Monday, June 6, 2016

Beat the Heat at Magic Kingdom

Now that summer is officially here, I thought I'd do a park-by-park installment on how I keep cool when I'm visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks in the summer-time!  Walt Disney World, and all of Florida really, is a very warm place to be in the summer months.  If you know me - you will also know how easily I overheat and how much I dislike being hot.  Some say I'm being dramatic, nope I just don't tolerate heat well.  So if you similarly don't like to be hot, sweaty and sticky - these posts are for you!
Traditional Summer Forecast for Walt Disney World

Today's installment features Magic Kingdom Theme Park! I've broken my things-to-do-when-it-is-hot tips by the different lands at Magic Kingdom.  While there are plenty more places to cool-down, these are my personal favorites!
Welcome to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Main Street USA
  • The shops along Main Street USA.  Once I'm done grabbing park maps, snapping pictures of Cinderella's castle, getting pictures with the Characters, and just taking in Main Street USA; I take a break from the heat by walking through the shops instead of walking along Main Street (or when I'm trying to avoid the parade crowds).  Plus walking through the shops gives me an excuse to browse for souvenirs! If you enter at the Emporium (when heading towards Cinderella's Castle) or at Casey's Corner (when exiting the park) you'll be able to walk all the way through without having to exit until you reach the end of the shops.  The opposite side of the street has stores that are air-conditioned but these stores are separated walls and each have their own entrance so this tip doesn't work over there!
  • Grab a bite to eat at The Crystal Palace or The Plaza Restaurant.  These two restaurants offer good food and air conditioning - but make sure you have a reservation first! The good news is The Plaza Restaurant usually has last minute reservations on the My Disney Experience app and is a non-expensive option too!
  • Walt Disney's Tiki Room. A lot of people skip over this stop as they rush to the Pirates of the Caribbean.  I like stopping here for the 15-minute break in air conditioning! While it is outdated, it is a cute show, with a super catchy song and it is a Walt Disney classic.  Plus, as I exit the show, I grab a Dole Whip at Aloha Terrace which is conveniently located right next the exit!
  • Pirates of the Caribbean.  This popular ride is on this list because it is a dark-indoor ride.  Also getting bonus points most of the queue is either indoors or under shade. 
It's a pirates life for me when it is hot out!
  • Skipper Canteen is the newest Magic Kingdom restaurant and is a great place to grab a meal while in Adventureland (even if you're not looking for somewhere to cool down).


  • In my opinion, the best way to cool down at Magic Kingdom is by taking a ride on Splash Mountain.  The water ride not only gets you wet (if you're lucky) this ride has some major time in the A/C.  This ride is 11-minutes long and a majority of that is inside or getting wet.  The only downside is, depending on how long the line is, a good portion the queue out in the sun and heat. 
    The laughing place will cool you down!
  • Pesco's Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is a my-go-to Counter-Service meal mainly because it has plenty (and I mean plenty) of indoor seating options allowing you and your family to eat their meal in the cool air-conditioning. 
  • Country Bear Jamboree. The only reason I'm visiting this show, is to get a 12-minute break from the Florida heat. And possibly take a quick nap while I'm there. 
  • Tom Sawyer Island. If you don't go running about the island like a crazy-person (or kid) it can be a nice break from the heat thanks to all the trees offering a shady-haven from the Florida sun.  Only downside - the sketchy transportation to get you to the island is 100% in the sun, and the boats move rather slow.

Liberty Square

  • There are lots of indoor dining options in the Liberty Square section of Magic Kingdom. My personal favorites are the Liberty Tree Tavern and Columbia Harbor House offering up cool places to have a bite to eat.
  • There is also two in-door shopping locations in Liberty Square - Momento Mori and the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe - where I can always find something unique to take home.
  • Liberty Square also has two in-door rides: the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents.  However, The Haunted Mansion's line is 95% outdoors and full of 'dead-space' where the cast members constantly encourage Guests to get as close as possible to each other making for some pretty warm moments before you get to cool down.
Once you fill in the dead-space, you'll get almost 8-minutes of coolness.
  • The Fantasyland attraction that has almost no-wait outside is Mickey's PhillharMagic (a personal favorite of mine).  Plus this is one of the longest (aside from waiting in line at Fairytale Hall) attractions in Fantasyland giving you a 12-minute break from the heat.
  • The majority of Fantasyland's rides are indoors, but the downside is that most of the rides have lines that are outside. This includes: Peter Pan's Flight, "it's a small world" and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Princess Fairytale Hall.  
    "its a small world" gives Magic Kingdom guests over a 10-minute break from the Florida heat. 
  • Fantasyland does have lots of in-door shopping options as well including Fantasy Faire, Castle Couture, Sir Mickey's and Hundred Acre Goods.
  • Indoor eating options include Pinocchio Village Haus for a Quick-Service option (tip: this restaurant gets very crowded so check upstairs - there is limited seating!) and Cinderella's Royal Table for a Table-Service option (only if you're able to secure a reservation though!).
  • Bonus: if you're able to secure a reservation to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique you'll be treated to air-conditioning for as long as the appointment lasts!
Enchanted Forest - New Fantasyland

  • Enchanted Tales with Belle and The Voyage of the Little Mermaid are good attractions that have lots of indoor time. The downside is that their queues are outdoors which can get a little toasty.
    Visit Ariel and friends and get a 6-minute break from the sun!
  • For eating you have a Table-Service location Be Our Guest (if you were lucky enough to get a reservation). Gaston's tavern is the quick-service location in New Fantasyland but the menu here seems to be getting smaller and doesn't have any meal options so I consider it to be a snack stand.
  • The one lone place to shop in New Fantasyland is also an air conditioning location: Bonjour! Village Gifts.

Storybook Circus

  • If want to meet some of your favorite Disney characters - do so at Pete's Silly Sideshow Character Experience. The Meet and Greet area is indoors as is the queue. 
  • Casey's Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station is a great place to run through some water to cool you down before you head to your next stop. 
  • The one place to shop is at the Big Top Souvenirs - a tent that does offer some relief from the heat.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a good break from the heat if you don't have a FastPass! The waiting area is indoors, plus it is a play-place allowing the little ones to get a lot of energy out while you wait for your Dumbo ride. 

  • This always seems to be the hottest section of the park. Especially as I'm walking to Space Mountain which is a great way to break away from the heat as the both the queue, the ride and the gift shop after the ride is all indoors! 
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is also a great attraction that is pretty much all indoors too and it is a cute and funny experience.
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and the Carousel of Progress are good options once you get in to the ride/attraction but both have queues are outdoors with little-to-no break from the heat. 
    Visit Buzz and get rewarded with a break from the heat and a fun, interactive ride!
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is ride that is outdoors but in the shade but is also a slow-moving ride that offers a very little breeze - I'd wait until nighttime to ride this one.
  • If you're looking for a place to eat Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe is a large, air-conditioned quick-service location.

Those are my favorite rides, attractions, places to eat, and shops to visit when the heat is on full blast.  Here is what I avoid when the heat is on high (late morning to late afternoon).  I suggest visiting these rides and attractions in the early morning or after the sun has gone down (when the park - and Florida in general - cools off).
The following are suggestions for when the sun has gone down over the Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom Heat Traps to Avoid During the Day (and do at nighttime!):
  • The Jungle Cruise.  Both the line and the attraction are outside. The line is shaded but lots of bodies and walls make it hard to get a breeze.  The attraction is a slow moving boat ride and lord help you if you're seated near the boat's engine - that baby is hot!
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The queue for this ride is outdoors - in the shade yes - but you really get the dessert feel while waiting as it is just hot and steamy in this attraction.  The ride is fast moving and thus you get a great breeze but 95% of the ride is in the sun.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Also another attraction that is in the sun as is it's queue.  There is a portion of the queue inside but the majority (especially when the wait-time is high) of the queue is outdoors and in the sun. 
  • Tomorrowland Speedway. Lord this one is a hot one. Wait for nighttime and you won't feel like your baking on the pavement.
  • Any outdoor eating. Ice cream will melt too fast in the Florida heat - save your ice cream treat for nighttime!

Those are my favorite ways of beating the heat - what are yours?

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