Important Tips to Beat the Heat in Orlando This Summer

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

Three girls at Universal Volcano Bay, two jump in the air while a younger one smiles at the camera

Credit: Universal

Florida is one of the hottest and most humid states in America. During the summer, temperatures can climb well over 100° with a humidity range anywhere from 80 to 100%.

Not only that, but during the summer Florida also experiences hurricane season, which starts in May and runs through November, meaning that the state also experiences daily thunderstorms that will last anywhere from an hour to the whole day. However, given the fact that it is warm and sunny most of the year, overall it makes central Florida a great location for theme parks. For those who have never visited though, it could be rather confusing to figure out how to best prepare for an upcoming vacation. Florida is hot, humid, wet, and sticky. It’s not uncommon to walk out of your hotel room and immediately start sweating. Add the amount of walking and waiting that you do in a theme park, and it can get uncomfortable fast. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks for you to keep in mind when packing and planning a vacation to the Sunshine State.

Wizarding World of 'Harry Potter' Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

What to Know Before You Go

For the most part, there’s no major difference between packing for a trip to Walt Disney World Resort and a trip to Universal Orlando Resort or any o the other major theme parks in Florida. Some Disney Guests do tend to go above and beyond with cute outfits, Disneybounding, and accessories for cute photos and meet and greet interactions, but it’s wholly up to you. Universal also has some great photo ops and many Guests will show up in their Hogwarts best in order to feel truly immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas. Again, this is all extra and is totally up to each individual to decide if they want to pack this way. However, fashion tips are a completely separate article, so we’ll just focus on surviving the Orlando weather.

disney vacation club members
Credit: Disney Vacation Club

What to Pack

If you do plan on packing some cute and fun outfits, it is highly recommended that you also bring an extra comfy outfit to change into. Breathable clothes, especially anything made out of cotton, are going to work the best to keep your cool and keep some sweat off of you. A good pair of shoes will also go a long way to help you make your way around the Parks and back to your hotel room at the end of the night.

Sandcastle water slide at Disney's Old Key West Resort
Credit: Disney

What clothes should I wear?

It’s easy to just grab a bunch of summer clothes and call it a day, but here’s a basic list of essentials to keep in mind when planning your outfits.

  • A rain jacket or poncho
  • Extra socks
  • Bathing suit
  • Flip flops for the pool
  • A sweater or sweatshirt (the A/C in the Parks, busses, and hotel rooms is always blasting, so that sweat cools and turns frigid quickly)
  • An extra outfit just in case
  • Comfortable, breathable t-shirts

It’s important to remember a rain jacket and extra socks in the Parks because those rain storms roll in swift and hard, but they’re usually over almost as quickly as they started. If you can wait out about an hour or so, you can generally manage to jump on a couple of rides with little to no wait because most Guests have gone back to the hotel to dry off. Make sure to plan in some relaxing time by the pool too, especially after a long, hot day at the Parks, it’s the best thing to end your night with.

Pirates of the Caribbean entrance at Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

What items should I bring?

Clothes aren’t the only important thing to keep in mind when packing for your trip. There are several useful items you should have on hand as well.

  • A cooling towel or bandana
  • A reusable water bottle (most quick service locations will give you free cups of water if you ask for it)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • A handheld fan
  • Liquid IV or other electrolyte mix to keep you refreshed
  • A hat
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • An umbrella

This is just a basic list of items, but each of these will go a long way towards helping you stay cool and help you beat the Orlando heat.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Credit: Universal Orland Resort

In-Park Tips

On top of just what to bring with you, there are a variety of ways to get cool once you’re in the Parks as well.

A group of adults visit Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Indoor Experiences

Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando have a variety of indoor attractions, dining, and other experiences that can help you get out of the heat or rain for a while. As mentioned earlier, the A/C is always on in the Orlando heat, so finding an indoor area will help cool you down pretty quickly. Shows like Country Bear Jamboree and Enchanted Tiki Room in Disney or Poseidon’s Fury and the Horror Make-Up Show in Universal are all indoors and last from 10 to 20 minutes, giving you plenty of time to relax.

Disney World - Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney Parks

Stay hydrated

Probably the most important tip is to stay hydrated! Most quick service locations will gladly give you cups of water for free if you ask. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up or mix in some electrolyte powder for added rejuvenation. Disney sells souvenir cups that can be refilled for free at your hotel for the duration of your stay, but you’ll have to purchase individual drinks inside the Parks. Universal also offers reusable cups that be refilled throughout the Parks for free on the day of purchase and for an additional daily fee each day after. Both Parks sell bottled water and Powerade as well to help keep you hydrated.

Family walking toward the entrance of universal studios florida
Credit: Universal

Bonus Tips

And because there’s so much uncertainty, especially for a summer vacation, here are some bonus tips to beat the Orlando heat!

Two girls standing in front of Cinderella Castle in The Florida Project
Credit: A24

How to deal with the rain

From June 1 to November 30 each year, Florida experiences hurricane season. While hurricane season is typically worse later in the year, the rain storms start pretty early on. Each afternoon, a wall of black clouds makes its way over Orlando bringing rain, thunder, and lightning. Typically, the rain comes down pretty fast and drenches everything immediately. Give it about an hour or so though, and the sky will be just as beautiful as it was before the storm, and you’ll probably be able to see a rainbow or two as well.

Guests walking through Disneyland in the rain
Credit: Orange County Register

Most people leave when they see the storm roll in, which can empty the Parks out pretty quickly. If you can handle some rain, you can catch a few rides during this time. Avoid the indoor attractions if possible, because everyone will head there first. As long as there’s no lightning spotted with a certain mile radius, most outdoor attractions will continue to operate. Find somewhere to hunker down for the worst of the storm (it’s a great time to grab a bite to eat or get some souvenirs) and be ready once it passes to head to your choice of ride.

The water tower at Disney springs.
Credit: Disney

Theme park tips

While there isn’t really a “bad” Park during the summer, there are a few things to keep in mind. Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World is one of the hottest Disney Parks due to the amount of animals and heat they give off. EPCOT probably has the most indoor offerings between the World Showcase and the Future World area. Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk have several dining and shopping options, so they’re a great option to break up your day or cool off in the evenings. Most of the rides in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are outdoor coasters with at least a partially outdoor queue and a locker system, so it will be harder to stay cool during wait times.

Universal Hollywood CityWalk
Credit: Universal

Overall, there isn’t really a “best time” to visit the Florida theme parks. During the summer, you can experience extreme heat and a thunderstorm in the same day, so it can be hard to know exactly what to pack and how to prepare. While these are just some basic tips to help guide you, keep them in mind when planning a summer vacation to Disney, Universal, or any of the other Florida theme parks.

What’s your best tip for beating the Florida heat? Share your advice in the comments below!

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

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