If you’re in Orlando on vacation, the last thing you want to deal with is a rainy day. Take heart: Many Florida rainstorms stop just as suddenly as they begin, leaving sunny skies and slightly cooler temperatures behind them. But even a persistent downpour doesn’t have to spoil your fun: Orlando has plenty of indoor fun to keep kids occupied when the weather makes it hard to play outside.
Visit a Theme Park
Unless there’s serious lightning or wind to contend with, most of Orlando’s celebrated theme parks keep their doors open during rainy weather -- and since the rain keeps the crowds down, poncho-wearing visitors willing to brave the sprinkles between rides will have shorter lines and fewer crowds to deal with. One of the best rainy day park options is Universal Orlando (universalorlando.com) since the majority of the rides and attractions at the park are indoors. Ask for the rainy day map when you enter the park, which shows you places throughout the park where you can escape from the rain if the sprinkle turns into a downpour. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios (disneyworld.disney.go.com), kid-pleasing attractions like the Magic of Disney Animation and Toy Story Mania take place indoors. Five floors of classic and cutting edge video games at DisneyQuest (disneyworld.disney.go.com) may burn some quarters, but this Downtown Disney attraction will keep the kids occupied for hours.
Enter Another Realm
At Medieval Times (medievaltimes.com), kids can travel back to the Middle Ages to cheer on bold knights in an indoor tournament, complete with real horses, clanking swords and live falcons. The no-silverware-style feasting is usually a hit with kids, too. If you have a princess-obsessed child with you, an afternoon at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (disneyworld.disney.go.com) in Downtown Disney may make a rainy day the best part of your trip. At this salon, fairy godmothers transform kids into princesses, complete with fancy hairstyles, sparkly makeup and royal dresses. Hanging out in a hotel lobby on a rainy afternoon might seem like torture to your kids, but the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center (marriott.com) is not your typical hotel. The site’s 4.5 acres of indoor gardens, highlighting different Florida environments, give kids plenty of room to run around and explore. Be aware that if you’re not a guest of the hotel, you’ll have to pay for parking at the resort.
Explore a Museum
Rainy days can be a good excuse to explore some of Orlando’s non-theme park fun. At the Orlando Science Center (osc.org), kids can put freshly learned meteorology skills to work by doing their own weather forecast, conduct science experiments in the museum’s open lab sessions and learn how to use an electron microscope. If the rain is particularly stubborn, catch a movie in one of the museum’s three theaters. Pick up a discovery guide at the entrance to the Orlando Museum of Art (omart.org) and explore the galleries together. In summer, check out one of the Book and Look packs, which focus on a particular piece in the museum’s collection: Read the story together, then work on the included activities.
Enjoy Indoor Playtime
If the kids need to burn off energy, a little rain won’t stop them. There’s plenty to do at WonderWorks (wonderworksonline.com), where the upside-down entrance sets the tone for the wacky fun inside. Kids can try to stand in hurricane-force winds, lie on a bed of nails, float through the ocean in a virtual submarine, get trapped inside a giant bubble and more at this indoor attraction. Play a round of glow-in-the-dark golf at the Putting Edge (puttingedge.com) indoor course, or hit the trampolines for a major bouncing session at Boing! Jump Center (orlando.boingjumpcenter.com). The Universal Entertainment and Skating Center (universalskatingcenter.com) gives kids a chance to get a little exercise on the wooden skating rink.