Hide from the Heat at Disney World

Dang, It's Hot! Guide to Disney World Attractions where you can sit down in the air conditioning, by Ian Scott

The most famous theme parks in Orlando can get downright uncomfortable when the summer heat couples with the intense humidity. Fortunately, as a veteran of Texas summers, I’ve learned a thing or two about beating the heat – mostly by avoiding it entirely, because I’m a soft, soft man. 

Despite the fact that everybody tells you to drink a lot of water on your trip, you can’t slosh around the park indefinitely like a sentient water balloon. So, do what I do – hide in air conditioning’s cool embrace like a good heliophobe. Toughing out the heat is for cacti, and you’re smarter than a cactus, aren’t you? Of course you are!

So, because desert plants can’t read, here are some excellent places to sit down and cool off under large vents blasting frosty air, based on how long you want to evade the heat. I left out anything shorter than 7 minutes, and rides that go bump, because I relax better when I’m mostly stationary, like a sloth. My commentary has been added for your eye-rolling pleasure.

Quick Breaks - About 10 Minutes

Magic Kingdom:

  • Haunted Mansion - 7 minutes of darkness and ghosts after the 3 min intro my wife hates. It’s scary.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean - 9 minutes plus a nice, cool indoor queue.
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room – it will take less than 11 minutes to sing with the birds. It’s OK – everybody does.
  • Mickey's Philharmagic - 11 minutes of one of my family’s absolute favorites, and generally short lines.
  • It’s a Small World - 11 minutes, but do not bring a softball under any circumstances.
  • Stitch's Great Escape - 12 minutes of being uncomfortably freaked out. Not my favorite.
  • Monster's Inc Laugh Floor - 12 minutes, and be That Guy at the risk of a sizeable churro purchase


  • Under the Sea - 7 minutes of it being better down where it’s wetter. Also cooler. Mostly cooler.
  • Turtle Talk – if you can go the entire 12 minutes without laughing you are clearly a robot. Must do!
  • Circle of Life – 12 minutes of a meerkat and a warthog: entertaining, educational and inside.

Disney's Hollywood Studios:

  • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi - Disney quickly brings people who have been cryogenically frozen for the last 30 years (i.e. Walter E. Disney) up to speed in this 10 minute retelling of the Star Wars saga.  

Animal Kingdom:

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug – an 8 minute show with lots of crawly effects. AC + heebie jeebies.

It’s really hot – I need about 15 Minutes

Magic Kingdom:

  • The Country Bear Jamboree – my wife’s favorite 15 minutes of classic, corn-fed air-conditioning.
  •  Enchanted Tales with Belle – a sweet 15 minute story time, and little kids can volunteer.


  •  Spaceship Earth - my personal favorite 16 minutes at any park. I salute thee, geodesic ball!
  •  Impressions de France – an 18 minute film, and comfortable as a wine cellar
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival - 18 marvelous minutes of Disney and Pixar cartoons in 3D.

Hollywood Studios:

  •  Voyage of the Little Mermaid – a visually stunning 17 minute show, in cool, comfy seats. Yes, please.
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage – about 25 minutes of eye-popping costumes & fun performers

Major Breaks - About 20 Minutes

Magic Kingdom:

  • Hall of Presidents - 23 minutes of glorious, air-conditioned Morgan Freeman. It’s a win-win!
  • Carousel of Progress - 22 minutes to not think about the film “A Christmas Story”. Still fun.    


  • Ellen's Energy Adventure - an educational 37 minutes, or a nice, long nap.
  • The American Adventure – about 45 minutes overall, it’s a patriotic, heavy-duty break from the heat.

Hollywood Studios:

  • Muppet Vision 3D – almost 37 minutes of Muppets being a lot funnier as an adult.
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage – 22 minutes for the wee ones
  • The Great Movie Ride – nearly 22 minutes of air-conditioned, old-school movie fun.

Animal Kingdom:

  • Festival of the Lion King – a 30 minute, Broadway-grade musical.
  • Finding Nemo – the Musical – a glorious, 30 minute musical about parents trying not to cry

About the author:  Ian Scott is as cool as a slab of veal in your butcher's meat case and the perfect guy to help you plan your next Disney World vacation.

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