What to Do When it Rains at Disneyland

Updated March 6, 2020

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.

How to Design Your Day

As with any other day at Disneyland, it’s important to arrive early and focus on attractions first. Do this on a rainy day, too, so that you get as much done early in case the rain entices you to leave later on.

Visit this post for how to start your day at both parks.

Where to Find Characters

On rainy days, characters move inside for the most part. Ask a cast member for specifics for your rainy day if you cannot find them.

Most often, characters can be found in the following locations on rainy days:


  • Opera House in Town Square (at the front of the park)
  • Star Wars Launch Bay (Tomorrowland)
  • Toontown (inside characters’ houses)

California Adventure

  • Kingswell Camera Shop on Buena Vista Street
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant at the end of Buena Vista Street

Essentially, consider where you would find characters normally. And then look to an adjacent building. They’re often inside.

For more on characters visit this post.

Gear to Bring

PonchosKidsnToddler.com sells cute, well made ponchos – better than what you’ll find in the park – for less money. Use promo code DAILY at checkout to save an extra 10% off all orders of $15 or more. Domestic shipping and returns are free on their site! Here is a link to their ponchos.

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. 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.

Ziploc Bags – These are good for any visit to the parks, but they’re especially helpful on rainy days. Use them to store wet clothes. They also allow you to carry away leftovers easily for everyone to share at a later time.

***If you get stuck in the rain without gear, ponchos are for sale at the resort for $10 (adult) and $9 (child). They also sell basic umbrellas for $15. Find all of these items for sale at souvenir shops in both parks and Downtown Disney. If umbrellas are not out in plain sight for purchase, ask a cast member at the checkout counter.

Disneyland Attractions to Escape the Rain

Save the image, above, for reference. A quick screen shot on your phone is an easy way to find this info later when you need it.

For most listed, 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 (will eventually close if rain pools at the bottom of the attraction)

it’s a small world

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


California Adventure Attractions to Escape the Rain

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

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

Grizzly Peak

Soarin’ Around the World

*Hollywood Land

Animation Academy

Sorcerer’s Workshop

Turtle Talk with Crush

Character Close Up

Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission – BREAKOUT! (This one is not listed in my graphic above because the line isn’t totally covered, but you could check this one out, too.)

*Pixar 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

(times vary; check the Disneyland app for your day’s entertainment schedule)

Fantasy Faire Theater presents Beauty and the Beast and Tangled – Disneyland (Fantasyland) – 25 minutes

(times vary; Beauty and the Beast typically runs for the first few shows and Tangled is in the afternoon; check the app for times)

Disney Junior Dance Party – California Adventure (Hollywood Land) – 23 minutes

(times vary; check the Disneyland app for your day’s entertainment schedule)

4732658268_3e97c38fd3photo credit


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 closed. A cast member will always be present at the entrance if an attraction closed.

Outdoor shows, parades and fireworks could be cancelled due to rain or wind. Fireworks are usually the first to be cancelled, so prepare for that. Wind alone could be enough to shut down fireworks. Parades are most often altered instead of cancelled all together.

Check the free Disneyland app to see what attractions might close temporarily throughout the day due to rain. Download the app here if you don’t have it already.



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. Use the free Disneyland app to make last minute reservations. You can search by meal time and through all sorts of other filters to see exactly what is available at the time you want to dine. If you know rain is coming, check out what is an hour away time wise. It’s so nice to have somewhere to settle in for a bit.

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.

*Coffee shops will fill up first at rainfall. Head to a restaurant if possible to find a place to sit down.

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

Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation


  1. We are planning to go to Disneyland and DCA this Friday and the forecast calls for rain. Would you still recommend th Maxpass on a rainy day? Just worried that most of the Maxpass rides will be closed due to weather??

  2. Your advice is always valuable and that was really appreciated after our rainy days in the parks last week and Sunday, especially the thrashing we took on Thursday morning. But thanks to the prep we did, based off this page, most of the rain was a benefit, we did certain rides in obscenely record times and stayed as dry as possible. The one thing we did that wasn’t on here was an experiment that I actually would recommend. If you dont own rain footwear, a viable alternative is waterproof rain covers for shoes. The ones we got (our daughter wore her boots) were boot like in ankle height and easily got over our shoes and protected our feet as well as any boots might. The best part is, the prices were under $15 a pair and they easily are reusable for future. Thank you for making what could have been a miserable day in the parks into a win!

  3. My family of 5 is heading there this week, 90% chance of rain multple days. I am really, really bummed :(. This post really adjusted my view. Looking forward to making the best of it.

    Thank you so much for this post!

  4. We are heading there next week and rain is predicted all three days. We have planned this trip for a year and travelled from Australia. Castle closed and now rain. This article has made me feel a bit better but please tell me all the characters are still there for meet and greets even in rain,

    • Hi, Kristie.

      Disney works hard to accommodate every weather day and refurbishment. Check with cast members on where to locate characters if you cannot find them during a rainy day. The Opera House often has them at Disneyland. Cast members on site will share more info, too. Have the best time!

  5. We’re going 1/19 and it’s up to an 80% chance of rain. .5″ inches predicted. This article is great. Just hoping there won’t be much people there

  6. We are going Jan 9-12 too. Hoping that the park will be empty on the 9th as it’s 100% chance of rain. It’s a fair trade off I guess. I don’t mind the rain, just hate a soaked stroller:/

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.