The Best Things To Do At Magic Kingdom When It Rains At Disney World

Florida might be the sunshine state, but it sure does rain an awful lot there. When it comes to visiting Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, expect a rainy day and be prepared for it. According to the National Weather Service, in 2022, Orlando experienced 119 days with thunderstorms, 54 days with heavy rain, and 164 days with light rain. Even beyond the typical Florida hurricane season of June through November, you may encounter rain at some point during your Walt Disney World vacation. If your time at Magic Kingdom coincides with a rainy day in Orlando, you still have plenty of viable options for having fun.

Given the quantity and close proximity of many indoor attractions, Magic Kingdom is arguably the most ideal of the four Walt Disney World theme parks to visit in the rain. During inclement weather, a few Magic Kingdom rides may close, and perhaps some shows will be canceled, depending on the severity of Mother Nature. However, many experiences are still fully operational during rainy days — and some are only operational exclusively in such conditions. As a former Orlando local who has made all the rainy-day mistakes, so you don't have to, here are the best things to do at Magic Kingdom when it rains.

First things first: Get that Mickey poncho

It's okay if the rain at Magic Kingdom crept up on you unexpectedly. Or maybe you know rain is in the forecast but don't want to take up space in your backpack with rain gear. We get it; there's only so much room in there, and packing a bag for a day in a theme park is an art form itself. In either case, don't fret. Disney operates its parks with the guest experience in mind.

As droplets descend from the sky, you'll notice a bountiful supply of rain ponchos available front and center of almost any Disney gift shop. The ponchos — the same at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland — are clear, semi-durable, and have Mickey Mouse on them. The adult-sized Disney poncho costs $12, while the youth-sized alternative costs $10.

If you packed for a rainy day at Disney World and brought your own umbrella or raincoat, pop into a gift shop to ask for a plastic bag to wrap around your items once the rain subsides (or once you head indoors) so the soggy accessories don't dampen your other belongings. If you didn't bring your own rain gear and are debating whether to purchase a poncho, just go for it. Speaking from experience, you're better off braving the rain and enjoying the rest of your day with the protection of a poncho than trying to avoid getting wet without one or standing around waiting for the rain to go away.

Enjoy the Rainy Day Cavalcade

Leave it to Disney to make a day in Magic Kingdom better when it rains than when it's sunny. Instead of canceled performances, the Rainy Day Cavalcade steps off instead. The adorable procession swaps out elaborate floats for small, vintage vehicles, each carrying Mickey and the gang under the protection of a shelter. Dancers in the street wear rain slickers and boots instead of meticulously designed costumes and walk safely instead of dancing. The Rainy Day Cavalcade even has its own soundtrack.

Meanwhile, Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire might not perform on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle due to rain. However, when the storm has mostly subsided, but the stage is still slippery, we've seen the cast perform a modified version of the show with minimal choreography. It's more of a "smile and wave" situation than a full production, but it's better than no show at all. While these backup plans might not be guests' first choice, the substitute shows are textbook examples of Disney exceeding expectations in a way that prompts businesses to teach the company's principles worldwide with seminars, conventions, and books. Usually, rain = less. At Disney, it sometimes means more.

Ride the PeopleMover as many times as you want

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a relaxing 10-minute ride that travels along an elevated, sheltered route above Tomorrowland. The track weaves around the area's major landmarks and even inside some of them. About two minutes of the journey ventures into the interior of Space Mountain, while another segment offers a unique vantage point for guests riding Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. The PeopleMover also boasts incredible outdoor (but sheltered!) views of Cinderella Castle and TRON Lightcycle / Run.

All this to say: the PeopleMover rules, rain or shine. During inclement weather, though, the attraction provides an ideal respite from the rain. The 10-minute duration is one of the longest rides in the park, its line is seldom long, and it's home to one of the best hacks in all of Walt Disney World: any guest can ride the PeopleMover up to four times in a row without getting off. Just ask! As a bonus, this idea means you won't have to actively think about your next move once the ride ends. You can stay onboard if the sunshine is still holding out on you! As its former narration declared, "The PeopleMover is the perfect vehicle for people-watching. You never know who you might see!"

Hit up the headliners

It might seem counterintuitive to intentionally seek out rides with long lines, but there's a method to the madness on a rainy day. Even if the rides aren't very long, the bright side of popular attractions having longer wait times is that you'll be protected from the rain for a more extended period. Several popular rides contain all-indoor queues (like entirely indoors, not even any outdoor sheltered areas, so you're good and dry).

In this category are Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. Paired with our PeopleMover tip above, this poises Tomorrowland as an ideal park area to frequent if you'd like to ride rides and stay dry. Note that these three attractions represent various ride types and thrill levels — Buzz is perfect for young children, Space Mountain is a classic coaster, and Pirates' mild thrills land between them both — so there's a solid choice for every family member. Alternatively, indoor rides whose queues may spill outside and under shelters — increasing the likelihood of you getting wet while waiting — include Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square, as well as Peter Pan's Flight, "It's a Small World," The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland.

Enjoy an indoor show

Magic Kingdom has quite a few indoor productions, all of them longer than most rides. These indoor shows provide a sanctuary for guests seeking an escape from the rain who don't mind that their entertainment isn't a "ride," at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, located in Tomorrowland (the area of Magic Kingdom that consistently seems to be the top pick for rainy-day refuge) and clocking in at 20 minutes, is part show, part ride, comprised of an entirely robotic cast with no live performers. Guests sit in a theater that slowly moves around a circular stage, following an American family through different eras of inventions.

Several lengthy, indoor, robotic productions are void of any ride component: Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland (11 minutes long), Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland (11 minutes), and Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square (20 minutes). Meanwhile, Mickey's PhilharMagic in Fantasyland (12 minutes; pictured above with its new "Coco" sequence) is a whimsical 3D show and another smart choice. These lengths do not include any time spent waiting in line.

Mixed-media options — combining audio-animatronics figures, live performers, and screen-based elements — lighten the dreary, rainy-day mood outside by providing lighthearted, boisterous audience participation inside. Guests help re-enact the story of "Beauty and the Beast" at Enchanted Tales with Belle in Fantasyland (around 15 minutes) and assist Mike Wazowski in telling jokes at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (around 12 minutes) in Tomorrowland.

Meet characters

Get your camera and autograph book ready! Many of Magic Kingdom's world-famous Disney characters interact with guests in locations entirely indoors, so visiting them is a viable choice on a rainy day. Many of Magic Kingdom's resident celebrities stay nice and dry inside their various meet-and-greet locations.

You'll find Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A., while the remainder of the rainy-day ride-out crew can be found in Fantasyland. There, you can meet Ariel in her mermaid form inside Ariel's Grotto. Inside Princess Fairytale Hall, one room hosts Cinderella and Elena, while another features Tiana and Rapunzel; if the rain stays around for a while, you can double up and visit both rooms (queueing up in line twice, mind you). Similarly, inside a circus tent called Pete's Silly Sideshow (near Dumbo the Flying Elephant), Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck greet guests on one side while Donald Duck and Goofy hold court on the other. At all of these locations, characters appear nearly all day (with Mickey and the princesses sticking around well into the evening), thus making it easy to pop in for a visit. No matter when the rain arrives, character greetings are an option.

Shop on Main Street, U.S.A.

While there's no shortage of gift shops throughout Walt Disney World — you exit many rides by walking directly through a sea of merchandise — remembering to set aside some time to pick out a souvenir can get lost in the busy shuffle of dining reservations, showtimes, and Lightning Lane arrival windows. If it's raining at Magic Kingdom and you're in the mood to treat yourself to a new shirt, hat, toy, pin, or just about any other Disney item you could imagine, head to the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A.

When entering the park and facing Cinderella Castle, the Emporium dominates the left side of Main Street. While the storefronts appear to be individually separated shops from the exterior, the inside is connected and stretches all the way to the park's central hub. You can shop the length of Main Street without exiting and entering different stores.

The Emporium often has signature Disney merchandise collections, such as items celebrating seasonal holidays or Disney anniversaries. If you want it, odds are the Emporium has it. Inadvertently, the store is often busy, even when guests aren't seeking refuge from the rain. If you brace yourself for a bit of chaos (and pick a place for your party to meet up if you get separated), you can kill a lot of time (and make quite a dent in your wallet) with a visit to the Emporium.

Make a last-minute dining reservation

Guests can make reservations for table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World up to 60 days in advance. (If you're staying at a Disney resort, the 60-day window counts down from your arrival day, upon which you can make dining reservations for your entire vacation.) Unless prospective travelers are super-planners and in the know about Disney protocol, they may miss out on the opportunity to visit popular restaurants simply because the reservations disappear so quickly.

A rainy day could be your silver lining if you seemingly missed your chance to eat at in-demand restaurants. If rain deters guests from following through on their plans, they may cancel their dining reservations, so you might get lucky and be able to snag a last-minute reservation. It doesn't hurt to check! To do so, open the My Disney Experience app, click the "+" at the bottom center of the homepage, then select "Check dining availability."

Magic Kingdom's table-service restaurants — all of which serve diners indoors and safe from the rain — are Tony's Town Square Restaurant (Italian food), The Crystal Palace (American buffet with Pooh and friends), and The Plaza Restaurant (sandwiches) on Main Street, U.S.A.; Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen (African, Asian, and Latin food) in Adventureland; Liberty Tree Tavern (Thanksgiving food) in Liberty Square; and Cinderella's Royal Table (semi-fine dining inside Cinderella Castle with Disney Princesses) and Be Our Guest Restaurant (French cuisine inside Beast Castle) in Fantasyland. All of them are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan.

Take a grand-circle tour of Magic Kingdom

The Walt Disney World Railroad offers a quick getaway if you happen to be near any of its three stations when the rain arrives. Four trains make continuous stops on Main Street, U.S.A., at the very front of the park; in Frontierland near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; and in Fantasyland near Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Each round trip takes about 13 minutes (plus loading/unloading time at each station), but you can stay onboard for as long as you like. 

No matter where you hop aboard, you can disembark at any of the three stations. Every train stops at all three as they continue to circle the park. As you make your way around Magic Kingdom, your view from the Walt Disney World Railroad is admittedly mostly wooded, but the trip provides some fun vantage points at times, including a unique passage through the plaza outside TRON Lightcyle / Run. A charming narrator points out landmarks along the way, accompanied by occasional audio cues from Disney characters.

Granted, you may still get slightly wet. The train compartments are open-air on both sides, not boxcars. You're sheltered from above, but you probably won't stay entirely dry, especially if wind accompanies the rain. Nonetheless, the Walt Disney World Railroad offers a sight-seeing solution for escaping a drizzle, earning bonus points for seldom having a long wait and being the only ride in the park you can keep riding as long as you want.

Do it for the 'gram

Magic Kingdom is the most Instagrammed theme park on the planet. In any weather, the park's meticulously designed architecture, created with filmmaking techniques in mind, is a lovely subject for portrait and still-life photography alike. As much as the rain can put a damper on vacation plans, the aftermath (or even during the rain, in some cases) is a photographer's paradise.

Whether you photograph professionally for business, enjoy posting photos on social media, or take pictures recreationally as a fun hobby, Magic Kingdom in the rain is an apt opportunity to put your plans on pause and brave the downpour (protecting your camera gear, of course). The elements make photos of the park's incredible buildings, structures, landscapes, pavings, and acute details really pop. If you stumble upon a puddle that reflects a ready-made photo back at you? Even better.

If the sky is gray enough, the storefronts on Main Street, U.S.A. will illuminate with movie theater-style bulbs, providing a unique chance to photograph them sans complete darkness. Additionally, the Rivers of America (the waterway surrounding Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland) is beautiful eye candy shortly following an afternoon storm. If lighting is important to you, note that Magic Kingdom is situated due north (as in, while walking on Main Street, U.S.A. toward Cinderella Castle, you travel south to north). Therefore, the sun rises on the Tomorrowland side of the park and sets on the Frontierland side.