I’ll never forget the summer of 2003. Between the excitement of Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean opening, and my completing an internship at Disney, I didn’t think things could get any better as a 19-year-old college student. That was until one (predictable) summer semi-rainy Florida afternoon. I saw the king of pop himself at Disney, and guess what? He almost got me fired from my job there. But more on that later.
The “Happiest place on Earth” is literally the hottest and most crowded place on Earth during the summer months. Tomorrow is the last day of school here, so that means it’s time to start preparing for summer vacations.
For hundreds of thousands of families, that means heading farther down south to Orlando to visit the house of mouse. Going to Orlando anytime between Memorial Day and Labor Day can be a pain in the you-know-what; and as much as I wish I could lie and say it won’t be, there will never be a time that Disney World (or any Disney location), won’t be crowded. So your best bet is to try and plan your trip for when it’s not irritatingly crowded.
As if the crowds aren’t bad enough, it will be hot. Uncomfortably hot at that. Being a native southern, I’m always ahead of the game when it comes to trying to beat the heat.
If you’ve never been there during the summer and you’re thinking about it, check out the list below for tips on how to make it through your trip, and still keep your sanity. Also if you’ve been during the summer and have advice, drop a line in the comments section!
HAPPY SUMMER VACATION!!!
1. Plan your trip
Summer is and will ALWAYS be a Disney World PEAK season time. With that being said, you don’t have to go in the middle of the summer. If you are able to flexible with your vacation dates, I would try and aim for heading there late August. Unfortunately, for us school starts back early August for us down south, so that means that the park will less crowded, albeit still very crowded.
Make sure you also create an itinerary for your trip. Disney World is like Black Friday 24/7. There is so much going on, so much to see, so many places to visit and you don’t have a lot of time (unless you live there). Creating an itinerary will allow you maximize your time effectively and you’ll be able to see and do more.
Make sure you check out the My Disney Experience App and have it handy at the parks. This app will give you maps and wait times for rides. And if you are obsessed with character meet and greets like I am, you can easily find your favorite characters this was as well.
2. Be Prepared (with water and sunscreen that is)
We already discussed that it will be hot. But just in case you have never been there let me tell you; we are talking devil’s armpit of the south hot. If you don’t want your trip ruined with burns and an extra trip to the emergency room, make sure you stay hydrated and pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. And just in case you didn’t know, a lot of the restaurants (quick service) give out FREE ice water. So make sure you take advantage.
3. Keep a Poncho Handy
That predictable Florida summer weather will have you darting for the nearest covered shelter if you aren’t prepared. However, most of the know that it will rain practically every afternoon for like 5 minutes and then stop. Okay, well sometimes it may last longer, but the key is to make sure you keep a poncho with you at all times. It’s easier to manage than an umbrella, and can easily be put away. And just to save you some $$..bring your own.
4. Get to the park early, leave and then come back
Extra magic hours are the best thing, right? Getting to the park before they open will help you enjoy yourself a little more before the major crowds hit. Try and get in as many rides as possible and by 11:30 am or noon, head back to the hotel for a nap or just to relax by the pool. This will help keep you and the littles out of the heat and also away from the crowds. Then head back later in the evening when the sun isn’t in kill mode.
5. Use their transportation
If you can try your hardest to use the transportation provided by the resorts. Even off property hotels provide shuttles to the park. Seriously, why deal with that hassle of trying to find a parking space if you don’t have to.
The big thing with all of this is to remember, you’re on vacation. Act like it. You don’t have to visit the park every day and stay all day. Remember to take time out to just be and live in the moment. If you take a break for a day and just kick it poolside with your family, the park will still be there. Don’t let the crowds work you up. There are going to be rude people everywhere. And also watch out for thieves. If you have a stroller, be sure to keep an eye on it at all times especially if you have personal items in it.
I didn’t forget the details of the rest of the MJ story. Yes, he almost got me fired for taking his photo. I didn’t actually get caught, but at least I got the photo.