Hip, hop, hooray! It’s the final countdown to your vacation and you’ll soon be on your way to Orlando! But first, you need to pack your suitcases, and researching the weather is crucial as you plan out what to wear.
You don’t want to be too hot or too cold (it’s rare, but Florida can get chilly during certain parts of the year!). Otherwise, you may end up with surprise souvenir shirts, shorts or sweaters, which can be a rather costly mistake if you weren’t planning on it. Take it from us … one time we ended up buying Hogwarts house sweaters on a particularly cold day at Universal Orlando. We love them, but it pushed us over our trip’s budget (ouch).
Like many frogs, if traveling during the summer, you'll need to prepare for high temperatures and humidity. In this guide, we’re breaking it down by the weather in each season, so you know exactly how to pack for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other Florida theme parks.
How to Pack for the Orlando Theme Parks Year-Round
June, July, August
We’re kicking it off with summer since that’s when most frog families plan their vacations. It also hoppens to be the most consistent season in terms of weather expectations. Two words: hot and humid. The average high temperatures reach the low- to mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius), and the average low temperatures remain around the mid-70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius). Humidity levels can also get as high as 80 percent, which can make it feel even hotter than it really is. Temperatures generally peak in the afternoon, so we recommend hitting the parks early to help beat the heat. Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks, perhaps even a longer break in the afternoon when it’s the hottest part of the day. Plan for opportunities to cool off, whether that's in the AC, shade or pool.
By June, Florida’s wet season is in full swing. Despite its nickname as “The Sunshine State,” Florida is also known for its summer afternoon thunderstorms. Typically, the storms form in the afternoon and pass through the area quickly, only lasting about an hour or so. However, it can be a daily occurrence, so expect to be caught in a brief thunderstorm any day you’re visiting. Usually, the rain does help with cooling down the rest of the day once it passes through. June is also the beginning of hurricane season, which lasts until November. While it’s important to keep the potential of a tropical storm or hurricane in mind, Orlando is landlocked, so the chances of a direct hit with full force are low. The theme parks rarely shut down in advance of severe weather.
What to Pack
- Light-colored, moisture-wicking fabrics: You’ll want to avoid dark-colored clothing as it absorbs more heat. Prepare to sweat (a lot!), so workout gear, such as gym shorts and tank tops, or other clothes with moisture-wicking fabric tend to keep you cooler. Also, if you go on a water ride, you’ll dry more quickly than if you’re wearing cotton or denim. We frogs prefer comfort over style! But if you’d prefer not to wear athleisure, then a general rule of thumb would be the thinner or more breathable the material, the better!
- Comfortable shoes: Whether you bring sneakers or walking sandals, your shoes need to be broken in. Otherwise, you risk blisters and sore feet, which is no fun! We like to bring one of each, so we can alternate between the two. Bring flip-flops if you’re planning any pool time, or sandals, flats or heels if you’re planning to dine out at a nice restaurant, but we don’t recommend wearing them during long days at the theme parks.
- Swimsuits: Speaking of pool time, don’t froget your swimming gear! Whether you plan a water park day or decide to take a break at your resort’s pool, swimming is one of the best ways to cool off during the summer.
- Extra socks: In the event that you get rained on or soaked on a water ride, you’ll want an extra pair of socks so you’re not hopping around with soggy feet.
- Ponchos: We prefer individual ponchos because they’re easier to carry around than an umbrella. All of the theme parks sell ponchos if you need some last-minute, but it comes at a price! You can find a pack of ponchos for cheap (for instance, six for $10) on Amazon — both disposable and reusable. (Tad and Lily feel very strongly that short-sleeved ponchos > long sleeves.) Pro tip: The easier it is to put on, the faster you'll be able to be rain guarded when you start to feel those drops fall.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats: You’ll want to be protected from the sun’s strong rays, so sunscreen is a must-have. Sunburns are painful to deal with. Hats can keep your face covered, and we prefer to bring cheap sunglasses in case we lose a pair on a ride.
- A light jacket: If you’re someone who gets cold easily, it certainly won’t be cold outside, but you might want to bring one for indoor activity, as the air conditioning is usually cranked high.
- Cooling fan and/or towel: A cooling fan or towel will certainly come in handy during the hot summer days. We'd recommend a hands-free neck fan so you don't have to worry about carrying it around.
September, October, November
While other parts of the country start to cool down in September, Florida does not. The weather continues to be hot and rainy, but temperatures start to become slightly less intense with an average high in the high-80s Fahrenheit (low-30s Celsius). Meanwhile, the average low temperature remains in the low-70s Fahrenheit (low-20s Celsius). Peak activity during the hurricane season typically occurs from late August to early October. But again, the likeliness of a direct hit with full force remains slim.
It starts to cool down a little bit more in October, but the average high is still around 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). Depending on where you’re from, the weather may seem unusually hot for that time of the year! The average low temperature is about 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius), meaning you may experience some cooler nights and early mornings. However, during the day, it can still get pretty warm outside. Humidity levels and average rainfall also begin to decline during this time.
By November, the rainy season finally comes to an end. Not to say that it won’t rain at all during your trip, but the pattern switches from daily afternoon storms to longer rainy days due to cold fronts. It’s moderately warm during the day with an average high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), but it may get chilly once the sun goes down, as well as early in the mornings, with an average low of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). At this time of year, there aren’t too many cold fronts that pass through, but November normally has at least one or two that force us to break out our sweatshirts and jackets during the day.
What to Pack
- Comfortable clothes that you can layer: Since the weather remains warm, you should still pack T-shirts and shorts so you’re not too hot, but it would also be wise to pack at least one pair of leggings, jeans or pants. On top, long-sleeved shirts (spirit jerseys for the win!), thin sweaters or light jackets would probably be enough coverage for cooler nights and mornings. It’s a bonus if you could easily layer the clothes that you bring.
- Ponchos: If you’re going in September, ponchos are a must-have. Later in the season, we suggest sticking them in your suitcase anyway, so you have them on hand just in case. But unless the forecast includes rain, you should be fine if you leave them at the hotel.
- Comfortable shoes: It doesn’t matter which season you’re visiting — you need comfortable shoes that are already broken in since you’ll be doing a LOT of walking and standing.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats: Bring the usual protection from the sun.
- Costumes: If you want to dress up for Halloween, pack your costume! Note that there are costume guidelines at Disney World — though adults can wear costumes during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
- Swimsuits: It’s still warm enough outside if you enjoy relaxing pool time.
December, January, February
The weather during Florida’s winter season can be unpredictable. Some days may have the most perfect weather — sunny and warm with a slight breeze and lower humidity. But the very next day, it could be cloudy and rainy as a cold front passes through and then the temperatures drop drastically overnight. It rarely stays below-freezing temperatures, but that doesn’t mean it won’t feel cold! In fact, Florida’s low winter temperatures actually tend to feel colder, compared to the same temperature in a drier climate, all thanks to humidity & how the moisture evaporates off your skin. It’s the same line of reasoning for why summer temperatures may feel hotter than the temperature really is, compared to the same temperature in a drier climate.
In contrast to the anticipated summer rain patterns, winter rain is also less predictable. There are much lower chances of rain since it’s Florida’s dry season. However, if it does rain, it can vary on how long it’ll last and when it happens. During the winter, it might stay cloudy all day and rain off and on — or it could pass through quickly, leaving only half a day with not-so-ideal weather. It could be a light, gentle rain, or it may be a thunderstorm. Rain can hoppen at any time (just this past winter, thunder woke us up at 6 a.m. one morning!).
The varying weather makes it much more difficult to pack for Disney World. We suggest you prepare for anything and everything, but wait to make any final decisions until right before you leave. That way, you can double-check the weather forecast to see if there are any cold fronts on the horizon. January is Florida’s coldest month of the year with an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
What to Pack
- Sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets: When it’s cold in Orlando, you’ll want your heavier outwear. (At Universal Orlando, this is the best time of the year to wear your Hogwarts robes!) The good news is that the coldest of days are generally right after the rain from a cold front passes through so at least it’s bright and sunny out. But fair warning, we’d pay more attention to the wind chill. The wind can make low temperatures feel brutal!
- Comfortable clothes that you can layer: Florida’s wacky weather sometimes lets us wear T-shirts and shorts during January, but for the most part, it’s better to bring clothes that you can layer, such as a flannel shirt or spirit jersey.
- Comfortable shoes: Opt for sneakers or boots that are worn in. Sandals may not keep your feet warm.
- Gloves, scarves, hats: For particularly cold days, you may want the extra warmth, especially if you get cold easily.
- Ponchos: Chances are you likely won’t need them, but it never hurts to pack if you have space in your luggage. Cold fronts can seemingly come out of nowhere.
- Swimsuits: Wait, swimming in the winter?! It’s toadally possible if you catch a warm day and want to swim in the heated pools! Water parks are open year-round, but they can close for inclement weather.
March, April, May
Based solely on the weather, springtime is our favorite time of the year to visit Orlando, particularly March and early April. It starts to warm up consistently after the winter months and cold fronts hoppen less frequently, but it’s not quite scorching hot yet. There aren’t too many rainy days either, and the humidity is lower.
Perhaps the most challenging part of springtime weather is that temperatures rise and fall quickly like a roller coaster in a single day. It may start out as a cool morning, then temperatures reach their peak in the afternoon and finally ends as a chilly evening after the sun goes down. March will be the most unpredictable in this way. By the time May rolls around, warmer weather will be more consistent as it transitions into the hot, summer months.
What to Pack
- Comfortable clothes that you can layer: Similar to the fall season, you likely won’t need heavy outerwear, but the mornings and evenings may be cool enough to need a light jacket or sweater. If you’re visiting later in the season, you’ll probably be fine without needing to layer clothing.
- Comfortable shoes: You know the drill by now. Broken-in sneakers or walking sandals would be best to protect your froggy feet.
- Ponchos: We’d definitely recommend them for May, as it’s closer to the rainy season. If you have space in your luggage, it doesn’t hurt to pack so you can avoid buying them at the parks in case there’s rain in the forecast.
- Swimsuits: Spring can bring great weather for swimming!
Overall, Central Florida has a subtropical climate, so you can expect warm temperatures year-round. It's super important to research the weather, so you're able to pack for Disney World and other Florida theme parks accordingly. What is your favorite season to visit?