If you’ve followed along with the Hills very long, you know we LOVE Disney! We’d rather eat PB&J sandwiches and chips, to save up for a Disney vacation away than eat out every night! Our favorite time to go is of course in the winter (January and February) when the weather is perfect and the crowds are light, but in this season of life, summer is when we can sneak away for more days in a row, so the last few times we have went, it’s been in the summer time!
After this last experience, I knew I had to sit down and write a few tips we’ve learned along the way to have a good time, in the hottest months in the happiest place on earth! *All photos were taken on my iphone!*
Here’s my favorite tips!
Invest in a cooling towel.
We didn’t do this before we left and ended up using the Disney inspired cooling towels they have for sale in the park, but you can purchase this one on Amazon and be prepared when you get down there. If you have a little one that still is in a stroller, this is a GAME CHANGER. Seriously, Connor lasted HOURS longer when we started using these and stopping at fountains to dip it in cold water, wring it out, and lay it around his neck.
Pack light colored clothing.
If you are anything like me, I’m kind of about clothes how Henry Ford was about cars, “you can have it in any color you want – as long as it’s black.” I gravitate towards black shirts in every store because its sliming, but the fact is, the lighter color the clothes, the cooler you are and I put that to the test this trip. I stuck with light blue, light pink, soft grey, white, and blue jean shorts for the trip and did LOADS better than when I wore dark stuff previous summers.
HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE.
This should be obvious but it’s worth mentioning to people who haven’t traveled to FL before in the middle of summer. You CANNOT drink enough water – I cannot stress that enough. We woke up every day we were going to the parks and had Connor drink a full cup of water before we ever left the resort. We kept a cold yeti (I LOVE this one) in the diaper bag for emergencies and we stopped often at all the quick service restaurants for FREE cups of water. That’s right, they are free. Please don’t pay $3.50 for a bottled water when you can walk a little further for free cups of water. It’s an easy way to cut costs on your trip!
Splurge for Lunch at a Table Service Dining Experience.
I know this is not practical for everyone, but this is one of the best things we did on this trip with a toddler. Around lunch time (aka, the hottest part of the day), we splurged and planned a Disney reservation at a table service restaurant instead of a quick-service. We did this because we knew we would be there for at least an hour (time for us to cool down, or for Connor to nap!)
Some of our favorite places to do that in each park were:
Animal Kingdom: Yak & Yeti | Tusker House | Rainforest Cafe
Magic Kingdom: The Plaza (seriously. Book it now. Thank me later) | Be Our Guest
Epcot: San Angel (Mexico) | Coral Reef
Hollywood Studios: Sci Fi Diner | The Brown Derby
Book Dessert at the Contemporary Resort early in your stay.
One way we were able to see the fireworks without having to stay in the parks for 12 hours with Connor since he is so young, is we booked “dessert” at the Contemporary hotel on the top floor. It’s an expensive dinner place, but their dessert is DIVINE and you can show your receipt for up to one week after you eat there to come back and just see the fireworks. So you go one night for dessert, save the receipt and then on one of your “pool/rest days”, let your kids take a late nap so they can stay up late, head back over to the Contemporary and just go to the top floor to have an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks with MUCH cooler temperatures!
Spend More Time In Magic Kingdom.
Photo from La Jolla.
Magic Kingdom by far has the most air-conditioned rides and places of all the parks. We rode the people mover several times, let Connor nap in the Hall of Presidents, etc. There’s lots of shopping, and air-conditioned stores that help you avoid the streets for awhile in the hottest part of the day. Of all the days we were in the park, we lasted the longest in MK!
This probably sounds ridiculous, but one of the smartest things we did on this trip with a toddler was embrace nap time. Connor is an early riser, so we would rise early and be gone by 8:00am, go hard seeing as much as possible till around noon, grab lunch and then head back to the hotel around 2:00pm. We would all shower, let him take a long nap, and then gear back up for round 2 around 6:00pm in the evening till closing time (9:00 or 10pm). We were so much more successful in the parks when we did this because we came back refreshed and the heat had dropped a least a little. Even if you have older kids, it may sound like a pain or that you are missing out, but even heading back to the pool for a couple hours and then back to the parks makes a world of difference. As a girl who likes to open and close a park to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, this was a tough one for me, but if you go in the summer time, you’ll see what I mean. To avoid being cranky and just down right uncomfortable, sacrificing a few hours for a nap and a shower will do wonders to your overall Disney experience.
I know lots of people are fans of the Disney Dining Plan, but it makes zero sense to me in the summer months. It’s hot, muggy, and the humidity is so high, I can’t imagine eating the volume of food that is included in a meal plan. If you are looking for a way to cut costs, food is one of those things that you can still experience in an AMAZING way, but way more smart over the summer months! A lot of places we went, we either got something and split it, or we tried a couple appetizers to keep it light. We saw quickly that we had more energy and made it longer when we didn’t over eat or over indulge during the days in the parks. We saved all our favorite places to eat “LARGE” for at night, at resorts or the last thing we did in the parks when we knew we were going back to our resort, in the air condition, to relax! Even when we “splurged” for a table service at lunch time, we still kept it light with appetizers or meal splitting. We chose some of our favorite places on the list above, just so we could still experience it, be out of the heat and still eat some of our favorite foods! I also want to say I am absolutely not going against the perks of a meal plan in general – just doesn’t make sense (in my opinion!) when it’s so hot outside!
Do Your Research for Resort Dining
One of the things that has been a game changer for our summer adventures in FL is the Disney Resort Dining options. We personally don’t stay on property due to the high prices, but also because you can get all the same dining experiences regardless of where you sleep! The DisneyExperience App allows you to make reservations at all the different resort restaurants, cafes, and ice cream places! Some of our favorite places in all of Disney, happen to be at the resorts. One of our favorite traditions is Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort. We began and end our vacation there every time with breakfast. We simply show the people at the gate our reservation and they let you through to park. This is a great way to beat the heat on your days off from the parks and just relax walking around the resorts and eating some great meals! Another great option is Beaches and Cream at the Beaches Resort at the Boardwalk. Book one evening to have ice cream there and you can spend all evening walking around the boardwalk, seeing all the shops and the beach. It’s an easy way to always feel like you are doing a “Disney” thing, but you aren’t in the parks fighting the crowds and the heat. I can’t stress enough how much Disney puts so much thought into the experience you get at the resorts!
Remember That It’s Summer
I chose this one for last because I say this in complete LOVE. If you chose to go to Disney in the Summer and it’s your FIRST TIME EVER, please don’t let the heat or crowds destroy your love for Disney. Summer is absolutely one of the busiest times to travel to FL, so it can seem less “magical” when you combine the heat with the crowds. There are so many “better” months to travel, but with people’s work and school schedules, it sometimes just doesn’t work out, so I encourage you to give yourself grace and realize that if you come back at a different time of year, you are going to have a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT experience. I always joke with people that there isn’t enough money in the bank to convince me to go the week after Christmas, but that’s the only week that works for some people so you kind of just have to embrace it and realize you’ll accomplish less than if you went in February or the first week of May!
I hope you enjoyed reading my favorite tips to enjoy Disney in the summer months! If you have a tip that has worked for your family, I would love to hear it! Please comment below!
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