Yes. I just booked another August visit to Walt Disney World.
I never thought I’d like being in the heart of Florida during the hottest month of the year, but I have to admit, I do.
#1 I can walk down Main Street – arms swinging!
You would think that with most kids out of school, the end of summer would be just as crowded as winter and spring breaks, but it’s not. The August crowds have not been as dense as the October and November crowds my family and I have been running into the past 10 years.
Early Extra Magic Hours are a dream any time of the year (because you can walk on the most popular rides and take fabulous photos without masses of people in the way) but in the summer, the benefit is twofold. The light crowds allow you to get a lot done early so you can retreat from the sun during the hottest and most crowded part of the day. If you need more park time, you can return late in the day after the sunburned and exhausted guests have left.
#2 I get waterlogged!
The Typhoon Lagoon visit was on a weekend, so reserving an umbrella ($60) was essential because I wanted to guarantee that we’d have some shade to retreat to from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although the wave pool area was extremely crowded, wait times for the waterslides were not bad at all.
The Blizzard Beach visit was on a weekday and attendance was light. I definitely could have saved the 60 bucks I spent to rent an umbrella. Free shade was available everywhere.
In the summer, I also dedicate a lot more time to the resort and the pool. Because we hit the parks early and leave when they start to get busy (around 1 p.m.) we fill those afternoons with swimming, reading, and napping. Some Disney Resorts (mostly deluxe) also have community houses, with things like video games, board games, crafts, ping pong, and air hockey.
#3 There’s no Mommy guilt!
My kids don’t have to miss any days of school for an August trip. It’s guilt-free fun and there is no homework to bring along or makeup when we return.
#4 Leisurely lunches and resort visits!
Because there’s always a good chance of encountering a summer storm (which happened a lot on our 2017 trip), I make sure to watch my Weather Channel app like a hawk. As soon as I see a storm is close, I move the family in the direction of a nice relaxing sit-down spot, preferably at a resort so we can eat and browse some shops if necessary. The Polynesian’s Kona Café is one of my favorite venues for this purpose.
#5 Kilimanjaro Safari was awesome!
I thought the animals would be lethargic, but they are quite active. Duh! They hail from countries much closer to the equator than Florida. I got some of my best safari photos ever in 2018.
Now, our trip wasn’t perfect. August definitely has its downsides.
- We go through three and a half bottles of sunscreen in a week.
- We pack double the number of t-shirts and shorts because our morning duds are way too sweaty to wear by the afternoon.
- We really have to monitor how hydrated we are. Don’t attempt to “drink around the world.” Grab a glass of water every chance you get.
- It’s hard to eat ice cream. It starts to melt the minute a cast member hands it to you.
- We usually miss the daytime parades.
- We are not at our most photogenic in the heat. Get those iconic shots in front of Cinderella Castle or with Mickey first thing in the morning.
- A lot of storms pop up in the summer. When this happens, outdoor rides shut down and indoor attractions fill up. However, prolonged rains tend to chase people out of the theme parks. So, sometimes, you can get a lot done on a rainy day if you’re willing to forgo dry clothes and shoes.
My dad was a teacher, so as a kid, going to Disney always happened in the summer. I never knew anything different until I was a grownup. So maybe my rediscovered love for August visits comes from the nostalgia of taking those trips in the ’70s and ’80s.
Which leads to another reason I love my August visits.
#6 It reminds me of the Disney from my childhood!
When “where” you eat and “what attractions” you visit isn’t the priority, the need for Advance Dining Reservations and Fastpasses lessens. Fewer plans make our stays spontaneous and a lot less stressful. It is great to be able to wander aimlessly using a map instead of an app, very much like I remember doing as a kid.
Sure, we don’t get to do everything, and we miss a few things. But it doesn’t really matter, because we know we’ll probably be back next August to try again.