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Rainy Days at Disney World

Rainy day activities at Walt Disney World

You've spent months planning, your itinerary is set, you arrive at Disney World and the deluge begins.

While weather is unpredictable, there are certain times of year, particularly the summer months, when a quick afternoon thunderstorm is the norm.

If you do encounter wet weather, it doesn't mean that you have to spend the day confined to your hotel room listening to "I'm bored..." Most of Disney World can be enjoyed no matter if the sun is shining or if you're starting to wonder if Noah is going to show up with the Ark.

Before heading to "the World", get yourself to a dollar store and stock up on inexpensive rain ponchos. Sure, a piece of plastic imprinted with a smiling mouse has its appeal, but you'll be paying a premium price for a Mickey raincoat. Think twice about umbrellas. They're not the easiest things to handle and stow as you navigate the parks.

The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios have many attractions that are found indoors. Take a look at the weather forecast during your stay. If there's a fairly dry day predicted, plan to visit the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. While it does have sheltered venues, this is one park that's meant to be enjoyed outdoors.

When you arrive at the park, think about renting a locker. You can stow your raingear when it's not needed (and don't forget to bring a plastic bag to store the wet rainwear.) If it's really raining, plan for soggy shoes/socks. A change of footwear may be a good idea.

The good news is, not everyone plans ahead and you often see visitors leaving in droves once the rain begins. Just keep one safety issue in mind, when you pop on a poncho it doesn't mean that you're immune from lightning. Stay indoors until the coast is clear.

If slogging through the parks during a full day of rain isn't your idea of fun, think about visiting the Disney Resorts. You can hop on the monorail   and explore the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts.

While all of the Disney Resorts have arcades, the Contemporary has the biggest by far. You can end up spending a ton of money, but at least you'll be dry and having fun.

If you're a pressed penny collector, there's another incentive for visiting the resorts. Each one has a unique penny machine where you can get a souvenir not found elsewhere.

Did someone say the "S" word? If the mention of "Shopping" has you clinging to your credit card, it is an option to consider on a rainy day. While your budget may not be ready for a one of a kind lithograph, not everything comes with a high price tag. At Downtown Disney there are tons of stores with everything Mickey that you can imagine. Lots of the shops, such as Goofy's Candy Company, Lego Imagination Station, Once Upon a Toy Store and the World of Disney have hands on activities making them the perfect spot for the kids to burn off some energy.

Another endless variety of shopping can be found at Epcot's World Showcase. It's amazing how inexpensive some of the items are, and you sure can't beat sampling some wines while the raindrops fall.

If your mate has that deer caught in the headlights look over the prospect of browsing the stores, pack him in his poncho and send him to the ESPN Zone over at Disney's Boardwalk. As he's happily watching his favorite team and munching on Buffalo wings, you can shop till you drop.

While it's bound to be crowded if a full day of rain is predicted, Disney Quest is a fun option. This venue is located at the Disney Marketplace. This is also where the AMC Movie complex is found.

If you're in the mood for a bit of pampering, schedule a spa treatment at Disney's Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club or the Disney's Saratoga Springs and Spa.

Rainy nights don't have to be a washout if you get tickets for La Nouba, a 90-minute original Cirque du Soleil production at Downtown Disney West Side. For ticket information, contact 407-939-7600.

At some point, you've got to eat, right? Obviously, sitting outdoors munching on a soggy hot dog may not be a plan, but there are so many indoor restaurants to choose from. For the restaurants that accept dining reservations, take the time to see if they have an opening. This can be done via your Disney Resort phone or through guest services in the parks or lobby of your resort.

Believe it or not, rain doesn't necessarily mean the fireworks are canceled. Don't be surprised if Wishes and Illuminations is still scheduled. If you wear glasses, you'll wish they had windshield wipers, but you will get to see the show.

It just takes a little imagination and planning to make a rainy day a memorable one.

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