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Monday, June 14, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Watch the weather

Rain at Epcot

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

I decided to stick with the water theme and talk about a facet of trip to Walt Disney World that many of us hope not to see, but should expect, especially this time of year: rain.

It's safe to say that there will most likely be at least one rainy afternoon during a week-long trip to WDW in the summer. Florida sees more thunderstorms than most anywhere else in the nation. Now this doesn't mean your summer trip is a sure washout. Far from it. Florida rain is similar to tropical showers -- splash and dash. It will rain (sometimes VERY heavily) and then 15-30 minutes later the sun is out, jacking up the already humid weather to just plain muggy.

There are several tips to keep in mind when preparing for the rain. First is keeping dry. There are a few options here. The first is the good 'ol poncho. It's fairly easy to carry. It will keep your torso dry, but your shoes and lower legs will be soaked. The downsides are that ponchos don't breathe, so you will sweat up a storm until you can get it off and then you have to deal with a wet poncho after the sun returns.

The second option is an umbrella. You will stay pretty dry (aside from your shoes, maybe) and there's no worry about seating. The major downside is an umbrella is a pain to carry around all day, especially while riding attractions.

The third option is to run for it! Obviously you don't have to worry about keeping up with anything, but you're also running the risk of getting soaked to the bone. This is where the true theme park commandos display their skills at dash-and-cover. While this maneuver may have originated with the army (dash to a new spot to find cover and fire at the enemy), at WDW, this term takes on an entirely new meaning: Dash to a new place to find cover from the rain.

Whichever option you decide, it's best to know what's going to happen ahead of time. That means keeping up with the forecast and local radars.

These days most people have some sort of web enabled phone. Here are a few must-save links to have on hand while in the parks.

National Weather Service:
Weather Channel:

It's also important to check the forecast before you leave for your trip. You should most especially check the tropical forecast well ahead of time for any trips between June and November. I highly encourage visiting the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at least a week ahead of time to see if any tropical weather may affect your trip. If it does appear that tropical weather might impact your trip, you should consult your travel agent to see what your options are. Disney has posted a hurricane FAQ on their Web site. It's a very good idea to read this to see how Disney handles a hurricane and what their policies are for rebooking, should that become necessary.

I'll probably do another post specifically about hurricanes at WDW, so look for that in a future Tip Tuesday.

Also, a bit of a programming note: There will not be a Tip Tuesday next week.

Until next time, keep the magic in your heart and hope that the sun is shining!

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