What to Do When it Rains at Disneyland

Updated October 18, 2016

***This post’s info on attractions works well for hot days, too. For warmer days, be sure to take a long break in the afternoon when the temperatures are at their worst. Enjoy your hotel room or hotel pool for a while and then return when it’s a bit cooler outside. 

People instinctively panic at the thought of rain at Disneyland. The picture perfect visit they had in mind is diminished and the gray skies cloud their mood. Here’s the good news: Rain can be your biggest advantage during your visit.

Since Disneyland is so embedded into our life here in Southern California, a good amount of guests are typically locals. And, locals often stay home during the rain. So, take advantage of lower lines and less crowds.

Here are some tips on surviving the weather and making the most of the rainy days:

Gear to Bring

Ponchos – Amazon has several inexpensive options. The Dollar Store usually carries them, too. Be sure to have one for each guest on hand if you’re thinking it might rain. Ponchos in the park are much more expensive than outside of the park. If you arrive for your trip and didn’t pack any, check out my post on shopping near the parks. Target, The Dollar Tree and more are close by.

Umbrella – Bring a small folding umbrella (or a few, depending on the size of your group) that can slide into your park bag when not in use. Review other items you will need in your bag, too.

Storage for Phones/Cameras – Sturdy Ziploc bags work well for electronic storage if you don’t already have a case.

Water Resistant Shoes – Be sure your shoes will not work as sponges, leaving your feet soaked all day. If it’s warm, Crocs and Keens are great. Of course, rain boots work, too.

Small Towel – I recommend bringing a small hand towel – or a few – to dry off with. Grab them from your hotel.


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Disneyland Attractions to Escape the Rain

From this complete listing of Disneyland attractions, I’ve listed indoor options. Take a look at Disneyland’s interactive map for locations.

For most, the queues are outdoors, but the attractions are indoors.

Those in bold italics are places to escape for longer than a typical attraction time:



Enchanted Tiki Room

Indiana Jones Adventure


*New Orleans Square

Haunted Mansion

Pirates of the Caribbean


*Critter Country

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh



Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Toontown Houses



Alice in Wonderland

it’s a small world

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Peter Pan

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Snow White’s Scary Adventures

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough



Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Disneyland Monorail

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Star Wars Launch Bay 

Space Mountain

Star Tours


*Main Street

The Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments with Lincoln

Main Street Cinema



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California Adventure Attractions to Escape the Rain

From this complete list of California Adventure attractions, I’ve listed indoor options. Take a look at Disneyland’s interactive map for locations.

For most, the queues are outdoors, but the attractions are indoors.

Those in bold italics are places to escape for longer than the usual attraction time:


*a bug’s land

It’s Tough to Be a Bug! Theatre

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies


Grizzly Peak

Soarin’ Over California


*Hollywood Land

Animation Academy

Sorcerer’s Workshop

Turtle Talk with Crush

Character Close Up

Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!

Tower of Terror


*Pacific Pier

The Little Mermaid

Toy Story Mania


Each park has indoor or mostly indoor shows.

Check these out:

Mickey and the Magical Map – Disneyland (Fantasyland) – 23 minutes

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! – California Adventure (Hollywood Land) – 23 minutes


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Be prepared for attractions to close due to inclement weather. Some roller coasters and outdoor rides will be considered unsafe in rain or lightning. Once the storm passes, they should re-open. Ask a cast member for more details on any particular rides you’re interested in returning to if they’re temporarily closes. A cast member will always be present at the entrance if an attraction closed.

Outdoor shows like the Pixar Play Parade, Paint the Night, World of Color and fireworks could be cancelled due to rain or wind. Fireworks are usually the first to be cancelled, so prepare little ones for that. Wind alone could be enough to shut down fireworks.



Other Tips

*Consider making a reservation for dining to escape the rain. I highly recommend at least one – if not two – dining reservations to escape the crowd. Consider Cafe Orleans for lunch and Carnation Cafe for breakfast. Blue Bayou for dinner if your budget allows.

A character meal is a great option. This will give you at least an hour indoors and you won’t miss the Disney fun because the characters will keep you busy.

Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, but I encourage you to call last minute if you suspect rain for the day. It won’t hurt to see if a cancellation has been made. Review all of your character dining options and call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

Dining reservations can be made in both parks and in the three DLR Hotels, too. These will not include characters, but a dry place to sit and eat will be a welcome break if the rain continues all day. Check out these options:

*Disneyland has far more indoor attractions compared to California Adventure. If you’re park hopping, check out Disneyland when trying to stay dry.

*Shop Main Street to escape the rain. Most stores have pass throughs to get from one to the other, so you won’t have to walk outside to see more.

*Downtown Disney has many indoor options and is walking distance from each park. Shop, see a movie, dine and more.

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  1. We love rain at DL! Our first family trip was Jan 1998 and we still are talking about it. Off season meant all the locals left when the rain hit and we were nearly alone, walking onto things. My 4 year old and I must have gone on Buzz Lightyear 35 times that day. And now that the kids are older we hit the parks hoping for rain!

  2. We are headed out next week, the 12th. I’m really hoping all the rain forecasts go away when we get there! Thanks for all the tips. This is our first time.

  3. I had a blast at Disneyland and DCA when it unexpectedly rained. As Perry mentioned, it really can feel like you have the place almost to yourself. Be forewarned though–if you ride California Screamin even during light rain (I imagine they probably would have closed if it rained any harder), that “light rain” will feel like a thousand tiny needles stinging your face while you are on the ride! I came off that thing looking like I got slapped in the face! Still fun (-ish) though!

  4. We still talk about our rain soaked trip to Disneyland when our son turned 4 in 1995. The park was empty, what an amazing time! He still remembers being the only rider on Gadgets roller coaster in Tunetown. The ride would stop, the attendant asked if he wanted to go again and around he’d go. 8 trips later he’d had enough! Personally I think it’s a great time to go, almost like your own private theme park!

  5. Great tips! I’m wondering if the parades will be cancelled in rain. We are coming next week and the weather looks to be rain. Glad for CA but a bit bummed for our trip. The anniversary parades were the tipping point for us to do this trip. Fingers crossed the rains come at night!

      • I have to thank you for this great post. We did DCA yesterday in some crazy rain and wind. While it wasn’t the day I imagined, it was pretty awesome. We made the day about the shows and had a great time.
        I would add that the character meetings were pretty great too. The Buena Street visits were moved to the Carthay lobby (where there was almost no line) and the farmers market style store near the main entrance. We got some great one on one time with Mickey and Minnie without lines that was such a treat.
        Buzz, Woody and Jessie also showed up in the animation area.
        Such a great day and this post was a great help!

    • Same here…planning this trip for so long and bummed to see rain in the forecast for the whole time we’re there! But this article makes me more hopeful.