Whoever decided Florida was the Sunshine State is a horrible liar. Sure, when the sun is out the place is gorgeous… but for most of the summer and fall, you’re liable to get soaked at some point every day.
If you want to keep the Florida weather from raining on your parade this season, you should pick up these six essentials for surviving Disney downpours.
A Solid Weather App
As every GI Joe PSA says, knowing is half the battle. Checking the morning weather forecast certainly helps, but in Florida, the question of “Will it Rain Today?” is not typically a question of if but when. That’s why you need a location-aware weather app. The latest generation of weather apps can detect nearby storm cells, alert you to changing weather conditions, and even estimate how long the shower will last.
Dark Sky (iOS) is the gold standard, providing hyper local weather information in a sleek and minimalist package. Unfortunately, it’s only available for iPhones at the moment. If you want something even more powerful, and don’t mind dealing with some eccentric design, you can also try CARROT Weather (iOS/Android). This whimsical weather app is hosted by a somewhat sardonic AI with a customizable personality, ranging from cheerful to… Let’s just say you shouldn’t use the Overkill setting if you have children around.
You can customize more than just CARROT’s personality, however. With an optional subscription, CARROT can inform you of the UV index, nearby tropical storm fronts, and lightning strikes. It’s one of the most powerful weather apps on the market. Just… seriously don’t set her personality to Overkill if you have kids. Trust me on this one.
I know, this one seems obvious, but things are a little more complicated than just grabbing an umbrella at the gift shop. There are a lot of factors you need to consider, like size and wind resistance, when choosing the perfect parasol.
First things first; unless you’ve got a stroller or mobility device with space for it, don’t bring a full sized umbrella. You may be tempted to save money by bringing the old golf umbrella from your closet, but it’s a pain to lug around all day… especially if it doesn’t end up raining! Instead, look for a compact folding umbrella. Something that can easily be placed into a bag or purse without much thought.
However, not all folding umbrellas are created equal. If you grab a convenient umbrella from the check-out aisle without doing your research, you’ll fall victim to a trap that many guests overlook: the wind!
Florida is a windy place, especially during hurricane season. Even if Disney isn’t in the line of fire, tropical weather systems can generate blustery storms that can turn lesser umbrellas inside out in an instant. Make sure whatever umbrella you bring has high wind resistance! We recommend the Repel Easy Touch Umbrella, well known for its durability and compact size. It’s perfect for resisting unexpected gales and is your best shield against the elements.
A Rain Poncho
Many people consider the choice between an umbrella and poncho to be an either/or situation, but what kind of knight walks into battle with just a shield?
In all seriousness, ponchos are a great supplementary tool for avoiding the heavy rains of Central Florida. Florida’s winds have a habit of blowing rain around even the most stalwart umbrella, and ponchos are great for keeping little ones dry.
There’s another benefit as well; while Disney’s rides shut down for intense winds, they don’t shut down for rain. This can turn normally bone-dry rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train into drenching adventures that will make you want to go on Splash Mountain to dry off. Even if it doesn’t rain, ponchos are great for keeping dry on the rides you’re supposed to get wet on.
While you can get cheap PVC ponchos for a few dollars, consider investing in a reusable model, like this one from Charles River Apparel. You want a breathable one, which can easily be packed and unpacked. Avoid ones that come in big bulky packages, and take time to familiarize yourself with how it packs and unpacks before you go.
Nothing is worse than the agony of the feet. You definitely want to bring shoes that are comfortable and breathable, but all of that is useless if you end up soaking your feet or slipping around the pavement. You want something that will keep your feet comfortable while standing up to the elements. Rain boots are tempting, but they’re often heavy and ill-fitting, making them a poor choice for a long trek through the parks. Flip-flops, the classic summer wear staple, don’t mind a bit of rain but will make your feet miserable… if you don’t slip and fall from lack of traction!
One of our favorite choices for footwear is the humble Croc, a much maligned fashion statement that fits in perfectly in a theme park atmosphere. After all, you’re already wearing a matching set of T-Shirts and mouse ears, are a pair of silly shoes going to hurt that much?
The classic Crocs clogs (or the more comfortable, but more expensive Lite Ride variety) are perfect if you don’t mind getting your feet a little wet. If you wear them without socks, rain water will harmlessly seep out the holes, restoring your feet to perfect dryness in minutes. If you want to keep your toes perfectly dry, however, consider something from the Crocs At Work line. Healthcare professionals wear these special clogs, slip ons, and flats to keep their feet safe and dry. They lack the signature Croc holes and can pass for an ordinary pair of shoes at a casual glance. Plus, if they can hold up to a hospital, they can definitely survive the Florida rain.
A Travel Towel
Take a note from Douglas Adams and make sure you know where your towel is at all times. As any fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy can tell you, a towel is an indispensable traveling tool, especially in the wet Florida weather. Not only are they perfect for getting dry after a downpour, but they can provide a dry place to sit in a pinch! Most seating at Disney is outdoors and uncovered, so being able to keep your backside dry is a valuable commodity.
Look for a lightweight, microfiber towel that can easily fit inside your bag. Terry cloth towels like those you’ll find in your hotel room are just too thick. Microfiber is just as absorbent and a lot quicker to dry besides. If you just can’t find a travel towel, a normal hand cloth will do in a pinch. Just remember to bring a plastic bag to carry it in once it gets wet.
A Phone Charger
This is a must-have even if it’s NOT raining, but you’ll regret not having one when the storms hit. When you’re hiding out under an awning waiting for the rain to relent, you’ll want to stay entertained… and informed! Weather updates, ride closings, browsing AllEars… all of these will sap your battery surprisingly quickly. Plus, outlet space is already at a premium. You could buy a FuelRod from the various kiosks around the park, but for nearly the same price you can buy a high capacity battery pack with enough juice to fuel your whole party!
A Bag to Hold It All
Naturally, all of this is a bit much to carry around in your pockets, which is why you need a solid bag to lug them around in. You want something lightweight, easy to carry, and resistant to the elements. Look for a weather resistant sling bag, like this one from Ozuko. In addition to keeping your gear dry, it also lets you access your phone charger without opening the bag and can safely store credit cards, annual passes, and more in the shoulder strap.
With these tips, you’ll be more than ready to survive whatever the Florida weather throws at you! Check out the AllEars weather page for even more Florida weather tips!
What are your tips for surviving Disney downpours? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow us on social media!