Calling it the sunshine state is irony, yes.
Having been born and raised in Central Florida, and smack-dab in the tourist heart of the world (anywhere else looking for the title can come down here and pry it from Mickey's gloves), I know what it's like to lament ruined plans on a rainy day.
Visitors will often quip, "I thought this was the sunshine state? Where are you hiding the sun?" If you have ever visited Florida and said this to a customer service worker, I guarantee they complained about you in the break room. Although the hospitality workers from Clearwater Beach to Daytona's Speedway are there to give guests from around the world the best stay in their locales as possible, there is one thing that excellent guest service can never overcome: Florida weather.
Now as to save our hardworking employees and fallible weather channels, let me tell it to you straight. If you plan on visiting Florida anytime between May and September, expect moderate to heavy rain every day around 3 pm. If I'm wrong, you have a pleasant surprise and longevity added to your outdoor experience. If I'm right, hopefully, you brought ponchos, or using the following list, have made alternative indoor plans.
There are plenty of roofed offerings here in Central Florida to protect from the dreaded downpour, and you can pull a gorilla to get out of the rain.
1. Dave & Buster's.
Scour coupon websites before entering, but indoor arcades like Dave & Buster's can be the adrenaline-filled day needed to tire out kiddos or stimulate bored adults. With diverse food offerings, extended hours, and indoor fun on the menu, this is definitely an option for those days when lightning looks more like sunshine than is comfortable.
A timeless classic, there are countless bowling alleys across Central Florida. From I Drive to Kissimmee to Cabana Bay, a quick Google search can find you the closest, cheapest or best-est bowling alley in town.
3. Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf.
Orlando Putting Edge combines the ordinary fun of mini golf with the supercharged fun of glow-in-the-dark courses. There's no need to check the forecast because it's dark in this place all day long. Competitive parties would do well here to spend a few hours amidst the ultraviolet lights.
4. Movie complexes.
I am a sucker for movies. Rain or shine you can find me at a movie theater on discount Tuesday's, but those are especially helpful when $5 tickets can bail you out of a wasted vacation day. You can go through the normal channels of searching for theaters near you, or ask the nearest local which is their favorite. Nine times out of ten they'll actually tell you which has the best recliners, cheapest parking, or buttery-est popcorn (the tenth person just goes to the closest theater by their house. That's boring).
5. Orlando Regional History Center.
I volunteered at the summer camp hosted by the History Center before high school, and I was a camper in the years before. While this may not sound like the most exciting activity, I promise this place is a treasure trove. For minimal admission, you can walk the halls adorned with local history, learn about the city Orlando has become, and check out the desk Ted Bundy carved his name in.
6. Titanic the Experience.
I am dying to go to this exhibition, so if you go before me let me know. I will still include it here though because the Titanic exhibition boasts several thousand square feet of artifacts and the second-largest piece of the ship's hull ever recovered. There is also a dinner show that comes highly recommended, and this has been on my bucket list for years. If you still think there was room on the door, or that Jack should've told Rose to shove off, this is a great place to hash it out on a rainy day.
7. Escape Rooms.
My claustrophobia has made escape rooms comfort-prohibitive for me, but I've been told they are incredibly fun. If you're looking for a bit of a brain teaser, check out the clusters of escape rooms on I Drive, or elsewhere. You can't really go wrong with a little friendly competition.
8. Andretti Indoor Karting and Games.
Kind of in the same vein as Dave & Buster's but with a little bit more road rage, Andretti is a new addition to the indoor activity arena. With go-karting, 3D movie experiences, arcade games, laser tag, and more, you could lose the members of your party in this complex while waiting out afternoon showers.
9. Outlet malls.
Shopping is always a good choice if you know where to go. There are outlet mall complexes in the Orlando area that boast discounted prices and factory stores. The Premium Outlet Malls are primarily indoors, and there are plenty of suitcase vendors to help store the extra luggage on the flight back.
10. Netflix and chill.
Now I know this isn't specific to the Orlando area, and it's a tad misleading because I mean stay home, listen to the rain, put on a movie, or find a board game, or do crunches on the carpet, or have a heart to heart conversation. Rainy days are the perfect opportunity to catch up on some R&R, and that doesn't have to mean turning to the red N and browsing what's trending. Enjoy the warmth within the walls and thank Mother Nature for the rain.
I hope this list gives you inspiration, if not a plan for the overcast days you'll be spending with us in Central Florida. One thing to keep in mind is if you don't like the weather outside right now, wait ten minutes. It may not be the sun rays you want, but I guarantee those Florida skies will be doing everything astronomically possible to keep you on your toes. Stay dry.