Here in the Midwest, it's starting to feel like summer; and that has us thinking about ways to cool off at Walt Disney World.
Anyone who has visited Disney World knows that it's VERY humid, especially during the summer. By the time you're ready for lunch, you're going to be in desperate need of a cool down; and what better way than taking advantage of Disney's fantastic resort pools or waterparks?
Just like everything at Disney, their pools and water parks are top notch with a story, theme, and great design. Consider Yacht and Beach Club's Stormalong Bay, with its massive, sand bottom pool, a lazy river, and a water slide that looks like a ship's mast! One of our favorite pools at the value level is the Bowling Pin pool at Pop Century. It's actually shaped like a bowling pin and the 50s decor is really cool! Also, it's usually less crowded than the flower power pool.
Disney's water parks are some of the best water parks in the world. Typhoon Lagoon is made to look as if a tropical storm swept through and left everything windblown and in disarray; and the wave pool here is amazing. You could come here just come here for the wave pool and have a blast. Blizzard Beach has probably the most unique story of anything at Disney. Supposedly a freak snow storm in Florida led some entrepreneurs to build a ski resort; but when it began to melt, they turned it into a water park. Although, all the remnants of the ski resort are still there, along with some left over snow! Be sure to take the ski lift to the top of mountain for the full experience!
Here are some tips and things you need to know when you go to cool off at the resort pools or water parks:
-Eat a big breakfast before you go to a water park. Water and slipping down slides can make you hungry fast so fill up before you go!
-Don't bring pool toys to the resort pools or water parks. Disney doesn't allow them. It's good to know this before your kids get excited about bringing their stuff.
-Know that you can rent a locker at the water parks. Some guests don't realize that you have this option; but also be aware that there is a rental fee and a deposit. A small locker costs around $8, but we recommend you invest a large locker since it's only $2 more.
-Try swimming at a resort pool at night for a cool experience!
-Bring Crocs or water shoes to the water parks. The pavement is always scorching hot!
-If you want to visit a park in the morning and head to the water park during the heat of the day, wear your swimsuit under your clothes or put your swim trunks in your park bag, along with your suncreen and watershoes. Then you're set for the water park!
-Pack a plastic bag in your park bag to put your wet suits in after your visit to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. This will keep your other items from getting wet.
-Life jackets and tubes are free at Disney water parks.
-Don't bring a towel down to your resort pool. Disney has towels there to use; but they ask that you don't bring them back to your room or take towels from your room. However, at the water parks, you have to rent towels. It may be more cost efficient to bring your own beach towel if you plan to visit a water park.
-Blizzard Beach is the best place to go if you want lots of slides and activity; but Typhoon Lagoon may be best if you want a more relaxing experience. However, both parks offer something for everyone so you can't go wrong with either.
-Disney resorts often offer a "quiet" pool in addition to their main pool. These pools are usually smaller and have little personality, but they may be a great alternative if you want to escape crowds and noise.
-Disney water parks get really crowded on the weekends so you may want to visit them during the week. However, if weekends are the only times you can experience them, Typhoon Lagoon may be your best bet as the wave pool doesn't require waiting in line and Blizzard Beach will likley be the most crowded.
-Be sure to relax. Float around a lazy river at one of the water parks or just chill by the pool. Enjoy what Disney has to offer and get relief from the heat! You will enjoy your vacation even more if you do.
For the past few weeks, we have been showing you ways to beat the weather so that a downpour doesn't dictate your Disney vacation. Our past blogs in this series has shown you "how to beat the weather" at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot while staying dry, avoiding crowds as much as possible, and still seeing some of the best Disney has to offer even when there's no sunshine. Today's blog will show you how to do the same at Hollywood Studios.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage: You can find this covered stage show on Sunset Boulevard, just before you reach Tower of Terror. This is an excellent show telling the "tale as old as time" with great acting, the famous music, and spectacular costumes. This show also offers a lot of seating so crowds shouldn't be an issue; and maybe by the time the show ends, the storm will have blown over! Do be warned that the show plays only certain times a day so check a times guide.
Walt Disney's One Man's Dream: This informative and entertaining attraction is a type of walk through museum where you see photographs and memorabilia from Walt's life and the Disney Company. It's also completely indoors and you can take as long as you like exploring it.
Muppet Vision 3-D: This hilarious 3-D show takes you into the world of the popular Muppets! This show is a blast that young and old can enjoy; and it is completely enclosed. The show can handle large numbers of guests and typically the only wait is waiting for the show to start.
The Great Movie Ride: This ride takes you into scenes from famous old films, such as the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and Casablanca. Unless the line is really long, which is rare, the waiting area is inside a replica of Grauman's Chinese Theater and the scenery and film clips will keep you entertained as you wait. The ride itself is completely indoors and is actually longer than most, hopefully long enough for the rain to stop.
The American Idol Experience: This show is great for any fan of American Idol. You will really feel as if you stepped into the real American Idol studio when you arrive. All day guests just like you can audition to sing at one of the shows and then be voted the winner by the guest audience. The show is enclosed, holds large numbers of guests, and usually the only wait is waiting for the show to start.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid: This show is meant to make you feel as if you are under the sea as you watch Ariel's story through acting, special effects, and puppetry. This is a great show for everyone and should be experienced. Unless the line is really long, which is rare, you will wait under cover and the show itself is indoors.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular: This show demonstrates to guests how stunts, like those seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, are done. This is a fun show, full of action, activity, and laughs. The seating area is covered; but some parts of the stage are not so a few parts of the show may be cancelled if it is raining. However, you will still get to the see most of the show and be totally dry.
The Magic of Disney Animation: Located in Animation Courtyard, this attraction offers a funny but informative 20 minute show about animation before letting you explore the rest of the attraction. Here you can see a model of animator's office, concept art for upcoming Disney films, and an area where you can play interactive games, meet Disney characters, or take a short animation class. This entire attraction, including the line, is enclosed and you are free to take as much time as please.
Dining: Another great way to stay dry and enjoy the park is by having a delicious meal in some of Hollywood Studios' prime dining locations. These restaurants are experiences in themselves that should not be missed. We recommend having a meal at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, 50s Prime Time Cafe, or Pizza Planet.
This post is the second in our series about how to beat bad weather while on your Disney vacation. In our previous post, we mentioned that guests at the parks usually run for cover, leave the park, or don a rain poncho and brave the elements when there is a Florida downpour. However, when we are at Disney, we don't want anything to interrupt our plans for the day so we are giving you ways to fully enjoy your day at Epcot without any interference.
Spaceship Earth: You can't miss this attraction. Literally! Spaceship Earth, affectionately known as "the giant golf ball", is Epcot's icon located at the entrance of the park. It also houses a calm, dark ride attraction by the same name which takes guests on a journey through time to see how communication has improved through history. The attraction has a continual boarding process so the line moves pretty quickly; and the ride itself lasts about fifteen minutes. The line can be long in the morning; but most of the time there isn't a long wait. Because it is indoors and a lengthy ride, this is a perfect attraction to do in the rain; and since it is a must-do on any Disney guest's list, taking time out for it won't interrupt your day a bit!
The Land: This pavilion can be found in Future World and is perfect for a rainy day because it houses several attractions under one roof! The Land is home to Soarin', Living with the Land, an environmental film called the Circle of Life, and Garden Grill, a table service restaurant where Mickey and the gang visit. This is one of the best places in Future World for a meal, a good thing to do during the rain. Also, anyone who visits Epcot needs to ride Soarin' and Living with the Land. In short, this is a place where you will spend a lot of time, whether it is sunny or rainy. However, be warned that this pavilion is often crowded in good and bad weather, especially at meal times and due to Soarin'. While we are trying to avoid crowds, most likely there will be crowds here no matter what. Therefore, if there is a chance for rain during your day at Epcot, grab a FastPass for Soarin' when you arrive and then come back to enjoy it when it storms. The two other attractions here usually don't have long waits.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends: When you enter this pavilion, you will immediately be treated to a gentle Finding Nemo ride featuring beautiful scenery and popular characters. The line for this attraction is usually short. After you exit, you are free to discover a variety of exhibits featuring different types of fish and sea creatures. There is a lot to see at this pavilion; and it is a big hit with kids and adults. You will definitely spend a lot of time here and a perfect time to do so is when the sun isn't shining!
Mexico: The majority of this World Showcase country can be found inside an ancient pyramid. After viewing historical artifacts, you will discover an open air market at sundown with an ancient pyramid across a river and a smoking volcano in the distance. It is truly beautiful in here and there is plenty to do as well. You can browse the market for souvenirs, dine next to the river at the La Hacienda De San Angel restaurant, and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, a relaxing boat ride. This place needs to be explored; and here you can feel as if you are outside when it's too wet to really be.
American Adventure: This highlight of this pavilion is the American Adventure show. Housed in a beautiful, brick colonial building, you may get to see an excellent pre-show performed by live singers in the lobby before being escorted to the huge theater. Here you will be treated to an audio-animatronic show showcasing moments in American history. This is truly one of the best shows in all of WDW! The show itself is about twenty minutes and is yet another attraction you HAVE to visit during your day at Epcot. It also accomodates so many people that typically the only waiting you will have to do is waiting for the show to start so crowds won't be an issue.
With spring just around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to share some ways to beat the rain during your vacation to Walt Disney World. Throughout the next few weeks, we will tell you our favorite ways to overcome the weather at the parks; and today, we will start with the Magic Kingdom.
First of all, if you have ever been at the parks when it's raining, you will know that most guests do one of the three things: find shelter, leave, or brave the elements in a rain poncho. We have done all three at one time or another and discovered that almost anything indoors becomes very crowded. Shops and counter service restaurants quickly become pretty much impossible to navigate; and indoor rides soon develop very long lines. Secondly, leaving the park to head back to your resort can take a lot of time out of your day; and while donning a poncho to brave the elements is probably the best of these options, wearing wet plastic can become uncomfortable and it is almost impossible to keep yourself completely dry.Therefore, we have several ways which can enable you to stay dry, beat the crowds, and still enjoy the Magic Kingdom, even during the fiercest of Florida downpours.
TTA (Tomorrowland Transit Authority): At this Tomorrowland attraction, you board a vehicle that takes you around Tomorrowland and even through some ot its attractions. This is a simple but underrated ride which is covered overhead, lasts about 10 minutes, and rarely has a long line. Some people have said that Cast Members will let you stay on if you ask and if it's not too crowded.
Mickey's Philharmagic: This 3-D show located in Fantasyland stars Donald Duck as he chases Mickey's sorcerer hat through several popular Disney films. This show rarely has long lines and can hold a large number of people. The only negative is that you may have to wait for the show before you to end, which can take several minutes, and the waiting area doesn't have seating. Regardless, this entire attraction is enclosed and is a must-do during your visit to the Magic Kingdom; and taking advantage of it in the rain won't interrupt the rest of the events of the day.
Columbia Harbour House: This is a counter service restaurant located in Liberty Square that has a second floor few guests know about. While crowds are sure to pack in the downstairs to avoid the rain, you can head upstairs which is usually quiet and spacious. Restless kids can be free to move about; and if by chance they are worn out and in need of a nap, this quiet spot is a great place for that as well. We recommend bringing a deck of playing cards or a memory game to play too.
Carousel of Progress: This attraction is located in Tomorrowland and is a classic Disney atraction that Walt Disney himself had a hand in. Carousel of Progress gives you a view of how life for the American family has changed due to electricity, modern conveniences, and progress. You are treated to four different scenes, three are from the past decades and one is from the future. The theater in which you sit actually rotates you to the next scene. This is a interesting and charming attraction holds a good number of people, is fully enclosed, and rarely has a wait.
Hall of Presidents: This show is located in Liberty Square and combines film and extremely realistic audio-animatronics of all our presidents to paint a portrait of the United States that leaves you feeling proud of our country. This show is completely enclosed, holds a large number of people, and usually the only wait here is for the next show to start. If you do have to wait for the next showtime, there are some exhibits in the waiting area to see. This show is enjoyed by adults, but I've seen children of all ages enjoy it as well.
Other options: If you can get in, heading to a restaurant for a meal is a great alternative to the rain. You are going to have to eat anyway, so this won't interrupt your day, and you can relax and take as long as you like. You can also hop aboard the monorail and visit nearby deluxe resorts to escape the rain while only a few minutes away from the park!