From Florida’s afternoon thunderstorms that come like clockwork in the summer to a light drizzle, rain is not uncommon at Disney World. In this guide to things to do at Disney World in the rain, you’ll learn exactly what to do when the skies open up, as well as how to plan a rainy day at Disney if you know it’s going to rain in advance (and in hurricane season, you definitely will!)
When it rains at Disney heavily enough to impact guests, you'll find that many outdoor attractions will be closed for safety reasons, and people not in the know will be stuck on what to do instead.
Whether you’re in the theme parks or elsewhere on Disney property, here are some great ideas for a rainy day at Disney World.
Disney has plenty of sit-down restaurants with table service to enjoy, and these are fantastic ways to spend a couple of hours when it’s raining. Every theme park has its own sit-down restaurants, as well as plenty of options in the resorts and at Disney Springs.
Many sit-down meals do require reservations, so it's important to try and plan ahead as best as possible (many people like to book a late lunch when they visit Disney in the summer during the rainy season, as the rain often comes in the afternoon).
However, even if you don’t have a reservation, there is often room for walk-ups, particularly at the restaurants at Disney Springs and the resorts.
You can choose from restaurants like Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, a buffet serving up African and American fare, as well as the gorgeous Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, which takes place inside the Beast’s castle.
Even if the outdoor rollercoasters are closed, there are plenty of things you can do in the Disney parks in the rain, including seeing a longer show or attraction.
In Epcot, you have the American Adventure, which is about 30 minutes long, in the Magic Kingdom, you have the Carousel of Progress (20 minutes) and the Hall of Presidents (30 minutes). In Hollywood Studios, you have indoor shows like the Frozen show and shows with covered seating like the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.
Instead of seeing the shows when it’s sunny, you should do the outdoor rides when the weather is good and save the shows in case you need them when it rains.
Planning a vacation to Florida? Be sure to check out our list of tourist attractions in Florida!
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best Disney resort to visit in the rain, as you can look out at all of the animals on the savanna from indoor viewing areas.
There are also tons of Animal Kingdom Lodge activities to enjoy, including food tastings, cookie decorating, and cultural activities for the kids to help them learn about Africa and sometimes create crafts.
The gorgeous lobby is reason enough to visit, and you’ll have plenty to do indoors while the rain passes. If you're visiting Animal Kingdom Lodge during the holiday season, you'll be blown away by the massive Christmas tree and stunning decorations throughout the lobby.
Disney Springs, the entertainment and shopping district of Disney, is free to visit and has plenty of stores, including the world’s largest Disney store. There is also a covered shopping area known as the Marketplace where you can go from store to store without ever stepping foot in the rain.
Disney Springs is one of the best free things to do in Disney World and a must-visit for any visitor when you want to find something to do outside of the theme parks.
Disney’s iconic monorail runs from the Grand Floridian to the Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This means you can resort hop at all three of these resorts without ever having to be in the rain.
Many people love resort hopping at Disney because you can see the beautiful lobbies of these iconic resorts, as well as visit their restaurants and shops. There are also regular activities at resorts that are free for anyone to participate in, and taking the monorail is one of the best ways to make classic Disney memories.
If you want a resort that’s entirely indoors, Disney’s Contemporary is the best place to go, as the Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian do have more emphasis on outdoor walkways.
Some lines, or queues, at Disney like Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, are either entirely indoors or under cover from the rain with just the sides exposed.
These are great options to duck into when it starts raining, as it won't affect you or the ride at all. In Epcot, Soarin is a great one for this (but not Test Track, as it shuts down in the rain because of the outdoor component of the ride).
In Animal Kingdom, the Na’vi River Journey ride is undercover, and in Hollywood Studios, most of the line for Rock N Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror are indoors.
Yes, this might mean you wait longer because other people will have the same idea and are flocking to the same places, but in a torrential storm with thunder and lightning, you won’t mind spending a bit of extra time enjoying the themed queues instead of running through the puddles.
If you've got a rainy day coming up and are looking for something to do, consider the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot. This special private tour of the greenhouses at Epcot are naturally indoors and not affected by the rain. It's a reasonable price per person for a fascinating guided tour of some of the more innovative Disney farming and growing techniques.
This is an excellent option for any plant lovers and Disney fans who want to see where much of the food for Epcot restaurants is grown and try and spot the hidden Mickeys around the greenhouses.
Many of the tours of Disney World cost a substantial amount of money and are outdoors, but this a great option for an indoor one that won’t break the bank.
What do you do if it’s raining during the fireworks? Do you stand out in the rain and get soaking wet? Absolutely not!
If the fireworks are still happening, but it’s too rainy for you to want to wait around outdoors (and they will make every effort possible to do fireworks anyways), walk from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary resort and head to the walkway in between the main Contemporary tower and Bay Lake Tower. You can also take a bus or boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary if you don't want to walk, with the bus being preferable for the heavy rain as the boat may not be operating.
From this walkway with glass sides, you have a beautiful view of the fireworks, and they pipe in the music, so you stay completely dry and still have the fireworks experience.
There are other places to watch the fireworks from the Contemporary, but none as covered and safe from the rain unless you manage to get a reservation to California Grill, the restaurant on top of the Contemporary.
If you don’t want to see if you can get a seat at a sit-down restaurant with waiters, you can just opt for a drink, snack, or small meal from a quick-service restaurant while you’re waiting out the rain.
Each park has plenty of quick-service options, and while some are outdoors, many are completely covered or are indoors so that you won't be affected by the rain.
Options include Cosmic Rays or Pinnochio Haus at Magic Kingdom, the Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom, the food court at the Land Pavilion in Epcot, and the ABC Commissary at Hollywood Studios.
These are great options when the rain catches you off guard, and you just need somewhere to go to dry off or take some shelter.
Better yet, use the Disney app to download the mobile menu and order online for your phone so that when you get there, you can head inside, grab your food, and sit down without waiting in line to order.
Disney’s Boardwalk, another shopping and entertainment district, is home to bars and restaurants that will keep you out of the rain, but the most popular is called Jellyrolls.
On a rainy night, head here to escape the weather and to enjoy the classic experience of dueling piano entertainment. It is 21 and up, so more suitable for an adult's trip to Disney World, but this is a wonderful thing to do at Disney in the rain.
The Boardwalk itself is outdoors, but if you’re planning at night in Jellyrolls, maybe started with dinner at the Flying Fish (an indoor restaurant), you can still enjoy it without your plans being rained out.
An Orlando native, Kalyn writes about USA travel and Disney tips at All-American Atlas. Her favorite ride is Space Mountain, and she loves encouraging adults to experience the fun in Disney, even without kids.