re visiting Disney during the summer. Between the heat and amount of walking, dehydration is a real possibility and you don’t want it to affect your vacation. While you can always buy bottles of water throughout the parks, it definitely gets expensive. We typically bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up at either quick service locations or look for a water refill station. (You can find a few water refill stations in Disney World at each park. They continue to add more!)
Another option is to get grocery delivery to order snacks and bottles of water for your trip. There are many options for grocery delivery at Disney World, but we prefer Instacart. For $30 off your next Instacart order, you can use my Instagram referral code: AEMMERLING18D163.
2. Get to the Parks Early
We recommend getting to the parks early at Disney World regardless of the time of year, but especially during the summer. It tends to heat up quickly in the summer at Disney, but it’s typically *only* in the low to mid 70s when the park opens. For that reason, we definitely recommend taking advantage of the lower crowds AND lower temps when the parks first open. If you’re staying on Disney property, you also get 30 minutes early entry to start doing rides before the parks officially open.
Disney World summer hours will vary, but you can check the Disney World calendar here. (Exact hours and events for Disney World are typically published about 60 days out.)
3. Use Stroller Fans & Misters to Stay Cool
We tend to use stroller fans during most seasons to keep those babies and toddlers cool at Disney, especially when napping. It’s especially important to have in the summer months, though. Here are a few different things to pack for Disney in July (+ June or August) to help you stay cool:
- A stroller fan. We love this one with bendable arms that charges with a USB cord.
- A neck fan is great for adults who want to stay cool at Disney
- Portable misters are another one of the best ways to cool off at Disney (and entertain the kids in line)
- A lot of people also love cooling neck towels for Disney. We tried these towels and they worked to a point, but we definitely prefer the fans and misters over these.
You definitely don’t need all of these. Just try one or two and see what works best!
4. Take Afternoon Breaks
With a 2 and 5 year old, we tend to take breaks at least some days regardless of the time of year. (And honestly, I even took a break when I was on a kid-free girls weekend in Disney!) That said, breaks is one of our top Disney World in summer tips. The temps get the hottest in the afternoon, and it’s typically the most crowded then as well. Taking a break, whether it’s napping, showering or using the pool, is a great way to recharge for the rest of the afternoon/ evening.
Our routine tends to be to just get up and roll out of bed for early entry. Then everyone showers and changes out of sweaty clothes in the afternoon when we take a break. I know taking breaks isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re staying offsite or prefer to make the most of every minute at the parks. It definitely works well when visiting Disney with toddlers, though, in our experience.
5. Build in a Rest Day or Two
Whether you decide to take breaks or not, we always recommend building in a rest day. You can sleep in, enjoy some downtime and get a break from being out all day in the hot Florida sun. You can use the amazing pools at your Disney resort, book some fun dining reservations and resort hop or go to Disney Springs.
Just be aware that if you opt for Disney Springs it’s an open air shopping area, and it gets very hot and sunny there too! Don’t forget the sunscreen and water for Disney Springs as well!
6. Look for Indoor Attractions at Disney World
There are a number of indoor rides and shows at Disney World at each of the parks. Some of our favorites by park include:
- Magic Kingdom: Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean rides, plus Mickey’s Philharmonic, Tiki Room and Monster’s Inc. shows.
- Animal Kingdom: Lion King and Finding Nemo Shows and River Na’Vi Journey. The Conservation Station is also a great indoor place for smaller animals and the Animation Experience. The Boneyard Dig Site (the playground in Animal Kingdom) is completely outdoors, but it’s mostly shaded which is a nice break from the sun.
- Epcot: Finding Nemo ride and aquarium, Living with the Land, Soarin’, Ratatouille and Frozen. The Pixar Movie shorts at Epcot are also great for cooling off. (At Epcot, basically every ride is indoors!)
- Hollywood Studios: Mickey’s Runaway Railway, Rise of the Resistance, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Frozen Ever After Show and Disney Junior Dance Party.
Although Animal Kingdom has a lot of trees, it tends to feel like one of the hottest parks at Disney World to me. Hollywood Studios also doesn’t have a lot of shade, but it has more indoor attractions to stay cool.
7. Find the Splash Pads and Cool Down Areas at the Parks
Another great tip for how to stay cool at Disney World is to look for the splash pads and spray zones in the parks. Ironically, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, which I think are the hottest parks at Disney World, don’t have any splash pad areas. Magic Kingdom and Epcot, on the other hand, have a few.
There’s a large splash pad area at Magic Kingdom called the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, located next to Goofy’s Barnstormer by Fantasyland. It’s a full blown splash pad with a train that has interactive features, and your kiddos will get soaked if they play long enough. There’s also a spray area in Adventureland next to Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, and the camel on that ride sprays water for a quick cool off as well.
In Epcot, there’s a splash pad by Future World and spray zone bear Guardians of the Galaxy. When Moana’s Journey of Water opens in the fall of 2023, we’re hoping it creates even more places to cool off in Epcot.
8. Cool off with fun ice cream treats at Disney
Disney World tends to release new snacks and treats with every holiday and season, and Disney in the summertime means lots of opportunities for fun treats to cool off. One of our absolute favorite Disney World snacks is the Dole Whip, and you can find variations of it at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and select resorts.
Our favorite ice cream cookie sandwich is found at Animal Kingdom, and Epcot has some yummy frozen drinks and treats. We also loved the fruit loop milkshake at Brunchcot and our favorite frozen orange drink at the Citrus Blossom at the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival!
You can also find a Dole Whip flight at Swirls on the Water with a Dole Whip flight and head to Marketplace Snacks for the amazing Mickey Bubble Waffle Sundaes at Disney Springs.
9. Attend the Disney Festivals and Special Events in the Summer
This isn’t necessarily one of our tips for staying cool at Disney, but it’s one reason why we love summer at Disney! Summertime great time to visit since it overlaps with two of Disney World’s most popular festivals in Epcot. The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is filled with beautiful topiaries of the characters all throughout the park. It also has special food and drink stands as well as a fun scavenger hunt that’s one of our favorites things to do at Epcot with toddlers. The 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival dates are March 1- July 5, 2023.
Another popular Epcot festival that starts in the summer is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The food and wine festival has yummy food and drink tastings in each of the respective countries in Epcot, along with live music, scavenger hunts and more. The 2023 Epcot Food & Wine festival dates are July 27- November 18, 2023.
If you’re visiting Disney World in August or September, you can also catch the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. 2023 MNSSHP dates should be announced soon!
10. Take Advantage of Lower Prices (and Crowds!) at Disney in the Summer
Not only do there tend to be less crowds at Disney World in the summer, but summer is typically one of the least expensive times to visit Disney. In addition to the lower resort and ticket prices for most dates, you can often find discounts for Disney World packages and resort stays in the summer as well. Summer deals for Disney in 2023 include discounted rooms of up to 35% off for Disney Visa Cardholders and either 25% or 30% off hotel stays (for anyone) on select nights from July to September.
To take advantage of one of these Disney summer promotions, feel free to contact me for help with booking your next trip!
One question I got after our last summer vacation in Disney was, “how busy is Disney World in July?” Aside from July 4th fireworks at Disney, I really didn’t think the parks were too crowded, even during the holiday weekend. (Disney can be crowded every time of year, but relatively speaking, the fall and winter have felt more crowded in our experience.)
Disney World Summer Weather
If you’ve been to Orlando more than once, you probably know that the weather can be somewhat unpredictable. I’ve been there in the winter when it’s snowing and also when it’s in the 80s. I’ve also gone in April in Orlando before when it’s in the 60s or 90s F. The summer, however, is pretty consistently hot. In June, July and August in Orlando, low temps in the low 70s F and high temps hovering around 90 F.
The rainfall is also the highest from June- September, so it’s important to keep that in mind when planning and packing. There’s still so much to do at Disney when it rains, so just throw on a poncho and roll with it!
Disney Summer Packing List
Whether you’re packing for Disney in June, July, August or September, the essentials tend to be the same. Whether you’re trying to figure out what to wear to Disney in the summer or what extra things to buy before Disney, here are a few things we always pack for Disney World in summer months:
- Multiple swimsuits for pool breaks and water park time (especially if you purchase the park hopper plus!)
- Disposable ponchos and stroller rain covers. (We recommend ponchos at Disney all year long, but especially for those afternoon showers in the summer!)
- Lightweight, breathable clothing is generally the best clothing to wear to Disney World in June or July. For women’s summer Disney outfits, I love these activewear dresses and skorts with a tank top.
- An extra outfit (or at least an extra shirt) for park days. You WILL be sweaty. We typically shower and change when we take a break in the afternoon. (But honestly, if you don’t change, it’s Disney and no one will care!)
- Several different devices to cool off, including fans, misters and/or neck towels. (Details shared above!)
- Refillable water bottles to stay extra hydrated. These collapsible water bottles are great if you’re looking to save space.
- Sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen. We tend to start in the morning with regular sunscreen and then bring face sticks and spray to reapply throughout the day.
- Comfortable shoes and flip flops. We usually bring two pairs of sneakers in case one gets soaked and needs time to dry.
Have you been to Disney World in June through September? We’d love to hear any tips you would add for Disney World in the summer!
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