Weather is one aspect of vacation planning that we cannot control. Currently, Central Florida is in the middle of both summer and hurricane season. The unfortunate truth is that rain is likely to occur on at least one day of your trip if you are visiting Walt Disney World any time between May and November.
Fortunately, rain typically only lasts a short time and usually occurs in the afternoon. When it rains, your first instinct may to be pack up and head back to your hotel room. Don’t do it! You can have a great rainy day at any of the Disney parks with the right preparation. First, you are going to need a poncho or rain jacket. I recommend getting one before your trip because they can be very expensive in the parks. Second, choose your footwear accordingly. I usually wear sandals or some type of waterproof shoe. If you prefer tennis shoes, it might be beneficial to bring a pair of flip-flops for when rain occurs, and you may want to consider an extra pair of socks. Finally, you need to know what rides will close due to the weather.
Let’s look at what attractions close in each park due to weather and some alternatives you can check out instead. Keep in mind it is up to cast members’ discretion if the weather is concerning enough to close an attraction. Some rides close for lightning, and others close for rain. The weather is monitored very carefully at Walt Disney World; if an attraction is closed, it is for the safety of everyone. A quick tip: if any of these attractions are a “must do” for you, tackle them in the morning to, hopefully, avoid missing out due to afternoon rain.
Several rides in the Fantasyland, Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland areas of the park may close including Astro Orbiter, Barnstormer, Dumbo, and Tomorrowland Speedway. Some alternate attractions to check out include Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train may also close, so if you want to experience a roller coaster, head over to Space Mountain instead. Because nearly all the attractions in the heart of Fantasyland remain open, it will probably be the first area to become quite crowded during rain. Therefore, you may want to consider avoiding those rides as they could have longer wait times.
Over in the Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland areas of the park, Liberty Square Riverboat, Swiss Family Treehouse, Tom Sawyer Island, and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin may close. Great alternatives to these attractions include Country Bear Jamboree or The Enchanted Tiki Room. Additionally, a few of the most popular attractions—Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain—might also close due to weather. If you were hoping to hop on one of these attractions, you might want to check out Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion instead.
Epcot is a great park for rain because there is only one attraction that closes: Test Track. Check out Mission: SPACE or Soarin’ Around the World in Future World during the rain, or if you are in the World Showcase, Frozen Ever After, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure or the Gran Fiesta Tour are all great options!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios is another great park for rainy days. The only attractions that might close due to weather are Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. Instead of riding Slinky Dog Dash, you could head over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and a great alternative for Alien Swirling Saucers is Toy Story Mania! Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage will be reopening on August 15th, and the theater is outdoors. If it is raining, you may want to catch a showing of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration instead.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom has several attractions that close due to weather. Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, TriceraTop Spin, and Expedition Everest may all close. Several of the trails could also close. The only ride-based attractions that remain open are Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’Vi River Journey, and Dinosaur. Sadly, Na’Vi River Journey is the only ride available to small children in this situation. You could use this time to check out A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King; it is a spectacular show. Rafiki’s Planet Watch will also typically remain open if the weather is mild.
Please, do not let the weather ruin your trip. If you know which rides will close, take advantage of attractions that remain open, and come prepared you can make the most out of a wet situation. “Poncho, Plan, and Persevere!” Follow that motto and you can make the most of your park days even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.