Normally Florida has nice, balmy temperatures in the 70s, and even the 80s, in winter, but the thermometer can dip to some decidedly cold numbers, like it's doing this week. If you came to the Sunshine State expecting winter warmth for your Disney vacation, it can be an unpleasant surprise. Here are some winter tips for seeing Walt Disney World on cold days:
See indoor attractions in the morning and evening and outdoor attractions during the day: Temperatures climb to their highest point midday. It's very chilly in the morning, and temperatures dip again when the sun goes down, so plan accordingly. For example, see the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Animal Kingdom, which both have many outdoor attractions, in the warmest part of the day. Do indoor attractions at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios early and late. Winter is a great time to have a Park Hopper ticket that gives you the flexibility to move between the parks all day.
Dress in layers: It's tempting to wear a heavy sweater and coat when you feel the chill in the morning, but you'll be sweaty and uncomfortable by afternoon. Dress in layers that you can easily peel off and carry, like a t-shirt, light sweater or sweatshirt, and light jacket. If you don't want to carry excess outerwear once the day warms up, rent a locker at the park. You can retrieve the layers in the evening, as it gets colder out.
Take advantage of the cold: In the summer, Florida is blisteringly hot, which means you move more slowly and your energy drains quickly. On brisk days, you'll move more quickly and can get more done. Disney's Animal Kingdom is a particularly good park to visit in the winter because animals, like people, are more lethargic in brutal heat. They're much more lively and interesting to watch in cooler temperatures.
Laugh at the Floridians: If you're vacationing in Florida from the north, you might be chilly, or even cold, but the Floridians will be downright freezing once the temperatures go below 60. You might be in a jacket, but they'll be in coats, hats, and mittens. It used to make me chuckle when I lived up north, but now I'm one of those shivering, thin-blooded Florida residents myself.
This is an advantage when the temperature is in the 70s, or even low 80s, if you like water parks. The locals all stay away unless it's in the high 80s or 90s. If you're hearty, go to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, where there won't be any lines. One of the two parks will likely be closed for rehab on a winter visit (Blizzard is under rehab right now), but you'll always have at least one option.