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Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

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Is there rain in the forecast during your Disneyland vacation? Yes, cold and wet weather can be a downer, especially when you were expecting warmer temperatures in California. Here’s what to do when there’s a Disneyland rainy day during your trip, including how to plan ahead and what attractions might not be open.

Mom Rewritten uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through the links in these posts. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the Privacy Policy and Disclosures tab. This article was originally published March 18th, 2015 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

Maximizing a Disneyland Rainy Day

It’s not all sunshine all the time – sometimes it rains in Southern California. But rain doesn’t happen all that often so it can catch us off-guard. You might find yourself totally unprepared for even the slightest shower. Don’t let the rain put a damper on your day! I’m sharing what to do.

I’ve been to Disneyland during many heavy downpours. And while it’s not fun to be wet and cold, there are things to do in the parks during a rainstorm. These are my insider tips for surviving a Disneyland rainy day.

Disneyland Rain FAQs

If you’ve never been to Disneyland when it’s raining, you might have a few questions. Here are the answers to the top questions about Disneyland rainy days:

  • Is there a Disneyland rain refund? – No, there is no Disneyland rain policy and no refunds for rainy days. This can be particularly challenging in the time of Disneyland reservations, one of the newest changes to planning a Disneyland vacation.
  • Does Disneyland ever close during heavy rain? – Yes, it has happened. When there’s a chance of flood, heavy hail or other danger, Disney will shut the gates and send guests home.
  • What gets cancelled at Disneyland if it rains? – Parades, fireworks, and some outdoor shows are cancelled when it’s raining. Don’t expect to see outdoor character meet ‘n greets. Occasionally there is an abbreviated version of the parade when it’s rainy. This “Character Cavalcade” features some characters riding inside the Main Street U.S.A. vehicles.
  • Do the rides at Disneyland close when it rains? – Yes, some of the outdoor rides and roller coasters close when it’s rainy. Keep reading for a list of rides that usually remain open during bad weather.
Some outdoor rides close when it’s raining.

How Does Weather at Disneyland and Disney World Compare?

When comparing the weather in Anaheim versus Orlando, basically it rains a LOT more at Walt Disney World! Being prepared for wet weather is definitely more of a necessity when traveling to Florida.

Wearing a poncho on Dumbo at Disney World
  • Rainstorms at Disneyland often last all day or for several days in a row. Whereas at Disney World, the rain may pour down heavily for an hour in the afternoon, then stop just as suddenly as it started.
  • The rain in California is generally accompanied by chilly weather. Expect it to be much warmer (and humid!) when it rains in Orlando.
  • Wearing a rain poncho at Disney World is pretty common. Most guests will opt for umbrellas at Disneyland.
  • The biggest surprise for my kids when visiting Disney World (all California-natives) is that it poured rain during the summer time. This is typically a dry season for us in So Cal. Experiencing daily afternoon rain in Florida was a shock.
  • Another difference between the two coasts is the crowd levels during a storm. The park might thin a little at Disney World but it’s more extreme at Disneyland. Guests in California are more likely to leave the park in droves when the rain showers begin.
Getting poured on at Disney Hollywood Studios!

What Time of Year is Best to Avoid Rain at Disneyland?

This is a very common question, frequently asked in the Disneyland With Kids group. And my answer is always the same – “Southern California weather is often unpredictable”. It might rain in January, or it might be 85 degrees. It may pour in November, or be in the midst of a heatwave.

The challenge of weather changes year after year in SoCal simply means it can be difficult to plan too far in advance. Yes, with advance reservations required, Disney vacations are planned ahead. So that might mean you’ll be visiting when rain is in the forecast.

The answer to the “best time of year to avoid rain at Disneyland”? June, July, August, September and October tend to be the driest (and hottest) months of the year. However even during those months, there may be random rain showers. Always check the forecast ahead of your vacation!

These ten tips will help you to survive a rainy day at Disneyland in California.

Keep reading for more tips on how to do Disneyland when it’s raining:

Check the Forecast

“Drip drip drop, little April showers”. Should you bring extra sunscreen or a poncho? Always best to know ahead of time by checking the precipitation forecast for Anaheim before your trip. Keep in mind that when it rains in Southern California, it’s usually accompanied by cooler weather which might be the opposite of what you’re used to if you frequent Walt Disney World (where it might be warm and humid).

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Purchase Refundable Tickets

There’s a big difference between mist and a monsoon. If you’ve invested big money into your first Disneyland vacation and heavy showers are predicted during your entire vacation, you may consider rescheduling.

I highly recommend using Get Away Today’s Peace of Mind Plan when booking a Disney trip. Get Away Today is the only place that offers a full refund on Disneyland tickets (even Disney themselves don’t offer this!). With the Peace of Mind package, you’ll be able to change the dates of your trip easily, without additional charges.

Disneyland ticket held up inside the park

Discounted Disneyland Tickets!

My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted Disneyland tickets and Anaheim-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

Disneyland tickets purchased now are good through December 31st, 2023. We never know when Disney will increase prices so there’s always a potential savings of hundreds of dollars for families. Purchase your multi-day tickets through Get Away Today now.

When you’re ready to book your full Disneyland vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.

Be Prepared with Proper Rain Gear

Having the appropriate protective clothing can make or break a day in the rain at Disneyland. It’s always best to bring these items in your luggage if rainy weather is in the forecast. As noted before, pay attention to if the weather calls for light sprinkles or constant rainfall and plan accordingly.

That said, it’s always best to be prepared for any change in the weather. Bring what you need for a rainy day in the Park and don’t rely on purchasing there. These are the head-to-toe items you should consider bringing with you.

Best Footwear for Puddles

Wear sensible shoes like rain boots or sneakers that have been treated with Scotchguard. Rain boots would be an awesome idea, particularly if it’s expected to storm for days.

Wear appropriate shoes for the season. The temptation might be to wear flip-flops or sandals when the weather is wet. But be sure to gauge the temperature as well, lest your feet be freezing at the first drop of rain!

What to Wear on a Disneyland Rainy Day

I highly recommend dressing in layers. While it might drizzle in the morning hours, by afternoon the sun may be out. However if it’s expected to rain cats and dogs all day, these are the coverings you should bring.

RAIN JACKET – A rain jacket is the most practical for keeping dry when it’s raining at Disneyland. Pick something that folds up neatly. Choose a rain slicker like the Mickey version shown below with a longer length to keep pants dry when sitting on wet benches.

RAIN PONCHO – A poncho is a great idea when it’s a rainy day at Disneyland. They have attached hoods, are inexpensive and lightweight. Buy ponchos ahead of time for quite a bit cheaper and more variety than what you’ll find in the parks. Or choose a pricier version with a zipper if you want a more durable poncho that will last longer.

Plan to purchase size-appropriate rain ponchos for each member of the family. An adult rain poncho will not fit a child in the same way! In a pinch, binder clips can work to tighten a larger sized poncho to fit a kid.

Rain parkas are available at Disneyland but the price will be at a premium. Keep the receipt in a dry location – if the poncho tears, Disney will exchange for a new parka.

Should You Bring an Umbrella?

Umbrellas are iffy. They are hard to wield in a crowd and might poke someone when standing in outdoor queues. I brought an umbrella to Disneyland once and it turned inside out during a gust of wind! Plus, it’s always nicer to be hands free.

That being said, Southern Californians tend to be more of the umbrella-carrying type than the poncho-wearing type. If you prefer an umbrella versus a raincoat or poncho, pack a compact version that can fold down quickly when not in use.

Keeping Babies and Toddlers Dry

Don’t forget about little ones! Make sure that babies and toddlers are well protected from the rain. These are a few baby-friendly tips for taking small children to Disneyland in the rain.

  • Consider purchasing a toddler-sized hooded rain jacket, versus a poncho for the best fit.
  • Order a plastic stroller rain cover in advance of your vacation.
  • Dress kids in layers, considering the weather. Once the rain stops and the sun comes out, children may want to ditch the jackets. Pack several extra pairs of clothing in case they are wet and uncomfortable.
  • Toddlers are going to intentionally jump in every puddle they see! Bring sturdy and comfortable rain boots.
My toddler was miserable at Disney World in her ill-fitted rain poncho!

Use a Locker to Protect Valuables

If you don’t want it wet, lock up your valuables. Place everything important in a locker for the day. There are various sized lockers in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. You’ll also find two locker locations in the esplanade, both on the left hand side of each park entrance.

Waterproof Everything

When packing your gear inside of a Disney day bag, consider only bringing items that can withstand moisture. Chances are your stuff is going to get wet, one way or another. You could always request a plastic souvenir bag at one of the Disneyland gift shops, but it’s better to have water resistant items ahead of your trip.

PURSE – Clean out your purse and wallet ahead of your trip, removing important papers and cards you wouldn’t want getting damp. Ensure that you’re using a waterproof purse to keep contents dry. Baggallini are my favorite and this water resistant version offers plenty of space.

CELL PHONE – Keep precious cargo like your cell phone safe, using a reusable clear waterproof phone pouch.

DIAPER BAG – Pack only a few essentials at a time into this waterproof diaper bag. Keep the rest of the diapers dry inside a locker and refill as needed.

TOTE BAG and BACKPACK – Choose water-resistant bags that close to keep wetness from entering. Plus you’ll need a space to store jackets and rain parkas until you need them. For items you’ll need to access frequently in your Disney day bag, use gallon-sized plastic zip bags to contain everything.

Bring an Extra Set of Clothes

At the end of a rainy Disneyland day, you’ll be glad you brought extra clothes! Pack an extra set of clothing for each person in your family. I always seem to get the hem of my pants soaking wet on a rainy day and a dry pair is so nice put on!

A pair of leggings are small and lightweight to pack in with you. Bring a few extra pairs of socks too. Pack extra clothes in large zip-close plastic bags. After changing outfits, stuff the wet clothing back inside the bag for storage.

Disney Trip FREE Printable - Packing List for Kids that they can use to pack for themselves!
Use and reuse zip-close bags for travel

Now that you’re prepped and ready for a Disneyland rainy day, these are the things you can do once you’re in the park. If it’s just too wet to be outdoors, try one of these tricks!

Eat Indoors

Many of the restaurants around Disneyland offer both outdoor or indoor dining. On a rainy day, skip the patio and go inside for your meals. I recall a particularly soggy day when my son and I sought respite inside Cafe Orleans and it was great to sit inside where it was warm. By the time we got to the dessert beignets, my coat that had been sopping wet was dry!

With rain in your forecast, this is a perfect time to get an Advanced Dining Reservation for character dining or special full-service meal. Take your time eating and get all the photos!

Book that ADR before your trip. Walk up reservations will fill quickly as other guests will also want to seek shelter indoors. Best to book Disney dining reservations as soon as you can. Here’s how to do it with the free MouseDining program:

  • Open the MouseDisney website. Search for the restaurant you want to dine at.
  • Add in dates to see if a reservation is available.
  • If everything is booked, simply set up an alert with more details including meal, preferred time, and party size.
  • MouseDining will email you when a reservation comes available!

Go Souvenir Shopping

Slowly walking through the shops while you wait for the clouds to clear is a fun pastime. The Emporium, Elias & Co. and World of Disney inside Downtown Disney are loaded with goodies. No need to make a purchase!

Head Indoors for Entertainment

Rain or shine, taking in the entertainment at Disneyland is always a great choice. Keep in mind that many other guests will have the same idea – some indoor options may be crowded. Arrive early and expect a longer-than-usual wait.

Inside Attractions at Disney California Adventure Park

  • Take the indoor Boudin Bakery Tour and find out how sourdough bread is made.
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a whimsical 4-D show that’s perfect for all ages.
  • Little ones will love the Disney Jr – Live on Stage! show. It’s great entertainment on a Disneyland rainy day, and an excellent place for kids to get the wiggles out!
  • Spend hours inside the Disney Animation Building. Take an art class at the Animation Academy, chat in Turtle Talk with Crush, see the Beast’s library or create animation in the Sorcerer’s Workshop.
Drawing a favorite Disney character along with an animator.

Indoor Things to Do at Disneyland

  • Stroll through the Disney Gallery to view theme park artifacts, models and artwork. Perfect for older kids and teens (or sleeping babies in a stroller!).
  • Another great attraction for older children and adults, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln features the Animatronic that started it all. Walk through the Disneyland Story area in the lobby to see rare behind-the-scenes moments about how the amusement park came to be.
  • Golden Horseshoe offers not only yummy ice cream sundaes, but occasionally live music on the legendary stage.
  • Watch classic Disney cartoons inside the Main Street Cinema.
  • Take a peek inside the castle via magical dioramas in Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough.

Downtown Disney Indoor Entertainment

  • Tweens will love to give virtual reality a try at the Meta Quest 2 Experience, featuring Star Wars tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.
  • Pick up a game of bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes, the restaurant/bowling alley that’s fun for everyone. Lots of great food, cocktails and desserts.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a unique retro-themed bowling alley and restaurant that's family friendly. Find out what to eat, when to visit and how to do Splitsville Anaheim with kids
There’s even a bowling ramp for little kids at Splitsville

Disneyland Rides Inside

Some of the outside rides close down during a downpour but there is still plenty that remains open. Many rides have outdoor queues but the attraction is indoors. If the Park isn’t particularly busy, ask if you can ride multiple times without getting out of your seat.

These are the attractions that are fully enclosed and away from the elements:

  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure

Disneyland Rides that are both indoor and outdoors (and may close in bad weather):

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Splash Mountain

Outdoor Disneyland Attractions

When there’s a light sprinkle or weather is expect to clear, these outside rides may remain open. However during heavy rain storms or lightning they may be closed until further notice.

Water attractions, like Grizzly River Run or Splash Mountain often remain open during the rain. However they may close due to unpopularity on particularly cold days.

  • Astro Orbitor
  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Davey Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Queue under cover but the ride is outdoors.
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Golden Zephyr
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Incredicoaster
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Silly Symphony Swings
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats

Need to escape the rain? These are a few more things to do when the rain is just too much.

A wet & foggy morning (but you’ll notice little Elsa didn’t want a jacket – the cold never bothered her anyway!) – Photo Credit: Disney Photopass

Should You Use Disney Genie+?

Just because it’s a Disneyland rainy day doesn’t mean the crowds have disappeared. In fact, with reservations in high demand, other guests may choose to stick it out through the storm (just like you!) If you find that the park is busy and you’d rather not wait in longer lines, by all means purchase Disney Genie+. But if lines aren’t long, there’s no point in buying Disney Genie+ so hold off purchasing until you can see crowd levels.

Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine

Prep for the ultimate Disneyland vacation by subscribing to the Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine. Issues will include Disneyland park tips, hotel reviews, news, and more, straight to your inbox. Fun activities to do at home, and a special kids corner activity section, to get the rest of the family excited for the upcoming trip!

An annual subscription includes 4 issues of the quarterly magazine plus monthly emails with exclusive content. Or grab a single copy to check it out! Subscribe to the Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine.

Seek Shelter and People-Watch

When all else fails and the rain is relentless, find a covered area. There are some outside areas with overhanging porches. Grab a snack and take a break until the rain eases. And of course it’s fun to watch the unprepared guests in flip-flops scurrying through the rain!

Fireside at the Grand Californian

Even non-hotel guests can enjoy the lobby at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Cut through via the side entrance in California Adventure. Get a drink inside the lobby at Hearthstone Lounge. Warm up by the fireplace in one of the craftsman rocking chairs. Live piano music is often played with the pianist taking requests.

Grand Californian lobby

If All Else Fails….Retreat Back to Your Hotel

So despite the good efforts, you’re soaked through? Time to retreat and head back to the hotel and wait out the storm. Take a hot bath, change your clothes and consider returning to the Parks later in the day.

10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day
Ahhh, take off your wet clothes and slip on a nice warm robe.

Prepare for Indoor Fun with Kids

If you know your children won’t be up for spending time in the rain at Disneyland, make sure you have enough to do at the hotel. These entertaining items are great to use when you plan ahead for a wet weather.

  • Expecting Spring showers during your Disneyland trip? Try this Disney Easter Scavenger Hunt inside the hotel room.
  • Add fun Disney-themed apps to kid’s electronics or tablets to play while hunkered down in the hotel room.
  • Stock up on a few small Disney souvenirs beforehand to play with until the rain passes.

The Downside of a Disney Downpour

So even with all the preparation, it’s okay to feel a little disappointment with rain in the forecast during your vacation. These are the things to consider if planning a trip during rainy weather:

  • Outdoor shows may be cancelled.
  • Some outdoor rides are closed during rain.
  • Harder to take photographs.
  • Parade is abbreviated or cancelled outright.
  • No fireworks spectacular.

The biggest benefit to a rainy day at Disneyland is that crowds are generally thinned out. With certain attractions rained-out you’ll also have the ability to think outside the box and experience things you might not have otherwise!

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Dates to Avoid When Planning a Disneyland Vacation

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

[…] Other than possible rain showers, March is a pretty good month to visit. However, keep in mind that many schools celebrate their Spring Breaks starting in March so especially late in the month, the park crowds may increase. Even with the rain, you can still have a great Disneyland vacation. Check out my 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day. […]

Rosanne @ The Disney Point

Friday 20th of March 2015

Oh man, fireside at the Grand Californian sounds like a great tip for ANY day, not just a rainy day! Great tips!

Leslie H (tripswithtykes)

Thursday 19th of March 2015

We've thus far dodged all rain when traveling to Disneyland with kids. I'm sure we had rain once in awhile during our pre-kid travel days, but isn't so much of a hassle with two 20-something adults. Where we did have crazy rain was Hong Kong Disneyland - it's semi-tropical and thunderstorms would just come out of nowhere. We bought lots of cool Hong Kong Disneyland umbrellas at least - they have been great souvenirs!

Julie Bigboy

Thursday 19th of March 2015

That sounds like more of an "experience" than a nuisance, for sure! Very cool, Leslie!

Kimberly

Thursday 19th of March 2015

Great tips! Zip lock bags are great for the rain and for water rides. I never go to Disney without them.

Lisa @Home is Where the Mouse is

Thursday 19th of March 2015

We've never been to Disneyland so there are great tips for us to know. We usually visit WDW in the summer so we're always prepared for the daily afternoon rain. Now we'll be prepared should we ever venture out west.

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