The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down…
As any visitor to Walt Disney World can attest, the afternoon thunderstorm is a regular occurrence at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Fortunately, these summer squalls typically pass by quickly, though once in a while you could get that all day downpour. But should that put a damper on your day? Not at all! Many of the headliner attractions, specifically those that are outside, might temporarily close of course, but there’s still so much to do in and about the parks. In this week’s blog, we thought we’d share some of our favorite rainy day touring tips, as well as some of our favorite rainy moments found in the attractions. Ponchos ready? Then let’s go!
Rainy Day Tips
Before we share some thoughts on things you can do when it’s raining, let’s talk about some simple things you can do to prepare for that inevitable Florida storm. The first thing that probably comes to mind is rain gear, specifically the ponchos you can purchase at any gift shop in the parks and resorts. That may seem like the obvious course of action, but sometimes it’s worth considering whether it would be worth the trouble. After all, the plastic ponchos can get rather stuffy on a hot day, and packing up those wet ponchos can be a hassle.
If the rain in question is more of a light sprinkle and nothing too heavy, I find that it isn’t worth the time and trouble to deal with getting a poncho, putting it on, and then carrying it around for the rest of the day. That mid- to late-afternoon rain that you often get during the summer is typically fleeting. If you take a break and wander into some shops, you might be able to avoid the rain altogether. If you have to wander from here to there, a nice big hat or baseball cap can surprisingly make all the difference in the world. As long as your head and face are dry, a few drops of rain on your arms isn’t that big of a deal. Now if it is a heavy storm or and all-day steady rain, then yes, that poncho is probably your best bet.
Here’s one final tip: while the poncho does a great job at keeping your head and body dry, it doesn’t do much for your shoes as you stomp through all those puddles. A good way to dry them out is to bring along some newspaper (or pick one up in the sundries shop of your resort). Loosely crumple up some newspaper and tuck them into your shoes. Surprisingly, your shoes should be fairly dry by morning!
Places to Go, Things to Do
OK, it’s raining, those outside attractions are shut down, but you still want to have some fun. Where to go? This would be a great time to visit those indoor attractions or shows that you haven’t gotten a chance to see, or haven’t been to in quite a while. Go catch some hoedown fun at the Country Bear Jamboree, or enjoy the patriotic shows at the Hall of Presidents or the American Adventure.
Oftentimes when it rains, especially later in the day, a lot of folks will decide just to head back to their resorts and call it a day. For you, that means the crowds will be lighter and you just might be able to get on your favorite (indoor) attraction or enjoy a show with little or no wait.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A rainy afternoon is also a great time to do some resort hopping, particularly if you’re at the Magic Kingdom. Head on over to the resort monorail and take a tour of the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. Do some shopping! Grab a snack! Or if you’re feeling adventurous, go on a “hotel explore”! Wander down the halls and through the lobbies and see what you can find. A fun place that we like to explore is the convention level at the Contemporary resort. This is the floor you typically glide by as you ride the escalators up and down from the lobby to the Grand Concourse. But take some time to explore, it’s a much bigger area than you think, and you’ll find more escalators and corridors to explore, many with out of the way, quiet sitting areas where you can put your feet up and relax.
And the Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down…
Even when it’s not raining outside, there are plenty of magical rainy moments to be found inside the attractions. Here are some of our favorites:
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
While most of this show is charming and whimsical, there is a moment in the middle when the tiki gods are angered and a fierce thunderstorm rages outside the faux windows. It’s fun to sit in the back rows near the windows so you can get an up close view of the torrential downpour going on ‘outside.’ Sure, it’s all pretend, though if you leave the attraction and find that it actually IS raining outside, you might think twice about angering the tiki gods in the future!
Carousel of Progress
A humorous rain event can also be found in the Carousel of Progress when Sarah says that there’s a storm coming. Rover gives a howl, but father tries to soothe him by saying “besides it’s not going to rain, my lumbago isn’t acting up!” Of course, right then the storm hits, complete with thunder, lightning, and pounding rain! That’s OK though, since as father remind us, the cistern was low anyway.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
As you may have guessed by the title of this section, one of our favorite rainy moments can be found on this whimsical attraction in Fantasyland. The blustery day rain scene is one of the most memorable in all of the Winnie the Pooh featurettes, and it is magically brought to life about halfway through your journey in the Hundred Acre Wood. The rain effects here are quite simple, but oh so magical. Be sure to take a peek at the ever-expanding circles of light that give the illusion of ripples in the water. And who can forget that unforgettable song! IN the animated featurette, Piglet had a rough time, even sending out a message in a bottle asking for help at one point, but Pooh has his priorities straight as he puts all of his hunny pots safely up on a branch. As he says, “I must rescue my supper.” Silly old bear.
Living With the Land
When you think of Living with the Land, you probably think of the greenhouses and innovations that you see throughout your tour. But our favorite scene is the rainforest scene when you first set out on your adventure. The rain effects, combined with some fans blowing a cool breeze throughout the area, will definitely make you feel like you’re caught in a torrential downpour. Thankfully though, the desert and prairie scenes are up next, and you can dry out with the prairie dogs.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Our final stop also brings us to one of the scariest scenes in all of Walt Disney World, the storm scene that you encounter after the beach. Here you’ll find the skeletal remains of a pirate desperately hanging on to the ship’s wheel, while thunder and lightning crash about him. You can see the dripping water glistening off the skeleton’s bones, and seeing as you’re already in the dark, this creates a truly immersive scene that will send a shiver down your spine. No, it’s not really raining, so you won’t get wet, but don’t be too smug, the “dead men tell no tales” drop is, pardon the pun, dead ahead.
So that’s a quick overview of rain at Walt Disney World, both real and imagined. Don’t forget, even though those clouds might be brewing outside, that doesn’t have to put a damper on your Disney day. Embrace the rain, enjoy it, and take the opportunity to explore something new. Who knows? You just might find a new favorite experience!
For even more Disney rain magic and touring tips, be sure to check out this week podcast episode, in which we gather around to table to share our favorite pieces of rainy day advice, our favorite things to do when it rains, and our favorite rainy moments in the attractions!