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Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide

Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide


How can you prepare if you know the weather is going to be really hot at Disneyland? If you already know there will be a heatwave at Disneyland, you can prepare in advance. You’ll want to keep cool so you and your family won’t be cranky, tired and wiped out by the heat mid-day. Find out exactly what you can see, eat and do at Disneyland in the heat. With these tips you’ll have fun and stay cool at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure park.
These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas
Ice cream at Disney’s California Adventure park – Dinner is served!

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Facial Coverings Required

Disneyland in California has reopened and with it comes some changes. This includes mask use for all guests aged 2+. Yes, wearing a facial covering all day in extreme heat can be difficult. I recommend bringing several masks per person each day. It’s refreshing to switch out when masks are moist or sweaty.

I have several favorite recommendations for adult face masks. My friend Leslie from Trips with Tykes turned me on to these Disney-themed cloth facial coverings from Etsy designer, Threads by Luzma. I’ve already purchase three for my upcoming summer 2021 vacation!

Disney face masks – Photo credit: Threads by Luzma on Etsy

The Halo Life face mask has a breathable fabric and a flexible curve that keeps cloth away from the mouth (shown in image below on 90+ degree day in the parks!)

Halo Life Mask

What Can You Do When It’s Hot at Disneyland?

Sure, summer in California is usually warm and sunny. However even though summer may wind down, doesn’t mean the temperatures start to drop. At Disneyland early August is when things start to really warm up! In Southern California, August, September and October are usually the warmest months of the year. There might be pumpkins on Main Street USA but the thermometer is still reading 100 degrees!

We’ve also been known to get 90 degree temperatures in February, when the rest of the country is blanketed in snow. Unlike the moist warmth in Orlando at Walt Disney World, the heat in California comes in from the desert. It’s a dry heat you might not have experienced before. After scorching under the hot sun all day you’ll be wishing for Elsa’s frosty touch! Keep reading for all the warm weather survival tips at the Disneyland resort.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of the attractions and activities mentioned in this article may not be fully available during your visit. Check the Disneyland calendar ahead of your visit to see which locations are currently closed.

Read on for my tips on how to do Disneyland in the heat!

I’m sharing ideas on things to do indoors, air-conditioned rides that will cool you off, and where to get wet at Disneyland. I also have suggestions on what to pack in your bag for a day in the sun, what you can buy in the parks and what to do if the heat gets the best of you.

Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure park
Plenty of shady places to dine on Pacific Wharf

Other Summer 2021 Changes That Might Affect Your Vacation

“Designated Dining Areas” have been added inside both of the California theme parks. These are specific benches, tables and covered seating areas where guests can rest, eat, drink and remove their masks. When the temperatures rise, guests should work in plenty of breaks.

It’s easy to get dehydrated when you have a facial covering on all day because you’re less likely to sip water. Seek out these areas to get out of the sun and take a break, especially mid-day.

Another thing to be aware of is outdoor queues. Many attraction lines have been moved outdoors. This means extra time under the sunshine. Be sure to wear a hat, reapply sun protection frequently and again, take breaks to re-hydrate.

Seek the Shade Inside at Disneyland & California Adventure

  • In the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough you can enjoy the a/c and take as long as you like to admire the dioramas.
  • Watch The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. A restful theater and cool air. Some guests admit they come here to take a brief nap.
  • Walk through Mickey’s House in Toontown, then wait for a one-on-one character greeting with him while watching cartoon in air-conditioned comfort.
  • I love the Enchanted Tiki Room and it’s especially refreshing on a hot day. Pick up a Dole Whip before going inside (you can snack during the show). Use Mobile Ordering on the Disneyland app to save time in line!
Grab a Dole Whip before going into the Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Soak in a glorious Broadway-like production at the Hyperion Theater. It’s a Frozen-themed show, how appropriately cool! Just about an hour of air-conditioned comfort (and you can bring in snacks).
  • Get toddlers out of the heat and inside the adorable Disney Junior Dance Party!
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail– The kids can run around and get sweaty on the tire swings, slides and overhead ropes. You can sit in the shade of the tall trees and take a break!
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic is a delightful indoor 4-D show.
  • Take the Bakery Tour, Hosted by Boudin Bread. That’s about ten air conditioned minutes and you’ll get a snack at the end.
  • The Disney Animation Building hosts a variety of indoor activities that can take up the hottest part of the day. Be sure to check out Turtle Talk with Crush and Animation Academy.
Animation Building in Disney California Adventure park Hollywood Land

Survive Disneyland Heat and Stay Cool on a Ride

  • Hop aboard The Disneyland Railroad for an 18-minute grand circle tour. You’ll be shaded in the open train cars and get a great breeze as the train takes the trip around Disneyland.
  • Yo-ho! 15-minutes of dark caverns and the swarthy Pirates of the Caribbean will have you rested and ready to take on the sun again.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is a slow, cool ride in the dark while firing off laser guns to defeat Zurg!
  • The Mark Twain Riverboat takes a long ride on the Rivers of America. Take a seat in the shade or stand at the helm to capture the breeze.
Mark Twain Riverboat on the Rivers of America in Disneyland
  • Haunted Mansion offers a rest for weary souls with bone-chilling a/c. All thrills viewed from the comfort of your Doombuggy.
  • Take a long, cool walk in the shady queue for Indiana Jones Adventure. Most of the line is inside with air conditioning.
  • “it’s a small world” – The happiest cruise that ever sailed. And it’s 15-minutes of lovely air-conditioning accompanied by music!
Disneyland "it's a small world" attraction
Waiting in line at Disneyland for “it’s a small world”.

Disney California Adventure Park – Best Rides on a Hot Day

  • What could be more refreshing than going under the sea? The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Underwater Adventure.
  • A windy spin on the Silly Symphony Swings will cool off any sweat drops!
  • Golden Zephyr swings wide over the water in Paradise Gardens for a cool, windy ride.
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round is a breezy Ferris wheel ride. Take the swinging version for extra “zip”.
  • Soarin’ Around the World – Grab a Fastpass and skip to the inside queue.
Grizzy River Run water ride in Disney California Adventure park
Grizzy River Run at Disney California Adventure is a soaker for a hot day!

Rides and Other Places to Get Wet at Disneyland

  • If you’re really looking for a soaking, try Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure. Rarely does anyone escape without at least one article of clothing sopping wet.
  • Take a swim break back at the hotel pool mid-day. That’s definitely one of our family favorites. All three Disneyland Resort hotel pools have water slides for added fun!

Disneyland hotel pool and slide

  • Splash Mountain in Disneyland park includes 3 dips and a massive waterfall…you will get wet!
  • There are two rotating water-coated balls, one in Disneyland near the entrance to Space Mountain and a Pixar ball in Pixar Pier area at Disney California Adventure.
Pixar Ball at Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure park

What to Bring With You During the Summer at Disneyland

Park Tickets- Purchase your multi-day tickets ahead of time from my partner at Get Away Today. You’ll save a lot on the cost of tickets. Also tickets are not currently being sold at the front gates! Get more tips about tickets and reservations on this article about going to Disneyland in 2021.

Sunscreen- Always. SPF 30 and reapply often, especially if you are sweating.

Deodorant- If you find that you need to reapply mid-day when the weather is hot, do your queue-mates a favor and bring in deodorant!

Frozen bottles of water Pour a little off the top before freezing them and pack them in your bag or soft-sided cooler.

Change of Shoes- In particular, it’s nice to have a pair of plastic flip-flops or sandals that you can change into before going on wet rides or in water-play areas.

Multiple face masks – See first section for suggestions on facial coverings to wear when it’s hot at Disneyland.

Baby at Disneyland with bottled water

What to Wear at Disneyland in the Heat

Chill Towel- So refreshing to rinse a chill towel in cool water and wrap around your neck. Doing this will lower your body temperature several degrees.

Hat- Wear one to block direct sun off your face and the top of your head (I always tend to get a burned scalp when I forget my hat and wow, does that hurt!)

Sunglasses- Nothing like squinting into the sun all day to give you a headache.

Warm-Weather Shoes – I’m a fan of open-toed shoes during the hot weather. For more tips click through for the best shoes to wear at Disney Parks.

Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

Jungle Cruise at Disneyland

What to Buy at Disneyland Park to Keep Cool 

Parasol Pop it open and you’ll be made in the shade! Sold at a cart in New Orleans Square. Price comes with hand painted name personalization and either hearts or flowers (additional designs offered for extra cost).

Mint Julep Stick around New Orleans Square and pick up a mint julep (or two) . You can get them either at the Mint Julep Bar and sit in the shaded patio of French Market Restaurant or seek the cool comfort inside the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

Sundaes Eat an ice cream sundae (big enough for two) and catch a show inside The Golden Horseshoe (my favorite is the mint chocolate chip!). With 8 toppings and 8 scoops of ice cream, the Earthquake from Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop will chill everyone in your group! And the classic Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is the place for people watching…and waffle cone ice creams!

Gibson Girl ice cream parlor on Main Street USA at Disneyland

Misting Fan – These are sold in kiosks throughout the park. This is a squirt bottle with an attached fan and strap to hang from your neck. On a hot day, it’s priceless! I’d suggest saving a few dollars and buy one before you go on your trip (see this post for the other souvenirs you should buy before you go!)

Change of Clothes When the sweat is unbearable, seek shelter inside a shop and buy yourself a fresh new tee or tank. You’ll feel (and probably smell!) so much better.

Toy Story souvenir shop at Disney California Adventure park

Things to Remember When It’s Hot at Disneyland

Water- Drink lots of water. You can always ask for free ice water at walk-up dining locations. I like to bring several empty bottles with me and keep them filled with water from the drinking fountains.

Stay out of the sun –As often as you can, keep in the shade. On busy days, a shady spot might be harder to come by. Seek out shady areas in out of the way spots.

Avoid High Noon Get to the Parks early, leave mid-day when the sun is hottest and return to the Parks after a swim and a rest in your room. Or simply retreat to an indoor show or shopping when the sun is blazing. Find out how to maximize the first two hours at Disneyland.

Heat Illness – If the heat has you feeling sick, stop by First Aid at any time. Symptoms include dizziness, confusion, nausea and cramping.

Storybook Boats Arendelle at Disneyland
The Frozen village of Arendelle is featured on Disneyland’s Storybook Boats

Other Things to Do in the Disneyland Area When it’s Hot

The Disneyland parks tend to be even hotter because of all the concrete and crowds! Here are a few ideas for families to do when they need to get out of the sun on a hot day at Disneyland.

Splitsville Anaheim – This location in Downtown Disney District is a great place for a lunch reservation. Bowl a few games, dine on some great food and have fun in the air conditioning for a few hours.  If you’re going with younger children find out the 7 Things to Know About Splitsville Anaheim With Kids.

Goofy’s Kitchen – CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE – Another fun dining location! Goofy’s Kitchen is a character dining restaurant located inside the Disneyland Hotel and you’ll need to book Advance Dining Reservations. Plan to spend a few hours eating at the buffet and interacting with the characters that come to your table.

Goofy's Kitchen character dining at Disneyland Hotel

Discovery Cube OC – This children’s museum is located just a few minutes drive on the freeway, in Santa Ana. Families can spend all day inside, exploring in this hands-on science center.

SoCal Beaches – Embrace the warm California days by lounging on the sandy beach! If you’re looking for things to do beyond Disneyland find out the Great Things to Do in Southern California.

Avoid meltdown at Disneyland in the heat with these practical tips on what to do, see and how to stay cool at Disneyland when the temperatures soar. These are the best rides to go on at both Disneyland & Disney California Adventure park, shaded and air-conditioned locations and first aid tips if the heat is too much. Ideas on off-site places in SoCal to beat the heat. #Disneyland #Disney #TravelTips #DisneyTips | Family Travel | Travel with Kids | Summer Vacation

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