We started to plan our mother-daughter trip to Walt Disney World almost a year ago, deciding which week would be best (June 5 – 10) and where to stay (Disney’s BoardWalk Villas). My daughter, Lydia, decided which days we would be at each of the parks based on the open hours. We made our Advanced Dining Reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant, customized our MagicBands, and selected our FastPass+ rides at 60 days out. We were set!
Packing was easy. A week or so before our trip we looked at the ten day forecast, and it was going to be hot! 97 degrees on Sunday June 5! Then one day Tropical Storm Colin appeared on the radar. Oh great! The one thing you cannot change is the weather, but you can plan for it. So, I packed eight disposable ponchos and two umbrellas as well.
June 5 finally arrived, and I checked the weather again. All I could think of was, “Is this really going to happen?” WDW looked to be in Tropical Storm Colin’s path for a few days. We arrived at Orlando International Airport Sunday afternoon. During our ride on Disney Magical Express, we could see some dark clouds off in the distance. After we checked into our resort we headed out for ice cream at the new Ample Hills Creamery, and then over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the Fantasmic! show. The weather was holding off with just a few sprinkles.
Monday morning we rented a surrey bike for a few trips around the BoardWalk area. The skies were overcast, and it was getting humid. Lydia had planned for us to go to Disney Springs to check out the new Town Center along with Sprinkles and D-Luxe Burger. During lunch the sky opened up, and it was pouring hard. Our timing was good, as it stopped raining for awhile. Then as we were headed to the bus stop, we had to put on our trusty ponchos since it was raining again. The wind was too strong for an umbrella. We made it to our resort, dropped off our purchases and headed over to the Magic Kingdom for dinner at Be Our Guest.
As we were going through security there were hundreds of people leaving the park, which was fine with us as it would mean shorter lines. We headed over to Space Mountain for a quick trip into outer space before dinner. After we ate it was still raining, so on went the ponchos. There was a short line for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, so we hopped in a clam-mobile. Next we went over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, where the wait time was less than 30 minutes, and it was only 7:30pm, so we rode it twice. Then we headed to Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean which had a 10 minute wait time, but actually we just walked straight through the queue and onto the waiting boat.
A quick trip to MK is not complete without riding Big Thunder Mountain. In the rain. With ponchos. We rode not once, but four times in a row, in the rain. The Wishes! nighttime spectacular fireworks were really amazing to watch as we climbed to the top of Big Thunder Mountain. The Cast Members did make us get out of the train after each ride, run out and around to enter again. The fourth time was a little hard. The rain was really coming down, and it actually hurt our faces, and we kept our eyes closed most of the ride. We were able to ride nine attractions in four hours: Space Mountain, Little Mermaid, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train (2 times), Pirates of the Caribbean (walked right on-no wait), and Big Thunder Mountain four times in a row in the pouring rain during fireworks! Walking in the rain and puddles all day caused the dye in my shoes to turn my feet blue! I had worn the shoes many times before in the rain, but apparently this storm was to much for them. It was a very memorable day!
Tuesday was Epcot and again rain was in the afternoon forecast, but we made the most of it with new, dry ponchos for the day. We started our morning at rope drop and quickly headed to Future World and a short line for Test Track. Then it was off to other attractions and eventually a trip around World Showcase. After lunch we started to head back to our resort, and just in time, as the heavy rain started while we were on the boat headed to the BoardWalk. The rain eventually stopped, and we returned for dinner and a viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
Wednesday was our full day in Magic Kingdom and it was open until 1:00 am. The week before our trip, I was able to get Advanced Dining Reservations for Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen for 10:30 am. So, we took our time getting into the park this morning, and it was really hot by 10:00 am. The day turned out to be pretty nice despite the Florida heat, so we tried to ride indoor attractions during the hottest part of the day. We ended up spending 14 hours in the Magic Kingdom that day and managed to ride 12 attractions, several of them multiple times; Swiss Family Tree House, Jungle Cruise, Tom Sawyer Island, Big Thunder Mountain (3 times), Mad Tea Party, Goofy’s Barnstormer, the Walt Disney World Railroad, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Space Mountain (2 times), Tomorrowland Speedway (2 times), People Mover (2 times), and Astro Orbiter. It was a really nice, hot, long day with no rain.
Thursday was our last full day at Walt Disney World and yes, rain was in the forecast again. We headed over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom by 9:00 am in the light rain as all of our FastPasses were for the morning. For Kali River Rapids we just kept our ponchos on, and fortunately the big plume of water hit someone else in our raft without a poncho. One of the FastPasses was for Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, and it was Lydia’s first time on the attraction. The rain had stopped by then. She loved Everest, so we began our adventure to see how many times we could ride it in one day. Thanks to the single rider line we managed ten trips throughout the day up Expedition Everest and survived the Yeti each time. After our ride on DINOSAUR we headed over to Primeval Whirl and waited in line for 60 minutes, but once we reached the vehicle boarding area the ride was shut down because lightning was in the area. The Cast Member did give us a return pass for later in the day since we had waited so long already. We sought shelter in a quick service restaurant. The rain continued for a couple hours, which gave us an opportunity to see Nemo The Musical which is located in an indoor theater. The rain finally slowed down, and we were able to ride Primeval Whirl twice. After that we managed to get in a short line for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Because of the rain, the park did cool down a little and the animals were very visible for our evening safari. Since our first three FastPasses were used before noon, we were able to get a fourth for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic which takes place in the new theater on Discovery River. The new show was really awesome, and we are glad that Disney is finally using the river for nighttime shows. On our way out, we even watched videos projected on the Tree of Life, again, very fun!
At first we were a little worried about the potential heavy rains and winds that Tropical Storm Colin was bringing to the Orlando area during our mother-daughter week. But, as it turns out we had a great time. There was rain, but the laughing (lots of laughing) on our way out of Magic Kingdom on Monday night during a downpour was very memorable. Not just us, but many around us were laughing too, so what else could we do – we were at “The Most Magical Place on Earth!” So if rain or a tropical storm threatens your next visit to Walt Disney World, don’t worry, just have fun. Lydia and I have wonderful, magical memories of our time riding attractions during Tropical Storm Colin.
(All photos and videos are the property of Vanessa Prince.)
Have you visited Walt Disney World during a tropical storm? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Vanessa has been going to Walt Disney World since 1971. She is happy that her three children and husband enjoy Disney as much as she does. Vanessa is an Annual Passholder, a member of Disney Vacation Club, Platinum Castaway Club, WDW Radio Running Team and a runDisney participant. Her son Andrew writes Disney on Wheels for the WDW Radio blog. When she is not at Disney she is a stay at home mom and uses her masters in marketing background to raise money for her children’s schools. Vanessa also enjoys planning her next trip home to anywhere Disney.