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Staying Cool in the Theme Parks

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nature’s clockwork is right on schedule.  As we continue through the summer months it’s almost surface of the sun hot at the Orlando theme parks.  Notice I said “almost”.  After all we are more than 92 million miles from the sun.  But, it doesn’t seem like it during the summer months in Orlando.  All sarcasm aside you really do need a plan for staying cool when visiting the parks.  We’ve heard the most common tips before; leave the park in the afternoon, duck inside for a cool blast of air conditioning, stay hydrated, grab some shade, etc, etc.  Those are important tips, but let’s delve a little deeper and briefly discuss a few more not so well known tips for staying cool in the theme parks. 

The Deep Freeze

We’ve all heard how important it is to stay hydrated throughout your theme park day during the summer months.  Even if you’re not thirsty you should still drink plenty of water.  You can become dehydrated without even knowing it.  If you’re like my family you’ll bring bottled water with you to the theme parks.  In the intense heat that bottled water can turn warm, even hot, very quickly.  If you have the means try and put your bottled water in a freezer the night before your theme park day.  Take the frozen bottled water with you in the morning.  By the time you need a drink the water should still be very cold and partially frozen.  As the day progresses the water should stay cold while the heat continues to melt it.  Before freezing your bottles make sure to empty a very tiny portion of water into your sink.  Water expands when it freezes.  The iced water will need the extra room.

Frozen Bottles and Wash Cloths Unite

Now that you have this frozen bottled water in a small carry-type cooler why not take further advantage of it.  There are times throughout the day when a nice cold, wet wash cloth on your face or neck would hit the spot.  Depending how many guests are in your theme park touring party wrap dry wash cloths around each of the frozen bottles.  The cloths will be become cold and wet as cold moisture (perspiration) transfers to them inside the cooler.  You’ll appreciate a cold, damp wash cloth in the middle of the day when the heat is at its peak.

It’s Hot!  You Need another Layer….Huh?

You read it right.  If you want to beat the heat this summer in the theme parks a thin, form-fitting 100% cotton undershirt underneath your polo or t-shirt will help keep you cool.  I know it may seem hard to believe that another layer underneath your regular shirt will help keep you cool, but it does.

Your undershirt will absorb your perspiration throughout the day as you trek through the theme parks.  Not only will this process help keep your upper body dry, but as your sweat on the undershirt evaporates it will work to help keep your body cooler.  Evaporation underneath your outer shirt will in essence keep your body cooler and dryer making your day much more enjoyable.  This tip works for both men and women.  One piece of advice, don’t wear a black or dark colored undershirt.  Try and stick with a white or light colored undershirt when possible.  Dark colors attract heat and why fight the elements even more. 

Wear a Hat with Ventilation 

It’s true a hat will help shade your face and head from the sun.  Unfortunately, it’s also true that a lot of your body’s heat exits from your head.  The heat from your head has to go somewhere and the last thing you want is for that heat to get trapped in your hat.  There’s nothing worse than a “hot  head” (pun intended) in a theme park.

You may have seen them before, but there are hats that have mesh holes in them that allow the heat to escape.  Those hats will allow your head to breathe and let the heat escape on those extremely hot and humid days inside the theme parks.  They may look a little funny, but comfort and staying cool are the keys to an enjoyable day.  Nobody ever said spending a day in a theme park had to turn into a fashion show.  Also, make sure you are wearing a light-colored hat.  A black or dark-colored cap will only draw the sun’s rays to your head.

Meet my Newest Friend – The Bandana

Sometimes stylish, not always classy, the bandana can be one of your best friends in a theme park.  That tiny piece of coated fabric can do wonders for you when it’s submerged or rinsed in cold water.  A great place to put a wet, cold bandana is around your neck.  Cold or warm temperatures radiate well to the rest of your body from the area around your neck.  Typically, a cold piece of material around your neck does very well at cooling off the rest of your body.  A bandana tends to hold well around your neck once you’ve tied it (Don’t tie it too tight).  Granted, you may need to wet it often during the day at a bathroom faucet, but it’s certainly worth it when considering the alternative.  This tip can literally make you feel 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature.  It works that well.

Simple Tips

We’ve covered some unusual ways to stay cool in the theme parks this summer, but we can’t ignore the more obvious ones.  Let’s go through the list of basic ways to stay cool this summer.

- Drink very cold beverages, especially water

- Seek out indoor attractions with air conditioning

- When park touring hit the outdoor attractions in the morning and indoor attractions in the afternoon

- Leave the theme parks around noon and go back to your resort for a swim or to cool off in your room

- Bring a fan mister to the park.  Kids love them and adults will appreciate them.

- Get a free cup of ice water inside any quick service restaurant.

- Look for ways to get wet inside the park.  There are misters and splash fountains for you to enjoy.

Conclusion

We’re always looking for ways to stay cool inside the theme parks during the hot summer months.  There are obvious ways to stay cool and then there are ways that are less conventional.  If you are a theme park veteran you probably know about the more conventional ways to stay cool.  Just remember there are other ways not so well known to stay cool.  One method is not going to keep you cool.  It’s a combination of tips and tricks that will ultimately keep you the  coolest.  Using as many as you can, especially the ones that are easier to use will be the best way to beat the heat this summer in the hottest….I mean, happiest place on earth.

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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