6 Ways to Stay Cool on HOT days at Disneyland

It’s the middle of summer, or maybe just a heat wave at the end of September and you need to stay cool at Disneyland. I’ve got 6 ways to keep you calm, cool and comfortable even on the hottest days in Southern California including on summer vacation or any day:

  • avoid the hottest temperatures
  • cool down spots outside including splash zones 
  • air-conditioned queues while you wait
  • staying hydrated on hot days
  • best cooling devices to bring with you and where to buy last minute
  • indoor entertainment to cool off for a bit
  • dining or relaxing inside to take a break from the sun
  • heat-related illness and where to get help

Stay Cool at Disneyland

As someone who vacations regularly in July with my extended family, we have the system down. And you can too! 

Avoid The Hottest Time of Day

I am a huge advocate for taking breaks from the parks throughout your trip. The hottest time of day between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm also tend to be the most crowded. It can be super beneficial to avoid being out in the sun and crowds during that time. 

I like to:

If you cannot or do not want to leave the parks, keep reading for which rides and attractions to experience during those peek hot times of day to stay cool.

And of course the best thing you can do is to arrive early on hot Disneyland days. Arrive at the gates at least 30 minutes before park opening. Be sure to give yourself enough time for parking if needed. Then enjoy the cooler morning hours and lower wait times. 

Stay late. Once the sun goes down, the temps do too. It’s especially better if you can stay until after fireworks when crowds tend to die down even more. 

Disneyland Splash Zones

Back in the day we had an adorable splash zone in “a bug’s land” but that space is gone forever and now home to Avengers Campus. Luckily, there are still some perfect spots to cool down, splash around—or get splashed on favorite water rides.


Mickey Minnie Toontown Foutain


At Disneyland Park:

  • Ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, best time to ride for heat is around 1:00 pm so you’re able to dry off during the hottest time of the day (formerly Splash Mountain) and avoid long lines.
  • Donald Duck’s Pond is the official splash pad spot at Disneyland with nearby restrooms for changing if needed.
  • More splash and play areas in Mickey’s Toontown like the adorable feature fountain with Mickey and Minnie in a pose from a favorite movie of mine, see if you can catch the reference. 

At California Adventure Park:


Grizzly River Run Single Rider


  • Ride Grizzly River Run, a good time to ride for heat is around 1:00 pm so you’re able to dry off during the hottest time of the day.
  • Not tall enough or don’t want a full soak? Stand at various mist or splash zones near Grizzly River Run and watch as people go by in their rafts. 

Coolest Queues at Disneyland 

Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you need to miss all the fun rides at Disneyland. Plus, there’s even some queues that are worth waiting in just because they’re indoors.


Peter Pans Flight


Here’s the details on rides with cool indoor tracks and/or queues.

  • Indiana Jones Adventure- waiting mostly indoors and outside shade, 3 minute indoor ride.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- outdoor waiting mostly in shade, 3 minute indoor and outdoor ride.
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure- waiting outdoors in sun and some under shade, 10 minute indoor and outdoor ride with a splash.


Winnie the Pooh


  • Alice in Wonderland- outdoor waiting mostly in shade, 3 minute indoor and outdoor ride.
  • “it’s a small world” outdoor waiting mostly in shade, 15 minute indoor ride.
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride- outdoor waiting mostly in sun, 2 minute indoor ride.


Snow White Castle


  • Peter Pan’s Flight- outdoor waiting mostly in sun, 3 minute indoor ride.
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey- waiting mostly indoors, 3 minute indoor ride.
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish- waiting mostly indoors, 3 minute indoor ride.
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin- waiting mostly indoors, 3 minute indoor ride.


Roger Rabbit


  • Haunted Mansion- outdoor waiting mostly in shade, 10 minute indoor ride.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean- waiting mostly indoors, 16 minute indoor ride.


Pirates sign



Finding Nemo Submarine


  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters- waiting mostly indoors, 5 minute indoor ride.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage- outdoor waiting, 14 minute indoor ride.
  • Space Mountain- waiting mostly indoors, 3 minute indoor ride.
  • Star Tours- waiting mostly indoors, 5 minute indoor ride.

Beyond these rides, there’s some I would say it’s worth taking a spin on to cool down even though they’re outdoors. Try things like the Disneyland Railroad where you can sit in comfort under the shady canopy for a Grand Circle Tour around Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. 


Disneyland Railroad


Stops include Main Street, New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown and Tomorrowland. 

Coolest Queues at California Adventure

Just like at Disneyland, there are several indoor attractions and queues at California Adventure, my favorites include:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! you’ll wait mostly inside with messages informing riders about the situation at the power plant.
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, mostly inside with an awesome pre-show presentation by Peter Parker himself.
  • Soarin’ Around the World waiting mostly inside.
  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, the queue is mostly shaded but inside on the ride is where it’s at, a cool, long ride!
  • Don’t forget the Animation Building in Hollywood Land with lots to explore and all indoors (Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush are my favs!)

Staying Hydrated on Hot Days

Staying hydrated is more than drinking water. If you know you’re going when the temps are high, start hydrating a day or two before your trip, and during! You can also find refill at water bottle stations on the Disneyland app by searching “bottle-filling stations.” Brining your own water bottles is a huge time saver and money saver!


Tortilla jos drink


Most quick service dining locations will offer free cups of ice water. You can often go to the mobile order pick up spot and kindly ask a Cast Member for waters. You can also hydrate with bottled water, Powerade and even milk is a good hydrator. 

I also love to go for the amazingly refreshing Mint Julep from Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square,
Dole Whip (floats for me!) near Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Julep from Bengal Barbecue and frozen lemonade throughout the resort.


Jungle Julep


Now onto stuff to buy before you go:

  • On recent trips I’ve seen so many people sporting these rechargeable personal neck fans. They look like headphones but keep you cool with a blade-less breeze. I love that they also come in various colors, enough for the whole family to have their own.
  • One of the best ways to keep cool is a cooling towel. They’re super light weight, don’t take a up a ton of space in luggage and can easily be carried around the parks. 
  • Want something cheap and easy? A simple compact spray bottle is also helpful!
  • Sometimes shade is hard to come by and it’s worth brining your own shaded space. Any compact umbrella will do the trick. Don’t underestimate how helpful hats and sunglasses can be during a Disneyland vacation either.
  • Another thing you don’t want to forget is sunscreen. I’ve tried out so many sunscreens specifically at the theme park and my favorite for the past several years is Sun Bum Face. I also like using a sunscreen based moisturizer each morning and topping off my makeup with Milani Sunscreen Setting Spray. It’s not the best smell, but whatever I can do to keep my face protected works for me. 


Disneyland sunscreen


You’ll pay a huge premium for these items inside the park, so grab them beforehand and you’ll be more than ready to cool off when the sun shines.

Discount Disneyland tickets

And don’t forget to keep your wallet cool. Get your Disneyland discount tickets from our partner, Get Away Today before heading over to Disneyland Resort. 

Indoor Entertainment

These often skipped-over entertainment options just don’t entertain, they can keep you cool on a hot day too! 

I like scheduling some of these throughout my day to keep everyone recharged during the warm summer and fall months. 

  • Enchanted Tiki Room- step inside this tropical oasis for a fun show.
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln- cool off inside and maybe even sneak in a little nap with Abe.


Main Street Cinema


  • Main Street Cinema- classic Disney animation showcased here.
  • Storytelling at Royal Theatre-  enjoy a twist on the princess fairytales we all know under and canopy outside.

Dine or Cool off Inside These Escapes

Many of our favorite cool off areas change throughout the year based on seasonal events, refurbishment or crowds. But here’s a few places you can check out during your visit. 


Grand Californian Lobby Disneyland


  • The Disney Gallery
  • Disneyland Resort Hotel Lobbies
  • Baby Care Center (for moms and moms-to-be)
  • Shopping throughout the parks

And of course dining. My favorite indoor dining spots include:

Some of these require a dining reservation, you can get free dining alerts here

Blue Bayou entry


Heat-Related Illness 

Unfortunately this is so common on warm days especially when you’re traveling and not on your regular food or sleep schedule. 


Disneyland Park first aid


If you are sick please go to the First Aid Center or contact a Cast Member in case of an emergency. Disney medical team can help when you’re feeling overheated, dehydrated or anything else. 


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By Jessica Sanders

Recognized authority on all things Disneyland Resort. Offering dynamic planning strategies and the latest theme park information since 2013. Jessica's insights have been featured on Yahoo! News, InStyle, The Washington Post, and many others.

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