It is officially the first day of summer, and here in So Cal that means a couple of things: school is out so the tourist destinations are packed, Disneyland is in its busiest season of the year, and it is hot–we are seriously in the middle of a brutal heat wave and it is no bueno. While I have many fond memories of summer trips to Disneyland (most importantly, my annual birthday trips), summer at the park can be very unfun if you are not prepared for the heat (and the crowds). Here are some of my tips to beat the heat when it comes to summer in the park:
Water Rides: This is probably a bit of a duh tip, but the water rides, namely Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Grizzly River Rapids at California Adventure, are a great way to cool off for a few minutes. The main thing to keep in mind with these rides is that the lines will be long, and you will want to get a Fast Pass. If you can’t get a Fast Pass, the rides probably aren’t worth the 90 minutes or so you will spend standing in line, so beeline for the FP distribution for these guys as soon as you get to the park.
Be Prepared: During the summer months it is even more important than usual to be prepared at the parks. Plan on bringing lots of water bottles, you will need to stay hydrated and water at the park isn’t cheap. It’s a good idea to freeze a couple overnight so they stay cold (wrap them in foil before you throw them in your bag to keep in the coolness and prevent condensation from getting everywhere as the ice melts). You will also want to bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. You also might want to think about bringing some cold washcloths (I get a washcloth wet, put it in the freezer overnight, and then put it in a Ziploc with some water right before we leave) or fancy cooling stuff if you are so inclined. Please DO NOT bring umbrellas. It is way too crowded in the park for umbrellas in the summer.
Take the Kids to Bugs Land: Bugs Land has a cool water pad where little ones can run around and basically play in fancy sprinklers. It is not uncommon for kids to be in their swimsuits, and there is a bathroom conveniently located right across the way for quick changes.
Avoid the Midday Hours: If you are going to be at the park all day long, plan to be inside during the midday hours. You can go to one of the hotels or one of the indoor restaurants at Downtown Disney or hide out at one of the spots in the park with AC (see next tip). But you definitely want to avoid being outside from noon until 5:00 pm to miss the worst of the heat. If you are staying at a hotel on property or close by, I highly recommend heading back to your room at this time during the day. It’s a great time hit the hotel pool, take a nap, or just relax in your room. The morning and evening hours are still warm, but they’re nothing compared to the midday heat.
Find Some AC: There are plenty of places within both parks that are both air conditioned and entertaining. Some of my favorites are the Animation Academy building at California Adventure and the Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland. You can also find AC at a lot of the shows, including the new Frozen musical.
Get Tiki with It: Not only is the Enchanted Tiki Room air conditioned (once you get inside for the show), but there is lots of shade in the waiting area, plus a shorter line for everyone’s favorite summertime treat: the Dole Whip! Mostly I just wanted an excuse to use that awesome headline.
Going to Disneyland in the summer can be a bit brutal at times, but as long as you are prepared and know what to expect, you can survive. Plan your day accordingly, bring and drink lots of water, and take refuge in the AC when it all becomes too much.
What are your tips for staying cool at the parks in summer?