El Nino has arrived in Southern California, and that means it’s going to be a rainy winter! But don’t let a little bad weather ruin your plans. Both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim have some great spots to hide out when the weather gets rough, and you’ll have so much fun you may not even remember that it’s raining outside.
Have you ever heard the song “It Never Rains in Southern California”? Well guess what – it’s a lie. It rains a lot this time of year. And if you’re Disney-bound, it’s best to have a game plan in mind so you won’t be caught off guard when the sky opens up.
Personally, I don’t mind visiting the parks when it rains. Cool, wet weather keeps the crowds at bay! Here are 10 places at the Disneyland Resort where you can go to weather the storm.
Star Wars Launch Bay
One of Disneyland’s newest attractions! Housed in the building formerly known as Innoventions, Star Wars Launch Bay is a haven for Star Wars fans. Check out immersive displays and movie props, play games, screen exclusive videos, and meet Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and many other Star Wars heroes and villains all in the comfort of an indoor facility.
Enchanted Tiki Room
Opened in 1963, the Enchanted Tiki Room has the distinction of being Disney’s first animatronic attraction. Tropical birds, tiki gods and colorful flowers come to life in a “swinging 15-minute South Seas musical celebration.”
While you are waiting for the show to begin treat yourself to a Pineapple Dole Whip at the Tiki Juice Bar. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you should miss out on this iconic tropical treat!
Head over to California Adventure for a unique opportunity to draw your very own Disney character! Located in the park’s Hollywood Land area, this is a great place to take cover from the rain. It’s huge inside, and there is a lot to do, including Turtle Talk with Crush, Sorcerer’s Workshop, or just watching how animated features are made in the Animation Courtyard.
One of the Animation Building’s biggest attractions is Animation Academy, which gives you step-by-step instruction on how to illustrate some of your favorite Disney characters under the guidance of a Disney artist. Learn some basic tricks and techniques of animation, and when it’s all over you can take home your work as a souvenir!
There are plenty of rides at both Disneyland and California Adventure that offer a haven from the rain. Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc., Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters, Space Mountain (currently featuring the Hyperspace Mountain overlay), Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, and many of the Fantasyland rides are all set indoors and have covered line areas too.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
This one is an oldie but a goody! Located in the spacious Opera House theater right on Main Street, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is both entertaining and educational, as Abraham Lincoln comes to life through the latest Audio-Animatronics technology. A great place to escape the rain!
The Disneyland Story Exhibit
As the waiting area outside the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln theater, most people won’t even venture inside unless they’re planning to see the show. That’s a mistake. The Disneyland Story exhibit is a fascinating attraction in itself, especially for hardcore Disney fans like yours truly!
Step out of the rain into the Opera House and check out a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia showcasing the development of Disneyland Park from when Walt Disney originally came up with the idea, through the decades and into plans currently in the works for the near future. Artifacts on display include a scale model of Disneyland Park as it looked on opening day, a scale model of Splash Mountain, a display of Disneyland ticket books (can you say “E-Ticket?”) and rare, behind-the-scenes photos of Walt Disney.
While you’re there, be sure to catch a screening of the short film, Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years, hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck. Originally produced as part of the park’s 50th Anniversary in 2005, the movie is a nostalgic and humorous celebration of Disneyland Park through the years.
Catch a Show
Most of the theater experiences in Disneyland and California Adventure are indoors. Note show times for Disney Junior Live on Stage, Turtle talk with Crush, Mickey and the Magical Map and Frozen Sing Along Celebration.
If ever you needed an excuse to shop, can you do any better than rainy weather? There are numerous shops throughout the Disney Resort, and guess what – they are all indoors and out of the rain!
Slip Into the Grand Californian Hotel
Head over to the Grand Californian, located adjacent to Disney’s California Adventure. There, you can relax in front of the massive fireplace in the hotel lobby. This is a perfect place to stay dry and regroup in an elegant setting.
Grab a Bite
When all else fails, plenty of restaurants throughout the Disneyland Resort have indoor seating where you can enjoy a leisurely meal while waiting out the rain. In California Adventure, Flo’s V8 Cafe has a good sized dining room overlooking Cars Land’s scenic Ornament Valley. Taste Pilot’s Grill, located next to Soarin’ Over California, also has plenty of indoor seating. At Disneyland, try the French Market Restaurant, Golden Horseshoe, or Plaza Inn. More upscale and Character restaurants often require a reservation, but if the parks aren’t too crowded, you may want to try Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian, Disney’s PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel, Ariel’s Grotto at Disney’s California Adventure, Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, or any of the restaurants in Downtown Disney.
However you decide to spend your day, don’t let a little rain ruin your family’s fun! With a little planning, your day at the parks can shine even when the sun isn’t out.
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