note: this is one segment in a multi-part series on how to plan a trip from Naperville to Disney World.
Now that Naperville schools are out, many families are thinking about summer travel. One of the more popular vacation destinations is the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Summer in Florida is fierce. I am not going to lie. As one who made the yearly pilgrimage to the House of Mouse every July for at least a decade with my family, I know it seems impossible to visit the parks while you are dripping with sweat.
But fear not travelers for I bring you some coping mechanisms. I can’t promise you mid-70’s temps and no rain, but I can help you make your vacation magical in spite of soaring heat and 90% humidity.
I present: 6 Steps to Surviving the Summer at Disney (trumpets sound here).
You will need to do some research before you head to Disney. What are you interested in doing while you are there? Do you have teens that want more thrill rides? Do you have a 5 year old princess in training who will want to meet Rapunzel? Or is your 7 year old son dying to see some action at the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show?
Summer crowds are heavy so you will not be able to do everything. Start a list of “must do” and “would like to do” that will please all members of your family. Need a place to see these must do attractions? Magic Kingdom Map, EPCOT Map, Hollywood Studios Map, Animal Kingdom Map
You hear this all the time but it is so true. You should be drinking water as often as possible. You may be tempted by soft drinks and lemonades, but water is the best liquid to help you maintain your stamina!
Freeze water over night in bottles and use them during the day. Refill at water fountains (the older the park, the more water fountains available). Quick service restaurants will give you cups of ice water upon request at no cost. This will save you a couple of dollars on water bottles in a pinch. Purchase reusable water bottles and misters before you hit the parks and save some money! Local stores will have these items for so much less than once you are on Disney property.
You are going to be outside in the Florida sun more hours than you usually are (unless you are a lifeguard by trade). Bring sunscreen in all forms. I found a great powder form I use on our faces. I use sticks for shoulders and tops of feet. I use a spray for backs and arms. It’s a full armada of protection and you will still get some sun anyway.
4. Pace Yourself
When you look at the parks’ hours of operation you will be amazed at how long the parks are open. There is a reason for that. Sheer volume of people in attendance makes parks stay open longer. Because of this, stop mid-day and go back to your hotel. Relax, get cool, swim, shop whatever but take time OUT of the parks during the hottest times to recharge your batteries and head back in around dinner time. Think of your vacation as a cross-country run, not a 50-yard dash.
Last June we did a summer trip for the first time in many years. I wasn’t sure how my girls (ages 7 and 3) would do under the heat and crowds. We did a practice run at Brookfield Zoo. It was a hot day about two weeks prior to our vacation and we packed up like we were going to Magic Kingdom for the day. It was hot, outdoors, sunny and crowded. We learned a lot about our kids’ endurance. Heat is a factor that can lead to crankiness and whining in children.
You want to have a perfect trip. You are spending a LOT of money to have a wonderful time and it is hard when your kids are whining and you are tired and you still have three more 60-minute waits to endure. This is when you need some flexibility. Instead of standing in that 70-minute line for Space Mountain, climb aboard the Peoplemover and relax. Instead of walking all the way from Germany to International Gateway while sweating and complaining, stop in at France and watch the movie in air-conditioned bliss.
While summer in Disney is one of the more difficult seasons to visit, it still holds wonder and magic in its own way. Take advantage of longer park hours, mid-day swim breaks and theater shows as cool off stations to keep your family happy and cool!
These tips are provided by Your Naperville community member Jenn Hart, of Guru Travel. As a Disney Authorized Travel Agent, she can work with you to make your Disney dream vacation a reality. Services to Guru Travel clients are complimentary and designed to make your trip truly magical. Contact Jenn or find her on Facebook as Dis Savvy.
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