Florida is nicknamed the Sunshine State – rightfully so. Yes, it rains basically every day for six months during the hurricane season. But when the winter months bring cold and gloom everywhere else, it’s sunny in Florida.
Most days December – February are absolutely gorgeous, but there tend to be about four days of “winter” every year in this stretch. If you happen to be at Disney during the cold spells it is important to be prepared! (That way the cold can’t bother you anyway)
Here are some key ways we have found have best prepared us for the frigid days in the parks!
Be prepared with layers
The cold in Central Florida is different than the cold in the north. The humidity makes anything under 60 degrees FRIGID. The moisture in the air is honestly bone-chilling. Don’t underestimate the cold.
Even if it is super cold in the morning, the sunshine during the day tends to thaw everyone out. The best way to pack for this trip is bring light layers. No need for a huge winter coat and boots. A couple of long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, a sweater, and maybe a coat in case you get cold easily.
I like to wear yoga pants under jeans or another pair of pants in the morning, and then I have the ability to shed layers later on in the day once I warm up.
Hats / Beanies
I love wearing Mickey ears most days, but I always bring a beanie during the colder season. Really any hat will work. Just make sure to keep that head covered to keep your heat in!
If I am really feeling festive, I wear a Santa Mickey hat! The fleece is so nice and warm over my ears and it helps me stay right on theme!
No matter how cold it is, do NOT forget the sunscreen! The Orlando sun can be brutal and it is easy to forget this protection when you are freezing. I am sure to keep a tube in my park backpack at all times
Again – easy to forget when you are cold. I like to ask restaurants for water with no ice on the days that are frigid. It helps me stay hydrated without making me too cold.
Tip – If you want to buy a water bottle from a cart, ask the Cast Member if you can have a room-temperature one. The usually have cases out that they haven’t put in the refrigerator yet.
There is no need for heavy-duty boots during a Disney trip, but we would recommend definitely wearing close-toed shoes. Bring some fun tall socks to keep your ankles warm!
I love my blanket scarf (in my house we call it a blarf). It is so versatile. I will fold it a few times and wrap it around my neck if it is extra cold. Sometimes I fold it to where it will go around my neck and over my head. You can also easily use it as a blanket to keep you warm during a show! Standing still in one spot watching the parade or fireworks can be treacherous. It is helpful to have an extra layer to drape over you and your family!
We sometimes like to bring our travel micro-fleece blanket in our backpack too!
Grab some light-weight gloves that allow you to still use your phone with them on. Especially since the parks are so technology heavy now, this is vital for your whole Disney experience. Keep those extremities warm!
Hand warmers have been LIFE SAVERS for my family. Open them up, stick them in a jacket pocket, and you have a little ball of warm joy when you need an extra boost during the day. A box of them can easily be found on Amazon. They even have the kind that activate by air – no shaking necessary.
Shop at UNIQLO at Disney Springs – most inexpensive option
Rent a locker
Don’t be afraid to rent a locker at whichever park you visit for the day. If you need to shed your coats, it is a great way to get rid of the extra weight walking around. I will sometimes even pack a pair of shorts or anything else I might want to change into if it gets too warm.
Bring your swimsuits!
Even if it looks like cold weather might be joining you on your Disney vacation, still pack your swimsuit! Disney resort pools are all heated. Plus, have you ever been past a pool that your kids haven’t wanted to swim in?
Don’t forget about the hot tubs the Deluxe Resorts have!
Fun little secret – the annual Disney Christmas Day parade on ABC is in fact NOT live. It is filmed usually in mid-November. The extras are asked to be decked out in Christmas gear, but if you look closely, usually they are wearing shorts or they are sweating profusely in Christmas sweaters.
Being a local, I love going to the parks when it is cooler. I look for any excuse I can to wear the handful of Disney Christmas sweaters I have acquired over the years. Take advantage of the cold and go all out!
If you find yourself in a Central Florida cold spell and are unprepared, one of the cheapest places you can go is UNIQLO at Disney Springs. They have a wide selection for the whole family.
If you have a car and would like to go off property, about 20 minutes away is an outlet mall with Old Navy, Columbia, Nike, etc. Plenty of options!