The beauty of southern California is the weather (or lack thereof!). But every so often, Disneyland experiences its share of downpours, and anxious guests wonder if they should bag their trip or stick it out. My advice is to brave the bad weather if you can. The majority of rides in Disneyland are indoors, and there are plenty of places to dry off, buy rain gear, or store your things safely. And more often than not, the sun breaks out in the afternoon. On my last rainy day visit, forecasters warned that Anaheim would experience a monsoon…but the rain was only heavy for about 30 minutes, and the rest of the day alternated between mist and clouds.
So if you’re planning on taking a gamble on a rainy day at the park, here’s everything you need to know to make the most out of your day!
WHAT TO WEAR – Disneyland can be very chilly in the rain, especially when it’s windy. Wear layers and waterproof shoes or boots if you can. If the sun does come out later in the day, you can store your extra layers and umbrella in the lockers on Main Street USA or Buena Vista Street. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a waterproof bag, to keep your valuables safe and dry. A lot of guests buy ponchos in the park, which go over your bags and fit loosely. Even in a torrential downpour I’ve never felt the need to buy one, but they can be fun souvenirs if you feel so inclined! You can find ponchos and umbrellas all over the park (especially on Main Street USA and Buena Vista Street). And finally, bring an extra pair of socks! That sounds like a strange tip, but I promise you will be so thankful you have them by the end of the day.
WHAT WILL BE CLOSED – Eastern Fantasyland shuts down during the rain. All of the rides in this area (Storybook Land Canal Boats, the Matterhorn, Alice in Wonderland, and the Mad Tea Party) are outdoor rides or feature outdoor portions, and the walkways are incredibly slippery when wet. Depending on how hard it is raining, you may find other closures throughout the park, including: Tarzan’s Treehouse, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, Gadget Go Coaster, Big Thunder Ranch, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. In California Adventure, the following rides generally close in the rain: Golden Zephyr, Flik’s Flyers, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Goofy’s Sky School, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, and Radiator Springs Racers.
With the exception of shows, you will be hard pressed to find any characters in the park on rainy days. Ask a cast member to find out if there will be any meet and greets, but on rainy days the characters tend to hibernate.
WHAT TO EXPECT – Lines will be short to nonexistent. I’ve walked onto Space Mountain and Indiana Jones over and over during the rain! With such short wait times, you will get through the park incredibly fast, so if the rain doesn’t let up you can always call it quits early.
That being said, meal times get trickier in the rain. A ton of the park’s restaurant seating is outside, so waits for restaurants with indoor tables can get lengthy. Make reservations ahead of time where possible, or try to eat at off times.
And finally, this may seem obvious, but you have to accept that you’re going to get wet. It can be fun; on my last rainy day visit, we went on Splash Mountain and embraced getting drenched! Worst case, you can duck into the shops on Main Street USA or Buena Vista Street and wait out the storm…the hard rain never lasts very long. If you can have a sense of humor about the crazy weather and how silly you look in your ponchos or rain gear, you will have a fantastic and magical day in the park.
BONUS TIP – Take tons of photos, especially when the rain lightens up. The park is absolutely beautiful in the rain, and the grey skies make for great lighting. And an added bonus: there will be hardly any people in the background of your pictures!