Highlights Along the Way
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Things to do on a HOT day at Disneyland!

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A heat wave is forecast for your Disneyland vacation? No need to panic! There are lots of ways to beat the heat at Disneyland. We went to Disneyland when the temperatures hit 100 degrees.  Extra hot weather can make for a difficult day at Disneyland, but we found some great ways to beat the heat.Here is what you need to know to have an excellent trip at Disneyland on an extra hot day.

hot day at disneyland tips and advice

This post has been brought to you by our affiliate partner “Get Away Today”.  Get Away Today offers discounted Disney vacations while partnering directly with Disney.  Check out their current promotions and remember you can always double dip discounts by using the code HIGHLIGHTS for an additional $10 off your package when you book your vacation.


Anaheim Weather

Anaheim California generally have fairly mild weather.  While most days of the year are very comfortable, the Summer and early Fall can have very hot heat waves.  Anaheim can be a very dry heat that can sometimes get as high as 100 degrees. While weather in the 90s and above is not at all the norm, there will be days in the summer that are uncomfortably hot.

disneyland back pack

Prepare for a Heat Wave at Disney!

Listen, anything you need to be more comfortable at Disneyland; Disneyland will sell it to you.  It will be adorably themed, but it will be expensive.  Here are a couple things I suggest you purchase before you go to Disneyland.

Disney Hat with Brim – The hats below are far less expensive than hats at the Disneyland Resort.  There are dozens more listed, these are just our favorites!

Spray Fan – Can you buy a Spray Fan at Disneyland? Of course. But you could buy this one for HALF the price and spend the savings on Dole Whips.

SunscreenOne time I bought sunscreen at Disneyland and I was not happy about it.  The sunscreen was necessary and it worked fine, but it was just so pricey. I will never forget it again!  These wipes make it easy for little ones to reapply their own sunscreen.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important.  Disney will give you a cup of ice water at any restaurant or counter service window for free. Having a stainless steel water bottle that you have filled up with ice the night before is the best way to be prepared. Fill that bottle up when you stop for lunch.


Disneyland is really missing the mark at keeping their guest comfortable on extremely hot days.  With concrete paths everywhere the sun just seems to bounce up and feel even hotter in so many areas.  We noticed many places without any trees or cover of any kind.  I believe Disney could make a great difference by adding cover to outdoor line rides.  We also did not notice water misters anywhere in ride lines or walkways at Disneyland. With rising temperatures, rising prices, and big crowds, Disney needs to do better and combating the heat.  Disneyland guests sometimes pay as much as $200 per ticket and high prices on everything else, my hope is that we will soon seem some improvements to make the park more enjoyable even on high heat advisory days. 

My Wish List for Disneyland on HOT days!

I am not sure Disney cares much about what I think, but I do think that guests would love each and every one of these improvement ideas.  I believe these improvements would keep people in the park longer (more money!).  Most of these improvements would do double duty on rainy days as well.  I am well aware that Disney might think that shade panels would obstruct their beautiful views; while they might not work in every location, there are many spots where they would not destroy the magical view, but would keep Disney guests a little less scorched.

  •  Larger and more shade trees throughout the park.
  • Seating in the shade throughout the park
  • Disneyland needs a splash pad for little ones!
  • Solar panels to cover parking in Mickey and Friends as well as Downtown Disney Parking
  • Shade covers in line rides that generally spill out into the outdoors.
  • Mister fans for especially hot days.
  • More self service water stations throughout the park
  • More indoor seating for counter service restaurants.
  • More coverage for outdoor seating at restaurants.
  • Covered areas for stroller parking in at least a few more areas in the park.
  • Hire more employees and pay them better! The staff shortage is very apparent and this made hot days even more miserable. Disney has raised prices significantly in every area and their cast members seem understaffed and overworked. Disney has had record profits for years with big raises for the highest employees.  I hope that Disney will someday pay their employees a higher than average for the area wage to START.  Employees that can pay their rent with ease are typically better employees. After they pay those that are there more, I hope they will add more cast members.  This past trip we saw more than one trash can piled up in a way I have never seen.  We saw tables that were not cleaned.  We saw cast members that clearly needed breaks.  We saw unmanned cash registers with long lines inside and out.  I love the Disney brand, as so many do, but if guests are being charged luxury prices, they really should stop cutting corners that tarnish the brand. *Steps off soap box*


Until my dream list is fulfilled, guests can enjoy the following things to make the best of a hot Disneyland day.  Obviously start with Discounted Disneyland Tickets.  Make sure to use the code HIGHLIGHTS for an additional $10 off an already discounted price of your Disneyland vacation.  This discount code applies to other Southern California theme parks and Walt Disney World as well.  Get Away Today works directly with Disneyland and it is the only discount Disneyland ticket agency we work with because it is the one we use ourselves.  We endorse them from personal experience.  Honestly, their affiliate payout is not as high as other Discount Disney options out there, but it is the one we use because they have had the best prices in our experience.  We hope you are able to book a deal with them and we thank you for purchasing through our link. You will get the best deal they offer, another discount with the code HIGHLIGHTS, and we get a small commission from the sale.  Get Away Today is (by Disney standards) a small business, you can feel good about getting a discounted trip, supporting our site, and supporting a small business, all with a seamless experience at hotels, travel, and of course Disney theme park tickets.

Air Conditioned Things to Do at Disneyland

Disneyland offers many indoor air conditioned restaurants, shops, and rides. 

Air Conditioned Disney Attractions

Great Moments with Mr Lincoln – My kid’s favorite subject in school is history.  They especially love American history and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is something we rarely leave the park without watching.  While our kid’s enthusiasm might be a little high for a history movie and animatronics show, it really is worth visiting if you haven’t in a while (or ever).  Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a large indoor theater that can hold a big crowd, but rarely does.  Make sure to get there early to check out the memorabilia, photos, and artwork in the lobby. The picture of Walt Disney as a child playing Abe Lincoln is one of my favorite gems in the whole park!

Enchanted Tiki Room – The Tiki Room show is one of our family’s favorites.  The only problem is you wait for the show outdoors, mostly uncovered.  Because the crowds are small rainy days you might be able to just run in and take your seat without waiting at all.

Main Street Cinema – watch the animated shorts that started it all!  Steamboat Willie and other Mickey Mouse classics!  Several movies play on several different screens at the same time.  Once again, completely covered and it is rarely crowded.  We typically duck into Main Street Cinema with an ice cream or a cool drink from Starbucks on Main Street and laugh at some timeless classics.

The Golden Horseshoe – Located in Frontierland, The Golden Horseshoe offers a fun show and food options in an air conditioned saloon.

Air Conditioned Rides at Disneyland

Rise of the Resistance – Get thee to Galaxy’s Edge as early as possible! This ride is incredible!

Space Mountain – Space Mountain is a classic.  It is one of the most popular rides in the park.  Should you need to wait in a line, nearly the entire line is covered. Want to see how HyperSpace Mountain is different? Check out our video of HyperSpace here!

Star Tours – Star Tours has also had a make over to include The Force Awakens scenes and characters.  Star Tours is an exciting ride and if the line is not too long it is mostly indoors and air conditioned.

Fantasyland – while many of the rides do have some of the line outside, on rainy days crowds are so light that many of the ‘dark rides’ have entirely indoor lines.  The following Fantasyland rides are completely indoors – Snow White’s Scary Journey, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and more!  The carousel is also completely covered from the sun.

Haunted Mansion – while much of the line is outdoors and uncovered this is a perfect ride for a hot day day ride!  Again, crowds are typically light enough that your line is minimal if anything at all.  Haunted Mansion is an aumnimover meaning it moves continuously.  This means it is a very high capacity ride and it also is quite a long ride.  If you can handle a little rated G spookiness, the Haunted Mansion is a great place to spend on a hot day.  The ride is also quite a long ride which will keep you air conditioned for quite some time.

Indiana Jones – My son would ride this ride all day long if it was up to him.  Much of the line is indoors and the entire ride is inside and perfectly air conditioned.

Small World – If you go to Disneyland and you don’t go to Small World, did you even go to Disneyland? It is a magical ride for every age.  The only issue with Small World is that there is very little cover in the line.  Because it is a high capacity ride, the line typically moves very fast.

Water Rides to Cool off at Disneyland!

Splash Mountain!  This ride is due for a make over, but it is a great ride that is air conditioned and features several splashy drops.  Many of your party will be dripping wet after riding.  On cooler days one may want to wear a poncho, but it feels refreshing on a hot day!

Pirates of the Caribbean –  Pirates is another high capacity ride.  The line moves very quickly.  Pirates is a long ride inside air conditioning with several splashy drops as well. 

More ways to stay Cool at Disneyland

Be there at Rope Drop! Enter the park early and ‘fast walk’ to your favorite ride.  Our kids live for ‘Rise of the Resistance’ which will even have a short line for those who speed walk at rope drop. It seems like everyone goes in the direction of Rise.  Those who go to literally any other spot in the park can typically get 5 rides in before the first hour is up.  Plan accordingly!

Here is our POV video of a walk in real time to Rise of the Resistance at Rope Drop…


I hate to say it, but on high crowd days, maybe purchase Genie+.  I hate that it is so pricey, but it will cut down on line time.

Take advantage of Mobile Order for food.  This saves so much time and is really a breeze to use. Mobile order does not cost any more than if you were to wait in the queue. 

Eat at an off time.  Grab lunch at 10:45 instead of 11 – 1 like most guests. You will get better seats and be in and out faster.  Mobile orders take less time to prepare during an off time.  Grab dinner either early, before 5pm or grab a snack and do a late dinner after 8pm. 

Treat yourself to a special dining experience such as Blue Bayou or a Character dining option.  While this is much more expensive, it is kind of a ‘bucket list’ special treat at Disneyland.  This will be a longer dining experience and the air conditioning leaves you refreshed for when you go back out into the park.

With global warming clearly here, Disneyland is sure to have more hot days.  Disneyland can be such an expensive trip so it is important to make the best of any day you go.  If you do have flexibility within your trip to Southern California, I would personally check the weather and pick the coolest day if you did schedule during an expected heat wave.  While there is lots to do that is indoors, it is still a little rough to be at Disneyland on an extra hot day.

Until Next Time ~ Kate

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