You may be thinking this is a slightly crazy topic, but let's be real, a hot toddler is a cranky toddler which doesn't make for an easy park day.
Since it's hot for most of the year here in Orlando, we have scoped out the best air-conditioned play spots for toddlers on property. Not only are these spaces refreshing for your toddler, but if you're like me, a nice air-conditioned break is much appreciated for the parents as well :)
- Star Wars Launch Bay (Hollywood Studios) - So this may be my favorite air-conditioned play area on property.
Not only is it fun for the adults, but there are three character meet and greets inside, plus kids activities on the upper level, a few themed displays, a shop and a wide open space for kids to get that energy out after being confined in a stroller. (Let's be real, I wish kids could use that pent-up energy to push their tired parents in the stroller, but I digress.)
The current character meet and greet lines have been super short. We walked right in to see BB-8.
The Chewie and Darth Vader lines were only about a 10 minute wait each.
It's nice to feel like you're getting to enjoy some of what the park has to offer while cooling off and letting your little ones play.
(TIP - It's fun to see the characters march right past Launch Bay as they walk to and from the main stage show. I think we've stopped to watch that mini parade just about every visit. A Cast Member can tell you when to expect them if you want to check it out.)
- Dumbo Queue (Magic Kingdom) - This classic ride got re-imagined a few years ago and definitely got an upgrade. Not only did this Magic Kingdom staple double in size, it also became the home of an incredible indoor queue complete with a play area to enjoy while you wait for your turn to ride. I didn't fully appreciate this addition until this year... now it's a must do.
It's such a fun zone for kids to get their energy out, it's worth getting in the standby line just to enjoy the play area!
(TIP - If you just want to use the play area without riding you can do that too, just let the Cast Member know, and you're good to go.)
There are slides and obstacle course-style play zones for the bigger kids, and a toddler area right in the center with a small slide, mini firetruck and other age appropriate activities.
Both the main area and toddler area are surrounded by benches for the parents to sit and enjoy some down time. Tallulah was a bit overwhelmed the first time we visited the area particularly with the big kids and the dark blue lighting, but after we walked around and checked out the toddler area, she was ready to play!
I would completely recommend this area for all families with little ones. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy some AC!
- The Seas (Epcot) - This multi-leveled aquarium is perfect for that midday break.
There's so much to see and there's even a fun Finding Nemo-themed area with a perfect Bruce photo op and lots of hands-on activities for kids to explore and learn about conserving our oceans.
The Seas are also home to Turtle Talk with Crush and The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride. You can really spend a good chunk of your day here! If you want to make the most of the area, I recommend starting on the ride which takes you to The Seas aquarium. You also can enter without riding the ride through the double doors at the end of the walkway to the left of the queue entrance.
(TIP - Strollers aren't encouraged in this area (although I did see a few folks using them the last time we visited), which is really helpful when your kiddo wants to run around, but if you want to keep your little one contained to explore or to take an afternoon nap in the air conditioning, I highly recommend baby wearing.)
In my opinion, the best part of the Seas is the underwater viewing areas!
They are absolutely gorgeous and the main hallway is basically made for toddlers. The viewing glass comes all the way down to the floor so even the smallest guest has a perfect view. Tallulah could have watched the fish for hours!
- The Boneyard Fossil Fun Site (Animal Kingdom) - So this area doesn't really count, because it's not air-conditioned.
However, the coverings above this area do keep it cooler than the rest of the park, so it deserves an honorable mention. Unfortunately Animal Kingdom doesn't have any air-conditioned play areas which can be tough on super hot days, but this particular area has lots of places for kids to explore while being nice and safe with plenty of cushioning on the ground and coverings overhead.
Tallulah had a blast exploring this area! There are large slides and obstacles for the big kids and a few little slides and climbing areas for the toddlers.
(TIP - Please note that this area has some very small water areas in the toddler section, but it's easy and inviting for a kid to walk into it and get drenched. You may want to bring an extra outfit in case they partake in this activity.)
I hope this list is a helpful resource to prevent that midday I-need-to-cool-off-and-get-out-of-this-stroller meltdown that parents of toddlers know all too well :)
What are your favorite cool off and play spots at Disney? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.