A day at Disneyland is usually fun in the sun thanks to Southern California’s reputation for year-round sunshine — unless you happen to show up at the theme park on one of the two dozen days when it rains each year on average in Anaheim.
A series of storms headed for Southern California are expected to bring showers to the region over the next two weeks, making for a wet holiday season as Christmas and New Year’s Eve approach.
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While Disneyland remains open during the rain, some parks such as Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain can close for the day because of the inclement weather this week.
But with a little bit of planning and preparation, a rainy day at Disneyland can be nearly as fun as a sun-filled day at the park.
And the one big upside about braving a storm to visit Disneyland? Fewer people mean shorter lines for rides.
Here’s our 12 tips for staying dry and having fun at Disneyland when it’s raining:
The most obvious option on a rainy day is one of Disneyland’s many indoor shows. The Enchanted Tiki Room and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln are always good rainy-day bets. Catching the piano player in the Golden Horseshoe can be a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting for a storm to move along.
The Fantasyland Theatre remains closed at the moment, but the big covered venue is expected to return to service with the Celebrate Gospel event in February and “Tales of the Lion King” after that.
Parades can be altered or canceled because of rain. Winds are often the culprit when Disneyland cancels its nighttime fireworks spectacular, but rain can also be responsible.
Check with a Disney employee or at City Hall on Main Street USA about scheduling changes for outdoor shows during bad weather.
Fortunately, many of Disneyland’s most popular attractions are indoors, including most of the classic dark rides in Fantasyland.
Hitting attractions with longer ride times will mean more time indoors and less time out in the rain. Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World and Star Tours are all good bets on a rainy day.
Some Disneyland attractions temporarily close during rain or lightning, including Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Gadget’s Go Coaster and Tom Sawyer Island.
Try to hit outdoor attractions before it starts raining or during breaks in the weather. Nobody wants to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant in the rain.
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A rainy day is not a good time to check out the Tropical Hideaway eatery in Adventureland, which features outdoor seating on the banks of the Jungle Cruise. Skip the food cart lines for churros and popcorn, too.
You’ll want to hop into Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square or Carnation Cafe on Main Street USA for a nice meal out of the elements.
Disneyland’s restaurant reservation system means seats are often booked well in advance for the park’s most popular eateries. But rainy days can lead to last-minute cancellations by passholders who decide not to brave the elements. Act fast when rain threatens and you can snap up a spot at an indoor restaurant using the Disneyland app.
If you’ve got the time, head over to the Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian hotel for California cuisine and wine. Or grab a bite at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen or have a beer at the Ballast Point brewpub in Downtown Disney.
Downpours often push visitors into Disneyland shops where they can engage in some retail therapy for their case of the rainy day blues.
The storefronts on Main Street USA are all connected so you can stroll from one shop to another without having to step outside into the elements. World of Disney in the adjacent Downtown Disney shopping mall offers another indoor respite when it’s wet and blustery outside.
It goes without saying you’ll want to wear water-resistant shoes and a hooded rain coat to Disneyland under threatening skies. But you’d be surprised how many people forget to bring an umbrella to the park on rainy days.
Disneyland will gladly sell you a plastic poncho and a mini-umbrella for a premium price. Ask a shop attendant for assistance if you don’t see rain gear on display.
Dollar stores sell cheap umbrellas and ponchos that will save you money if you remember to plan ahead.
And maybe the most important rainy day tip of all: Pack an extra pair of socks.
Throw a few Ziploc bags in your backpack to keep your wet clothes away from dry clothes.
Moms will tell you Ziploc bags are always handy at Disneyland for storing leftover food to snack on later in the day.
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Bring a small hand towel from your hotel or a chamois swimming pool towel that can be wrung out.
You’ll be surprised how often you might need a towel to dry off throughout the day.
You’ll want to make a beeline to the rental lockers in Disneyland if the skies are threatening rain — they’ll sell out fast once the first raindrops start falling.
Lockers with in-and-out privileges are the perfect spot to stash dry clothes that can be swapped out for wet clothes later in the day. They’re also a great place to stow ponchos, umbrellas and jackets if your luck changes and the rain stops.
Full body dryers are one of the greatest inventions in theme park history. Normally designed for drying off after a water ride, the giant dryers can fit up to five wet people for $5.
You’ll have to have a parkhopper ticket to use the Wilderness Warming Huts next to Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure.
If you get soaked and insist on staying in the park, then you might as well embrace it.
Get in line for Splash Mountain or hop on the Jungle Cruise. Sit in the front seat on Matterhorn Bobsleds or Pirates of the Caribbean.
Go play in the puddles and splash in the rain. You can always get a dry new wardrobe in the Disneyland shops for a price.
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