Nobody visits the Disneyland Resort expecting someone to rain on their parade. While the majority of days will be sunny and pleasant at The Happiest Place on Earth, Mother Nature has been known to put a damper on things, especially between November and March. What can you do? If you happen to be visiting Disneyland in the rain, there is a bright side. We've experienced the park in our soggy, froggy rain boots a few times and have picked up some Disneyland rainy-day tips to keep you warm, dry and entertained. Plus, we have a list of our favorite Disneyland rainy-day rides!
As they say in the Enchanted Tiki Room, "every cloud has a silver lining." The rain keeps many locals away, as they have a hard time navigating the freeways at the first sign of the wet stuff. (I'm kidding, Southern California. You know I love you.) With the locals off the roads, out-of-town visitors have more of the parks to themselves and can enjoy shorter lines.
The Disneyland park reservation system means that you don't always have the flexibility of switching days at the last minute based on weather. Knowing how the rain affects rides and entertainment can help you plan for a successful day without any disappointment. Being prepared with the right gear can keep you dry and happy. So let’s hop in this puddle and plan the fun with some Disney California Adventure and Disneyland rainy day tips!
8 Essential Disneyland Rainy Day Tips
1. BYORG (Bring Your Own Rain Gear)
Bring umbrellas, raincoats, rain boots, ponchos and other supplies with you when visiting the park. While selfie sticks are banned, umbrellas are welcome. You can buy hooded ponchos in the parks near the water rides, but you can save some money and pick up a sturdier rain poncho (at about half the price) at a Lowe’s or Home Depot. Dollar stores may have inexpensive ones, too. (We like to buy a multi-pack from Amazon and keep a couple in our backpack.) Have ears? Try Ponchears, which allow room for your ear headbands.
We frogs find raincoats a lot more comfortable in the parks than ponchos. But ponchos are hopful in keeping our backpacks and fanny packs dry too.
Keep in mind that winter rain in Disneyland tends to be much colder than rain in Disney World. Do your best to keep your family warm and dry to make the best of it.
When it comes to umbrellas, bring one that is compact and folds down to a small size. That way, you can easily stow it when indoors or when the rain stops. One time, I brought a long umbrella to the park and its large handle was sticking out of my backpack. Let's just say it did not end well for some mugs in a gift shop when I walked by and accidentally knocked them all over.
Frogot your umbrella? You can purchase one in the park for about $15. Sometimes cast members keep them behind the counter.
Keep your phone safe and dry in a plastic bag. Speaking of plastic bags, if you line the inside of your backpack with a garbage bag, it will keep the contents dry. A thin, waterproof tablecloth can provide you with the perfect ground cover to sit on if there are parades and the ground is still wet. You can also use it for seated viewing included in the Fantasmic! dining packages (a blanket is hopful too). That ground can get cold in winter.
If you have a small towel with you, you will probably be able to put it to good use. If you wear glasses, having something dry to wipe them with is essential. Your iPhone screen doesn't work when wet, so use a towel to keep it dry. You can use a towel to dry seats and tables. We frogot a towel one visit, so we stuffed our pockets with some restaurant napkins, which really came in handy.
Wearing a baseball cap or hat with a brim can also protect eyes and glasses from raindrops. A rainy day is also a good day to skip eye makeup or switch to waterproof eyeliner and mascara. I've found braids and ponytails make hair easier to deal with in the rain.
In terms of clothing, we find that athleisure wear works well in rain. It dries quickly. Jeans ... not so much. Avoid pants that hit the ground or have a flare at the bottom or they may start absorbing all the puddles.
Other essential rain gear ideas, besides raincoats, include hats and water-resistant shoes or boots that have a firm grip (to prevent slips and falls) and are good for walking.
I tried out some all-weather Nikes during some winter storms, and they kept my flippers warm and dry all day. Lily never turns down a chance to wear her rain boots! You'll want to keep your feet dry, so don't froget to pack an extra pair of warm socks just in case.
2. Bring a Stroller Cover
Stroller covers are also hopful additions to ensure your backpacks and diaper bags stay dry, though ponchos also work wonderfully for this purpose. Ponchos can prevent your tadpole and your belongings from getting wet! In a sea full of clear Mickey ponchos, you'll be glad to have colored ponchos that stand out from the crowd.
Don't have a stroller cover? A large trash bag (or two) is a hopful item to have with you on a rainy day. You can place it over the seat or car seat when you park it. Later you can store wet items in it. Try to park your stroller under some kind of covering whenever possible if rain is in the forecast.
Now, let's talk about strollers in the rain. Of course, you want to keep your tadpoles dry and warm. But pushing a stroller in the rain while holding an umbrella over your own head and dodging other guests is nearly impossible. You'll want hands-free rain gear for yourself when you bring a stroller. Whether that is a poncho or raincoat is up to you.
3. Get a Locker
There are lockers in both parks, as well as in between the parks. You can rent a locker with in-and-out privileges for the day. Stash some warm, dry sweatshirts or jackets in the locker for later, and swap them out for damp clothes. If it stops raining, those thin ponchos can become surprisingly heavy and bulky once you stuff four of them in a backpack, so shake them out and stow them in a locker for a later time if the rain lets up. Jumbo lockers can sell out early, but you should have no problem acquiring a standard locker, which is large enough for a standard backpack and collapsible umbrella. A large locker holds two backpacks. If you will have your backpacks out in the rain, you might consider lining them with a trash bag to keep your contents dry (as we already mentioned).
4. What Time Is It? Showtime!
A covered show is a great way to get out of the rain. Catch a silly version of "Beauty and the Beast" or "Tangled" during Storytelling at the Royal Theatre in Fantasy Faire. That theater is under a covered roof. The Fantasyland Theatre, showing "Tale of the Lion King," is under a canopy. You can sometimes catch indoor live entertainment in The Golden Horseshoe, as well. The Enchanted Tiki Room provides a dry escape to enjoy a show. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is indoors.
When it rains, the characters go undercover (pre-pandemic) and you can find a variety of them inside the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln building throughout the day. (We caught sight of Donald Duck, the Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil and later, three princesses once we exited the show!)
At Disney California Adventure, Hollywood Land is the place to be during the rain. Mickey's PhilharMagic will get you indoors. Across the street, the Animation Building is filled with indoor activities, including Turtle Talk with Crush and Animation Academy. You can meet Anna and Elsa in that building too! If you have little ones, they can get their wiggles out at the Disney Junior Dance Party.
Plan your entertainment. If you know the hourly forecast for your visit, you can look ahead to determine your greatest possibility of catching each show listed in the Entertainment Guide. Some outdoor shows will get canceled in rain. Are the fireworks going to be canceled? Disneyland could cancel fireworks for rain, but heavy winds will definitely cancel the show. The fireworks are often canceled on dry nights due to heavy winds. But the good news is that projection and music shows can go on in any weather. You can usually get a good sense of whether or not fireworks will be canceled by talking to Disney cast members throughout the day.
Expect rain to modify or cancel parades. World of Color runs in the rain (it is all water, after all), so plan to catch World of Color either way! And if you do miss anything, at least you can check it out on our YouTube channel. Keep an eye (and ear) out for alternate options, as well.
Parades and cavalcades are likely to be canceled due to rain. It's not safe for dancers to perform on wet ground. During one rainy trip, we got to see “Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade” with some of the Main Street vehicles and characters. But this may be a significantly smaller show with just Mickey and pals in smaller town vehicles, depending on the day.
5. Check the Forecast
Check the hourly weather so you know what to expect throughout the day. If you expect rain later in the day, experience the attractions that might close due to rain before the storm hits.
Rides such as Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Autopia, Storybook Canal Boats, Gadget’s Go Coaster and Pirate’s Lair at Tom Sawyer Island are good choices to get in line for before it starts pouring rain. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, Goofy's Sky School, The Golden Zephyr and The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at California Adventure may also close in the rain. Other rides may close if the downpour is extreme or there is lightning in the area. On the other side of the coin, if you're already wet, you might as well get soaked! Enjoy the short waits for water attractions such as Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Grizzly River Run at California Adventure.
Toontown’s low entrance under the train tracks has been known to flood in very heavy rain, temporarily trapping guests there until the water can be drained, so it's wise to avoid this area during heavy downpours. If you are stuck, the new ride in the land — Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway — is an indoor attraction with an indoor queue, making it a great choice during the rainy season. The same applies to Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.
6. Hit the Shops or Hotels
Spend some time souvenir shopping if it’s raining buckets. Perhaps a souvenir Disney umbrella, hat or light jacket is in order.
You can also hop over to the lobby of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to warm up (or dry out) by the huge fireplace. That hotel has some indoor restaurants such as Storytellers Café, GCH Craftsman Grill and Hearthstone Lounge.
7. Dine Indoors
Luckily, there are several indoor dining locations available for guests at Disneyland Resort! You might want to make indoor restaurant reservations through the Disneyland app ahead of time though. Coffee shops and quick-service restaurants may fill up quickly in heavy rain, but you’ll have no stress if you plan some indoor meals. Splurge on the elegant Carthay Circle Restaurant, the romantic Blue Bayou or the fun Lamplight Lounge. Magic Key holders can dine in the covered Magic Key Terrace. Carnation Café contains some indoor seating, as does the River Belle Terrace and Café Orleans (though it's limited). Oga's Cantina is indoors. You can also hop over to one of the Downtown Disney options. We have more tips on dining here.
Some quick-service Disneyland dining locations with a roof include:
- The Plaza Inn
- Red Rose Taverne
- Bengal Barbecue
- Golden Horseshoe
- Pizza Port
- Docking Bay 7
- Galactic Grill has some covered areas.
Some quick-service restaurants that will keep you dry at Disney California Adventure include:
- Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café
- Flo’s V8
- Smokejumper’s Grill
8. Let it Go!
Perhaps our top Disneyland rainy day tip is to make the best of it. Tell yourself the rain never bothered you anyway! Channel your inner frog: splash in puddles, ride water rides over and over, buy hot cocoa and sing in the rain (or scream on roller coasters). Don’t worry about the froglets. Pack some extra dry clothes and let them jump in puddles to their heart’s delight. Rainy days at Disneyland offer a special kind of magic and will certainly make your trip more memorable. If the sun comes out, look for a rainbow!
Best Disneyland Rainy Day Rides and Attractions
If the rain is really pouring down, we like to find rides with the lines that are mostly indoors or at least under cover. Most Disneyland rides are indoors, but some have outdoor lines. The best Disneyland rainy day rides have indoor lines. Some rides, such as "it's a small world" have an outdoor line but are long indoor rides.
The best Disneyland rainy day rides and attractions:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion (some of the line is not covered, but the attraction is completely indoors)
- Splash Mountain (if you are already wet, why not?)
- Snow White's Enchanted Wish
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Minnie’s House
- Mickey’s House
- Space Mountain (all indoors if you use the Lightning Lane; some parts of the standby line may be outdoors)
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
- It’s a small world (this ride has an outdoor wait, but this slow mover keeps you inside for a long time)
- Visit Princesses at the Royal Hall
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (some parts of the line may not be covered)
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Main Street Cinema
- Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
- Storytelling at the Royal Theatre
- Fantasyland Theater
Best Disney California Adventure Rainy Day Rides and Attractions:
The best Disney California Adventure rain day rides and attractions:
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Monsters, Inc.
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Animation Academy
- Sorcerer’s Workshop
- Meet Anna, Elsa and Olaf
- Disney Junior — Live on Stage
- Toy Story Midway Mania (some outdoor line)
- The Little Mermaid
- Grizzly River Run (if you are already wet … if not, you will get soaked)
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!
Disneyland Rides that Close in the Rain
These rides close first in the slightest rain, but others may follow in more severe weather, especially if there is lightning:
- Alice in Wonderland
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
- Chip 'n' Dale's GADGETcoaster (as of March 19, 2023)
- The Mad Tea Party
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
Disney California Adventure Rides that Close in the Rain
These rides may not operate in the rain. Others will close in more extreme weather or if there's lightning:
- Golden Zephyr (Also frequently closes due to wind)
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Keep in mind that you may face more frequent ride breakdowns on a rainy day. Be flexible and roll with the punches the best you can.
Chances are, you will get to experience something fun you might have passed up in sunnier weather, so a rainy day can keep things fresh and exciting. Ironically, many of these attractions are also ones we turn to when we are trying to escape summer heat and sun because they offer air conditioning and shade.
Have you visited the parks during a downpour? Have any Disneyland rainy day tips to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Related: The Best Time to Visit Disneyland