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6 Unexpectedly Cool Disney Attractions

Splash Mountain

Southern California may not be prone to the horrendous humidity of a Florida summer (and autumn, and winter, and spring), but that doesn’t make the heat any less bearable—especially during one of the area’s infamous heat waves. Thirty-four of the Disneyland Resort’s 54 moving attractions are at least partially, if not totally outdoors, and offer limited shade and none of the cooling fans that are strategically placed in many Walt Disney World queues.

It can be daunting to plan a day at the parks when you’re preparing for 90- to 100-degree weather, particularly if you’re traveling with young children or are sensitive to excessive heat. Granted, you can spend your entire day cycling through Frozen – Live at the Hyperion and the Enchanted Tiki Room and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, but when it comes to actual rides… well, that’s where it gets a little tricky. Here are three attractions you can enjoy in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure when the heat gets too intense (of course, investing in a Squeeze Breeze and staying hydrated are also essential to staying cool, too!).

1. Indiana Jones Adventure (Disneyland)

Indiana Jones Adventure

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

Air Conditioned: No

Shaded Queue: Partially

Good for Kids: No (height requirement: 46 inches)

While this is the least kid-friendly attraction on the list, it’s also guaranteed to get you out of the sun for the longest amount of time. Even with a FASTPASS, you still have to walk the half-mile queue to get to the load-in area, and the ride itself is a cool 10 minutes long—indoors. If you want to cut down your wait time, you can always opt for the single rider line by entering through the ride’s exit, but be aware that single rider availability is occasionally disabled when the park nears capacity, so that may not always be a viable option. If you’re traveling with young children and need an alternative, more family-friendly attraction in the area, the Jungle Cruise has a shaded outdoor queue and the boat canopies and shade from the trees keeps most of the sun off the ride itself.

2. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (Disney California Adventure)

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

Air Conditioned: Yes

Shaded Queue: Yes

Good for Kids: Yes

It’s not the most thrilling attraction in either of the parks, but when you need a family-friendly, air-conditioned break without getting “It’s a Small World” stuck in your head for the rest of the day, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is one of your best options. As with most dark rides, there’s no FASTPASS or single rider option here, but the queue is kept completely in the shade and tends to move quickly even on crowded days—not to mention that its proximity to the newly-opened Pixar Pier means that the bulk of the crowds will be moving toward the Incredicoaster and Toy Story Midway Mania, anyway. What this attraction lacks in innovative technology and roller coaster-type thrills, it more than makes up for with that first refreshing blast of A/C as your shell-shaped ride vehicle dips “under the sea.”

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