You hear this often inside the theme parks: “The Sunshine State my sass.” Only they don’t say “sass.”
In the summer months – Central Florida’s wet season – the sun shines brilliantly in the morning, half the time at noon, and not at all somewhere between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. At least once, the heavens open up, lightning cuts a black sky, thunder roils the ground, and waves of rainwater dance across glistening theme park concrete.
And then it’s over.
Most Orlando storms last 20 minutes to an hour and then disappear. Once gone, the temperature drops a few degrees and the humidity eases marginally. The key to survival is to remain dry during the deluge so you can continue touring comfortably when it’s over. That can be accomplished by taking a few precautions.
- Pack ponchos or umbrellas. Check your local dollar store before leaving home. In the Orlando area, many malls have one, and they sell one cheap umbrella or two ponchos for $1. Key word: cheap. But the ponchos fit easily into pockets and cost so little that you can wear one and toss it when the rain dissipates. The next day, pack a new one.
- Buy ponchos or umbrellas. All theme parks sell both in most stores, but clerks don’t pull them out until a storm hits. If you want to buy one earlier, ask. Expect them to have Disney, Sea World, or Universal Studios logos, however. And expect them to cost more.
- Pack cheap quart-sized plastic bags. It’s one thing to have your pants get wet, quite another to discover a soaked camera, cell phone, or wallet. Use the bag to line your pockets or fannie pack.
- Ride something. If a storm descends, mentally note the location of a nearby indoor attraction. Do outdoor things as long as you can and head indoors when the first raindrop hits.
- Eat something. Same theory as “ride something,” but prepare for crowds. Guests generally hang around longer hoping the storm will abate, leaving few free tables. Families laden with trays of food tend to roam around like snakes ready to pounce on any small mammal that moves.
- Protect your feet. Wet pants are inconvenient; wet socks and shoes are painful. Take an extra pair of socks and even consider a second pair of shoes. Either leave them in the car (a long walk) or pop for a storage locker fee.
- Win the game. Wet guests try to tough it out but often leave early. The time you lose staying dry will recoup itself later when the others give up and go home.