Beating the heat at Disneyland

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The weather at Disneyland is often pretty mild. Sunny days and perfectly cool nights are standard many days of the year, but sometimes it can get hot. Really hot. I’ve been to Disneyland often on hot days and have lots of tips to share with you. Don’t be intimidated about visiting during the hotter months. With a little preparation and planning, you’ll have a great vacation. Beating the heat at Disneyland is possible!

I’ve got an episode on my podcast all about Beating the heat at the Disney parks. Check it out!

What to pack

Having a well packed park bag can make or break your Disney day, especially when it’s hot! Here’s a few things you’ll want to make sure you’ve included. Find a full list of what I bring to the parks here.

Cooler backpack or bag

Bring something with you that will help keep your water and snacks cool. We have a cooler back pack that we love. You can take backpacks with you on all the rides at Disneyland! You can find some of my favorite options here. We like to freeze water bottles to act as ice packs for our backpack. They slowly melt throughout the day so we always have cold water. Plus, they keep everything else nice and cool. Coolers make beating the heat at Disneyland possible!


Sunscreen is important, even on overcast days. Don’t skip it! Some of my family members(including myself) have very fair skin and it’s been tricky to find a sunscreen that really gets the job done. We find it’s best for us to start with a rub in style sunscreen and then use a spray sunscreen for touch ups. I searched long and hard to find a sunscreen to really protect my kids faces and I finally found one! You can find it here.

Hair ties

A hair tie is a life saver on hot days and for wild rides. I keep one on my wrist at all times and a few back ups in my park bag.

Body Glide

One word. Chaffing. Don’t let it happen to you! The chances of this happening to you or someone in your group on a hot, sweaty day are fairly high. Body glide has saved our trip many a time and we always have it with us.


I hate squinting. I don’t go anywhere without sunglasses. You can bet I’ll have them at Disney! I love a these sunglasses!


It’s my mission to keep the sun off of me. A hat helps tremendously! If I don’t have my Mickey ears on, I’ve got my hat. Make sure you have hats for your little kids too.

Water bottle

Stay hydrated! Keep a water bottle in your backpack to refill at drinking fountains and water bottle refill stations. You can also ask for cups of water at any of the quick service restaurants and use them to refill your water bottle. We often just us disposable ones and refill them throughout the day, but these Disney water bottles are great!


An umbrella is useful for rain, but it’s also useful for sun! Chances are, you’re going to encounter one(or both) of them on your vacation. I love to pull out my umbrella to keep the sun off of us in long, hot lines. I love these umbrellas because they’re tiny and don’t take up much space.

Cooling towels

If you’re visiting Disney during the hot months you will need these! They are a game changer. I get mine wet before we get to the park and keep them in a ziplock bag. Then, they are ready to go when you need them. You can re-wet them in the bathrooms during your visit. When you come home you can throw them in the washing machine and then reuse them on your next trip. I was skeptical, but they were life savers! You can sometimes find them in the parks, but they’re pricey. It’s probably better to buy them before hand. You can find them here.

Neck Fan

This is another family favorite! The hot months at Disney can be brutal. These neck fans make them more bearable. I like them because they are hands free, light weight and you can recharge them using a usb. Make sure you pull back long hair before you use them!

Park strategy for hot days

If you’re planning on beating the heat at Disneyland, you need a plan. Don’t just waltz in there at 11 am thinking you’re going to have a great day. You’ll wind up in a long line for Peter Pan at 3pm with the sun beating down on you and you’ll be miserable! Here’s a few tips to help make your day run smoothly.

Arrive early

Seriously, hear me out. This is important. I recommend arriving at the security check point at least 60 minutes before park opening. If you’re parking, arrive even earlier. This one thing will be key in beating the heat at Disneyland. Crowds are much lower in the mornings and it’s much cooler. You’ll be able to get on lots of rides while everyone else is still waking up and getting breakfast! This means, but they time it really starts to get hot you’ll have a good portion of your top rides completed!

Take a break

Late afternoon in the heat can be tough. Plan to take a break at this point to recharge. You can head back to your hotel to nap or swim. You don’t have to leave the park to take a break though! See an indoor show, browse the shop, have a late lunch or early table service dinner(make reservations ahead of time!), do some shopping, ride the Disneyland railroad or take a break in the lobby of the Grand Californian. Plan some type of break into your day so you can rest a bit away from the heat. A small break really makes a difference!

Avoid Fantasyland

Stay away from Fantasyland when it’s hot. Save it for mornings or evenings when it’s cooler. The lines here are longest during the afternoon and most of them have minimal shade.

Grab a cold treat

Nothing like a cold treat on a hot day! A sweet treat can go along way to help you beat the heat at Disneyland. My favorites at Disneyland are the Dole whip float from the tiki room, a mickey shaped ice cream bar or a big scoop of ice cream from Gibson girl ice cream parlor. Over in California Adventure I love anything from Ghiradelli Soda Shop, a soft serve cone from the Cozy Cone in Car’s Land or “it’s lemon!” from Adorable Snowman treats.

Dining when it’s hot

No one likes to eat in the blazing sun. Let’s avoid that at all costs. I think you need to enjoy your meal in the shade or better yet, the air conditioning. Here are my top choices for shady or air conditioned quick service dining.


Hungry bear- Lots of shade/cover and tons of tables! I love a place with tons of seating.

Rancho Del Zocalo- Lots of shade/cover and tons of seating

Golden Horse- Inside dining with lots of seating downstairs and even more upstairs. Bonus if you time it to catch a show during your meal!

Pizza Port- Inside dining with lots of seating.

Red Rose Tavern- Inside dining with tons of seating. Out door shaded tables

Plaza Inn- Inside dining and outside(shaded) seating availible.

California Adventure

Paradise Gardens- Tons and tons of shaded seating- often live music

Flos V8 Cafe- Indoor seating and outdoor shaded seating

Smoke Jumpers Grill- Indoor seating and outdoor shaded seating

Top rides for hot days

If you’re visiting Disneyland you’re going to have to wait in a long line at some point. This can be tough when it’s hot. I’ve made up a list of the very best attractions to visit on hot days. If you’re going to wait in a long line it might as well be shaded or indoors, right?



Star Wars Launch Bay- Inside with air conditioning. Lots to see and explore

Space Mountain- Line is mostly indoors or shaded.

Star Tours- Line is mostly indoors or shaded

Toon Town

Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin- Line is completly indoors and airconditioned

Toon Town Houses- Lots to explore inside


Avoid during the hottest parts of the day, if possible.

Critter Country

Splash Mountain- Water ride. You will get wet!

New Orleans Square

Haunted Mansion- Long, indoor ride. Line is mostly shaded.

Pirates of the Caribbean- Long, indoor boat ride. Line is mostly shaded or indoors.


Indiana Jones- Line is mostly shaded or indoors

Enchanted Tiki Room- Long show indoors.

Main Street U.S.A.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln- Long show indoors

Main Street Cinema- Old Mickey Cartoons, indoors

Shops on Main Street- Indoors

Disneyland Railroad- Long ride, shaded

California Adventure

Hollywood Land

Animation Academy- Lots to do and explore in large, air conditioned building

Monster’s Inc, Mike and Sulley to the rescue!- Indoor ride with mostly shaded line.

Pixar Pier

The Little Mermaid- Indoor ride with mostly covered line.

Grizzly Peak

Soarin’- Indoor ride with line mostly shaded or indoors.

Grizzly River Rapids- Water ride. You will get wet!


Shows are a great way to beat the heat at Disneyland! They offer you a chance to get out of the sun and recharge a bit.


Mickey and the Magical Map- My favorite show at Disneyland! It’s 23 minutes long and completly shaded with plenty of seating. Check your app for showtimes.

Fantasy Faire Theater- Show rotates between Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. 25 minutes long and completly shaded. Seating is limited. Check your app for showtimes.

California Adventure

Frozen- Live at the Hyperion- 60 minute indoor show. Check your app for show times.

Disney Junior Dance Party- 23 minute indoor show that little ones will love! Check your app for show times.

See, beating the heat at Disneyland is totally doable! You can do it and I know you’ll have a great time! If you need more help planning, you can find my complete guide to planning for Disney here. Let me know if you have any questions!