What I’m about to write about isn’t the sexiest, most exciting topic in the world. But as we are now in the thick of summer, it’s an extremely important one. I hope you’ll share this article for others to see, because I’m serious when I tell you, this can make or break your vacation, and I want everyone to have such a wonderful time with their loved ones when they come here.
I have friends who work in first aid at several of the theme parks, and they are always talking about how many fainters they get over the summer just from dehydration. Perfectly healthy people who just didn’t take the heat as a serious issue. This is in large part why I’m writing this. If you don’t live here, you may not understand the ramifications. Don’t take the heat and humidity of Central Florida lightly. Hydration needs to be part of your trip plan.
What you need to understand first and foremost, is that we have temperatures in the high 90s all summer long, and Florida is a swamp, this means we have EXTREMELY high humidity and the feels like temperatures are always over 100. What many people don’t know is that when you get inside a theme park, you need to add another ten degrees to that feels like number due to the dense crowds you’ll be in all day. So with feels like temps at 115, you can see why hydration may be an issue.
I grew up in Southern California where we have very high temperatures in the summer, often more than 100 degrees. But California is a desert, and the heat there is that often talked about “dry” heat. It bakes you from the inside out. If you don’t live in an area where you have the dense “wet” humidity, you may not understand how this will compromise you until it’s too late. First, it feels like 50 pounds of extra weight on you, pushing inward. Don’t rush from attraction to attraction. Don’t think you’re being a wuss if you need to go a little slower than your norm.
You will also be sweaty all day long, and quite possibly into the night, which isn’t pretty or pleasant, but that profuse sweating leads to electrolyte imbalances, and will quickly dehydrate you before you even realize it. At Disney, you can go up to any food service counter and ask for a cup of ice water and they’ll give you one for free. So, aside from the pain of waiting in line, you do have access to cold water whenever you want it. I will warn you though, there is sulfur in the water here and not everyone can handle the taste of that. It’s subtle in the water at Disney, and if you wait for it to get good and cold, it’s not that noticeable, but having a filtering water bottle with you is a good idea! Of course you can simply buy, or bring, loads of bottled water.
Another note, all that sweating, you’re not just hot, you’re sweating out nutrients. A day at a theme park here can be very akin to an afternoon on a football field, even though all you may be doing is standing and walking. Again, these are the types of things you need to be aware of. Drink coconut water or a sports drink to keep your electrolytes balanced. And when you feel you’ve had enough heat… go inside! Shop, eat, go to an attraction with a short wait time where you can get out of the heat and into the AC quickly.
In Magic Kingdom try The Laugh Factory, The Country Bears, or The Tiki Room. If you just want to sit for a bit, try a train ride around the entire park, or perhaps the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (the people mover).
In Epcot, head inside one of the pavilions, take in the Pixar Shorts Film Festival, or Impressions de France.
In Hollywood Studios head for One Man’s Dream.
While in Animal Kingdom try It’s Tough to Be a Bug or take in one of the shows like Festival of the Lion King, or Finding Nemo.
Here’s your quick tips:
- Don’t grab Cokes all day and think you’re hydrating. You need water.
- Don’t take the heat lightly. If you aren’t feeling well, sit down in the shade, or better yet, get to the AC. Don’t assume just being in the shade is enough. You can’t escape the humidity anywhere outdoors.
- Do drink water throughout the day
- Do drink something to help balance electrolytes.
- Do invest in a misting fan.
- Do bring cloths you can wet down and place on heat points to cool you off quickly.
- Do rest and seek AC when the heat starts feeling oppressive.
- Do seek first aid if you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Better you go to them, then they have to come to you!
Just remember, as much as a hassle as staying on top of your hydration may seem, it’s far less of a hassle than spending your afternoon in the first aid… of course, they do have AC there. 😉
Please take it from a native Californian who now calls this lovely swamp home, the humidity is not something to mess with. Take it seriously, make sure you and your little ones are hydrated throughout your stay. Your health matters and drastically affects how much of a success this trip will be.