When it’s cold up here in Pennsylvania, I like to make my yearly trip to Disney World for a bit of sun and warmer weather! Just because it’s warmer in Orlando than Philadelphia though doesn’t mean that it will actually be warm. The interesting thing about visiting Disney in the winter is that the weather can be all over the place. I’ve gone in February for the past 5 years (and I’ve also been in January and December) and one year it was 40 degrees during the day while another year it was 85 degrees. I’ve worn a winter coat, hat, and gloves, and I’ve also been to water park during the same week of different years.
Needless to say, that can make it very difficult to plan and pack for a trip this time of year! And if you’ve never been during the winter before you might not know where to start either. Because I’ve been so often during this season I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out what to pack, so I figured I’d share some of those tips with you!
It’s probably the most obvious thing to many, but layers are so key when visiting Disney during these months. It’s easy to think, “Oh, I’m going to Florida! Shorts and t-shirts!”. But the fact is you may very well end up wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Bring both so you’re prepared. And even when it’s nice during the day, like in the 60’s, it gets colder in the evening. So you may want to carry a light sweater or sweatshirt with you. Otherwise the odds are high you’ll be purchasing a $50 Disney sweatshirt. Trust me, I’ve been there – more than once.
Unless you’re one of those people who always wears shorts, they’re probably not necessary in the winter. It very rarely is above 80 degrees this time of year so you should be okay with long pants, capris, or leggings.
Hand Warmers and Gloves
Especially if you plan to spend time outside waiting for something (think fireworks or parades), you’re going to get chilly staying in one spot. Make sure to bring some hot hands and/or gloves to keep the fingers warm. And go with touch-screen gloves so you can still take photos 😉
Headband or Hat
Gotta keep those ears warm too! But just because you’re staying warm doesn’t mean you can’t still be festive. Stock up ahead of time on hats, headbands, or gloves with a Disney theme. There are some cute hat options with Mickey ears and more fun things!
Comfortable sneakers and socks
If I’m visiting Disney during the summer I’m in my Teva flip flops all the time. But in the winter I need my feet to stay warm, so I opt for a good pair of socks and sneakers that I know I can do lots of walking in.
If you’re hitting the rare times when it’s in the 40’s the odds are that you won’t be going swimming. But if you’re lucky and it’s in the 70’s or higher you might want to go for a swim. The pools are heated so they are quite comfortable. And if you’re used to colder weather you might have thicker skin anyway! At the very least you may want to hit up a hot tub if you’re at a moderate or deluxe resort.
Check the weather before you leave
And be prepared to change what you’re packing if it looks necessary. The day or two before you’ll want to take a look and potentially add more warmer clothing or more short sleeves depending on what you see. Remember to look at both the highs and the lows!
Poncho or Umbrella
Being cold is not enjoyable, but being cold and wet is even worse. Though rain might be more common in summer, Florida still gets a good bit of rain in the winter. So avoid getting too wet by packing either a poncho or umbrella.
All the time in Florida. Skin cancer is no joke, so you want to make sure to put on that sunscreen. Even if it’s only 50 degrees, the sun is still beating down and you’ll probably be out in it a lot. The one advantage to sunscreen when it’s cooler? You don’t have as much exposed skin to cover, at least.
Carry a backpack (or rent a locker)
I know it can feel cumbersome to be carrying around a backpack for some people. But when the weather changes so much you’ll want to adjust with it, especially if you’re sensitive to the cold like I am. That backpack will be great to hold your sweatshirt, gloves, hat, poncho, etc. that you might not need during the day but will be very glad to have during the evening. There are lots of great travel backpacks that work well for the Disney parks. If you don’t want to carry a big bag but you’re not planning to go back to the resort either, renting a locker to store that stuff could be another option.
To help you keep track, I’ve created a printable packing list for the winter that has these items on it as well as some other essentials. To download and use, simply click on the image below or this link to get the full sized packing list printable!
What do you pack for a Disney trip in the winter?