Sadly, there’s no truth to the old joke that Disney Parks can control the weather. You can bet it’s going to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter (at least sometimes) and occasionally, it’s going to rain. While you can add layers when it’s cold and slather on sunscreen and carry a mister in the summer, rain is a thorny proposition any time of the year. The good news is that rainy days tend to drive the crowds out of the parks. This is more the case in Disneyland, where real rainstorms tend to last a while, as opposed to Disney World, where quick storms are a daily ritual during the summer.

Disneyland photos courtesy of a kind reader. Thank you.

Still, while rain can put a (you knew it was coming) damper on your park visit, you can make it more manageable with a couple of tips. Here’s how:

1.  Visit a park that’s better for rainy days. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid Disney California Adventure or Animal Kingdom when it’s pouring out, because these parks have a ton of outdoor attractions, Instead, choose a park like the Magic Kingdom, where the majority of attractions are located inside.

I can assure you, it was not raining men that day in Epcot.

2. Bring a good raincoat that’s easy to pack and store. I loathe the cheaply made ponchos they sell in the parks that cost $10–a hefty sum considering they’re little more than brightly-colored garbage bags. Instead, buy a good-quality poncho or jacket you’ll use for years. Stores like REI have reasonably priced options that pack into little squares, small enough to throw in the bottom of your park bag and forget about until you need it.

3. If you’re bringing a stroller to the parks, invest in a rain cover. Don’t forget to cover the seat when you’re not using it, even if the forecast only calls for rain but there’s not a drop in sight. Nothing sadder than a soggy baby.

Okay, these rained-on pierogies might be sadder than a soggy baby.

4.  Keep in mind that all boat transportation will cease if there’s even a hint of lightning, so you’ll have to find alternate transportation if you’re fleeing the parks.

Looks festive–and rainy.

5.  Finally, have a rainy day backup plan for days when it’s basically raining sideways, driving even the most intrepid park-goers inside. Resort hop, relax in your room, or see a movie at Downtown Disney.  DisneyQuest is a fun rainy-day activity, but if you’re not into games, you might try Splittsville. Even if bowling isn’t your cup of tea, the fun atmosphere and food will surely help you pass the time until you can get back into the parks.

So how do you deal with rainy days in the parks? Do you wait it out?  Stay inside? Or do you go to the parks in full commando mode without giving it a second thought?

  • Joshnyah

    Wow, great photos! Great article. Nothing better than a nice rainy day.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    “Keep in mind that all boat transportation will cease if there’s even a hint of lightning, so you’ll have to find alternate transportation if you’re fleeing the parks.”

    Most theme parks have a policy if there is lightning within a 5 mile radius, all outdoor attractions temporarily close for safety reasons. 🙂

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Carry extra socks. When the rain stops, your shirt and shorts will dry, but socks won’t. Having a dry pair or two to change into can mean not having to trek all the way back to your hotel to change.

  • We pack waterproof shoes (from Timberland) for all of our trips to Florida. If it looks like rain, we wear the waterproof shoes and they really work to keep our feet dry.

    I LOVE the parks in the rain. It’s fun to have the park to yourself and the reflection of lights on the wet pavement is simply magical.

    Bring on the rain!

  • judearmstrong

    Don’t wear Chucks!

  • pinkertonfloyd

    If you really want a cheap/light poncho, Walmart has them in a little plastic envelope for 97 cents. They’re basically the same as the Disney ones, but no logos… they’re handy to keep in your glovebox in case of a flat to boot. Weight is small (we’re talking grams), and they’re so cheap and light you can put them in a back pocket and forget about them.

    Also good if you are chicken on the water rides… at 97 cents, you can toss them at the end of the day.

    You can find them with camping gear.

  • danyoung

    Usually in Florida the rain only lasts 20 to 30 minutes or so. If you can find a covered spot and wait it out, you can then emerge to a sparkly park with almost no one in them! I have many fond memories of standing in a store doorway or under an attraction canopy, watching all the silly people running for the exit and their hotels. And I just wait things out, and then go back to park touring with incredibly short queues!!!

  • etoilemini

    My husband and I love nothing more than visiting Disneyland on a rainy day. We always bring our daypack with a built in “pack cover” (or built-in poncho) and try to wear waterproof clothing from head to toe. I work at REI and I find that packing for a rainy day in the parks is very similar to packing for a hike in the rain. Check out pack covers (to make any backpack waterproof) here:

    and rain clothing here:

    Another good rain option is wearing a slicker (similar to the Gorton’s Fisherman) which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Although, I can tell you from personal experience, the seams are not as sturdy as you might think…

    Good luck! 🙂

  • JennaGarms

    When all else fails, just keep riding Pirates, you don’t even have to go outside to renter the line! We also hide out in the Tikki room.