Both Central Florida and Southern California can reach scorching temperatures. Preparing yourself and your family for the heat of a Disney park is an important part of planning your vacation. Failing to take the right steps before and during your family vacation can lead to heat exhaustion. Working as a cast member in the Magic Kingdom I witnessed guests suffering from heat exhaustion often, and it was one of the most common reasons that guests had to leave the park to go to the hospital. Yet for most healthy adults it is very preventable. Here are the top 5 ways to stay cool in a Disney park:
1) Drink a lot of fluids
Packing extra water bottles to refill at water fountains is an essential for the peak summer months. Especially when the parks hit the 90-degree mark, having a water bottle can come in handy. If you forget to pack a water bottle ask for a free cup of ice at any quick service location. In the heat of the summer the ice will melt quickly leaving you with a cold drink for you and your family while you are standing in the sun. Choosing a large soda rather than the regular soda for your meals is not the healthiest choice, but that extra bit of liquid to keep yourself cool is always my excuse to splurge on the larger size. Obviously tap and bottled water is always available for those who want to make the healthier choice.
2) Take Breaks
After spending thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation some guests understandably want to get a lot out of the experience. Many guests feel like taking a break is unnecessary, but I can tell you that taking a break is one of the best ways to have an enjoyable vacation. Giving your body 20 minutes to just sit an air conditioning can totally reset your body mentally and physically. Not only with this help cool your family down, but it will also make everyone more pleasant to be around. Children and adults alike will become a lot less cranky when their bodies aren’t sweating profusely, and taking a short break is a great way to let your body cool down. At the end of the day you want to look back and remember all the happy memories your family has together in a Disney park, and if refusing to take a quick break means your family will become irritated and grumpy, you are setting yourself up for a unpleasant vacation. As the parent or grandparent, you owe it to your children and grandchildren to slow down for a quick break. So while some argue they can’t afford to take a break, I argue you can’t afford not to take one.
3) Be willing to get on water rides
Be willing to get wet. Being able to cool off on rides like Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids will help keep your body temperature down. I understand the opposition of getting on water rides because I hate walking around in wet shoes and socks, but on days when the parks reach the 90-degree mark the splash can really help you from reaching the point of heat exhaustion. I recommend packing dry socks, but the moisture on the rest of your wet clothes will typically evaporate fairly quickly in the sun.
4) Parents/grandparents should take turns pushing the stroller
The weight of a stroller can add up. Alone an average stroller can weigh around twenty to thirty pounds. If you then add a thirty-pound child, plus all the items you’ve packed under the stroller some parents are pushing seventy or eighty pounds around huge theme parks. Add on an additional child and you could easily be pushing over a hundred pounds! That is why it is important for parents to split duty if possible. Single parents, I recommend you take a few more breaks throughout the day because of the strain of pushing. It can truly be a work out for a parent to navigate such a big item through what are now such crowded parks. Parents that take turns pushing the stroller will definitely lower their chances of heat exhaustion.
Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!