If you’re visiting Walt Disney World this summer, there WILL be rain during your vacation. Not to worry, though. While summer storms are common in Florida, they usually blow over quickly and won’t have a significant impact on your day. Here, you’ll find the best tips for where to take cover when it rains at Disney World and continue having fun!
Summertime Disney World Rain Tips
Previously, I shared rainy day strategies for two Disney World parks. However, unlike a full day of rain at Disney World, summer storms aren’t something to plan your entire day around. You just need to know the best places to seek shelter indoors for a bit until the storm blows over.
Don’t fret if the weather forecast for the week of your summer Disney World vacation looks like this:
Those little thundercloud icons only mean that rain will likely fall sometime during the day – not necessarily all day long. A summer day in Central Florida is typically sunny and cloud-free in the morning and evening while an afternoon thunderstorm will roll through and be gone within an hour. Just be prepared with ponchos and these lists of Rain Retreats so you’ll know where to quickly find cover no matter where you are.
These Disney World “Rain Retreats” guides can be saved to your phone so they’ll be handy references wherever you happen to be when the skies are about to open up! If you see a storm approaching or your favorite weather app alerts you about an approaching storm, pull up the Rain Retreats guide for the current park to find the closest and best indoor shelter.
Get your Rain Retreats at Disney World guides below and then come back here for why each attraction was chosen and how to best manage those quick, afternoon summer thunderstorms in Orlando!
Rain Retreats at Disney World
Yes, you can simply duck inside the nearest shop or under an overhang if rain starts to fall. But there are better options to continue enjoying the entertainment that you came to Disney World for while taking cover from a storm.
Instead of simply looking for the nearest open door, these Rain Retreat guides recommend the shops that are large enough to enjoy more than a few minutes of browsing. They’re rides and attractions that will keep you under cover for the duration of the storm. And they’re quick service restaurants where you can enjoy a meal indoors at any time without a reservation.
These guides do not list every indoor ride, only those that have indoor queues or covered queues that will keep you reasonably dry. Rain rarely falls straight down in Florida so not all covered queues are created equal!
Additionally, some indoor rides are “rain retreat islands” with mostly uncovered space all around them. They’ll keep you dry for a few minutes, but you’re out in the elements again as soon as the ride is over. So, I’m not recommending Haunted Mansion, for example, since it’s queue is covered, but not Florida downpour-proof. Then, after your doombuggy ride, the Haunted Mansion exits right outside again with no gift shop or covering. Instead, indoor rides like Space Mountain with its long indoor queue and additional large gift shop prior to exiting is recommended since the entire experience keeps you dry much longer.
Also, most table service restaurants are indoors, but require reservations. While some would be able to accept walk-ups, getting a table isn’t guaranteed so the only indoor restaurants recommended as rain retreats are quick service locations.
OK, now that the requirements for these Rain Retreats have been explained, let’s get to the information you came for!
Magic Kingdom Rain Retreats
On Main Street USA, duck into the Emporium. The entire west side of Main Street is one continuous shop – from the main Emporium entrance on the corner of Town Square all the way to Casey’s Corner on the castle end of the street. Once inside, you’ll be dry from the rain in one long continuous shop. If you’re just inside the park entrance at Town Square and want to meet characters, step into Town Square Theater where you will have to wait in two separate likes to meet Minnie and Mickey Mouse, and also Tinker Bell. But you’ll be inside and dry the entire time so the wait won’t be too bad!
Tomorrowland is a great land to be headed if you have some lead time before the sky opens up. There, you can enjoy the Carousel of Progress, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, and Space Mountain. If you must, have a meal at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe as well … but only if you’re desperate for food and want to avoid the rain!
Fantasyland has fewer options and your best choice is to make a beeline for Mickey’s PhilharMagic if rain is imminent. It’s A Small World is a longer ride that will keep you dry for a while or try Pinocchio Village Haus if you’re hungry. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is an outdoor ride, but it has an indoor playground queue so you can stay there with little ones and wait out a passing storm.
In Liberty Square, the Hall of Presidents is a great rain retreat or go inside Columbia Harbour House for a meal or snack.
Frontierland has outdoor rides, so you’ll want to head to Country Bear Jamboree or eat at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn if rain is coming.
Adventureland is also mostly outdoors, so start head toward Pirates of the Caribbean if storms are brewing.
Epcot Rain Tips
Epcot offers the best rainy day attractions of all the Disney World parks.
In Future World East, Test Track will likely close in the rain, but it has a large activity area at the ride exit to keep the kids occupied. Just enter through the Test Track gift shop and continue towards all the interactive video games. Build a car, race it against other cars, create a commercial … so many things to do!
Mission Space has a large activity area as well and the ride won’t close when it rains. If you want to skip the ride, though, use the same strategy as Test Track and enter through the attraction’s gift shop, proceeding through to the activity area. This one is even better for little kids with a play space as well as interactive space-themed video games for older ones.
On the other side of Future World in Future World West, just head into The Seas with Nemo and Friends or The Land. Each house multiple attractions that can keep you dry for well over an hour. You’ll also find food in The Land at Sunshine Seasons, so head that way if you’re hungry AND need to stay dry for a bit.
Staying dry in World Showcase takes a little more planning. Enter the pyramid in Mexico to stay dry inside with a ride, shopping, and food. The American Adventure offers a large air conditioned space with several Voices of Liberty shows daily, a small native American exhibit, and the main American Adventure show … all under one roof. In Japan, do some shopping at the large Mitsukoshi department store. The Impressions de France movie should be on every Epcot itinerary and is a great rain retreat as well. Be sure to also pick up some pastries from Les Halles at the exit! Over on the United Kingdom side … well, duck inside the shops there as well.
Hollywood Studios Rainy Day Retreats
If storms are approaching while you’re on Sunset Boulevard … leave! Yes, there are a couple of thrill rides and short shows, but nothing will keep you dry for long and you’re entire walk down the boulevard to the rest of the park is wide open.
In Animation Courtyard, the best rain retreat is Star Wars Launch Bay. This is a large indoor space with several character meetings and lots to see. Stay and meander as long as you need!
Closer to Toy Story Land, stop in Walt Disney Presents. This is another large indoor space with many exhibits, a movie, and a character meeting.
If rain is about to fall while in Toy Story Land, which is notoriously open with little cover, your best choice would be to head to Walt Disney Presents. Otherwise, get in line for Toy Story Mania and hope the end of the line isn’t reaching outside!
Over on Grand Avenue, the Muppet*Vision 3D show is a great retreat, especially when combined with the hilarious pre-show. If PizzeRizzo is open, enjoy a meal in the large, two-floor dining room.
In nearby Echo Lake, ride Star Tours with its trifecta of rain retreat requirements: indoor queue, indoor ride, indoor gift shop at the exit. The Frozen Sing-Along will consume a chunk of time as well. If you’re hungry, both the ABC Commissary and Backlot Express have indoor quick service dining.
Animal Kingdom Rain Tips
Of the four Disney World parks, Animal Kingdom offers the fewest choices for rain retreats.
On Discovery Island, head to the Tree of Life and watch the It’s Tough To Be A Bug show, do a little shopping, or have a meal at Pizzafari.
In Pandora, grab a meal or snack at Satu’li Canteen or stand in line for Flight of Passage. As long as the line isn’t out the door, you might as well wait 2 hours for the rain to pass, right?
In Africa, your indoor options are limited to the Festival of the Lion King.
Over in Asia, your choices are even fewer. Either head out to another land if storms are brewing or try to get a table at the Yak and Yeti restaurant. The Local Foods quick service counterpart only has outdoor seating while the table service restaurant is indoors.
Dinoland U.S.A. offers the Dinosaur ride and Finding Nemo musical, as long as you don’t get caught in the rain while waiting for the show doors to open. Restaurantosaurus provides an indoor meal.
How does your family handle summer rain at Disney World?