The total solar eclipse that will sweep across the US on Monday, August 21, 2017 has everyone talking and planning for a very cool natural phenomenon that may be a once in a lifetime event for many. While Disney World is not in the path of totality, Orlando will experience nearly 90% total eclipse. At this level, guests can expect significantly lower lighting levels during the eclipse similar to post-sunset conditions. Disney World attractions, areas and activities that are not equipped to operate outside of daytime hours will be affected.
Here’s what you need to know about changes at Disney World during the eclipse.
The eclipse will begin in Orlando at 1:19 pm with the maximum eclipse achieved at 2:51 pm. The eclipse will end 4:14 pm.
Disney World will not be distributing any specialty solar viewing glasses during the eclipse and they will not be available for purchase anywhere on property. Guests who wish to safely view the eclipse will need to have their own viewing glasses. Please note: viewing a solar eclipse without specialty, certified glasses will cause severe and permanent damage. Your sunglasses will not provide protection for your eyes.
Here is a list of the adjustments Disney World has made to the schedule for Monday, August 21:
- Tom Sawyer Island will close at 2:00 pm and will not reopen. There is no lighting on the island and therefore a shut down in necessary. Tom Sawyer Island typically closes at 4 pm.
- The Festival of Fantasy 2:00 parade is expected to run as scheduled with no other changes anticipated.
- Both Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and Discovery Island Trails will close prior to the eclipse. Again, these trails do not have lighting and so need to be closed. The trails are expected to reopen when lighting levels return to normal.
There are no adjustments scheduled at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
- Blizzard Beach is not equipped with lighting to operate after dark and will close attractions as necessary based on light levels. However, Disney will have special entertainment at the beach area with additional lighting.Typhoon Lagoon, which has nighttime lighting, will operate normally. For guests at Blizzard Beach who wish to transfer to Typhoon Lagoon to continue their fun, Disney World will also offer special direct busing between the water parks. The bus will be available between 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm.
- All recreational water activities on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon will not operate from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
- The marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa will be closed Monday, but will reopen on Tuesday.
- Sammy Duvall’s Water Sports Center will be closed from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
RELATED ARTICLE: Choosing When to Go to Disney World: Understanding Orlando Weather for the Best Trip
by Christy Caby
The Florida weather is very different than most other states around the U.S. and even other areas around the world! Typical seasons don’t apply and the weather follows different rules because of our climate and unique geography. It is important to understand the typical weather patterns so you can make sure you pack your clothes and gear accordingly. Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about Florida weather:
8 – Frequent short showers: Mostly all year long
Florida is known for having frequent rain showers. You may have heard of the 3 or 4 o’clock rain referenced by local Floridians. When it starts getting hot and humid, it is very common for there to be an afternoon rain, especially in the summer months that will make everything even more humid after the rain, although it does feel a bit cooler afterward. To be prepared for this, it can be good to carry a cheap poncho or umbrella with you to help keep you from getting completely soaked, but it will pass over soon and you can get back to fun in the sun.
7 – Rainy seasons: June – September
The rainy season is related to hurricane season. This is the time of the year when the various tropical storms are brewing and send a lot of precipitation to the area. The short showers are still common, but if a big storm system is working through, it could rain almost daily for a several days, possibly your entire vacation. It is important to keep that in mind if that will be a big issue for you. Disney World is still a lot of fun in the rain, and sometimes less crowded since the rain will clear out many guests and locals, but you can still have a ton of fun and experience most of the attractions and rides. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. While a hurricane in June and July is rare, the chance of a hurricane in August and September certainly increases. Keep this in mind when planning late summer vacations! Hurricanes in October-November are also a possibility. Most recently in 2016, Hurricane Matthew closed Disney World for one evening and a full day because of the threat to the Orlando area in early October. While closings at Disney World are very rare, Disney will close the parks for the safety of guests and cast members.
6 – Blistering hot summers: June – September
The summertime is extremely hot. The sun is beating down and you feel sticky as soon as you step outside. It is gorgeous and sunny, though and you are definitely getting a huge dose of Vitamin D out in the Florida sun. This is also the season for frequent showers and possibly a lot of rain, which sometimes feels very welcomed. During these months, you should definitely make sure to stay hydrated and pack all loose, light and comfortable clothing that will hold up comfortably to sweat or getting rained on. Pack as much light, moisture-wicking clothing as possible to wear during this time, and you’ll be glad you did.
5 – Fall isn’t really fall: October – November
Fall definitely isn’t the fall you may be thinking off with the changing of leaves and the crisp, cool air. It is still pretty hot in Orlando and everything is still lush and green due to the constant sun and warm temps of Florida. As it gets deeper into fall the evening temperatures start to get a little bit cooler. So for during the day pack the comfortable summer clothes that we already talked about and then maybe have a light jacket or hoodie ready for the evenings so you are prepared if there is a cooler night. It does happen and once the sun goes down can feel a bit chilly after you have been sweating in 90 degree weather and sunshine all day.
4 – Florida winters: December – February
Winter in the Orlando area is definitely different than what you would find in northern states. Average highs are in the low 70s. A cold day is in the upper 50s or lower 60s. It is extremely comfortable and the sun doesn’t feel near as warm, but it’s still a refreshing change from the frigid, cold temps where you may be coming from. The nights can get a little chilly though. There are usually a couple of days a year where it may even get to around 32 degrees. If you travel during this time then you will want to bring a jacket or hoodie and pants for the evenings. During the day, you can likely be comfortable in shorts, but by nighttime you’d likely get a little bit chilly.
3 – Spring break: March – May
It is definitely very warm for the spring break time, too. The temperatures and clothes recommendations are almost identical to the recommendations for fall. It is a good idea to prepare to dress like it is summer and then have a light jacket handy. You are less likely to need the jacket in the spring months, especially as it gets closer to summer, than in the fall months, but it is a good idea to have it handy anyway. You are less likely to get rained out during this season, too, which can be a relief to some.
2 – You can usually swim all year long.
So based on this very moderate weather that is mostly warm all of the time, you can mostly swim all year long. The waterparks at Disney are open all year for you to enjoy. The pools at the resorts are heated, so even if it is a cooler day, you can still go for a swim. If you have been cooped up all winter and want to get in a little bit of swimming while on vacation, you can! So it is always a good idea to make sure to pack your swimming clothes and gear so that you are all set.
1 – You always need sunscreen.
The Florida sun is very strong. Even in the Florida winter when the temps are a little cooler, you will still need a lot of protection from the sun. You can still burn even if you are cool, so be sure to apply sunscreen regularly. The rays are much stronger than you will likely be used to and you don’t want to end up with a sunburn, which can be very uncomfortable and bad for your skin!
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