Tips and tricks for a rainy day at Disneyland
If it’s raining in Southern California (a very rare occurrence in itself), odds are you can probably find me waxing poetic about how I wish I was at Disneyland. I’ve been a big advocate of rainy Disneyland days for as long as I can remember, and a lot of people think I’m CRAZY for it (hubby included.)
But fret not, friends! Rain doesn’t need to spell doom for your vacation to the parks. Quite the opposite — rain can do what pretty much nothing else can: THIN OUT THE CROWDS. And if you’re prepared, you won’t be one of those soggy Sallys cutting your day short and heading to the Mickey & Friends tram with your head hung low.
In honor of our 4-day-in-a-row rain forecast (what a treat!), let’s talk about how to become a rainy day Disneyland pro.
I’ll be the first to admit that rainy days are not a holly jolly time if your clothes aren’t rain-ready. Disneyland tends to accumulate puddles on rainy days, so waterproof shoes are essential. Moisture wicking clothes help a ton, too. Above all else, bring a poncho! You can find them for super cheap on Amazon, or buy one in the parks for about $10. You may feel sort of silly draped in what is essentially a fancy clear trash bag, but I promise they do the best job of keeping you from getting drenched.
Also — dress warm! This ain’t Florida; we doesn’t usually get tropical, warm rain here in SoCal. If it’s raining, it’s probably COLD. Come prepared.
If you’re still worried about becoming a sad, wet theme park potato, you can always bring a spare change of dry clothes (& shoes!), and store them at a locker inside Disneyland / DCA.
Enjoy indoor attractions
Believe it or not, the rain usually doesn’t disrupt too many rides at Disneyland, since most of them are either indoors or continue to run regardless of the weather. However, if you’re looking for a respite from the deluge, indoor attractions are the way to go.
Some of my favorite indoor attractions to ride on a rainy day: Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and It’s a Small World. Guardians of the Galaxy, Soarin’, Toy Story Mania, Little Mermaid, and Monsters Inc. are great indoor options at DCA.
There are a few attractions that almost always close on a rainy day (Teacups, Radiator Springs Racers) but that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the rest of rides — most with very minimal wait times!
Go all-in on water rides
Alternatively, you can live and let live… I mean, you’re wearing a poncho, you’re already a little damp…why not give Splash Mountain or Grizzly Rapids a go? You can almost guarantee that the rides will be walk-ons, and what’s a little extra water when it’s already raining buckets outside?
Grab a bite at an indoor dining location
If I’m at Disneyland, you better believe I’m taking advantage of the eats — and that doesn’t change when it’s raining. There are a TON of fabulous food options throughout both DCA and Disneyland that are more or less unaffected by the rain, with indoor seating where you can guarantee a dry bum. In Disneyland: Blue Bayou, Pizza Port, Red Rose Tavern, Golden Horseshoe, Plaza Inn, and Carnation Cafe. In DCA: Flo’s V8 Cafe, and Carthay Circle.
The Disney hotels offer some of the very best indoor dining, though most will require a reservation, namely: Napa Rose, Storyteller’s Cafe, Steakhouse 55, and Goofy’s Kitchen. Luckily, Napa Rose has a pretty stellar lounge area, so if you don’t have reservations you can still pop in for a full service menu. Hearthstone Lounge, in the the Grand Californian Hotel lobby, is also a great option for quick bites.
Catch a show
A rainy day is the perfect opportunity to catch one of Disney’s fabulous live musicals. Settle in for the 1-hour Frozen show at the Hyperion Theater in DCA, or Mickey’s Magical Map in Fantasyland. Both offer comfy, dry seating (though the latter is technically still outdoors, so keep those coats handy). You can also reacquaint yourself with some presidential history through the animatronics show, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, on Main Street.
Meet some characters
There are a bunch of great indoor meet and greet options to take advantage of on a rainy day. You can say hi to Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Boba Fett, and Chewbacca at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland, or make like a princess with your favorite leading ladies at the Fantasy Faire. There are also a couple covered areas on Main Street where they OG crew (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) will sometimes hang out on rainy days.
Cozy up in DCA’s Animation Building
The Animation Building is one of the most underrated places at DCA, and it’s one of the best areas to hang out — rain or shine. It has such a naturally cozy atmosphere, and there’s sooo much to do here: hone your drawing skills at the Animation Academy, learn how to speak turtle with Crush, and wander through the halls of the Beast’s library. It’s also directly connected to the Off the Page shop, which houses some of the best Disney trinkets and art pieces.
Splish splash and HAVE FUN
There’s always an inherent layer of stress involved when you’re planning a big trip to the Disneyland Resort. You’re spending lots of money, so there’s all this pressure to Have. A. Good. Time. I get it — rain adds a dose soggy uncertainty that can really put a damper on things. But just remember: at the end of the day, you’re still at the Happiest Place on Earth and lines are probably way shorter than they’d be had the rain clouds not rolled in. Take advantage of the opportunity (it’s a rare one here in SoCal!) and have some fun.