The powers that be are predicting that next week will be a scorcher in Orlando with some weather outlets predicting highs of up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though many of you may have read an article or two on how to keep cool in the heat, I thought we might take a look a few ways to keep your head straight when all else fails.
First of all, the best way to survive the heat is to expect it. You might think you are prepared for it but really, are you just dreading it and hoping that it won’t be as bad as you expect? That won’t happen. It will be hot as lava, and there is relatively no way to escape it, making it my job to help you make the best of it and enjoy your vacation.
Check the weather when you are headed to the parks and know what you are dealing with. In some areas, the heat actually feels worse than it is. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in particular, tends to feel like a Native American sweat lodge even in milder temperatures, and not in a good way. Once you accept this sweaty, unattractive fate, you have the opportunity to make experience-changing decisions ahead of time.
Wearing cooler clothes is an obvious thing to keep in mind, but something many people don’t think about is hair and makeup. All that pretty you have slapped on in the morning is sure to melt right off within a few hours. Instead, go for a hairstyle that looks cute right off the bat and also keeps your hair tied up away from your face and neck. Ponytails, buns, man-buns, whatever is your go-to get-it-away-from-my-face style is, commit to it from the start before you are a sweaty mess.
Keep your makeup lightweight and simple. You are on vacation, so don’t put too much pressure on every part of you to look perfect. A lightweight tinted moisturizer, some waterproof mascara, and a lipgloss will look way better come night time than layers of foundation, concealer, contour, and blush that has dripped down your neck.
Giving yourself a head start at the beginning of a hot day is the best way to avoid getting flustered when tempers start to flare along with the temperature. Plan a pool break in the middle of the day if you have time, drink water, take a hat, wear sunscreen, etc., these are all things that you should know by now but have you considered ways to minimize your sun exposure?
If you are planning on committing to an attraction with an outdoor, unshaded queuing area (like Avatar Flight of Passage, Tom Sawyer Island, Tomorrowland Speedway, Slinky Dog Dash, or SpaceShip Earth in Walt Disney World, or, Space Mountian, Autopia, or “it’s a small world” in Disneyland) try to knock them out first up in the morning or late afternoon.
Darting in and out of shops for the sweet relief of air-conditioning can help temporarily however I often find that it makes that slap-in-the-face of heat even worse when you come out the other side.
Bring a water bottle with you; not just any water bottle but a metal double-walled water bottle. It will keep the cold in and not just soak your backpack with condensation as your body heat sucks out its cold goodness. Don’t forget, loose ice isn’t allowed to be taken into the park any longer so no eskies or weird stuff like that, but you can fill up everyone’s bottle with the ice from drinks or any food establishment that you can request free ice water. The ice is important. We have often kept kids cool and in a manageable temperament with a surprise ice cube down the back of their shirts in slow-moving, sun-exposed lines. It keeps them guessing and, well, I find it funny.
Another thing to keep in mind when braving the heat of Disney Parks in summer is to listen to your body. If you are starting to feel woozy or nauseous, your body is trying to give you the signal to slow down. Some of you may remember my lovely fainting incident in the Magic Kingdom a few years back as a result of a combination of an allergic reaction to an unfamiliar over-the-counter anti-nausea aid and dehydration in the middle of winter. I can tell you from experience, it isn’t fun; there is nothing graceful about passing out and realizing that your mommy-tummy has been exposed to the masses.
If something feels like it isn’t right, take a moment and sit down in the shade, top up your hydration with some water and have a small snack. That slight change in schedule might be annoying, but it is way better than exiting the park prematurely in a wheelchair. Believe me.
If you are thinking of partaking in a water ride or two in hopes that you will be splashed out of heat-stroke misery, consider packing some flip-flops (thongs for us Aussies) and change into those when nearing the water rides. That way your good walking shoes stay dry. Flip flops can also be a good way to cool your feet down with a spray or two of water when grabbing an outdoor snack. Wetting children’s feet while they enjoy a churro in the stroller can help them to stay cool while waiting for parades too.
Are you wondering if there is something you can do to make everyone’s life around you a little easier? A way to give back to your Disney community and show your support for your fellow human? There is a way. It is called, deodorant. It’s almost summer; it’s hot; there isn’t anyone who can’t benefit from a little spray or roll-on of freshness. If you are a person that is inclined to need more of it than others or is perhaps self-conscious about it, take a small travel sized roll on with you. Can’t hurt, right?
However, you spend your 107-degree May day, stay safe, and don’t push your traveling family too hard. Sometimes the smartest choice can be to just enjoy what you can before heading back for an afternoon of swim time.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.