Walt Disney World is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. There’s an incredible amount to do – four theme parks, two water parks, a substantial shopping and dining district and many beautiful hotels to explore. With all of these options available, what could get in the way of a fantastic trip? Well, it’s really hot and humid. In this post we’ll cover our favorite spots at all four Disney World theme parks where guests can go to beat the heat!
Before we get to the meat of the post, I should state that we’re focusing on the four theme parks. Water parks are obviously excellent ways to cool off and Disney World offers two excellent water parks in Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Adding the water parks on to your Disney World vacation (at a decent cost) is a good way to go if you have the time and are interested.
Along those same lines, there isn’t a much better way to cool off than a swimming pool. If you are staying on-site at Disney World then taking a break in the middle of the day to cool off poolside is a good way to go. All of the WDW hotels have fun pools that are worth enjoying at least once. While we’ll give several options for cooling off inside in the park, don’t just stay inside the park and try to sweat it out if you’re miserable. Just go back and enjoy the pool, relax for a while and then go back to the park a few hours later if it comes to that. If swimming isn’t your thing then go explore a few of Disney World’s beautiful hotels. Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Grand Floridian all have beautiful areas to relax inside.
One last spot outside of the parks that you could potentially cool off at is Disney Springs. While guests have to walk from store to store outside, almost everything of interest is inside. Whether you’re shopping or grabbing a drink at one of the excellent bars or restaurants in Disney Springs, this isn’t a bad place to take a break.
Moving on to the parks, I’ll try to give a few areas in each park that are enjoyable places to get away from the heat. Essentially, my criteria is that the place has to have A/C and be an enjoyable experience. There was a little more that went into most selections but I can explain those as I get to them. Let’s get to it!
Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress
Magic Kingdom doesn’t have the coolest of options. Many of the shows here are outside and the restaurant scene is somewhat lacking. We’ll start the park off with the two easiest selections – Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. Both of these long shows have a few issues and aren’t flawless attractions. They both have a lot of heart and are a part of Disney history. Both of these are over 15 minutes long and have fairly comfortable seats. While watching the show is a good use of time, you wouldn’t be the first person to close their eyes in the attraction for a few minutes. The PeopleMover and River Boat would fit in this category but don’t technically have A/C. These are all attractions without long lines and offer plenty of time sitting.
Country Bear Jamboree and the Tiki Room
Frankly, both of these fit into the last category but I thought they deserve their own headline. The seats here aren’t as comfortable but the shows are funny and entertaining for the whole family. A few bonus points to Tiki Room for having Dole Whip a few steps away. A few bonus point to Country Bear Jamboree because it is the best show known to man.
A Few Restaurants
Magic Kingdom is low on choices so we’ll throw in a few restaurants that we like to take a break in. Be Our Guest is a counter-service restaurant for lunch and offers an impressive setting to relax in. Gaston’s Tavern is much smaller but is a fun place to sit for a while. The Plaza Restaurant, Skipper Canteen, Columbia Harbor House, and Pecos Bill all have interesting seating options and decent food.
Slow Boat Rides
Moving on to Epcot, which has a decent selection of places to relax outside of the sun. We’ll start off with my favorite spots in the park, the slow boat rides. Frozen Ever After technically fits that description but the long line keeps the convenience factor down. Instead, I was thinking of Living with the Land and Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Both attractions are underappreciated and offer a relaxing ride through some interesting and beautiful settings. I would recommend both of these attractions even if they didn’t have A/C but since they do, this is an excellent way to get out of the heat.
American Adventure and the World Showcase Films
American Adventure is in World Showcase and is a long show (around 30 minutes). The seating is comfortable and the show is really well done both from a technical and emotional standpoint. Like the boat rides, this show should be part of your itinerary anyway. That it has A/C is just a bonus.
Along those same lines, the films throughout World Showcase all have air-conditioning and are worth a watch. Our favorite of these is Impressions de France in the France Pavilion. It’s a beautiful film and, unlike the other movies in World Showcase, has seats. Another must-do that doubles down as a good place to relax.
So far our Epcot list may not be as interesting for kids, although they might enjoy the boat rides. The Seas tries to counter-balance that by letting kids explore this aquarium. While it might not get you off your feet as much, enjoying the animals throughout The Seas for a while will keep you out of the sun. Notice that I didn’t include the ride here because I don’t like it at all.
World Showcase Shopping and Dining
World Showcase itself is a nice place to relax if you take it slow enough. I know this isn’t everyone’s style but spending time in the Mexico Pavilion or stopping for a bite to eat every few pavilions inside restaurants is a good way to keep cool for a while. Of course, the walking between pavilions is very hot on the pavement so this addition to the list comes with some give and take.
DVC Lounge in the Imagination Pavilion
This is sadly only for DVC members but if you fit that bill then relaxing for half an hour or so in the DVC Lounge is a great way to go. It offers unique views of the park along with complimentary beverages and (sometimes) snacks. When visiting Epcot, we tend to stop here almost once a day.
Oh boy, I didn’t realize that Hollywood Studios was so low on places to cool off. That MuppetVision 3D is the obvious top choice says something about the park. Don’t get me wrong, MuppetVision is great but does show its age and doesn’t have the longest run time. With that out of the way, you should definitely go enjoy the show.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and Voyage of the Little Mermaid
I included a few other indoor shows on this list because there isn’t much else to do here. Neither of these shows are amazing (although Racing Academy is decent) but they give guests a few minutes away from the heat.
Tune-In Lounge and BaseLine Tap House
These two places should have probably been at the top of this list because they’re both fun, interesting places to relax. However, they aren’t the most interesting for the whole family but more in-line with adults interests. Both places offer interesting drinks and intimate settings. The food is somewhat limited but good nonetheless. I should mention that BaseLine Tap House has very limited indoor seating.
Festival of the Lion King
Animal Kingdom is the consensus hottest park at Disney World. There are very few indoor seating areas at the park but Festival of the Lion King is an exceptional show, one of the best at Disney World. Thankfully, it’s inside in a great theater. The bleachers aren’t the most comfortable but hardly worth mentioning as the rest of the experience is fantastic. Don’t miss this show, whether you’re hot or not.
One of the best Lounges at Walt Disney World is also a perfect way to beat the heat at Animal Kingdom. Nomad Lounge is filled with couches and comfortable chairs while offering a beautifully themed lounge full of interesting drinks. We routinely stop at Nomad Lounge and it’s one of our favorite places to relax when the sun is overbearing and our feet start to hurt. We both love the Iced Tea and I’ve yet to try a cocktail that I don’t like here. The Dawa Bar deserves a shout out here. Resting in Harambe, the bar is outside but is shaded and has fans overhead. It’s a great place to get a drink and watch some of the live entertainment in the area.
Pandora – World of Avatar
I’m taking a few liberties here as Animal Kingdom’s newest land is mostly outside and well worth walking around no matter how hot it is. The reason it does make the list is that the two attractions and restaurant are all inside. Na’vi River Journey is a slow boat ride and isn’t anything to write home about. Flight of Passage, on the other hand, is a long experience with an incredible queue and happens to be one of the best rides in Disney World. Satu’li Canteen is the land’s counter-service restaurants and one of our favorite places to eat in all of Walt Disney World. There is plenty of indoor seating and this is a great way to relax for a while.
That does it for our favorite places to cool off at Walt Disney World. What would you add to the list? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments down below. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it! What would be in your Magic Kingdom Top Five? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. That does it for our favorite places to cool off at Walt Disney World. What would you add to the list? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments down below.
Categories: Vacation Tips