Let's start with the rain. Umbrellas work well and the small ones can be tucked into backpacks and bags IF it's not windy. If you have any wind at all, they become pretty much useless. To be truthful, when it was sprinkling, we didn't need an umbrella because it gave us a nice break from the heat. What about rain ponchos? I learned quite a bit through trial and error. We have this lovely set of University of Michigan rain ponchos we were given for Christmas. The problem is they are meant to be used for football games in the Midwest, which take place in the fall. In 80-90 degree heat and humidity one tends to cook in a heavy rain poncho. We also learned that 7 ponchos folded and stuffed into backpacks are heavy. VERY heavy.
My advice on dealing with rain at an amusement park is this: buy the cheapest, thinnest rain ponchos you can find before you go on your trip. Everyone can stuff them in a pocket, or put them all in a backpack where they will be with you, and can be pulled out when needed. Watching the weather is always a good idea, but sometimes it's not right on the money. Lockers are also available at parks, but they do you little good when you are across the park and the downpour starts. (Yes, that one is from experience.)
I have a list of tips on handling the heat. Some are very simple, but make a big difference.
1. Find the shade when walking or sitting whenever possible.
2. Dress for comfort, rather than fashion. Loose, comfortable and light clothing is the way to go.
3. Hats are good, but can make you sweat more if they are too big or heavy. Choose light hats and put up longer hair so it's off your neck.
4. If the park you visit has inside and outside attractions, save the inside ones for the hottest part of the day or alternate between the two so you spend some of the time out of the sun.
5. Find out the hours of the park. IF you don't need to be there from opening to closing, consider going later in the day, and staying until it closes. The evening is cooler, and often things aren't quite as crowded, depending on the day of the week. If you have an option of leaving and returning, then go early in the day, take a break, and return later when it starts to cool down.
6. Mist fans are all the rage. DO NOT wait and buy these at an amusement park. They are anywhere from $15.00 to $20.00 and up. Stop at Walmart or Target and pick them up for less than ten bucks. They do take batteries, so remember to pick those up too. These are great for kids, and lessen the "whine factor" quite a bit as I discovered.
7. Keeping coolers cold is SO important. We didn't take one to the park but we used one on the way to Florida and on the way home. Don't scrimp on ice--you can buy it along the way. Keep your meat, cheese and especially mayonnaise or anything with eggs or dairy in it COLD. Food poisoning will not be a memory you want during your trip. Drain the cooler whenever the ice starts to melt.
Below is a picture of my three kids at Epcot. Isabelle, who's been a newsletter and blog reader of mine since Emily was a baby, wanted to see how grown up they were now. The kids are 10, 16 and 17, and growing up way to fast:)