A Day at Disney in the Rainby Jenna Kahl, contributing writer
My family and I just returned from a great Thanksgiving holiday at the Disneyland Resort, but, even with all of my careful planning, packing, and preparing, our final day at the resort was plagued with rain and cold. Being an Arizona girl, I can deal with hot weather, and we have mastered ways to escape the heat at the Resort hopping from one cool venue to the next, but give us rain and cold and we really felt like tourists. With that in mind, and with the upcoming winter months, I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I recently learned firsthand and perhaps you and your family can prepare a little better than I did for a Disney day in the rain.
Like most Disneyland Resort trips, for my family, the proof is in the packing. From the right clothes and snacks to an emergency kit with bandages and lip balm, preparing for the rain can truly make or break a trip. Don’t underestimate the power of an extra pair of socks, one for everyone in the family, and save yourself the pain of soggy socks after the showers have subsided. While you are thinking socks, throw a small plastic bag into your park bag to keep the wet socks, and protect the other items they may encounter.
In the past, I have made the recommendation to pack a vinyl tablecloth as a convenient item for parade sitting, but as I learned this past trip they also make amazing stroller covers. I recommend purchasing a thicker vinyl tablecloth with a felt backing, from your local big box. While my husband and I were soaked, our two princesses were dry and warm.
I did come prepared with rain ponchos though, bought outside the Resort, as a more economical solution, and did feel quite pleased with myself when I was able to wrestle them from our diaper bag as we waited in line to visit Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
As many people are probably aware, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can clear our pretty fast in the event of an unexpected rainstorm. However, if you think you are the only one with the idea of waiting at Starbucks until the weather clears, you would be woefully wrong. We made the beginner mistake of trying to find an indoor table at the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café. When we were unsuccessful there, we walked, defeated, in the rain toward Cars Land until we stumbled upon our oasis. While non-traditional in nature, we were able to find shelter, bathroom access, and a short walk to adult beverages as we waited out the storm in the vestibule near the bathrooms at Mendocino Terrace. My husband would also like me to add the presence of a working electrical outlet, as well, which is a rarity to say the least.
With so many open-air attractions at DCA, most everything closed up in reaction to the weather, but my daughter was pleasantly surprised to learn that you can ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in the rain with little to no wait in line (not to my surprise!). After a few rounds on Mater’s faithful tractors, we headed over to Disneyland Park in the hopes that, with more indoor attractions, we may have more luck in the ride department.
At this point, the rain had slowed to an annoying and cold drizzle, but we were able to walk onto Pirates of the Caribbean only to be faced with another of my mistakes upon exiting the ride and stepping into Pieces of Eight: Pounding rain and a stroller parked down the hill up against the rails at the Rivers of America. The silver lining is that this was a learning moment for me: always park your stroller near the attraction exit and save yourself the mad dash in the rain.
After we called it quits and headed back to the Mickey and Friends parking structure in our soggy socks, we did encounter an unfortunate side effect of the latest Disneyland Resort construction project. While we love the flexibility of being able to walk to the parking structure, as opposed to waiting in line for the trams, the “detour” from the walking path to the elevators, for those of us who cannot take the stairs, is really more annoying than the wait for the tram itself. The path takes you past the entire tram loading area, through the Chip and Dale level and around to almost where you started. Just a warning to be prepared that the time-saving walk, even in the rain, is not so time saving as they work on rerouting the trams.
While my recommendations for a rainy day at the Disneyland Resort are not life-changing, they can mean the difference between warm, dry feet and a few more hours of Disney fun for everyone in the family.