10 Tips to Keep Cool During Your Summer Disney Vacation

Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a — happy snowman!
~ Olaf

Family vacations at Disney are magical all year round. But no-one wants to be a soggy snowman! With a little preparation you’ll be all set for a puddle-proof time during your summer Disney visit! Take a look below for 10 great ways to beat the summer heat.

Extra Magic Hours – Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. Each day one park will either open early or close late. Taking advantage of these times means you can take a break in the middle of the day when it’s the hottest.

Free Ice Water – Yep! You read that correctly, a Disney Freebie. Staying hydrated during your visit is a must, especially in the summer at Disney. Visit any Quick Service dining location and ask for a complimentary cup of ice water. Refillable water bottle stations are now being implemented as well.

Splash Pads & Misting Zones – Let the kids burn off a little steam and cool off at one of the water play areas. Magic Kingdom: Casey Jr. Splash n’ Soak, The Tiki Statues in Adventureland and Camels at the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Epcot: Splash Pad across from the Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. Test Track Cool Wash. Disney Springs: Market Place Splash Pad. And watch out for Stitch at the World Of Disney.

Take the Plunge! – There are a few rides that will help keep you cool. Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom and Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom. Bonus: For those who want to stay dry, stand on the Bridge that overlooks the ride and use the Elephant Squirters to spray the rafts as they go by.

Indoor Attractions – There are many attractions at each of the parks that allow you to be indoors, in the AC! Sprinkle those in your itinerary between thrill rides to help minimize exposure to the elements! Bonus: These are also great attractions for when it rains.

Pool Time – Taking an afternoon break back at your resort is always a great idea, and taking a quick dip in the pool is even better! Perhaps even plan a down-day to spend at the resort and take advantage of the incredible Disney Pools.  Ask me about which resorts to choose to enjoy The Big Blue Pool or Stormalong Bay!

Water Parks – Disney has two fun themed water parks to choose from. Blizzard Beachand Typhoon Lagoon. Adding the Park Hopper+ option to your tickets gets you entry into both!

Cool Snacks – There are so many delicious treats to try at Disney. I’m always up for a delicious, soft-serve, pineapple flavored Dole Whip! But you can keep cool with a plethora of cold concoctions like Mickey Ice Cream, Kakigori (shaved ice cream from the Japan Pavilion), Night Blossom (boba infused passionfruit flavored drink from Pandora in Animal Kingdom) Frozen chocolate covered bananas, and more!

Special Events – There are several Special Ticketed events (on select days) to add to your vacation. Ask about adding one of these fun events to your next visit.

  • Early Morning Magic events are available at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Enjoy extra time in the parks to experience fan favorite attractions and breakfast!
  • After Hours events are available at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Enjoy cooler evenings with no waits for your favorite attractions and special treats.
  • Disney Villains After Hours at the Magic Kingdom offers more nighttime fun with a wicked twist!
  • Disney H2O Glow Nights offers splash-tastic surprises at Typhoon Lagoon water park once the sun goes down!

Little Extras – Misting fans, cool cloths (like Frog Toggs), hats, and breathable clothing can all help ensure you stay comfortable during your summer visit to the most magical place on earth! And, of course,  don’t forget the sunscreen!

I’d love to help you plan your next Disney vacation! 
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Heather@CrazyImaginationTravel.com  •  720.336.WISH (9474)
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Toy Story Land is Open!

What this means for your Day at Hollywood Studios.

Yee-Haw! Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is finally open and it’s more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys! Just like the Cars Land addition at Disney’s California Adventure and the Pandora expansion at Animal Kingdom, new lands generate a lot of Buzz and excitement. Folks have been anticipating the new land for almost three years when it was first announced at the 2015 D23 Expo. So you can imagine the lines to get in are longer than a game of Chutes and Ladders!


Here are a Five Tips to help you experience everything this new Land has to offer without waiting to be chosen by Claw to save you from the lines!

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH)
Toy Story Land is hosting Extra Magic Hours starting at 7am until August 25th. Only Guests staying at a Disney Property will have access to these highly valuable hours. With the hot Florida summer weather, having access to the morning EMH will not only help you avoid super long lines, you’ll get to get in and out before you melt like a box of crayons.

Bag Security Check
If you can avoid taking a bag into the park you can skip the Bag Check line and hop right through the ticket terminals. Otherwise, Do Not Pass Go, and enter your first line of the day. If you must take a bag into the park have it/them organized and open (and even smaller bags inside opened) and ready to go to get through the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Put on your Sunscreen and pack a little extra Patience
Everyone is excited to get in and play with the Toys in Andy’s back yard. Even with the advantage of Extra Magic Hours, Disney is limiting the number of people into the Land at any given time to help keep the crowds somewhat controlled. Those with FastPass+ reservations have priority. The attractions have outdoor queue’s and there is limited shading and seating.

You’ve Got a Friend in FastPass+
Hollywood Studios utilizes a tiered FastPass reservation system. The three rides in Toy Story Land – Toy Story Mania (the classic ride), Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers (both new attractions) – are all in Tier One. This means you can select only ONE from the new land and two from the remaining options in the park. So far, Slinky Dog Dash has the longest wait times. Securing a FP for this ride will be your best bet from a waiting stand-point. If you are not able to obtain a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash get there early and ride it first.

Woody’s Lunch Box and Mobile Order
Woody’s Lunch Box is the new quick service food location in Toy Story Land. It’s a fairy small venue with only two ordering podiums. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the new Mobile Ordering system in the My Disney Experience App. Place your order, tell it when you are ready and get a notification when to pick up your order.

I hope these tips helps you Play Big during your next visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you have any questions or would like help planning your next visit contact me at Heather@CrazyImaginationTravel.com

To Infinity and Beyond!

My First Visit to the Magic Kingdom (aka Disney Disaster!)

You might think, after reading about my first visit, that I would never want to return to the most Magical Place on earth, because the account is less than magical on so many levels. But you’d be entirely wrong.

October 1996. The Magic Kingdom was celebrating its 25th Anniversary and Cinderella Castle was decked out as a giant (nauseating) blow-up, candy covered, birthday cake concoction. But I had never seen the real thing so what did I know? There were banners lining Main Street with Lumiere on them so I may have been distracted from the awkward castle. Lumiere graced many of the 25th Anniversary collectibles I added to my stash that weekend. Collectibles? Yes. The entire reason for my visit to Orlando.

I went to spend the  weekend with friends I’d met online. We were all Beauty and the Beast collectors and had been chatting and trading for a while, so we decided to meet-up to… shop! Our intention was never to actually go to the parks, it was to hit Downtown Disney and the surrounding gift shops and malls on the hunt for treasures that eluded our collections. Who needs a Disney Park when you are finding a smorgasbord of new items to take home!?! Ahem.

We had a wonderful weekend getting to know one another, shopping and talking about our favorite subject. But alas, all good things must come to an end. And this is where my love of Disney Parks begins.

My boyfriend (now hubby,  Michael) was with me for this crazy trip. He couldn’t care less about my collection or Disney, but a get-away is a get-away. Sooo, he tagged along, even with the beginnings of a cold/flu/thing. He hung in there for the weekend and was super thoughtful to make sure I could experience a little of the crud too which I kept pretty well at bay until our departure day. We had a really late flight home so we decided to drive around and find something fun for lunch.

Somehow we ended up at Universal Studios. And I made the incredulous suggestions that if we were going to pay to get into a park for lunch we should go to Disney instead… Wait. What? Pay to go in to a park, just to eat lunch??? Um, yeah, I’ve learned a few things since then. But a one day park entry was *only* $38.50 in 1996. So off to Disney we went.

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom and I was so excited to go in! But, you see, we weren’t *at* the Magic Kingdom. We were in the parking lot of the Ticketing and Transportation Center because there is no parking lot at the park. (I told you, I’ve learned a lot since my first visit.)  We needed to purchase our tickets to get into the Magic Kingdom so we waited in our first line! Wahoo! Which lasted FOR-E-V-E-R, as I recall. You know what it’s like once you start anticipating your “vacation” and are in the car… Are we there yet? Are  we there yet? Are we there yet??? All the while the ick that had manifested was become more aggressive.

Three hours later (that time may be inaccurate, it’s been over 20 years after all, and I didn’t feel well) and we were on the Monorail headed to the Most Magical Place on Earth! Annnnd once you get to the park you have to go through the ticketing turnstiles. Which, as I recall, took another decade, or hour – whatever. THEN we were IN THE PARK. Remember we came to get lunch and by this time we were hangry, getting sicker by the minute and clueless. Where should we eat? I dunno, what’s here? What are you in the mood for? I dunno, etc., etc., etc.!!!

A little walk down Main Street had me all flabbergasted. I was *in* the Magic Kingdom! I was taking pictures of Lumiere on the street poles and the Castle from every step down Main Street all while the head cold surged on. Then we saw Casey’s. Hot dogs sounded ok. So we got our dogs (most expensive hot dog ever – ball parks got nothing on this dog) and sat to take it all in for a minute. As we were eating it started to rain. Since we came totally unprepared for a day at the park we bought the ridiculously overpriced ponchos (which I still use to this day, so I guess I’ve really gotten my money’s worth!) so we could explore the park as comfortably as possible. Alas after a stroll around the Hub with no clue where to go or what to do, we were both feeling so terrible we decided to just go to the airport an rest before our flight.

Yes, you read that correctly. My first trip to the Magic Kingdom consisted of taking a few photos and eating a hot dog. We didn’t ride a single ride, not one character interaction, no parade – nada!

It DID, however,  put that little spark of magic in my heart. I could feel something special and knew I needed to go back to experience all that Disney has to offer. So I began reading and researching everything I could about the parks and started making my plans to return!

I became a Cast Member at my local Disney Store soon after and began traveling to the parks once, twice (or more if I could) a year. Over the years my love for Disney only continued to grow.  After many trips under my belt and continual questions from family and friends about what they should do for their own trips serendipity stepped in and offered the opportunity for me to help folks plan their vacations – for real! In 2012 I became a Magical Vacation Planner.

I love being able to “do Disney” on a daily basis. Even when I am not there, I get to live vicariously through the families I help plan with. So, THANK YOU, to all the families that have allowed me to join you on your magical vacations and do what I love. I promise, your first visit will be much more magical than mine! ºoº