The Sunshine State is not holding true to its namesake today. It seems this week will be a soggy one. What can I say? Florida is a peninsula after all, we get a fair share of tropical weather. While my friends and colleagues often moan and groan at the sight of grey skies and raindrops, especially around the 5 o’clock hour, I tend to feel concerned for all the visitors on their long awaited vacation. How disappointed must they be? Are they upset or will they just roll with it?
There are some destinations that just don’t play well with rain, like the beach. The great news about Orlando is there are plenty of great attractions that are perfect to enjoy in soggy weather.
Best Orlando Theme Parks on a rainy day…
- Epcot – although there is a lot of walking involved, there is only one attraction impacted by rain (Test Track). The rest of the park offers pavilions with rides, live entertainment, and unique movie experiences, all of which are indoors.
- Universal Studios – again walking from one attraction to the next will result in a little dampness, however, all but one attraction is indoors here too. Now, the sister park, Islands of Adventure is practically the total opposite. About half of the rides there are impacted by rain and lightning.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom – venturing into Disney’s wildest park on a rainy day is only for the adventurous and optimistic. But you will be rewarded with animals that are awake and alert, far less crowds, and going on Kilimanjaro Safari in the rain is a whole new world. There are also two magnificent live shows each in their own unique theater. Now, if it is downright storming and Zeus’ mighty lightning bolts crack across the sky, then forget about it.
Best Attractions outside the Orlando Theme Parks on a rainy day…
(no particular order)
- DisneyQuest (with kids) / Dave & Busters (without the kids) – DisneyQuest is five floors of video games, virtual reality, and really unique experiences. In my opinion, it is best suited when visiting with kids. If you are free and easy without the kids then head to Dave & Busters where you can eat, drink, and be geeky. I said for years that there should be a D&B on International Drive, and finally a year ago they opened one in a great spot on I-Drive.
- Orlando Science Center / Loch Haven Park – if you want to see another side of Orlando, outside of the attractions area then head down I-4 East to the Orlando Science Center, which is part of the Loch Haven Park area. This area also features some of Orlando’s best museums and performing arts theaters.
- Whirley Dome – Sorry to say, I have not been to I-Drive’s newest attraction, but it sure looks fun…. take a look.
- Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida – I could, and probably will, dedicate multiple posts to the glory that is Park Ave. I do not recommend spending an entire rainy day on Park Ave, but I do recommend spending a rainy afternoon getting cozy with an amazing wine tasting selection at either The Wine Room or the Eola Wine Company. These establishments are right next to each other. The Wine Room on Park Avenue has a better wine tasting selection, but Eola Wine Company has better food and better craft beer selection. Be sure to have a designated driver or take a cab, please and thank you.
The Old Stand-bys…. movies and malls…
- AMC Downtown Disney – if you decide to go to the movies to avoid the rain, I highly recommend AMC’s Dine In Theatres at Downtown Disney. The tickets prices are a little bit higher for this experience, but you get reserved seating (best done well in advance), large chairs that recline, a server, and a full menu of food and drink. It is simply fantastic! It is hard to go back to a regular theater experience after this.
- Mall at Millenia – I never got the whole going-to-a-mall-while-on-vacation thing, but I won’t judge. Mall at Millenia is not my mall of choice for my own personal shopping, but for visitors I think it is the best. You will find glitzy, ritzy shops that are no place else in Florida,… except maybe Miami, the window shopping is marvelous.
This is just a sample of all the fun things that can be enjoyed should the Sunshine State not uphold to our namesake. No matter what Mother Nature sends your way, get out there and make the most of thisfloridalife.
- Other Fascinating Places to Visit Other Than Major Attractions in Orlando (visionexplorer.typepad.com)
- Advice for Visiting Disney in the Rain (meetthemagic.com)
- Mall at Millenia – Where Dreamers go to Window Shop (thisfloridalife.com)
- Epcot: Two hours in France (this is not a drive by) (thisfloridalife.com)