Some of my favourite times at Disneyland are when it rains! Not only am I already partial to the rain anyway, but you can get a lot of things done at the parks when other guests are trying to find shelter and stay dry. With just a little advance planning, you can stay dry as well and take advantage of a comparatively empty park while the rain lasts! Here's what to do.
Before Entering the Parks
- BRING RAIN GEAR - I always bring some sort of rain gear, whether an umbrella or a water-proof jacket, when I pack for our trips. About 90% of the time I never need them, but I'm always glad I have them when that other 10% rolls around. Don't settle for the ponchos they sell in the park. They're bulky, make getting to your pockets and bags impossible, and ultimately you're wasting money on something you're going to throw away afterwards.
- TAKE A LOOK OUTSIDE - It seems pretty basic, but take a look outside in the morning before you leave. I know, I know, every morning is overcast in Anaheim! But if you keep an eye on the forecast you'll be able to spot the difference between the average overcast skies and storms starting to billow. If everything is threatening rain, bring a jacket or umbrella in your bag before you leave the hotel.
Inside the Parks
- GET YOUR GEAR ON - If it starts raining once you're in the parks, simply pull out your rain gear and you'll be dry in just a couple of minutes. You won't need to follow the crowds rushing into stores to buy ponchos!
- HIT FANTASYLAND - Fantasyland is generally the busiest land in all Disneyland, so if you're there once it rains then head straight over. Many guests will leave lines to get ponchos once it starts raining, others will just try to get somewhere dry, and others will exit the parks altogether or decide not to come until later. All of that means there will be shorter lines and Fantasyland, with the most rides per capita, will be easy to get under your belt! Besides, most of the rides are covered anyway so you won't need all your rain gear out for long.
- TRY OTHER IDEAL SPOTS - If you don't mind getting a little wet, then go on Grizzly River Run or Splash Mountain - since nobody else will! Paradise Pier will generally be clear of crowds, as will Frontierland or Mickey's Toontown.
- AVOID CROWDED AREAS - Places with a lot of indoor options will still be crowded during rainstorms. Avoid Tomorrowland and New Orleans Square for the most part, as well as Hollywood Land or Main Street, USA. It's also not the best idea to climb on transportation rides since they become popular options (e.g. Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland Monorail, Red Car Trolley). I would only head to these places if it's been raining for more than half an hour and more people have been exiting the park than entering.
- BE AWARE OF CLOSURES - Some attractions will close if the storm is accompanied by lightning or is particularly wet, especially roller coasters. Keep an eye out for CMs at the entrances of rides and feel free to ask them what may or may not be closed.
- DON'T GET SOAKED! - With all this in mind, don't get yourself soaked to the bone. There are some places that are great to dry off and seek shelter and won't have a lot of crowds. Try the Main Street Cinema, the Mark Twain Riverboat, Star Wars Launch Bay, the Disney Animation Pavilion, "It's Tough to Be a Bug", or a shaded table in Paradise Gardens (by Goofy's Sky School).
- FAIL-SAFE - If all else fails or you've exhausted every other effort, it's not a sign of weakness to retire to your hotel until the weather clears up. The good news is that it typically doesn't rain for an entire day in southern California so you should be able to wait it out.
These simple suggestions can keep you having fun during wet, rainy days at Disneyland and help you avoid the dreaded tourist trap of ponchos (did you shudder? I did.). What do you usually do in the parks when it starts raining?