What to Pack for Disneyland in July

Discover What to Pack for Disneyland in July
Soundsational Parade” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

Summer in Disneyland is bound to be hot, but it doesn’t make it any less fun! When preparing to visit Disneyland in the peak of summer, you’ll want to be well-prepared from sunscreen to sweaters (that’s right, something with long sleeves!). Don’t forget your favorite Disney hat!

For your July trip, you’ll want to consider weather and sunshine, in particular. Be sure to pay close attention to the do and don’t lists to ensure you have the best possible summer vacay with Mickey and his friends! Plus, we have notes on July happenings at the parks as well as tips on how to handle strollers and traveling with kids.

Weather in Anaheim, CA in July

Summer days in SoCal are usually hot, dry, and sunny. Without a lot of cloud coverage, the sun is bound to beat down and keep things warm. On an average day in July, the temperatures at Disneyland could fluctuate from the mid-60s to the high-80s from early morning to mid-afternoon and then back into the 60s in the evening. You can check out the latest forecast here anytime.

The nicest part about this weather is an early start in the parks is definitely possible! Plan to get up early and hit your favorite rides before lunch. That way, as the heat rises, you have several options to beat the heat without burning your buns on ride seats or killing your feet (even in shoes) on hot asphalt and cement in the queues.

Another big bonus is the warm evenings. If your group is a bunch of night owls, take advantage of the temperate night to catch a few last rides or a nighttime spectacular. You can even get drenched just before you leave for a refreshing wake-up call before driving home or to the hotel!

While the averages may sound fairly low considering it’s California, home of long droughts and dry spells, the hardest part of this month is dealing with the intense sun. Without much, if any, cloud cover, you’ll be subject to a glaring sun from early sunrise to late sunset. This often translates to sunburns and dehydration as folks forget the basics!

Moreover, as a California native, it’s not uncommon for July temperatures to suddenly skyrocket into the triple digits. Because this heat is typically dry, as opposed to humid, it feels “cooler” out than some folks anticipate. Nonetheless, heat illnesses do increase when the weather goes beyond the averages, so be prepared for the worst.

Packing for California Sunshine (The Do List)

California as a whole has been ranked #25 in the US for most cases of melanoma. The sun is intense here, and we rarely have cloudy days in the middle of summer. While this may seem average, it’s not once you pair it with dry heat, lots of walking, and potential dehydration.

As a local to SoCal, I can honestly tell you that we have had brutal summers with temperatures well into triple digits with hardly any humidity, and it does dry you out. Moreover, when you are walking around having fun all day, it’s easy to forget that you need to drink lots of water!

Whether you are coming from out-of-town or relatively nearby, you’ll want to be sure your suitcase has everything you could possibly need for a hot trip to DLR.

Hats and Sunglasses

Covering your head and face is critical to avoiding sunburns on sensitive areas. Your nose, forehead, lips, ears, and neck will thank you when you cover them up. Plus, using hats and sunglasses can help reduce your need to squint, sparing a big headache before day’s end.

Sunglasses are really a personal choice in terms of style. Because you’ll be going to a theme park, you may want to consider lower priced items in case they get lost or broken. If you can (or prefer), polarized lenses help with reducing the glare off of water and other “shinies.” 

Hats are really only effective if they have some sort of full brim. Baseball caps are a great option if they are worn over the face; however, they do leave your neck exposed. Visors are not ideal because they leave your scalp exposed (not even your hair can provide ample protection from burns and other damage in the sun). Wide-brimmed hats are the best option because they cover your head, face, ears, and neck.

Don’t like the idea of taking your cap on and off for just about every attraction? Just remember that Disney asks you to remove loose items to avoid losing them or unintentionally hurting others. No one wants to have a pair of sunglasses fall out of the sky! Plus, almost every attraction that requires you to remove loose articles has some sort of pouch or other storage system to hold your gear during the ride.

Light Long Sleeve Tees

Yes, it will be sunny, which can be an ideal time to rock tank tops and other short sleeve shirts. However, the more coverage you have, the more protected your skin will be all day long! Plus, if a breeze picks up, you won’t need to put on another layer since you’ll have a nice barrier already.

Packing a light material long sleeve, like a rash guard or all-cotton one, is great for wearing all day or as that extra layer in the morning and at night. While it is best to cover up during the sunniest parts of the day, just having a long sleeve shirt ready to go will ensure you don’t need to run back to the car or hotel just before nighttime spectaculars when it gets a little cooler.

Short Sleeve Tees

Covering your shoulders is really critical. Often, people forget about how painful a sunburn can be on your shoulder cap or as an outline of a backpack. This region of your body, including your back and lower neck, need to be protected not only to prevent sun damage but personal pain for the next day or two.

If you absolutely can’t rock a long sleeve all day, opt for a cap-sleeve shirt. Plus, Disney designs are plentiful in this cut, especially in unisex sizing!

Shorts or Cut-Offs

When used with sunscreen, shorts or other cut-offs like capris, are a great way to beat the heat. Jeans and tight leggings will tend to overheat the body, so going with a looser fit that allows your skin to breathe is ideal.

Solid Sneakers or Full-Foot Sandals

Flip flops may sound nice for a warm day, but walking around for up to 18 hours in them will do nothing but hurt your feet, toes, ankles, and knees, no matter how young you are! Opt for solid sneakers with breathable socks or full-foot sandals that enclose or strap around the back of your heel. 

This will provide you with the necessary support of Disney trekking as you venture from land to land and between the parks. If you are planning on walking into the park from a nearby hotel (or even from one of the parking lots), you’ll definitely want to opt for a shoe with a solid footbed to keep you comfortable all day.

An additional note on socks: You will want to pack at least one extra pair of socks for the day. Whether you choose to take a trip on a water ride or simply walk all day, your socks are bound to get wet. Save yourself the blister and accompanying days of bandages by changing out your socks at least once during the day, particularly right after a water ride.

An additional note on material of shoe uppers: Particularly if you are planning to hit up Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run, you’ll want to wear shoes with leather or vinyl uppers. These are more-or-less waterproof. The other option is taking a pair of sandals just for the ride and stowing away less waterproof shoe types (i.e., canvas). Lockers are available throughout the park for easy, dry storage.

The Ultimate Cautionary Tales (The Do Not List)

Because of the heat, people are often tempted to wear beach clothes everywhere they go in Southern California. However, Disneyland is not the beach nor a green park with tons of trees. It’s a theme park with little shade over walking paths and even some ques.

As such, you’ll want to avoid packing for the beach when you plan to hit Splash Mountain!

Teeny Tank Tops

Though the heat and sun combined seem like the ideal combo to get a brand new tan, they are also the perfect combination for brutal sunburn. Long sleeve and cap-sleeve tops are always going to be the best to protect your shoulders, neck, and upper-back. Avoid tank tops that expose a lot of skin. For women, the less decolletage you expose to the sun, the better you can protect that very sensitive area from damage.

Additionally, avoid strapless tops or halter tops. These rear the same risks as tank tops and are likely to be uncomfortable throughout the day. Plus, if you plan to have a bag of some sort, combining any material with lotion or sunscreen is apt to cause a rash.

Quality Shorts

Unless you want to burn your tush, cover it up! Not only will your sensitive skin be exposed to the sun, it will be exposed to hot seats all day. Attractions that are outdoors will retain heat, making it an unpleasant surprise when you go to sit. ]

Moreover, any outdoor eating or other seating areas are likely to be metal or plastic, which both heat up quickly and intensely during summer at the parks.

Flip Flops

They may be perfect for the beach, but they are the worst type of sandal you can wear for a full-day of activity. While Disneyland has awesome water attractions that may have you think, “well, I need to wear sandals for that,” more of the rides are not wet at all! Save yourself the literal pain and only bring a pair to wear just for water rides. Yes, this means you will need to carry a bag or rent a locker, but it will save you from days of blisters!

Moreover, by covering up your feet, you will prevent sun damage. The tops of your most valuable asset will thank you when they are not crispy.

Swimsuits Only

It may be cool for Jasmine and Moana to show their midriffs, but it’s really not a great option for regular Guests to DLR. Plus, there is an explicit Disneyland rule about showing too much skin: Guests may not enter the park in “clothing which, by nature, exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment.” Moreover, you’re increasing your risk of getting a brutal burn as opposed to a nice tan. As such, you’ll want to keep all bikinis under your clothes, wear shorts over one-pieces, and throw on a rashguard or t-shirt when wearing board shorts.

If you plan on riding several Disneyland water rides like Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run, wear a swimsuit under your regular summer attire to help keep you cool! Plus, if you get soaked, you can change quickly. Don’t forget to look out for splash pads in California Adventure and spritzers throughout the parks.

Traveling with Kids (Strollers in the Parks)

Strollers at Disneyland are great when going with young ones. However, in the summer months in particular, they are likely to get really hot really fast. Plus, as you are cruising around with them, you’re likely to end up in the slow lane because there’s just that much more for you to carry/push!

If you can, don’t take a stroller. Here are the top reasons to not bring one: 

  1. Traffic will be worse on-foot throughout the parks without the ability to meander through small gaps in hoards of people.
  2. Parking your stroller is not all that easy throughout the Resort; it is limited to certain sections in each land or part of both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.
  3. Restaurants in the Resort and beyond don’t allow strollers inside.
  4. Strollers are bulky and heavy, making them hard to maneuver, fold, and deal with all around. Add a beating sun onto that, and you get metal and plastic burns.

If your child requires a stroller, there are ways to avoid having to bring one with you from home. Rent a stroller at Disneyland for about $15 per stroller per day. That may even be cheaper than checking it with your airline. 

Still not convinced that those are the best options? It’s understandable! Your kid’s stroller is theirs, and you want the convenience of your own personal item. Here are some tips on making #momlife and #dadlife a bit easier when visiting Disneyland with little ones.

  • Fold up the stroller and carry it whenever possible. 
  • Visit the parks piece by piece to use stroller parking efficiently. Plan on hitting all the major attractions in that area before moving on to your next round. Although many attractions have a line segment for stroller parking, choosing one parking place will save you time and hassle.
  • Know Disneyland’s stroller rules before you go. Limits on use and size change frequently as the parks work to accommodate more Guests and ensure everyone’s safety.

Just be aware of policy changes. For example, Disneyland has recently decided to banned oversized strollers (and if you feel you need one, you’ll have to rent a double stroller from Disney). So make sure you plan and pack accordingly.

Seriously, Sunscreen

If it hasn’t been made clear by now, hopefully this will sink in: sun damage can happen to anyone! Whether you notice a sunburn or not, exposure to the sun for long periods of time can leave damage. Even tanning isn’t a great option because it is a form of burning the skin.

If you don’t take any other packing tip, please, please, please take this one. Pack sunscreen. Pack a specific sunscreen for your face. Pack one that’s for the kids. Pack one that is an all-over body screen. Have it handy and available before you leave and at the park.

To go over the some basic advantages, click here or read on. Sunscreen provides…

  • Protection from UV radiation given off by the sun’s rays
  • Moisture for the skin during dry heat spells
  • A general layer of protection for all people of all ages

When choosing a sunscreen (or multiple), consider the following.

  • Oil-free sunscreens are great for preventing skin blemishes like acne
  • Low-SPF sunscreen can help with tanning desires, but it is less likely to provide a lot of UV protection
  • Children’s sunscreen is often made with tear-free chemicals that are more gentle on the skin
  • Waterproof sunscreen is not actually waterproof, especially not when used just once all day and paired with water rides or dips in the pool
  • Even SPF 100 sunscreen wears off, so plan to re-apply at least once an hour (or sooner if you have low-SPF options)

Again, the biggest reminder here is to get sunscreen on you before you get to the park, carry it with you around the park (it’ll be cheaper from a drug store than in Disneyland Resort), and reapply it as often as you can to ensure the best protection. 

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