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5 Things to Know When it Rains at Walt Disney World

So, you’re on your dream Disney vacation, eating a Mickey Premium Bar outside Cinderella Castle, and it starts to pour down.

What do you do? Do you run to some cover in a nearby shop? Do you head over to Space Mountain and hope for a shorter wait time? Or do you dance in the rain with your poncho on?

Here at Disney Tips, we give our top five recommendations for doing Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in the rain.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Pack Ahead for Rain

Thunderstorms in Orlando, Florida can be sudden, unexpected, but oftentimes, short-lived. Afternoon showers in the Central Florida area have become synonymous with a Disney vacation to Walt Disney World. It’s typical to have a sunny morning, rain in the afternoon, and then a beautifully clear evening!

Always keep an eye on your weather app for the latest forecast, but even if rain isn’t predicted we highly recommend packing your rain gear anyway.

Our Disney packing list calls for a light rain jacket or poncho for the whole family for any sudden thunderstorms that roll into the Walt Disney World Resort. Being able to throw something on quickly to protect ourselves from Florida’s torrential rain showers is useful and it’s most cost-efficient to purchase a poncho at your local discount store and bring it in your Park bag – just in case. Disney’s theme parks have them for sale, but you’ll pay a much higher price for these Disney versions.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Side tip, but packing your own poncho will also come in handy for Disney’s water rides. If you’d rather stay dry on Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, or Grizzly River Run over in Disney’s California Adventure, then having your poncho in your bag will help. Of course, we avoid wearing ponchos to experience the true soaking purpose of the attractions!

Some things we also recommend packing for a Walt Disney World vacation are water-resistant bags. All those wet rain jackets, wet ponchos, socks, shoes, and masks can be tossed into a ziplock instead of just your Park bag if it’s raining or during a water ride, while Ziplocks can also protect electronic items that you don’t want to get wet.

Furthermore, having extra footwear on your Disney World packing list to avoid wearing wet shoes helps, especially when you’re a fan of tennis shoes or sneakers. We tend to bring a pair of foldable flip-flops to wear on water rides or in the rain so our feet aren’t soggy for the rest of the day – especially if the Park floods!

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Wet Weather Attractions

When rain strikes, Guests will most often run into their nearest store or covered area to escape. But for those brave enough, this is the time to go ride some rides! There are plenty of indoor attraction options at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom – just keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app for updated closures.

Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom Park has multiple rides that remain operable in the rain. Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world”, Pirates of the Caribbean, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor are all but some of the inside attractions here.

If you are looking for a longer escape from a rainstorm, check out the Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Country Bear Jamboree.

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EPCOT

Though EPCOT is huge, there are some great indoor options to escape the rain. Both the Seas and Land Pavilions have rides like Soarin’, Living with the Land, and Finding Nemo, while the massive aquariums can keep children and adults entertained. Spaceship Earth and Mission: SPACE are also good options if you’re close by when the rain starts.

In the World Showcase, EPCOT’s different country pavilions offer a variety of stores and exhibits to explore when it’s raining, as well rides like Frozen Ever After and the Gran Fiesta Tour.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Guests can catch a show like For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along, Walt Disney Presents, or Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. For rides, Guests can still enjoy Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (albeit with an outside queue), Star Tours, and the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

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Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be a little trickier during the rain as there is so much outside beauty to explore. The top indoor rides though would be Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, and DINOSAUR. Guests can also enjoy some of the shows such as Festival of the Lion King and It’s Tough to Be a Bug.

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Shutdowns Likely

If lightning strikes within ten miles of the theme park, it is Disney’s policy that all outdoor rides be shut down.

In the Magic Kingdom this includes Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Seven Dwarf Mine Train, Dumbo, Barnstormer, Tomorrowland Speedway, and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. In EPCOT, these would be attractions like Test Track and Harmonious, while at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, Slinky Dog Dash, and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular would all be affected. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, all outdoor animal treks, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, and Expedition Everest would be temporarily closed.

Furthermore, outdoor shows, parades, and fireworks will be postponed or canceled. Use the My Disney Experience app if you are wondering which rides are temporarily closed.

Early Morning Benefits

The crowds at Walt Disney World have certainly been increasing since its phased reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic, with Disney Guests noticing long wait times for many of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s most popular attractions.

But if it’s raining when you wake up, there could be a little trick to getting on some rides with little to no wait time. Normally, Cast Members separate Disney Resort hotel Guests from “normal” Guests so they can go ride the select attractions that are open for early morning access. On super rainy mornings, though, crowds are typically extremely light, and Cast Members have informed us in the past that they don’t like standing out in the rain to manage the separation process.

So if you’re brave enough to endure the torrential rain and don’t mind being soaked and cold, then get up early and you may find yourself in the Twilight Zone before the Park officially opens its doors. We, of course, can’t guarantee this works every rainy day for every Park, but it’s certainly worth a try.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Stay Positive

The biggest piece of advice we can give during a Florida rainstorm is to keep a good attitude and stay positive! Don’t let the rain dampen your theme park day and maybe see it as an Orlando rite of passage!

Enjoy the soggy fun – the sun is not as hot during the rain, and if you get super wet, well, just go with the flow. Maybe go and ride Splash Mountain (if there’s no lightning) because you’re wet anyway, right?

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book