Let's share tips for visiting Disney in the rain and cold

November 29, 2018, 1:22 PM · How bad does the weather have to get before you will bail on a theme park visit?

It's pouring rain in Southern California today, which seems to be the only thing that will keep people away from Disneyland anymore. Meanwhile in Orlando, Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay is closed due to (relatively) cold weather. Seasonal theme parks complain all the time about inclement weather keeping crowds away, but today illustrates that the year-round parks are not immune from weather challenges, either.

So how bad does it have to get for you not to go? And how do you deal with the weather if you do? Part of the problem here in Southern California is that the parks aren't really built for inclement weather. Rain doesn't bother visitors at Walt Disney World because the parks are built to deal with the frequent thunderstorms in Central Florida. When I returned to Southern California after working at Walt Disney World for years, and getting used to it, I was surprised to notice all the uncovered, open-air queues, waiting areas, and restaurants at Disneyland.

But cold? That'll send visitors away in both coasts, too — especially ones from up north or back east who just assumed that the weather in Florida or California would be warm, so they didn't pack any cool weather clothes. I once wrote about how guests crammed into Epcot's Land pavilion on the day it snowed at Walt Disney World. And it's always amusing to me to see tourists from Big Ten country walking around Pasadena in shorts in late December, when everyone who lives here is finally breaking out their sweaters.

Disney parks outside the United States are better built for the cold, because they deal with it more often. Disneyland Paris has those indoor passageways on the side of its Main Street, and Tokyo Disneyland's Splash Mountain doesn't splash much at all in Japan's winters.

Of course, extreme heat can keep fans away, too, as we saw last summer at Disneyland, where the temperature hit 113F. There's no safe way to deal with that kind of heat except to get out of it, which means either finding things to do indoor at the park or finding some other place to go where you can stay out of the heat.

But for this time of year, it's the rain and cooler temperatures that stand in the way of enjoying a day at the parks for some fans. While the Orlando parks are better equipped for inclement weather, here is our advice for visiting the Disneyland Resort in the rain:

The upside to bad weather often is smaller crowds, so for fans who would like to trade enduring bad weather for enjoying shorter lines, please share in the comments how you deal with bad weather in the parks.

Replies (7)

November 29, 2018 at 1:41 PM

i agree with everything you said except for one thing. I love my umbrella. i cant let it go especially since I use it scarcely.

November 30, 2018 at 12:28 PM

One of my best theme park memories is being at Opryland in Nashville on a rainy day. My family and I got to go round and round on several of the rides without even having to exit the ride. We all had a blast so my attitude has always been to embrace it and enjoy.

November 30, 2018 at 2:17 PM

I loved a time back in early 1992 of Disney World in January. Funny bit on the Jungle Cruise, everyone bundled up in 40 degree weather and the guide going "welcome to the hot...steamy...sweaty...humid jungle." Very light in crowds so we enjoyed it and just worked out well.

Another time in March of 1993 when a huge storm was hitting East Coast so again cold but still worked out. Sometimes, it's funny how poor weather can actually help a bit with your visit.

November 30, 2018 at 6:42 PM

On rainy days I wear rain pants, rain jacket with hood, and water proof hiking shoes. I hate when the parks close rides on rainy days (a recent visit to Cedar Point resulted in twice being denied Valravn after boarding due to rain). And once I flew down to Knott’s Berry Farm and they never opened the park at all due weather.
I’ve had amazing days at Michigan’s Adventure, Six Flags Discovey Kingdom, and Six Flags America in torrential downpours. Everything was operating, no one was there, and I stayed dry in my rain suit (although rain in your face on a Coaster is is like needles being jammed into you...).
But 110 degree heat at Magic Mountain almost killed me..

December 1, 2018 at 8:05 AM

As I am a teacher I have to go in August. My friend didn't bring a raincoat and had to buy a poncho from the park. There were actually staff at the entrance before the ticket booth selling them so she was not the only one! It aas a great morning though as the park was mostly empty.

December 3, 2018 at 4:07 PM

The ideas are excellent. I would suggest that the reservation is very difficult unless you have booked the reservation long before you knew it was going to rain.

December 3, 2018 at 5:18 PM

Perhaps one of the best times I've ever had at Disneyland was last year in the freezing rain. After delaying our start time on the hope the rain would stop, we purchased ponchos, bundled up and just went for it.

There were ZERO crowds, and spent the whole day riding everything we wanted like we owned the place. Best of all, the rain finally abated at about 4pm, long after most people had decided not to attend that day, so the last five hours the park remained empty but was dry.

Sure, at times the kids got cold, but if you keep giving them Disneyland's amazing hot chocolate (which is entirely unhealthy, but magically delicious), and if everyone keeps their spirits up (and at Disneyland, how can you not), you can have an equally good time as you would on a sunny day.

Bottom line: Disneyland always rules, it's just up to you to protect yourself from the elements and keep on having a good time!

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