Ahhh…summer in Central Florida. It’s not always the most romantic and idyllic picture, is it? No, not really. Add a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, tired family members, and all of the details that you have to figure out both on the fly and in the months leading up to your trip, and your summertime adventure could be doomed before it even begins. My mission today is to help make your trip to Animal Kingdom a bit more magical -even if it takes place in the middle of July.
Animal Kingdom is often thought of as the hottest spot in Walt Disney World (although another area is vying for the title…Toy Story Land, I’m looking at you), but it’s also the park with some of the newest, most innovative attractions. So, what’s a family who must travel during the summer to do?
There are steps that you can take to make your summer day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom just a touch more doable. The tips on this list are nothing ground-breaking, but they could be great reminders that, even in the steamiest of theme parks, cool moments can be found.
Drink your water. I know this conjures up memories of your mother harping on you, but it’s true. You might walk 6 miles a day at home, but, in the chance that you don’t, let this be your reminder that you’ll be walking further and expending more energy in a day at Animal Kingdom than you normally would at home. Drink more water than you think you need, and then drink some more. If you’re concerned about the price of water in the parks, I hear you. $3.50 a bottle can really add up, and lugging water bottles around can be a pain. Every counter service and snack location that has a soda fountain will give you a free cup of ice water. I know that some guests don’t enjoy the taste of WDW tap water. If you’re in that group, bring along an individually-sized drink mix packet and toss it in. However you prefer your water, please drink it.
Take in a show. Don’t pass by the opportunity to get out of the heat, sit in some air conditioning, and be incredibly entertained at the same time. Whether you choose Finding Nemo The Musical in DinoLand U.S.A or Festival of the Lion King in Africa, you’re sure to emerge refreshed and ready to tackle the heat a bit longer. The entertainment offerings in Animal Kingdom are top-notch, and whether you choose to stick to the indoor shows or you decide to find a shady spot from which to watch some of the outdoor entertainment, just taking a breather is a great thing.
Grab a cooling towel. While I don’t personally use cooling towels, I know many swear by them. You can find them before you arrive at WDW at big box stores and online, but, if you’ve left yours at home or didn’t realize exactly how hot it is in Animal Kingdom prior to arriving, you can find them at merchandise locations like Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe Village in Africa. Disney sells their Mickey-patterned cooling towels for $16.90 before tax.
Stop in a shop. The shops in Animal Kingdom are beautifully themed and contain some of my favorite Disney details to photograph. Even if you’re just coming by to window shop and soak up a little a/c, it’ll be time well spent. And you just never know…you could find a souvenir you just can’t do without. That’s a win-win.
Take cover. Yes, if all else fails, find some shade and just take five. Thankfully, the amazing Imagineers who created Animal Kingdom also gave us some quiet, shady spots in which to find respite from the Florida sun. Whether it’s stopping for a few minutes in the covered table area in Harambe Market during an off-time (not meal times), grabbing a spot at one of the picnic tables behind Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures in DinoLand U.S.A., or sitting a spell on one of the benches in the cave in The Oasis, take time and take a breather. It may not be as cool as sitting in an indoor location, but it’ll help the situation a bit just by getting you out of the sun.
Whatever your summer day looks like at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s sure to be an adventure. If you take a few of these steps during your day, you can stay cool even while spending time in the hottest park.