This article is an overview of what to expect at Disney World in the rain. We discuss the weather in Orlando, FL, how to get around Disney parks in the rain, and more. 🌦️

After years of Walt Disney World vacations, we’ve been there in all kinds of weather.

I was there with my family during an unseasonable cold spell in early January, when the Florida orange crops were freezing over and we had to make an emergency shopping trip to buy gloves. (It’s hard to find gloves in Florida, guys.)

Mike and I have been there during horror-movie-level thunderstorms, and one time, we watched a Magic Kingdom cast member with a broom sweep floodwater into a drain while it crept up past his ankles.

🥰 Cast Member Appreciation Break: Disney World employees are a rare breed, and most of them deserve massive amounts of gratitude for being so accommodating and warm.

We’ve also walked around all day in a mist that’s not enough to ruin your plans but plenty to have you soaked by lunchtime. Looking at you, most miserable Animal Kingdom day ever.

And, of course, the Florida heat is no joke, with temperatures creeping into three digits. During the pandemic, when masks were still required outdoors, the humidity was nothing short of maddening.

Princess and the Frog GIF.

We’re not here to chat about the (soul-sucking, energy vampire) heat in Central Florida, but here are 10 ways to stay cool at Disney World.

Here’s the thing: It rains in Florida. A lot.

Odds are, you’re going to experience some sort of imperfect weather during your next Disney for couples trip. But before you hightail it out of the park, consider sticking around.

A lot of people leave the Disney theme parks when there’s even a threat of rain, and staying behind means shorter wait times, getting on rides that usually require a Lightning Lane, and ordering a Dole Whip without standing behind someone for 25 minutes.

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What is the Wet Season in Central Florida?

According to the National Weather Service, the rainy season around Orlando, FL, runs from the end of May to right around mid-October (the 10th, to be precise). Sometimes, the rainy season starts right away or even a little early; other times, it’ll ramp up over the course of a few weeks.

Scene of a black and white Mickey Mouse in a storm.

Here’s what you can look forward to during the Central Florida rainy season (and what it means for heading to Disney World in the rain):

☔️ Warm temperatures
☔️ Lots of humidity
☔️ Frequent showers and storms

If you’re scheduling a Disney vacation during the rainy season, you may be interested in a more specific breakdown of what to expect month by month.

When to Travel to Disney World During the Rainy Season

Rainbow in Galaxy's Edge in Disney World.
Source: Brian McGowan / Unsplash

There are three common phases to the Central Florida rainy season. Understanding them will help you pick and choose when you’re willing to be in Disney World in the rain.

  • Late May Thru June: Severe thunderstorms are most likely, including hail, heavy rain, high winds and a lot of lightning.
  • July Thru Early September: The peak of the rainy season. There’s less severe weather but there’s still heavy rain and frequent lightning.
  • Mid-September Thru Early October: The rain season is winding down. You can still expect a good amount of rain, and the weather may get a bit chilly.

Now, even though the summer months are smack in the middle of the rainy season, this doesn’t mean Disney World vacation prices tend to be low. Kids are out of school during the summer, so despite the crushing heat and the likelihood of rainy days, families still vacation a lot in July and August.

💖 September and October are the best months for a Disney couples trip. First, you’re at the end of the worst part of the rainy season. Second, crowds are low since kids are just going back to school.

What Are the Best Modes of Transportation for Disney World in the Rain?

The Monorail in Epcot.
Source: Heather Maguire / Unsplash

There are two things to consider regarding Disney World transportation on a rainy day: Getting to the park and getting around the park.

Getting to a Disney Theme Park in the Rain

Skyliner depot in Disney World.

If you’re staying on Disney property, there are a number of ways you can get to and from the theme parks. (If you’re staying off-property, you’ll either drive yourself or book a ride-share.) Here are your options, including our recommendations for visiting Disney World in the rain.

  • Buses: Your bus will drop you relatively close to the park entrance, but there may still be a good amount of walking involved, with no coverage along your trek.
  • Driving yourself: The parking lot is as far as you can get from the park entrance. Plus, you may have to wait for a shuttle, and the sides of the shuttles are open-air.
  • Ferryboat: Unless the rain is blowing sideways, the ferryboats have a lot of coverage. Grab a spot downstairs and stay toward the center of the boat, away from the sides.
  • Minnie Van via Lyft: The ride-share drop-offs are usually close to the park entrances, so this isn’t a bad way to go if you don’t mind spending the money.
  • Monorail: In general, the Monorail can be crowded and there may be a long line, depending on where you’re getting on. But it provides as much coverage as the buses thanks to full enclosure.
  • Skyliner: The Skyliner does still run in the rain at times, but if the weather’s severe, it won’t be in operation. You board the Skyliner from a covered platform, so you’re not totally exposed to the elements if you choose to travel this way.
  • Walking: Obviously, no.
  • Water taxi: The Disney World water taxis are covered, but because they’re small, there’s still a good amount of exposure to the elements. You may want to skip this if the rain is more than a mist or drizzle.

Your on-property transportation options will differ based on where you’re staying and where you’re going. Nicer, pricier hotels have more options than lower-cost and value hotels.

The main entrance of the Polynesian in Disney World.

For example, complimentary transportation options for Polynesian guests include buses, Monorail and water taxi, and you’re also close enough to Magic Kingdom to walk there. Guests of the All-Star resorts, on the other hand, only have one option: buses.

Keep this in mind, too: The higher the hotel costs, the closer your bus depot will be to the park entrance/exit, and vice versa. Also, remember that certain parks can only be reached in certain ways. For example, you can’t take water transportation to Animal Kingdom.

Get more details about Disney park transportation here.

Getting Around a Disney Theme Park in the Rain

Walt Disney World Railroad sign in Magic Kingdom.

While most of your transportation within a Disney park will be your feet, some of the parks have a few extra options for getting around, and they can be helpful when you’re in Disney World in the rain.

  • The Main Street Vehicles take you up and down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Hop on and off the Walt Disney World Railroad, which stops at Main Street, Fantasyland and Frontierland.
  • Take a Friendship Boat across the World Showcase and then back again.

On top of that, there are plenty of Disney World tricks that you can use to stay (relatively) dry when the sky opens up.

Take the “Secret” Cut-Throughs

Part of being a Disney World pro is knowing how to get from A to B without going the traditional way.

For example, there’s a breezeway that connects Adventureland to Frontierland so you don’t have to go back to the hub-and-spoke and walk through Liberty Square. And you can enter Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios either through Toy Story Land or right past the Muppets section on the other side of the park.

Even if you go to Disney World often, it’s hard to know each and every shortcut there is. Make it easy on yourself by using the My Disney Experience app. Here’s how:

🔎 Click the Search icon on the bottom. Type in your destination at the top.

My Disney Experience steps.

👟 Select Get Directions for your destination.

My Disney Experience app directions.

📍 The app should automatically detect where you are and give you walking directions. You can also input an address manually if you’re planning ahead. Then, choose the mode of transportation from the options.

A map in the My Disney Experience app to help you get around Disney World in the rain.

Choose the Rides With Indoor Queues

While many Disney World rides and attractions have outdoor or partially outdoor queues, there are plenty that let you wait inside the whole time.

The exterior of Cosmic Rewind.

Here are a few examples:

  • The Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor in Magic Kingdom
  • Living with the Land in Epcot
  • Gran Fiesta Tour in the World Showcase at Epcot
  • Star Tours in Hollywood Studios
  • Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios
  • Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug in Animal Kingdom

Knowing which rides and attractions are entirely (or almost entirely) inside from the moment you step onto the line can help you pass the time indoors when you’re at Disney World in the rain.

Use the Shops to Your Advantage

The shops at the UK pavilion in the World Showcase in Epcot.

There are a lot of shops in Disney World that look separate but are actually one large shop or several stores that connect. That means you can spend lots of time in these XL stores or strings of stores to wait out the rain.

These sprawling shops also provide cut-throughs if you need to get somewhere and are trying to spend as much time traveling indoors as possible to stay dry.

Creations shop in Epcot.

Below are just a few examples:

  • The Emporium on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom spans the whole left side of the street.
  • Many of the shops on the opposite side of Main Street connect to one another.
  • Creations in Epcot has two entrances, so you can cut through if you’re trying to get to or from the area with Test Track and Mission: SPACE.
  • There’s a string of shops in the UK pavilion in the Epcot World Showcase that connect to one another.
  • The open-air Black Spire Outpost in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios is partially covered, and there are a lot of little shops to dip in and out of.
  • Some of the shops on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios connect to one another.

Here’s another thing: Many of the rides in Disney World have an exit queue that goes through a gift shop before you head back outside. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, and the Tower of Terror all do this.

Head to an Indoor Pavilion

The Land pavilion in Epcot as a place to go in Disney World in the rain.

There are a number of large indoor pavilions in Disney World that can provide plenty to do during a thunderstorm or when the rain is too much to bear. Here are a few ideas:

🎪 Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom is a large gift shop that also sells sweet treats. Plus, there are tables and chairs, perfect for killing time while you nosh on a candy apple.

🏴‍☠️ The Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar is a big pirate-themed (with some Coco influences) gift shop at the end of the Pirates of the Caribbean exit queue. There’s a bit of seating in the center, snacks if you’re hungry while you wait, and my favorite Disney World bathrooms. Also, La Princesa de Cristal and Island Supply sunglasses are both right nearby for more shopping.

🌱 The Land in Epcot has lots to keep you busy — we’ve waited out our fair share of storms here. There are two rides in this pavilion, plus a restaurant, a cafeteria-style eatery, lots of seating, and a short film.

🐬 The Seas with Nemo and Friends has a Finding Nemo-themed ride, but the building is also home to a two-level aquarium. We love it here. It’s extremely peaceful, you’ll see lots of animals, and when you leave, you’ll be right near the Moana-inspired Journey of Water.

🌊 Bonus Epcot Tip: We went through Journey of Water in the rain, and we barely noticed the weather because we were getting splashed anyway. Plus, a lot of people may avoid the attraction when it’s raining, so you won’t have to fight for a space in front of the interactive elements.

That’s not all when it comes to areas for escaping the rain in Disney World. There’s also the Mexico pavilion in the World Showcase, the Walt Disney Presents museum and film in Hollywood Studios, and more.

Can I Bring an Umbrella to Disney World?

Yes, you can bring an umbrella to Disney World. It’s not on the banned items list. But we never do.

First, we always try to travel as light as possible in the park. If we can get away with one slim bag or, better yet, stash everything in a locker, we do.

🎒 The Best Bags for Disney: Firsthand Reviews of Our Top Picks

Second, it’s very frustrating to be responsible for an umbrella — i.e., not stabbing other guests with it by accident — when navigating Disney crowds.

Third, I don’t ever want to deal with a wet, dripping umbrella once the rain has passed.

We usually throw a couple of cheap ponchos in our bag if the forecast says it’ll rain. Most of the time, though, we avoid downpours with the tips in this article.

🌧️ 10 Best Disney Ponchos for Adults (Because Orlando Rain Happens All the Time)

Pro Tip: If you’re going to carry a backpack or get a locker, do yourself a favor and bring an extra T-shirt per person. We’ve often had a reason to change, whether it’s getting drenched from rain, needing to freshen up after a day in the sun or being victim to an errant plop of ketchup.

Do the Rides at Disney World Stop During Inclement Weather?

Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.

Even during inclement weather, you’ll find a lot to do in any of the Disney parks. However, based on the severity of the weather, some (or a lot) of rides may be temporarily closed.

Typically, rides that are outdoors or partially outdoors will close when the weather’s bad enough. For example, Space Mountain might stay open during a thunderstorm, but Seven Dwarfs Mine Train won’t.

You can see which rides are operating on the My Disney Experience app. Click the Location icon on the bottom, then select Show List on the top right.

My Disney Experience app wait times.

If a ride is down, it’ll say “Temporarily Closed” in orange where the wait time usually is.

Do the Nighttime Shows Get Canceled for Inclement Weather?

Fireworks over Cinderella Castle in Disney World.
Source: Sean Nufer / Unsplash

The fireworks shows and other nighttime entertainment may or may not be canceled due to weather. That’s good news if you think about it — it means that sometimes, even if it’s raining, the nighttime spectacular could still go on as planned.

Since Florida weather is so temperamental, the decision to cancel a show is usually made close to show time. Your best bet is to check with a Cast Member to find out whether or not it’s happening.

Final Thoughts About Going to Disney World in the Rain

Seasoned Disney vacationers know that being in a park in the rain, especially if the weather is on the severe side, is the best time to head to popular rides, score a reservation at a usually packed restaurant, or shop without people shoving you out of the way.

Some of us even have a preferred park that we go to when the weather looks not so great. (Can you guess which one is ours? 😉)

Sticker of Spaceship Earth at Epcot.And if Disney World has anything serious to communicate with you re: weather updates, you can head to this page for the latest info.

Looking for the best Disney ponchos for adults to take on your next trip? We’ve got you covered.

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