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?