4 of Our Favorite Places to Cool Off at Each Disney World Theme Park
It’s officially that time of year at Walt Disney World where it’s just gosh darn hot! During the Summer months just walking up Main Street U.S.A or Hollywood Boulevard may seem like more of a workout then your last hot yoga session! But lucky for Disney-goers, there are a couple of go-to spots to keep cool and out of the heat at each Walt Disney World theme park.
Here are a handful of our favorites:
Casey Jr. Splash N’ Soak Station
Confession. I may be in my mid-forties but on those hot Orlando afternoons, I’ve been known to hit up this water play zone with my little one for a bit of an afternoon cooling off! This Storybook Circus splash pad is the perfect place to relax and unwind with a play structure that mists, sprays and everything in between meaning you can get varying degrees of wet depending on your mood! There are also restrooms conveniently located nearby as well as a kiosk selling swim supplies if you need to pick up sunscreen, a towel or even a swimsuit for your little ones!
A summertime visit to Magic Kingdom wouldn’t be complete without a go on one of Disney’s wet rides. Though the line (without a FastPass) can be stiflingly long and hot, once inside you can enjoy the cool dark passageways the offer a bit of a reprieve from the afternoon sun as you weave toward the loading area! The ride itself is cool, refreshing and at moments dark. And let’s not forget that final plummet where you’ll enjoy everything from a quick spritzing to a good dousing. But even if you get wet, not to worry. It’s so hot at Disney that you’ll be completely dry in 30 minutes tops.
Adventureland Tiki Totems
Just outside the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and near the Jungle Cruise you’ll find a little area featuring 6 towering tiki totems that provide a nice misting when the temperatures get a bit too hot to manage. Making a stop here on your way through Adventureland provides a great way for kids (and adults) to cool off before heading over to Sunshine Tree Terrace or Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip treat.
Not only do I consider this to be one of Magic Kingdom’s most underrated attractions, but it’s also a great way to cool off in the afternoon heat. This fantastic 3D show featuring musical numbers from your favorite Disney animated films almost never has a line. There are moments during the production where you will get spritzed with a bit of water or a bit of air and the cool air-conditioned amphitheatre offers a nice break from the afternoon temperatures. The queue is inside as well, meaning that even if there is a wait you’ll do so indoors in cool temperatures.
Columbia Harbour House
This Liberty Square quick-service restaurant is in our minds one of Disney’s best-kept secrets. The menu is seafood-heavy with shrimp and lobster rolls being among the highlights. However, the real draw is the quiet, dark and cool upstairs seating area that a lot of visitors miss. The restrooms here are nice and well maintained and windows offer nice views for those wanting to sit back and relax. As a matter of fact, this eatery is so chilled out that it’s easy to forget the heaving crowds that are just outside.
If I’m in the World Showcase and temperatures start to get to the best of me and my family, this is one of two of our favorite places to go. Inside the giant pyramid that makes up the Mexico Pavilion, you’ll find a lot to keep you entertained and out of the heat. There’s the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction which though dated does provide a nice relaxing boat ride. La Cava del Tequila is the perfect watering hole for those looking to unwind with a frozen margarita and San Angel Inn offers some mighty impressive Mexican fare. You’ll also find a sprawling marketplace offering lots of Mexican wares.
Epcot Splash Pad
Similar to Casey Jr.’s (above) this Splash Zone as you near the bridge to the World Showcase from Future World offers the perfect afternoon diversion when things are getting a bit hot. This playful leaping fountain is popular with small kids. However, they will get wet so be sure to at least have a quick change of clothes hand if you plan to let them linger here for a bit!
The Land Pavilion
There’s an awful lot to do in The Land pavilion making it the perfect place to spend an hour when temperatures are at their hottest. Those looking for a nice place to grab a quick service bit will love Sunshine Seasons. There’s an eclectic menu and ample seating making it the perfect place to relax and people watch. The Garden Grill offers character dining in a cool, rotating restaurant with Mickey, Chip, Dale and other Disney friends. Soarin’ is housed on the ground level of The Land and even if the line is long, you can wait in the cool air-conditioning. The neighboring Living with the Land attraction offers a long, meandering boat ride through Epcot’s incredible greenhouses which is both refreshing and relaxing!
Frozen Ever After
No one likes to wait in line but if you have to, there are worse places to wait than the Frozen Ever After attraction at the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase. The majority of this queue is in a dimly lit indoor area made to look like an Arendelle dock. It’s cool, it’s air-conditioned and the ride itself is a must-do! There’s also a neighboring gift shop and a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa nearby all providing a reprieve from the heat!
Though The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a pretty quick ride, there’s a whole lot to do at the actual Seas aquarium at Epcot. There are tons of exhibits and tanks to explore, hands-on exhibits that kids love, Turtle Talk with Crush takes place at the indoor theater and you can even watch staff feed the manatees at the upstairs tanks! So if the heat gets to be a bit much, don’t rush out after the Nemo ride is over. Stay and explore!
Kali River Rapids
For those that want to get a big dousing- this is the attraction for you! For some reason, Animal Kingdom can really feel the hottest of all of Disney’s theme parks upping the need to cool off on a long day. That’s why it’s nice that they have the one attraction guaranteed to get you the wettest. Though the odd visitor may walk away from this attraction dry as a bone it isn’t a common occurrence. As a matter of fact, this is the one attraction where you’ll find lockers near the entrance to the queues where you’ll probably want to stow your belongings before braving the river!
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
If you’re at that point during your Animal Kingdom visit where a cool dark theater sounds like the most magical place on earth then head over to the foot of the Tree of Life for this 3-D show about our tiny little insect friends. Hosted by Flick from the film ‘A Bug’s Life’ I find this to be the perfect attraction for a quick cool down with minimal lines and regular showtimes. The theater is nice and dark and allows you to get out of the sun even it is only for 10 minutes.
Yak & Yeti
Though the Rainforest Cafe and Tusker House tend to be the big restaurant draws for families, Yak and Yeti is a great option for those looking for fantastic cuisine without the animatronics or characters. The restaurant specializes in Asian dishes and you’ll find everything from Lo Mein to Kobe Beef Burgers. The dining rooms are spacious and cool and the restaurant does take walk-ups though it may require a wait! Dining here typically ranges between $15 – $36 per adult.
With most people opting for Pandora- The World of Avatar Fastpasses these days, this may be one ride you have to wait it out for but that’s not a bad thing. Most of this queue winds its way through an indoor hall featuring a pretty awesome dinosaur exhibit. You can get a bit of a science lesson while staying cool. You have then whisked away to an indoor pre-ride theatre presentation that is nice and dark before heading back in time to the age of the dinosaurs in a ride that is cool and and windy making it a good option when temperatures start to soar!
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
It doesn’t get much more refreshing in the afternoon heat than seating in a theater where Elsa uses her magical ice powers to make it snow indoors! Whether you’re a Frozen fan or not, there’s a lot to love about this stage show taking you through the key scenes from Disney’s blockbuster hit. An amazing cast leads guests through a karaoke version of their favorite Frozen songs and in a theater that tends to be as cool as Elsa’s ice palace. With a runtime of around 20 minutes, it’s the perfect length of time to rest those weary feet.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Not only is this one of my favorite places to eat in all of Walt Disney World but it is also a terrific place to cool down when temperatures get a bit too hot outside! Here guests can indulge in a milkshake, hotdog or hamburger while seated behind the wheel of a classic car in a soundstage made to feel like a vintage nighttime drive-in movie theater. Think dimly lit, cool, entertaining and with great food. What’s not to love? Advanced dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance at 407.WDW.DINE or via My Disney Experience. Prices will set you back $15 – $34.99 per adult.
Muppet Vision 3D
With the imminent arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the future of this Muppet-themed attraction is uncertain which means visitors this Summer should enjoy it while you can. Yes. the attraction is a bit dated but it’s still good for a laugh or two and with a dimly lit, air-conditioned theater it’s the perfect place totake a breather. Like Philharmagic, the holding area is indoors where you can sit, relax and enjoy the muppet themed clips while you wait for the other show to get out. The attraction has little to no wait times making it the perfect option for an unplanned break to cool off!
Star Wars Launch Bay
If you’re visiting Hollywood Studios this Summer then you’ll want something to tide you over until Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opens to the public! The Launch Bay is perfect for Star Wars fans of all ages and features need hands-on exhibits, memorabilia, previews, meet and greets and more! It is the perfect place to pass the time when you need a cool break between traversing the parks or heading to your next FastPass! Whether you are meeting Kylo Ren or checking out some of the weapons used in the original films you’ll definitely be feeling the Force!
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