Sure enough, we spent our first day at Disneyland in the rain. But, being from Seattle (you know, the land of rain) we didn’t let that stop us from having a magical day!
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IT MIGHT NOT AFFECT CROWDS
We went on a weekend in October, and I assumed the rain would keep people away. But, I think a lot of people were there specifically to see the Halloween festivities.
So, if you are going at a time where people might be planning trips to Disneyland, don’t count on shorter lines.
But, if you are going at low season or during the week, you can probably take advantage!
Funny thing, it was actually less crowded on a sunny Sunday morning than on the rainy Saturday!
We usually start off doing Dumbo as our first ride at Disneyland. The line wasn’t too long, so we only waited about 10 minutes.
Since people were sitting on the ride, I figured they would stay somewhat dry.
As soon as I sat down, I realized the seat was wet. I hadn’t factored in the time in BETWEEN rides!
Insider tip: Bring a plastic bag or poncho to put on the seat first to avoid a wet tushy!
SOME RIDES WILL CLOSE
Something else I hadn’t factored in is that some rides would close because of the rain.
My son really wanted to do Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toon Town, but they had to close it and he was really sad.
Same thing happened with The Mad Tea Party. It was the first time I’ve seen the teacups empty at Disneyland!
Make sure to check the Disneyland App to see which rides are closed. Insider tip: It helps to let kids know that some of their favorite rides might be closed because of the rain, but they might open up later in the day.
YOU WON’T SEE CHARACTERS WALKING AROUND
Don’t expect to see princesses hanging out at the Disneyland entrance or Alice walking around in the rain.
It’s definitely a bit less magical when you don’t see lots of characters doing photo ops outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do character meet & greets.
We saw Snow White sneaking inside at Town Square and we did a fun photo op with her!
And we saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy doing meet & greets outside under the awnings on Town Square buildings.
THE FIREWORKS MIGHT BE CANCELED
You’ll definitely want to check to see if the fireworks are canceled because of the weather. You’ll be able to do this on the Disneyland App or ask a cast member.
There’s no need to stake out a spot and wait in the rain only to find out later that they are canceled.
BUT, YOU’RE STILL AT DISNEYLAND AND IT WILL BE AWESOME!
While I was a little bummed that it was raining (only because it was our friends’ first trip!) we had a BLAST!
Just about everything we wanted to do was open and the lines weren’t very long.
In fact, Main Street was pretty deserted and we were able to do photos with most of the characters with just a 5-10 minute wait!
CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO
I know this may seem obvious, but keep an eye on the weather for the days leading up to your trip and check before you head into the Parks.
This gives you an opportunity to pack rain gear so you are prepared!
I like to bring foldable rain jackets, rain ponchos, and a mini umbrella in our day bag. And you might bring a foldable water resistant blanket like this for sitting on the wet ground for the parades.
Bringing a baby? Find out what I always have in my diaper bag at Disneyland.
BRING EXTRA CLOTHES
Chances are, you will sit on a wet bench or ride and you’ll have wet pants. Or worse, your kids will have wet clothes and they will complain over and over again about it!
So, throw in extra pants and shirts so you have an option!
I didn’t want to pack my tall rain boots, so I ended up wearing lace up shoes. Well, my shoes got wet and then my SOCKS got wet, so I had wet toes most of the day.
I’m really glad that I packed rain boots for the boys because they had dry feet and loved splashing in all the puddles!
In hindsight, I wish I would have brought some short rain boots like these just to keep my feet dry. Or at least some extra socks!
BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR HAIR
I had hoped to rock days-old straightened hair with dry shampoo one more day, but alas, my hair immediately frizzed up in the misty rain!
So, I embraced it and put on my Minnie Ears like it was no big deal!
And it didn’t stop me from wearing my new Minnie Mouse dress!
There is one security line at Disneyland just for people with no bags. A bag counts as anything with a zipper (yes, even a wallet.)
So, if you are traveling with kids, send one parent through the line with the bags while the other goes through the “no bag” line with the kids. Then, they can wait under covered areas to stay drier.
We also split up so I could go rent the stroller to minimize our wait in the rain.
This was the number one thing I regretted not having at Disneyland. We don’t use one at home because the kids are either in the stroller or I park in a covered spot.
But, at Disneyland, you’ll be parking your stroller in the elements while you go on rides or eat, so it’s just sitting there getting wet.
My kids didn’t want to sit down in a wet stroller and I really don’t blame them.
So, you can either use a rain poncho or get a stroller cover to keep your stroller nice and dry.
HEAD TO MICKEY’S HOUSE
While I suggest you do this whether or not it’s raining, it’s actually an awesome place to wait out the rain.
When we were there, the line was 60 minutes long. But, the kids were able to play inside his house, which was a great distraction!
And then, Goofy and Pluto came through for an impromptu meet & greet! That was a huge surprise!
And when we finally got into the real waiting area, there were clips of Mickey Mouse movies playing. It was a great way to hang out while avoiding the rain at Disneyland!
Plus, by the time we met Mickey Mouse, we were all dry!
DO THE SHOWS
Another great way to enjoy Disneyland in the rain is to take advantage of all the Disney shows!
There are several shows at the Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre in Fantasyland, which is covered area where you can watch short, live action performances like Tangled and Beauty & the Beast.
Another good option is Mickey and the Magical Map. It’s in a much larger covered amphitheater and features lots of recognizable characters.
You can also grab a seat at Main Street Cinema or Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln to relax a bit before braving the rain again.
We were able to get seats for Frozen–Live at the Hyperion show in Disney California Adventure and it was incredible! And by the time we got out, the rain was gone!
And the Disney Junior Dance Party is awesome if you are with toddlers and preschoolers!
VISIT THE PRINCESSES
The line to go Meet the Princesses at the Royal Hall is also in a covered area. So, at least you’ll stay dry even if the line is a bit long.
Plus, once you get inside, you’ll get to meet three princesses! That’s totally worth the wait!
If you’re in Disney California Adventure, definitely stop at the Animation Academy.
This is where you can learn how to draw notable Disney characters while sitting indoors in a lecture hall.
The lobby plays clips from Disney films, so it’s also a great spot for kids to lay down or snuggle to warm up.
And hit up Turtle Talk with Crush (also located in the same building) if you have kids with you. It’s a laid-back, interactive experience where you can sit down and let your kids talk to the screen!
And not all rides are outdoors! Head to the rides that are indoors.
We hit up “it’s a small world” because it’s our favorite ride and we were able to dry off a bit while enjoying the view! The outdoor line was short and moved quickly.
We also did the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Most of the line was under cover and then we were inside the submarine!
And at Disney California Adventure, we waited inside for the Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride. Another great way to beat the rain!
Additional Options at Disneyland Include:
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Indiana Jones Adventure
Pirates of the Caribbean
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Star Wars Launch Bay
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Enchanted Tiki Room
GET THE MAXPASS
To limit your time standing in the rain, pay $10 to get the MaxPass. That way, you can manage all your FastPasses on your phone instead of running around the Parks.
Plus, you can avoid some of those long lines that aren’t covered! Let’s spend more time ON rides than waiting for them!
ENJOY A SIT DOWN MEAL
Usually, I’m a big fan of grabbing food to go to make the most of Disneyland trips.
But, we decided to sit down at the Rose Red Tavern to enjoy lunch. It was pretty packed and it took awhile to find a table, but it was nice to feel warm and dry while eating!
Had I thought about it earlier, I would have reserved a table at the Plaza Inn for Breakfast with Minnie. It’s an easy way to see a ton of characters without getting wet!
Insider tip: You can use the Disneyland App to make last minute dining reservations, too!
And this is usually my answer to everything, but shopping is another great way to spend a rainy day at Disneyland!
Whether you are popping in just for a few minutes at one of the cute little shops (like the Mad Hatter or the one at “it’s a small world”) or heading to one of the bigger ones in Tomorrowland or Main Street, it’s a fun way to stay in the Disney spirit while keeping dry!
HAVE A RAINY DAY PLAN
There’s nothing worse that getting your hopes and dreams dashed. Adjust your expectations.
We decided that instead of focusing on rides and parades, we’d spend the day meeting as many characters as we could (and we met a LOT) and enjoying the shows!
And my husband had the Disneyland App up and if a ride had a super short wait time (10 minutes or less) we’d beeline over! Each time we did this, it felt like a total bonus!
The kids had the best time ever and we got to experience parts of Disneyland we hadn’t done before!
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