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.
What Can You Do When It’s Hot at Disneyland?
Sure, summer in California is usually warm and sunny. Even though summer may wind down, it 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!
SoCal has also been known to get 90 degree temperatures in February, when much 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.
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 and what you can buy in the parks. Keep reading for ways to maximize your day in the sun and what to do if the heat gets the best of you.
Summer 2021 Changes That Might Affect Your Vacation
There are a great many vacation planning changes that came about since Disneyland has reopened. Disneyland tickets are now sold strictly online, in advance of a trip. No tickets are offered for sale at the parks. All guests should purchase tickets ahead of time – I recommend Get Away Today for excellent prices on multi-day tickets and awesome hotel discounts!
In addition, every guest needs to make a park reservation via the Disneyland website or app. There are plenty more things to know about going to Disneyland this year. Read up to get the details on virtual queue, Disney Genie+ and Magic Key!
Disneyland in California has reopened and with it comes some changes. Face coverings are currently required for all guests while indoors (ages 2 and up). Face coverings are optional in outdoor spaces. 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. You’ll also want to work in plenty of breaks to hydrate and rest, mask-free, in your daily itinerary.
Mask Recommendations for Hot Weather at Disneyland
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 purchased several of them for my recent vacations!
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!)
My kids prefer the stretchy cotton fabric masks from shopDisney, including Marvel-themed face masks. These face coverings have comfortable ear loops and come in a variety of sizes. And of course, you can get them to match the themed lands, including Avengers Campus!
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 areas to get out of the sun and take a break, especially mid-day. Look for these water refill stations located around the park. This particular water fountain is located in a hallway as you exit Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Another thing to be aware of is outdoor queues. Many attraction have outdoor lines which means extra time under the sunshine. Be sure to wear a hat, reapply sun protection frequently and again, take breaks to re-hydrate.
Dining Reservations and Mobile Ordering
For families looking for air conditioning and a respite off their feet during the mid-day heat, restaurant dining is key. When experiencing Disneyland in the heat, an extended break to dine inside under air conditioning is important! While many Disneyland restaurants offer mostly outdoor seating, some spots do have indoor dining as well.
Full Service Dining
Consider booking your advance dining reservations for full service restaurants ahead of your trip. If you aren’t able to secure an ADR, try using the “walk up” button when offered on the Disneyland app for select locations on the day of your visit. Check out these additional tips on how to eat at Disneyland without reservations.
Seek locations that offer indoor dining at one of these restaurants:
- Blue Bayou
- Cafe Orleans
- Carnation Cafe
- Carthay Circle
- Lamplight Lounge
- Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (mostly cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages)
- River Belle Terrace
- Wine Country Trattoria
Quick Service Dining
In order to minimize your time standing in line, opt for mobile ordering through the Disneyland app. Consider placing all of your orders first thing in the morning. Schedule the timing throughout the day to eat when you’ll want to get out of the heat.
Not all quick service dining locations offer inside dining. Many of them only have outside seating. Most seats will be under shade covering or umbrella. The added bonus of A/C inside is incentive to seek out an indoor location! When mobile ordering, look to these locations that offer indoor seating:
- Alien Pizza Planet
- Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
- Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo
- Fidler, Fifer & Practical Cafe
- Flo’s V8 Cafe
- Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
- Golden Horseshoe
- Plaza Inn
- Rancho del Zocalo
- Red Rose Taverne
- Smokejumpers Grill
Seek the Shade Inside at Disneyland & California Adventure
There are many locations within the theme parks in which to escape the heat. These non-ride attractions offer leisurely walks or rest indoors where you can enjoy the air conditioning. (Editor’s Note: Some attractions may not currently be open)
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough – Walk through the castle to view dioramas of the movie storyline. The walkthrough (located on the right hand side in the back of the castle), has stairs and narrow passageways. For an alternate viewing location (found on the left side in back of the castle), visit the accessible room.
- The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – A restful theater and cool air. This is the place to view Disneyland’s first Animatronic! Inside the building are some fascinating Disney memorabilia. Some guests admit they come here to take a brief nap.
- Mickey’s House in Toontown – This walk-through attraction takes you through the whimsical house of Mickey. Wait for a one-on-one character greeting with him while watching cartoons in air-conditioned comfort.
- Enchanted Tiki Room – Not to be skipped, the Tiki Room is 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!
More Indoor Things to Do at Disneyland in the Heat
- Disney Junior Dance Party! – Get toddlers out of the heat and inside to watch and dance along with the adorable show featuring favorite TV show characters.
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail- Kids can run around and get sweaty on the tire swings, slides and overhead ropes. Adults can sit in the shade of the tall trees and take a break!
- Main Street Cinema – Get a glimpse at the beginning days of Mickey Mouse inside this theater, which shows 6 classic cartoons on separate but simultaneous movie screens. No place to sit inside but still nicely air conditioned.
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic – A delightful indoor show, it’s a place to sit and be treated to favorite characters in a family-friendly 4-D experience.
- Bakery Tour – Hosted by Boudin Bread, this walk-through tour lasts about ten air conditioned minutes with a behind-the-scenes look at how sourdough bread is made.
- The Disney Animation Building – This indoor space hosts a variety of activities that can take up the hottest part of the day. Be sure to check out Turtle Talk with Crush and Animation Academy, where guests learn to draw with a Disney animator.
Survive Disneyland Heat and Stay Cool on a Ride
Looking to beat the heat but still enjoy the rides? These are your best bets for lengthy indoor rides that will get you off your feet and into the air conditioning! This section features rides at Disneyland. Read the next section for Disney California Adventure rides.
- The Disneyland Railroad – Hop aboard 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 a trip around Disneyland.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Yo-ho! 15-minutes of dark caverns and swarthy pirates will have you rested and ready to take on the sun again.
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – A slow, cool ride in the dark while firing off laser guns to defeat Zurg!
- Mark Twain Riverboat – This classic paddle wheel takes a long ride on the Rivers of America. Take a seat in the shade or stand at the helm to capture the breeze.
- Haunted Mansion – This attraction offers a rest for weary souls with bone-chilling a/c. All thrills viewed from the comfort of your Doombuggy.
- Indiana Jones Adventure – Take a long, cool walk in the shady queue, with most of the line-up 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!
Disney California Adventure Park – Best Rides on a Hot Day
- The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Underwater Adventure – What could be more refreshing than going under the sea? This ride has no height requirements, so it’s perfect for the entire family.
- Silly Symphony Swings – A windy spin on this ride will cool off any sweat drops!
- Pixar Pal-A-Round – A breezy Ferris wheel ride, take the swinging version for extra “zip”.
- Soarin’ Around the World – The outdoor line up for this attraction offers cooling misters on hot days with mostly an inside queue.
Rides and Other Places to Get Wet at Disneyland
There are several locations within the theme parks to get wet, including some of the rides. Consider packing in a pair of flip-flops to wear on these rides. Wearing soggy socks is a sure way to induce blisters! A waterproof waist pack is an ideal place to store items like your phone and wallet to avoid getting them wet.
- Grizzly River Run – If you’re really looking for a soaking, try this water rapids ride at Disney California Adventure. Rarely does anyone escape without at least one article of clothing sopping wet.
- Splash Mountain – This country-themed ride in Disneyland park includes multiple dips and a massive waterfall…you will get wet!
- Water balls – There are two rotating water-coated balls in the parks. Find one in Disneyland near the entrance to Space Mountain. There’s a Pixar ball in Pixar Pier area at Disney California Adventure.
Swim Break from Disneyland in the Heat
For families on a multi-day Disneyland vacation, I highly recommend taking a swim break back at the hotel pool. A mid-day stop to swim, snack, rest and maybe take a nap is an ideal way to break from Disneyland in the heat. That’s definitely one of our family favorite tips on hot days.
All three Disneyland Resort hotel pools have water slides for added fun! The Disneyland Hotel is my personal favorite, with the Monorail Slide and multiple swimming pools.
These Good Neighbor Hotels in the Disneyland area are nearby enough for a middle-of-the-day break. There are other nearby locations in the Anaheim area with awesome family swimming areas.
- Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance and Waterpark Resort is located directly across from the park entrance. Their Surfside Waterpark includes a pool, kiddie splash pad and 6 water slides.
- The Residence Inn hotel offers a great splash pad for young kids, swimming pool as well as a full kitchen and excellent kid’s suites.
- Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Waterpark Playground offers two swim spots, including the fantastic Castaway Cove with water slides.
What to Bring With You During Warm Weather 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 purchasing Disneyland tickets, Magic Key annual pass and making park reservations on this article.
- Sunscreen – Always. Use a high SPF and reapply often, especially if you are sweating.
- Frozen bottles of water – Pour a little off the top before freezing them and pack them in your bag or soft-sided cooler. I highly recommend the Engel Cooler, a bag with interchangeable handles and straps which we use on our Disneyland trips.
- 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!
- 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.
- Multiple face masks – See first section for suggestions on facial coverings to wear when it’s hot at Disneyland.
Need more Disneyland packing tips? Get the free Disney packing list printable!
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.
What About Halloween Time at Disneyland?
The fall season happens at Disneyland beginning in early September and lasting through the end of October. But there’s hardly a crisp feeling in the air. You’ll likely be experiencing very hot temperatures!
- Keep a watch on the weather forecasts leading up to your vacation. Mornings can often be chilly, with a mid-afternoon warm up. You might need the bring both shorts and a Disney Halloween spirit jersey!
- It will not be fun to suffer in an overly hot Halloween costume if temperatures are high. If attending Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disneyland Halloween Party plan costumes carefully.
What to Buy at Disneyland Park to Keep Cool
For the most part, guests should plan to pre-purchase items and bring them into the parks. However there are a few fun hot weather treats to keep in mind that you can buy at Disneyland.
Mint Julep – Swing around New Orleans Square and pick up a mint julep (or two). Get this non-alcoholic drink 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.
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).
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!
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! This is one item you can purchase ahead of time. 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.
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 or water refill stations.
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.
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 more in this post about Splitsville Anaheim With Kids.
Goofy’s Kitchen – 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. (Characters not currently available at this dining experience)
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.