How to Beat the Heat at Disneyland

by | Sep 6, 2023 | Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks

Here’s how to stay cool, find shade, and still have fun when you’re headed to Disneyland Resort on hot days.

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Sweltering heat is a common occurrence at Disneyland, thanks to the resort’s warm-weather location in Anaheim, California. While the days are often pleasantly sunny, heat can leave you sweating even in the traditionally cooler winter season. At the end of the summer and into early fall, it’s common to see temperatures rise even more (and heatwaves are common in September and October!). So, even if you aren’t visiting Disneyland at the height of summer, you’ll want to expect warm weather – and be prepared for heat.

Below, we’re sharing our must-know tips on how to beat the heat at Disneyland to help you stay cool, covered, and comfortable no matter the temperature.

What Are the Hottest Times of the Year at Disneyland?

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

Photo by Dom Tabon

The weather in Orange County typically sees its hottest peaks during August and September. It might seem counterintuitive to expect the warmest temperatures heading into fall, but these months tend to see consistently hot days and warm evenings, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

Summer weather begins to appear as early as April each year, with days growing warmer early in the month; however, nights tend to stay cool through June. As July arrives, hot days become more consistent. 

Even after September ends, it’s common to see high temps and 90-degree (or hotter!) days into October. Additionally, because southern California sees relatively warm weather year-round, you never know if hot days will pop up in winter, too. You might encounter temperatures of 80 degrees or higher during the day even in January and February. 

Here’s an overview of what the weather is typically like month by month for Disneyland:

Month Seasonal High Seasonal Low
January 69 degrees 47 degrees
February 69 degrees 48 degrees
March 71 degrees 52 degrees
April 74 degrees 54 degrees
May 75 degrees 58 degrees
June 79 degrees 62 degrees
July 84 degrees 66 degrees
August 86 degrees 66 degrees
September 85 degrees 64 degrees
October 80 degrees 59 degrees
November 74 degrees 52 degrees
December 68 degrees 46 degrees

How to Pack and Dress for the Heat

When it’s a sweltering day at Disneyland Resort, you’ve got to be prepared. Spending hours outdoors under the hot sun can leave anyone cranky and exhausted – and you don’t want to wind up dehydrated or overheated. Here’s what to bring and how to prepare for a full Disney day in the heat.

Bring an Insulated, Refillable Water Bottle

Water is crucial on hot Disneyland days. You’ll work up a sweat simply standing in lines throughout the day, and the more activity (like walking from attraction to attraction) you do, the more you’ll deplete your body’s hydration. So, bring a reusable water bottle with you – and we recommend one that’s insulated to keep your drink cool all day!

There are plenty of places to fill up your water bottle throughout the day, and you can easily get ice from quick service restaurants throughout the theme parks. A reusable water bottle will ensure you don’t run low on hydration, a key factor in keeping your body temperature cool on hot days.

Dress in Layers

It might sound counterintuitive to layer up when you’re dressing for hot weather at Disneyland, but you actually do want to wear more than a t-shirt and shorts! Remember, most of the queues throughout both Disneyland and California Adventure are outdoors – and there isn’t always shade. To reduce the impact of the sun on your skin and body temperature, it’s a good idea to dress in light, breathable layers of clothing.

You can layer a tank or tee underneath a thin long-sleeved shirt, for example, to keep your arms and chest covered from the sun. As the day warms up, or your layers become too warm, you can remove the outermost layer. Plus, it’s handy to have options in case you step inside any air-conditioned spaces, like the cool Soarin’ queue or chilly Main Street Cinema.

If you’re visiting Disneyland in the spring or fall, layers are especially helpful. Mornings can be cooler and foggy, and evening temperatures can dip into the 60s. When it’s cooler out, having an extra layer handy can help you warm up or stay comfortable.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen and a Hat

Too hot to even think about layering up? Make sure you’ve packed some sunscreen! While it won’t exactly help you stay cool, sunscreen is critical for protecting your skin from sunburns – which, in addition to making you terribly uncomfortable, can raise your body temp even higher. Reapply your sunscreen regularly throughout the day, especially if you’re sweating a lot.

You’ll also want to bring a hat along for your own personal shade. A hat will shield your face from the sun and help cool you down slightly. While a baseball cap works perfectly, wide-brimmed hats can help shade even more of your head and neck for extra heat and sun protection.

Carry Cooling Gear

Because you won’t always be able to pop into AC while at Disneyland during hot days, you’ll want to bring along some items that can help you get a cool breeze or lower your core temperature. There are a number of options you can pack that are lightweight and handy during heatwaves, like:

Just having the ability to turn on your own little breeze – or soak a cooling towel to help you get a few temperatures of relief – can make a big difference on the hottest days of the year.

Choose a Lightweight Park Bag

Lastly, while you’ll want to keep your hands free and have a place to stash your water bottle, cooling towel, fan, and all those other Disney must-haves, you don’t want to get weighed down by a heavy backpack or bag. Adding a huge backpack or bag to your shoulders on hot days can leave you extra sweaty and exhausted. Instead, try to find one that’s breathable and lightweight, like a packable backpack that can carry your essentials but won’t allow you to add a lot of extra weight.

Cool Down in These Shaded and Air-Conditioned Spots Around Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Main Street Cinema

Photo by Adrienne White

Throughout hot days at Disneyland, you’re going to want a break from the heat. Fortunately, while there are many outdoor spaces that’ll put you directly in the line of the sun’s harsh light, there are also quite a few areas with shade… and plenty of buildings with air conditioning!

When you’re overheating or simply too hot to stand in another line, head to these shaded spots and air conditioned areas to get out of the heat at Disneyland and California Adventure:

  • Baby Centers at Disneyland and California Adventure, which allow parents and little ones to relax in a cool environment
  • Disney Animation Building (or the Art of Animation) has plenty of cool indoor space and multiple attractions
  • Disney Junior Dance Party!, which lets little ones cool down and have fun
  • Disneyland Picnic Area, a shady spot with lockers and picnic tables
  • Golden Horseshoe, which is air conditioned and offers ample seating
  • Golden Vine Winery, which has a shaded and quiet path leading around the former Walt Disney Imagineer Blue Sky Cellar
  • Grand Californian Hotel lobby, which offers rocking chairs and plush resting spots (in air conditioning!)
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant, where you’ll find shaded patios both upstairs and downstairs
  • Main Street Cinema is cool, dark, and entertaining
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which has plenty of shaded areas
  • Tale of the Lion King at Fantasyland Theatre offers a shady spot to catch a show
  • The Disneyland Railroad offers shade and a gentle breeze as you ride 
  • The Hyperion Theater, which offers a lengthy opportunity to sit, cool off, and relax (if a show is playing!)

Still want to hit a few attractions, but need something that’ll cool you down? These Disneyland and California Adventure attractions are all wonderfully cool (including some with air conditioned queues!):

  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission – Breakout!
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • it’s a small world
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Soarin’
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room (bonus: You can bring a cool Dole Whip with you!)
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Plan Breaks at the Hottest Time of the Day

When you’re trying to beat the heat at Disneyland, you’ll want to make sure to time your day around the weather. Remember, California days are typically coolest in the morning and evening – but on exceptionally hot days, you’ll find temperatures don’t vary much and can stay high well into the evening.

So, it’s best to give yourself a true break from the heat and step out of the theme parks during the hottest time of the day. Typically, the heat peaks around 3:00 PM. That means you’ll want to head back to your hotel or find a cool, air conditioned spot to relax in from about 2:00 to 4:00 PM during your Disney day. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a nap, put your feet up, hit the pool, or even just find a chilly restaurant to grab a snack or late lunch.

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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