I may live in northern California now, but I grew up in southern California about 20 minutes from Disneyland. Back then it didn't cost an arm, a leg, a kidney, and your first born child to go, so we went quite a bit and I often had an annual pass growing up (the Southern California Pass used to be less than $100!!). I knew the best month, day of the week, and time of day to go to the parks to avoid crowds. I could tell you where the closest bathroom, water fountains, and lockers were no matter where you were located. And you better hope that you didn't have to stand in line next to me too long, because I could tell you a random fact or two about every ride. The parks have changed a lot over the years (I remember when there was a parking lot where California Adventure is and you could still hop aboard the People Mover or Sky Way) and I don't go nearly as much as I used to, but I still know the parks pretty well and would love to share some tips for visiting when the temperatures rise; because nothing can ruin a fun day at the amusement park faster than hot, whiny children. We all know about the water rides that will get you soaked, but what about some other ways to beat the heat?
//1. Free Water//
Yes, you can find lots of water fountains in the parks, and I definitely recommend you bring at least one water bottle if you're bringing in a backpack or diaper bag, but did you know you can get free cups of ice water in the parks as well? Any restaurant or food stand, as long as it has a fountain drink dispenser, will give you a free cup of ice water, all you have to do is wait in line and ask. I have asked for as many as three at once before! These cups of ice water are incredibly refreshing on a scorching day. My favorite locations for getting free water are the Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park, and the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land In California Adventure. The lines are typically short or non-existent (as long as it's not a meal time) and they're usually not stingy about giving out the tall cups of water. My least favorite place is Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland in Disneyland. As I mentioned though, I always bring my kid's water cups in their backpacks also.
//2. Splash Park//
The first time I went to Bug's Land the most exciting thing to me was the Princess Dot Puddle Park, and I didn't even have kids yet. Now that I do have kids, it's the perfect place to wait and stay cool while big brother is off going on rides that his little sisters are too short for. It's pretty centrally located so it's a great meet-up place for families, and right next to bathrooms (score!). Keep in mind that your little ones will get drenched so you either need to be okay with that or ready to leave the park.
//3. Rolling Water Sculpture//
Disneyland Park might not have an awesome splash pad like California Adventure does, but it does have something else that you can cool off with. I don't know what the technical name is, but this spherical sculpture is located outside of Space Mountain and is a favorite of little kids to "push" around with their hands. Or, if you're my kids, their mouths; gross. I'd advise you not letting your kids actually lick it.
//4. Ariel's Undersea Adventure//
This ride doesn't get you wet, but it is one of our favorite rides to go on on a hot day. Why? Of all the times I've been on this ride I've only had to wait in a line once, and even then it went pretty fast. The cars of the ride are constantly moving so there's very little lag time, so no waiting in a long line out in the heat. Not only that though, the inside of the building is SO cool, as in cold; although, it's pretty neat too. Near the start of the ride you get cold air blasted on you to simulate going under water and on a hot day it feels ah-mazing.
Some other things we love to do when it's really hot and kids are tired:
- Catch a show in one of the theaters (there are several in California Adventure that are all indoor. Disneyland has two, one indoor and one outdoor).
- Sit down on the back deck of Hungry Bear restaurant and have a snack. It's shaded and usually not crowded. There's also a bathroom so it's a great place to unwind as a family.
- Ride the Disneyland Railroad around the park.
- Take a ride on whichever ship is sailing in the Rivers of America that day.
Always remember sunscreen too! We are fanatics about slathering it on our children before going into the parks and then reapplying whenever we stop to eat. You don't want to end your day exhausted, hot, AND sunburned!
What's your favorite thing to do when it's hot at Disneyland?