Every time that I visit Disneyland the place is packed to the gills. With so many people there, the lines for all of the rides are extremely long, even It's a small world. I'm not sure about the rest of you but the fact that I'm stuck in a line with people that will annoy you is, well, annoying.

So when is the best time to go? Simple, go when the weather isn't all that great, if you can handle it. The best time seems to be when it is raining. Rain, in Southern California?? Impossible you say. It does happen during the winter and the early spring.

Why is this the best time to go? Because a large amount of the families will leave once the little kids get soaked. Presto, about a quarter to a half of the people will leave the park. The last time I was at the park during the rain, I was about to get on Space Mountain four times in about 25 minutes. It took almost as much time to run through the queue as the ride lasted.

What can you expect when the park emptys out? Big puddles, seeing people walking around wearing garbage bags, sitting down in a seat that is already wet, and the smell of wet clothing anytime you are in an enclosed space.

So check the weather forecast for Anaheim, California when you are planning to go or go when it looks like rain. Remember to bring appropriate clothing. It is a good idea to bring at least one umbrella and some rain gear. Bring a jacket for everybody in your party as it can get cold in the evening.


  • Reduced people in the park
  • Some rides are more fun in the rain, especially the Jungle Cruise


  • Walking around the park with wet clothing
  • Paying the high price for rain gear if you didn't bring your own
  • Some rides might close early
  • No fireworks, maybe

Rides that might close if the rain is not expected to clear up.

  • Critter Country
    • Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
  • Frontierland
    • Tom Sawyer's Island
  • Tomorrowland
    • Autopia
    • Astro Orbitor
  • Fantasyland
    • Casey Jr. Circus Train
    • Storybook Land Canal Boats
    • Mad Tea Party
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Adventureland
    • Tarzan's Tree House
  • Mickey's Toon Town
    • Gadget's Go Coaster
These tips might work at other parks, but YMMV.

I was in junior high, awkward and ashamed of everything, so there's no way I would've enjoyed Disneyland. Too childish, too in-your-face, too silly. Our family went there on vacation because my little brother had been jonesing to go to the Magical World of Disneyland Where All Your Dreams Come True for years and years. My folks were blowing a stack of cash on the trip, and I was already convinced that I wasn't going to enjoy one single second of the visit to this big-budget Kiddie-World.

We'd been in the park for about 20 minutes when it started to rain.

"It won't last," said my dad. "This is Southern California. They have to pipe all their water up from Arizona. They're in a permanent drought. The sun'll come out in a minute, and we'll go on some rides."

It rained all day long.

It wasn't a hard rain, but it wasn't a drizzle either. It was a steady, cold, depressing rain, the kind that makes you want to crawl back under the covers in the morning and wonder if there's any point in going on living, much less getting dressed and going to the office.

And about half the people left the park in less than a half-hour. But we didn't. My folks had cleared out a chunk of their savings for this trip, and Pete'd had his heart set on going to Disneyland and seeing Mickey and Goofy. And this was the only day we'd have to go to the park -- the rest was taken up with travel, visiting relatives, and eventually getting back home so Dad could start rebuilding the savings account. We couldn't leave.

So we rode a few rides. We took a few pictures with Mickey and Goofy and Donald and Daisy. And we sat under canopies and wished the rain would stop, just stop.

So, a few hours later, after we'd eaten a thoroughly miserable meal of soggy hot dogs and watery sodas, we were sitting under an umbrella trying to decide whether to brave the Runaway Teacups. A guy dressed in a Pluto costume walked by, soaked to the fur, trying to act as jaunty and happy as his bosses insisted he act, no matter how dismal and dreary the weather. He stops a couple of yards from our table and waves at us, but about that time, a girl -- I'd guess about 20 years old, pretty, short brown hair, soaked like she'd been swimming in the ocean -- walks up to him and says, "Ed?"

Pluto shrugs and shuffles his feet in a way that clearly said, "Yeah, it's me, but I can't tell you that or I'll get fired for breaking character. You already know that, baby, so what're you hassling me for?"

She walks right up to Pluto, looks him in the fake cartoon eyes, and says, "Ed? Is that you?"

More shuffling and shrugging and shuck-and-jive from the soaked orange dog. He can tell we're watching -- it's not like we have a choice -- and he wants to get her out of the way before someone notices and tattles on him for getting a personal visitor.

She sighs, long and low, like a car running through a puddle. "I'm going home, Ed. I'm going back to Lansing."

And Pluto stops dead.

"I know this means a lot to you, Ed, but it's not me, it'll never be me. And I can't stand this town anymore. And I don't--"

She pauses, and Pluto puts his arms out for a second, then drops them at his side. He can't break character, he can't break character.

She takes a deep breath. "I don't think I can stand you anymore, Ed. All this focus on you and your career and being a star. I'm sorry."

He puts his arms out again, this time actually touching her on the shoulders, but he catches himself. He can't break character. He drops his hands. He doesn't say a word.

"I'm sorry, Ed, I really am. Don't try to follow me, Ed. I'm sorry." And she turns and walks away. Her face was soaked by rain, and that's all I could see.

Pluto stands there for a minute, watching her go. Then he turns slowly and looks at us. My mom and dad are busy looking elsewhere, trying to give him some sort of privacy and dignity. We kids haven't really caught onto the privacy thing yet. Pete and I at least look embarrassed for him. My baby sister Andrea sucks on the last of her soda, smiles at him, and waves her baby-girl-princess wave.

Pluto lets out one audible, terrified sob. And he turns away and skips off jauntily, splashing through the puddles as he goes.

He can't break character, he can't break character.

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