I've done Disneyland California a bunch of times and I think I'm ready to make the trip to WDW. Is it really that awful in the summer. I'm from Fresno so I'm use to heat but I hear the humidity is unbearable. Would I be crazy to plan my first trip in July? With a 7 year old?
I think it all depends on how you can handle the humidity. 90 with 90% humidity is far different from 90 with low humidity. With a kid that age I'd be a "bad parent" and pull them out of school for a week in a more hospitable time of the year if your schedule allows. October, November (non-Thanksgiving) or early December are far more hospitable and tend to be less crowded.
You can mitigate the heat somewhat via rope drops, breaking during the height of the heat and returning at night, but it will be a different experience just due to the exhausting heat...
Although I typically did not go to DLR during the summer because of the increased crowds, the weather never bothered my. I live in FL and refuse to go to WDW June-Sept. Imagine being in nursery green house (with no fan) all day.
When the kids were younger, and missing school was not such a big problem, we used to go in late April / Early May which was perfect (especially with Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival). Hot enough to swim, but not dreadful. Now that they are in HS, we have to go in late June. It is very hot and humid, and late day thunder showers are common, which increases the humidity. That being said, we find ways to survive. There are a lot of places to get in the A/C and they do a very good job of keeping the attraction lines as cool as possible. We always carry water and misting fans. We try to plan one of our TS meals for mid to late afternoon, to avoid the extreme heat and the thunderstorms. We each carry a lightweight disposable rain poncho (from Amazon) that comes in a small folded up pouch.
If this is your first trip, and you can possibly avoid the summer months, I would. Your daughter is young enough that missing school for a week should not be that big of a deal. You will have a much more enjoyable first visit. However, if you have to go in summer, you can work around the heat. If you can afford it, I highly recommend one of the monorail resorts. It will give you another break from the heat.
thanks for the input, i might reconsider. I was hoping not to miss school but early october might be an option
I would say that if you end up going in summer you can still have an amazing time. We went in June last year and are going in July this year with kids similar in age to yours. I had heard such horror stories that I expected it to feel like we were vacationing on the surface of the sun. But honestly, although it was very hot with intense humidity, we weren't bothered by it at all. The day is broken up by so many cooled spaces between rides, shows, and meals that we didn't find it to be a problem for us. We did take mid-day breaks which I am sure helped in many areas. If you can go a cooler time of year I would, but if you can only go in the summer be encouraged that, in our experience, you can still have an incredible Disney vacation in the heat.
In our experience, the key to touring in summer is to stay onsite, take a midday break, and make RD. It's not bad in the morning, so we RD and make morning FPs for must dos. Maybe grab an in park ADR for lunch, then back to the hotel for nap and/or pool. Head back to parks maybe 5-7 pm. We either grab food at the hotel or QS at a park - we've found it sucks to be tied to a dinner ADR. If we run late for our midday break, we have felt that we have to stay in park to make like a 5pm dinner ADR, and that's miserable. We want to keep the option of not going back to the park if we're too worn out from the heat.
We also wear those neck cooling things, frog togs or similar. Personal fans, lots of drinks, and water rides.
Oh, and bring crocs or similar. If it rains, it's good to have ponchos, but sucks if your feet get wet. We don't necessary walk all around in crocs, but AK in particular can puddle a lot when it rains, so it's good to have the option.