In the past I’ve held question and answer sessions on my Instagram to help people with planning their trips. One of the most common questions I get is about surviving the heat at Disney. No matter which western Disney resort you visit, there are some times of year where the heat can feel a little unbearable in a theme park setting. Yes, that includes Disneyland Paris. Between May and August, Disneyland Paris often experiences temperatures that even surpass Orlando. And they don’t have the same level of air conditioning! Of course, Florida is known for it’s all year heat and Disneyland in the summer experiences the dry heat coming off the desert.
But don’t let that put you off visiting! There are some great ways for surviving a hot Disney park day, so don’t let the weather put you off!
There is a lot of content out there about what to do when the weather is wet at Disney. But let’s face it, a wet day at Disney is better than a dry day anywhere else. Rain doesn’t usually cause any health concerns, but hot weather can be dangerous and it’s absolutely imperative that you do your research on how to stay cool before you travel. Don’t worry though, I have you covered!
What to Pack For Surviving a Hot Day at Disney
I just wanted to share my essentials when it comes to keeping cool. Some of these are recommendations from friends who live out in Florida and California.
And some are just things that we have found work for us. You might have already picked all of this up, or perhaps there will be something you didn’t think of.
A metal water bottle – I have found you can fill these with ice and as they slowly melt through out the day, you have cold water to drink.
A portable hand fan – You can pick these up pretty cheap from Amazon. They’re rechargeable so you can set them away in the evening along with your phone and camera to charge and they keep you cool.
High SPF sun cream – A bit of a no brainer.
A cooling towel – These are amazing. Just soak in cold water, shake out and then drape around your shoulders and neck.
A black out parasol – Amazing if you need a sit down and you can’t find shade! Keeps the sun off you and offers you your own personal shaded area!
Sun hat and sunglasses – More no brainers. But just in case because a burnt scalp is pretty darn painful!
Now for some tips...
Head Out Early or Stay Out Late
Usually your day will be at it’s coolest first thing in the morning and once the sun goes down. So use this as your premium time in the parks. As Olivia’s favourite thing to do is meet characters, we are usually at the parks for rope drop. Characters that have a meet spot outside are usually out in the morning and afternoon, rather than in the evening.
So if you like to meet characters try and get to the parks as early as possible. However, if you’re more into rides, the evening hours will be more beneficial to you. A lot of guests leave the parks around about dinner or after the parade. I’ve found this to be true in all the parks we’ve visited. It means lines for the rides are shorter. It will also be cooler. Making it more enjoyable to walk around and stand in a line.
Make the Most of Indoor Attractions & Shows
A handy tip I discovered during our Walt Disney World trips was to make the most of indoor rides during the height of the day. At Magic Kingdom our go to rides are Under the Sea, Tiki Room and Philharmagic (it’s a good one!). Then at Hollywood Studios I love sitting in the darkness of the very dated Voyage of the Little Mermaid or doing the Frozen Sing Along.
Animal Kingdom has the Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo the Musical.. or you could get soaked on Kali River Rapids. And at Epcot, the ride in the Mexico Pavilion, The Seas with Nemo or Living with the Land are a fab way to pass some time in the AC. And Disneyland Paris has Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Tours, they even have shaded or indoor queue areas!
Enjoy the Cold Snacks
Ice cream, milkshakes, ice cream floats, Starbucks, slushies.. these are all the snacks you should head for when it starts to get a bit too hot and your children are getting a little hangry. Whenever I saw Olivia starting to flake a bit I offered ice cream and she instantly perked up.
It was such a treat to have it every day and it kept her cool. We also love the milkshakes at Victoria’s in Disneyland Paris. In WDW when it starts to get a little hot, you’ll find me in Starbucks getting a trenta passion tea lemonade. They may not look as great as something Mickey shaped but any snack at Disney is a good snack!
Do not be afraid to head back to your hotel for a break when surviving a hot Disney Park day. When I was a kid my parents swore by an afternoon break at the hotel. We loved being in the pool but for a long time this wasn’t something I ever did with my own kid. She would nap in the pushchair and it felt more like hassle taking the bus back to the resort.
Now I’m older, and she’s older, the afternoon naps are no more. But hotel rooms have AC, and sometimes just an hour or so lying in that is enough to perk you up enough to tackle the rest of the day. I also love a cold shower and like I was as a kid, Olivia is a fan of a dip in the pool.
Utilise Shaded Spots for Parades
I’m going to tell you something that a lot of people don’t seem to understand.. if you want to watch the parade in a prime shaded spot on the curbs edge, you have to be prepared to wait. The parade is a daily highlight for us, so I always wait at least an hour in a shady spot to watch. You have to be prepared to prioritise it if it’s something that’s important to you. Nothing is worse that people who feel they’re entitled to push into the front of you. Taking over your shady spot right at the last minute.
Stake that shade out. Get a cold drink and some snacks and embrace the downtime. It’s great when it’s super hot just to take a moment to relax. And yes, sometimes I even let my kid play on my phone while she waits.. but only if there are no other kids around to play with!
If you know me, you know I like to be on trend when it comes to dressing for Disney. I let my daughter live out her dreams of big ball gowns and the most extra of accessories. But when we’re entering heat wave territory I need to re-think things. If I visit Disney during hotter weather I will wear sleeveless dresses and tops. I also wear minimal accessories that could irritate my hot skin.
For Olivia I swap her usual fancy dresses for summery costumes. Moana, Jasmine and Tinkerbell are great for this. I carry casual dresses too and only allow her to change for short periods. Yes, it’s great to be on point with a Disney outfit, but you know what isn’t great? Heatstroke. So don’t forget those sun hats as they’re essential for surviving a hot Disney Park day.
Stay Hydrated & Apply That Sun Cream
Another no brainer but I was shocked at how red people were the last time we went to Disneyland Paris in the summer. Apply your sun cream as often as your bottle recommends. If you get sun stroke you will end up losing a whole day, and you know how I know? This happened to me in September 2015. I got completely burnt on my head and shoulders, didn’t drink enough and was so ill that I spent a whole day in our room under a wet towel. It wasn’t worth it.
A Disney holiday is an expensive holiday, take precautions, drink water (not coke, or other caffeinated drinks) and apply that sun cream so you don’t lose a whole day in bed feeling awful due to excess sun and heat exposure.
Remember, the heat in the Disney parks is completely different to what we’re used to in the UK. In WDW the humidity is the worst, it leaves yoyouur gross and sticky, you won’t want anyone to touch you. But DLP and DL it’s a dry heat, and in Disneyland’s case, it’s a desert heat that will leave you dry at the mouth and constantly gasping for water.
The best tip I can give you for surviving a hot Disney Park day is, be prepared and you’ll still have the best time ever! Stay safe!
When you’re booking such a big holiday, it really is the little things that stand out most and that’s why you should use a small agent like Fairytale Holidays when booking your Disney holiday.