By Rikki Niblett
The past couple of days arctic cold has been rushing through the country. It’s been so frigid everywhere, yep, even in Florida, with lows dipping into the 30s! (Somebody go find Elsa please and help change this winter back to summer). While most people know how to better handle the heat in Florida, oftentimes, people forget about the cold. Trust me, it can be quite difficult to navigate the parks when it’s this chilly out.
My first piece of advice is the most obvious. Make sure to bundle up in layers. This is especially true if you aren’t going to be returning back to your hotel before night sets in. The layers will be key because they will keep you warmer. Then, if by chance you do end up getting too warm, you can just take a layer off and put it in a bag. (PS: make sure to bring a bag). Then when it does get cold again, you can quickly remedy it. I usually bring a hoodie that I can wear on top of my many layers. That way I don’t need to wear a big, bulky coat, but I am still protected from the frigid temps.
Also, you really want to consider bringing scarves and gloves (And maybe a hat too. Gotta keep those ears warm!). Having these items with you is critical because there is nothing worse than being down there and realizing you really need them and then have to pay Disney prices for something that you already own (Unless, of course, you want to bring those items back as a souvenir!).
I can’t tell you how important it is to be prepared. When I visited Disneyland a few summers ago, I thought, oh…it’s summer…a dress will be fine. That is until the evening started to hit. Then, I was the one guilty of buying a sweatshirt, since I absolutely didn’t know that it gets cold in California in the summer.
Something else I like to suggest is to bring those hand warmers that you shake up and then can wear in your gloves or other places. Seriously, those suckers are amazing! One of the best inventions ever! These have helped me in situations both at Walt Disney World and at home. Such a lifesaver!
For those with kids, especially of the younger set, don’t forget to keep them warm too. Consider bringing a little fleece blanket with you to keep them warm. You can bundle them up when they are in a stroller and keep them content. Also, this way they (or even you) can try to cuddle up in it while you’re waiting for a parade or a fireworks show.
You may also consider grabbing a hot beverage. Many counter service locations will serve up hot chocolate as the temps dip, or you can always stop at Starbucks for a warm beverage to help!
The best thing about the parks when it’s freezing out, is that you can really manage most aspects of touring the parks without being forced into the elements for too terribly long. Since most of the parks attractions are housed all indoors, you won’t have to remain outside for very long. Also, when it gets colder, many people opt to stay away from the parks. So it’s your opportunity to experience the parks with minimal crowds.
Alas, there is a worse thing though about touring the parks when it’s cold and that’s nightfall. The daytime is usually fine. Things tend to be more bearable because the sun is usually warming your body. But once night falls and that sun disappears, the temps drop rapidly. It can be hard to stay motivated to remain in the parks. If you come prepared though and can stick it out, once again, you will likely experience the parks with lower crowds.
One way of working around the nighttime cool down is to make an later evening table service dining reservation. This way you are still in the parks, but you aren’t outside in the nippy atmosphere.
My last tip is if you just can’t stand being outside in the elements when it’s this cold, I suggest heading over to the Wilderness Lodge and sitting by the fireplace, soaking up the atmosphere. This resort just screams a homey feeling and there is nothing better than sitting by a warming fire in the arctic temps.
While the cold can put a bit of a damper on your vacation (especially considering Florida is the land of fun in the sun), if you take the right precautions, you can have a great time. Because a cold day in Florida is still better than a cold day at home.