As I sit through yet another rainy night here in Southern California, I thought I would ask for the group’s collective judgment on what is the best theme park to visit on a rainy day.
Criteria would be minimal disruption to top attractions, plenty of stores and restaurants under cover, and everything close enough that you don’t have to spend a lot of time getting drenched while walking from one location to another.
My choice? I didn’t expect this, but Universal Studios Hollywood. No big outdoor coasters. Heck, even most of the Starway is under cover. I’d love to hear others’ choices, though.Tweet
Honestly, this is one area where Magic Kingdom might have Disneyland beat. As much as I enjoy Disneyland in the rain, the park doesn't have a lot of cover over many of the outdoor queuing or dining areas, and it does have a greater percentage of outdoor attractions than its Florida counterpart (though a vast majority of them remain operational in wet weather). Magic Kingdom does have the downside of size making for longer walks between attractions, but with the daily downpours of Florida, the park is designed to handle wet weather with minimal interruption to operation. In fact, three of the four WDW parks are excellent parks to visit even on a rainy day (Animal Kingdom is best saved for a different day).
I would agree that Universal Studios Hollywood is probably the best of SoCal's parks for wet weather, though it may make the Studio Tour miserable if there's wind and does make Super Nintendo World more slippery than if it were loaded with bananas. However, there's very little uncovered queuing space in much of the park, and aside from Jurassic World and Flight of the Hippogriff, all attractions are shielded from the rain.
Outside of Disney and Universal properties, I honestly can't think of a good park to visit if it is raining. Most coasters and larger outdoor attractions will either close or operate with only one train during wet weather, and most queue coverings are designed primarily for sun protection so you're likely to get wet. If it's just showers that are forecast or you're looking at nothing worse than a light drizzle, it's still worth visiting and just taking shelter for a bit should the need arise. If the forecast calls for steady, heavy rain, best to reschedule as the park will either be closed or open with only a handful of smaller rides available.
I believe Disney Springs, although not a park, is great to go when it is raining.
Grab a poncho and walk around with small crowds.
I’m gonna have to agree with AJ on this one. And as a native Floridian, I always have a lightweight poncho along for the ride.
As an even more narrower scope of preference, I would say that my favorite attraction to ride while it’s raining is Hollywood Studios original iteration of the Tower of Terror. If you ever happen to catch yourself on it while it’s raining AND dark outside, then it is absolutely pure magic.
Special side award for Living with the Land at Epcot during a rainstorm, if only for the outdoor but covered greenhouse biome portion.
"I believe Disney Springs, although not a park..."
Oh boy. TH coming in hot in 3... 2... 1...
Having just visited Disneyland on a rainy day, I can say it's not that fun with little cover for places (It's a Small World queue/loading area right in the open) and an umbrella needed. Magic Kingdom at WDW is better there.
For me, it's always been Epcot. Sure, a bit of a walk between places but everything indoors is an obvious help and some classic attractions long enough to kill time but even now, plenty to do to wait out the heavier stuff.
Ditto on Epcot. Its biggest advantage the park has over others is that only one ride shuts down when lightning strikes. The same could be said for Hollywood Studios, but the rides are more spaced apart whereas the pavilions at the front of the park are a short distance between each other and support multiple attractions/exhibits.
BTW Robert, I don’t think the new discussion forum censor is up to code yet. I accidentally made an initial typo on the word “shuts”…
Gotta be Disneyland for me. While rain cover is absolutely lacking given the number of outdoor queues, it combines (usually) low wait times with a park that's easy to navigate. Which is to say, it's small and that makes it easy to sprint from one attraction to the other, many of which are inside. There's also something charming about going to an old(ish) theme park when it's wet outside.