Going to California? Planning a trip to Disneyland and it’s scheduled to rain that day?! Not all hope is gone; have no fear, Janine is here with 15 tips (+pictures) on how to not let bad weather rain on your parade (literally! LOL see what I did there?). Being a California native, I’ve been to Disneyland numerous times since I was just a little girl. One of my favorite times to go to Disneyland is during the holiday season. I booked my ticket only to find out that it was going to rain! I was so sad, I tried searching countless websites to find solutions to make the most of my trip and to tell me the pros and cons, but I couldn’t find one source to give me janine-uine information all in one place. So to make your life easier, here’s my version on how to make your experience great at the 2nd happiest place on earth (the first is on my blog of course ;D). Scroll down for essential tips and must know facts!
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- Get there early! The earlier you get to the park, the shorter the lines and less crowded! Plus more parking spaces.
- If you can spare $15+, get preferred parking. I swear this was the best investment I made. At the end of the day when it’s cold, you’re tired, AND it’s raining, all you want to do is get in your car as soon as possible and crank up that heater. This makes it a whole lot easier.
- Bring a waterproof rain poncho and/or foldable umbrella!! If in the event it starts pouring (which it can), you’re going to be so grateful that you brought one. Having soaked clothes is no fun. Bringing one from home or making your own is a good idea to avoid high priced ponchos. Also, if you don’t want to lug around an umbrella, keep it in your car or rent a locker for just $7!
- Wear comfortable waterproof shoes / slippers (you can use a small towel to dry later) OR bring extra shoes. I made a mistake; I wore these cute, but uncomfortable ‘waterproof’ boots and my feet suffered. It was hot since there’s a lot of walking, and since my boots were a faux leather my poor feet couldn’t breathe. I was miserable. Luckily, Disneyland sells shoes (located in Adventure Land right across Indiana Jones)!! I bought myself a pair of Toms that were way more comfortable and allowed my feet to breathe with ease. Admittedly, it needs more padding for that much walking. However, it’s a good alternative! Disney also sells slippers! You can also bring extra clothes or socks and easily pack it in your bag or leave it in the car! The best shoe I’d say are comfortable walking shoes. Trust me, if your feet suffer it will be the worst place on earth.
- Brace yourself for the possibility of the cancellation of the fireworks. This was the hardest for me to accept. I checked the weather for days hoping it would change. The weather forecasts were semi-wrong, it was sunny and dry enough for a good portion of the day when they predicted heavy rain. It wasn’t till around 8pm till it started sprinkling followed by heavy rain and winds. With both cases, the fireworks will definitely be cancelled. I was so sad, since that is by far my favorite part, but there are some pros…(read on to see them!)
- If it starts sprinkling, leave early or face extremely cold winds and rain. I started noticing people leaving early and figured it wouldn’t hurt to stay another hour, at least it’s not crowded. Boy was I wrong. It. Sucked. The rain plus the cold temperatures made it almost unbearable to be there. I wish I left a little earlier.
- Get fast passes! With the rain, lines are definitely shorter, but you can easily save 40 minutes by getting fast passes! I got a fast pass on one side of the park and went to another land to come back to a 5 minute line! It was so great not having to waste hours just waiting.
- Try and get on rides that are outdoors first (in the event it rains since they might close). Rides like Splash Mountain, Gadgets Go Coaster, Mad Tea Party, Astro Orbiter, etc can close if it starts raining too hard. If you want to ride these be sure to go to them first!
- Schedule eating plans ahead of time, or make reservations! I actually didn’t have to make a reservation as many other articles advised, so I don’t think it’s completely necessary. If you want to go to Goofy’s Kitchen or some other fancy restaurant, it might be best to call ahead.
- Bring a decent sized bag to put all your stuff in! I used my mini Jansport backpack, which worked really well but if it was slightly bigger it would have been more convenient. I needed that extra space for the ponchos and umbrella. Plus extra room for unfinished snacks or a nice drink.
- Parades may be rescheduled to an earlier time. One of my favorite parts about Disneyland is their wonderful parades! I love seeing all the characters and floats! Unfortunately with bad weather, parades might be shown at an earlier time. My suggestion is to try to leave your afternoon (1pm to 3pm) open so that you can easily find a good spot to watch. They usually make their announcements last minute (an hour before) so keep your ears open! Also, if the floor is wet you can easily use your poncho or a plastic bag to sit on to avoid funky butt stains. ^_^
- If you have $30 to spare, then DON’T bring a portable battery! I was so happy to find out that hidden in the locker rooms on Main Street, is this beautiful machine called Fuel Rod! You can buy this portable battery set (complete with the micro usb cord, a lightning cord, and the wider set apple cord). It’s super light weight, and the BEST part is that once yours dies, you can swap it for a freshly charged one for free!! I think that’s such a great deal, especially if you’re playing Pokemon Go and your battery is gone in less than an hour haha.
- Fast passes changed! I haven’t been to Disneyland since about 2-3 years ago. Before you’d just get as many fast passes as you can then come back during those times. Now, they limit you to 1 fast pass per the hour which you get it. So for example, it’s 8am and I get a fast pass for Space Mountain at 11am. I won’t be able to get a fast pass for another ride until 11am. It forces you to plan accordingly, so be aware.
- Selfie sticks are banned. I should have known, but I brought it anyway and now it is gone. It’s a smart safety precaution, so I understand.
- Disneyland has photographers! Ask them to take your picture for free with your phone AND their pro camera! You can see high quality shots later on in the photo counters in Main Street. Some of them turn out well, and it’s only $12 to buy the online version which you can buy later at home.
- You can store your stuff in lockers for just $7! This was useful for me to store all the extra rain stuff and my painful shoes from hell in. It’s also useful to store souvenirs and bulky jackets that are annoying to carry around.
- If you’re vegan or vegetarian, Galactic Grill in Tomorrow Land has a vegan patty! It was pretty good. Just get it without the mayo (it has bacon in it)
- Don’t lose your ticket!! This is absolutely essential for fast passes!
Hope these tips are helpful for your trip! Let me know in the comments if these helped or if you have your own! Lastly I wanted to add some general fun facts to know below. Hope your Disney trip goes great!
- The restaurant Blue Bayou located in New Orleans Square may have extra availability during rainy days! Just go up to the counter and ask. I’ve always admired the scenery in the Pirates of Carribean ride and wished to eat here. Spots do fill up, so if you get lucky take the chance! I wish I did!
- The Jungle Cruise is transformed to the Jingle Cruise – they go all out with Christmas decorations thrown everywhere on all the electronic creatures. It was impressive and fun to see! Plus the wait line was only 5 minutes so why not. 😛
- Disneyland provides maps in several langauges! I thought it was so cool to see the map in different languages like korean, german, chinese, etc.
- The buttered popcorn is vegan! That was cool to find out if you’re also conscious about not eating meat or animal products. 🙂
- Perfume is sold in New Orleans Square!
- Toms shoes are sold in Adventure Land across from Indiana Jones (mentioning it again because it was my lifesaver)
- Hyperspace Mountain is a different experience – I thought it was cool, but I missed the original Space Mountain with the cool lights that blast you off to the roller coaster’s track
- The Matterhorn now has individual seats! That was cool to discover. Wish that was there before!
- Sleeping Beauty’s castle is transformed for the holidays, and when it gets dark enough there is a small segment which shows the top of the castle’s Christmas lights! They’re so pretty!
- There is a lighting of the main Christmas tree in Main Street that is also beautiful to watch!
- The Haunted Mansion is transformed to match the Nightmare before Christmas, and the dining room there smells like gingerbread cookies
- less & shorter lines on rides & in restaurants
- less crowded park, annual pass holders avoid rainy days too
- earlier parades
- easier to park
- cold weather and wet floors (can be slippery! Yes I did slip, beware the bridge to Adventure Land!)
- parade can be cancelled
- the fireworks can be cancelled
- outdoor rides can be closed
Overall verdict – if you’re just going mainly for the rides, go when it’s cloudy / rainy for shorter lines, however if you really want to see the fireworks and have a warm sunny day, try rescheduling!