While we’re still a few weeks away from the official first day of summer, the Orlando theme parks are already in full summer mode! Yes, the parks have extended their opening hours to take advantage of the longer summer days, and they’ve added new attractions and promotions to mark the occasion!
In case you missed all of our coverage last week, SeaWorld Orlando opened its most spectacular attraction in history — Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin — on May 24 (see Tad’s video below).
Not to be outdone, Disney World kicked off its Monstrous Summer promotion the same day by keeping Magic Kingdom® Park open a full 24 hours. Mike and Sully put in special appearances and will continue to do so throughout the summer. (Click to see our highlights from the event!)
Last not but least, technical rehearsals for Transformers 3D: The Ride at Universal Studios have begun ahead of its June 20 grand opening. If you’re in the park between now and then, it’s worth seeing if you can ride!
Yes, it’s going to be a fantastic summer! Want to know what else is coming to the theme parks? Look no further than Tad’s exhaustive list (which just keeps growing and growing).
While Tad and Lily aren’t officially on break yet, they’re counting the days (well, Tad is at least; Lily is still learning how to count ). Because some tadpoles — and children — still have school through the first couple of weeks of summer, those days are slightly less crowded than the second part of the month, which will see full summer crowds.
For the most hassle-free touring, be sure to download our wait-time apps before you head to the parks. It now includes Fastpass return times, so you can plan even better! Getting to the park before opening is always a good idea, but it’s even more crucial when crowd levels are high. (Wanna know the SECRET to avoiding Disney World CROWDS? Here it is!)
Predicted best days of the month to visit (and recommended parks)
- June 1 (Islands of Adventure)
- June 9 (Epcot®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
- June 16 (Epcot®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
Check the crowd calendar to see recommended days for the whole month and beyond.
SeaWorld and Antarctica
This combination ride and penguin exhibit that takes guests to the bottom of the world is a must-do! We’ll be writing more about it in the coming days, but as far as touring is concerned, we recommend making it your very first stop of the day at SeaWorld Orlando when lines are shortest (there is no Quick Queue for this attraction). When you enter the park, you’ll want to head toward Manta and then hang a right once you pass it. Look for the glaciers — you can’t miss them!
Magic Kingdom® Park and New Fantasyland™
Many people are making New Fantasyland™ their first stop in Magic Kingdom® Park, and even at opening it’s quite common to find a 45-minute wait for Enchanted Tales with Belle. There is no Fastpass for this attraction, so if it’s a priority, your best bet is to hop over first thing at park opening. If you arrive and find a line less than 45 minutes, do this first and then Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto. If you find the line more than 45 minutes, head to Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto, because after the opening “rush,” Enchanted Tales with Belle sees a slight dip between 10 a.m. and noon on most days and won’t see lower wait times again until late afternoon and evening. Here are the details about all of the New Fantasyland™ attractions.
Closings and Refurbishments
At Magic Kingdom® Park, Main Street Bakery will be closed through June 18 for its conversion to a Starbucks location. Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel and Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction will also have closure dates in June. At Epcot®, Fountain View Ice Cream Shop is closed the entire month for its conversion to a Starbucks location. For more details and a list of all refurbishments, check our closings page.
Temperatures are on the rise in June, with an average high of 92, a low of 66 and high rainfall chances. It’s a good idea to pack a few ponchos because storms can move in very quickly, but the good news is that it generally rains for only an hour or two (usually in the afternoons) and then clears up. Here is the packing list for this time of year.
- Celebrate the Star Wars saga during Star Wars Weekends, which run through June 9 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Highlights include a Character Processional through the park, Star Wars character meet and greets, Disney Characters in Star Wars themed outfits, and autograph opportunities from Star Wars celebrities. Be sure to read our recap of this year’s event from Liliane Opsomer, co-author of “The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.”
- While not an official theme park event, Gay Days is a vacation extravaganza that takes place at one theme park per day May 30-June 2.
- Universal’s Summer Concert Series begins June 1 and runs the entire month. This year’s performers include Ne-Yo, Kip Moore, Adam Lambert and Gavin DeGraw.
- Summer Nights at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay features Kinetix®, a rock-fueled blast of music and acrobatics followed by a fireworks finale. It begins at Busch Gardens on June 8 and runs through the entire month.
- At SeaWorld Orlando, Summer Nights include extended park hours, the Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonite night-time shows, and the Into the Blue fireworks spectacular starting June 22 and running through the entire month.
- At Epcot®, the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, featuring tribute bands, begins June 14 and runs through the entire month.
Will you be visiting in June? What questions do you have for us?