When you’re headed to Disney World this December, you’ll want to make sure you have the right outfits for your vacation. With so many different rides, experiences, shows and attractions it’s important to make sure you are comfortable all day long.
December brings in some extra weather challenges as it can get cold in Central Florida during this time. Snow doesn’t usually make it’s way down to the most Magical place on earth. It can be difficult to know what to pack.
I’ve put together this complete guide to help you prepare for what I consider the most wonderful time of the year at Disney World. Turn on the Christmas music, get out the candy canes, and let’s dive into the ultimate guide to Disney in December.
Is December a Good Time for Disney World?
November and December are a great time to visit Disney World if you love Christmas decorations as much as I do. Your favorite characters might also be dressed in their Christmas outfits.
There is no shortage of Christmas cheer during December. If you have never been to Disney during the holidays you should definitely add a trip to your list.
You should know that crowds will be high and the weather may be chillier than expected. Packing and planning for your December Disney trip will help you enjoy the trip despite the weather and crowds.
Pros of a December Disney Trip
* Christmas Decorations
There are 29 Christmas Trees that are 15 feet or over. There are 596 additional trees under 15 feet on Disney property. Disney has 15,000 ornaments and 260,000 lights for those trees.
Seeing the Christmas decorations in all of the parks and the Walt Disney World Resorts is truly a magical Christmas experience. There is nothing like it.
* Special Events
There are many special events and holiday parties you will only find during this time of year.
Cons of a December Disney Trip
The weather is unpredictable and can be quite cold.
December is the busiest time of year in Disney World.
Is Disney Crowded in December?
December is the busiest time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort and the surrounding areas of Orlando in Florida. The last two weeks of December when schools are on break are the busiest in Disney World all year long.
The best time to go in December are the first two weeks of the month. When you pack for your next visit in December, be sure to bring plenty of patience. Remember you’re visiting the Most Magical Place On Earth.
The closer it gets to Christmas, and New Years the crowds will continue to increase. It’s important that you have any plans secured with reservations. If you’re interested in a last minute trip, we recommend going early to rope drop for the parks.
I would definitely recommend Genie+ and purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes during this time of the year. Genie+ would be very worth it in December. Early Entry or Rope Drop in addition to Genie+ will also help you maximize your time in December.
Holidays in December at Walt Disney World
* Check out Cinderella’s Castle for the show Frozen Holiday Surprise. All your favorite Frozen characters will perform during regular park hours and the special party events as well.
* Be sure to check out all of the decorations around the park, especially on Main Street.You won’t want to miss the 65 foot Christmas tree on Main Street.
* Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom transforms to the holiday version Jingle Cruise. Check out this festive adventure!
* Meet Santa from November 24th to December 24th.
* Living with the Land gets a festive glow for the holiday season.
* Find Holiday Storytellers around the park from November 24th – December 30th.
* For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration featuring Olaf has a special holiday showing.
* Sunset Seasons Greetings is a nighttime projection show on Tower of Terror.
* Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine happens this time of year. Reservations are required and will be booked fast!
* See your favorite Toy Story characters in special holiday outfits in the park.
* The Tree of Life has a special holiday addition at night. Be sure to catch this special show.
* Adventurer’s Outpost has Mickey and Minnie in their holiday outfits and will take pictures with your family.
* Marvel at the magnificent holiday decorations around the park.
Yes, Disney World is open 365 days a year including Christmas day. Christmas Day is in December, but you can enjoy the decorations all month long. There is nothing like Walt Disney World during the holidays.
Are There Special Events I Should Pack for in December?
There are many special events happening in Walt Disney World for the holiday celebration. Here are a few notable events going on in the month of December.
We recommend that you check out the Candlelight Procession which takes place in EPCOT. Different celebrities narrate a Christmas Story with an Orchestra.
A trip to Walt Disney World in December wouldn’t be complete without attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a separate ticketed event inside Magic Kingdom during the month of December.
As with any special event that occurs at Walt Disney World Parks, guests really enjoy dressing in their favorite Christmas outfits. If you enjoy a good laugh, many guests like to wear ugly Christmas sweaters featuring Disney characters. This is a fun way to stay in the magical holiday spirit and stay warm if it’s cold outside!
The holiday fireworks and parade at this Christmas party are both can’t miss!
Be sure to book your tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party early, all of after hours and parties have been selling out. If you do get your tickets, be sure to check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips.
Disney Jollywood Nights
A brand new party has come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this Christmas season. Similiar to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party in Magic Kingdom, this is a special ticketed event.
You will need to purchase party tickets to enjoy Disney Jollywood Nights. You will not need to purchase park tickets unless you want to attend Holywood Studios or another park in the morning.
Enjoy Yuletide Entertainment, Nostalgic Characters, Glitz and Glam galore, and special dancing during the party. There will also be special photos, food, and lower wait times for the after hours party.
Tickets start at $159 and the part runs from 8:30pm to 12:30am. You can begin entering the park at 7pm.
Christmas Tree Stroll in Disney Springs
Get on over to Disney Springs and stroll along all the stores and paths to see some of the most decorated Christmas Trees. Pick up any last minute gifts or stop for a bite to eat in the many options you have there. Visit the Starbucks and get a hot chocolate as you can walk past all the decorations – highly recommend this at night, as the lights come to life.
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
Enjoy recipes from around the world at EPCOT’s world showcase from November 24th to December 30th. This is the shortest festival at EPCOT of the year.
What are Disney World Hours in December?
December is a very busy time and often has extended park hours to accommodate the large crowds. Check the My Disney Experience App for up to date park hours for your visit.
Here are the current December hours, though they are subject to change.
Magic Kingdom – 9 am to 11 pm (with some early closing times for the Christmas parties) December 30th and 31st Magic Kingdom will stay open until 1am.
Epcot – 9:00 am to 9:30 pm. December 31st EPCOT will remain open until 1am.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 8:30 am to 9 pm (with some early closing times for the Christmas parties) December 31st Hollywood studios will be open until midnight.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 8 am to 7 pm or 9am to 8pm. There are not extended hours on New Years Eve.
Water Parks Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon – 10 am to 5 pm each day. One park will usually be closed throughout the month for its refurbishment period.
Disney Springs – 10 am to 11 pm
The Weather at Walt Disney World in December
Winter in Central Florida can be unpredictable. In December, the weather can go from mid 70’s and sunny during the day and shoot down to the 40’s at nighttime.
The average high temperatures are 74°F and low average temperatures of 56°F. It is possible for beautiful warm weather that isn’t too hot. There is also a possibility of cooler temperatures.
Is it Cold at Disney World in December?
The temperature drop is extremely sudden and can take some northerners by surprise! Make sure you check the weather forecast daily while you are on your trip as it can change drastically in temperature from one day to another.
And I know some of you are thinking “that’s not too cold” when you see the average temperatures. However, Florida cold is different than states that get snow on the ground. Florida has extremely humid weather which means there is a lot of moisture in the air.
When the temperature drops, that moisture also becomes cold causing your body to feel much colder than it is. Sometimes it feels so much colder in Florida than what the weather channel is telling you. Use your best judgement and remember it’s always better to be over prepared.
This year we were at Walt Disney World for Christmas and it was 40°F and we were freezing. The iguanas were falling out of the trees it was so cold. We were so glad to have packed our long sleeves for the trip.
Does it Rain at Disney World in December?
December marks the end of hurricane season so there is no longer a threat of storms. Rain is not typical this time of year though it does happen occasionally. On average, only 6 days of the month are rainy.
It’s a good idea to pack your rain gear like a poncho or a raincoat. If it does rain, you won’t want to be stuck waiting for it to pass and sometimes it’s best to just walk through it if it isn’t dangerous.
A poncho or raincoat would protect you from the freezing cold rain. You’ll thank me when you walk into an air-conditioned ride, and you aren’t soaking wet!
You could also consider bringing your umbrellas. Since it doesn’t rain as often I would just pack rain ponchos for this time of year.
I see a lot of families wearing Croc’s at Disney Parks. Despite what you might think of their aesthetic, Crocs are waterproof and make walking through rainy weather easy. These are a good backup option for kids if you feel they may need a waterproof option at some point during your day at the park.
Can you Swim at Disney World in December?
It really depends on the temperatures for your trip. We definitely have been swimming during the warmer 70°F-80°F days. The 40°F days are a little too chilly to swim for me, though you will find some guests swimming.
The pools on Disney property are heated to 82°F year round so the water will always be warm for swimming. The good news is you can always swim at the Disney resorts if you want to.
Also note if you rent a condo or place thru AirBnB that has a pool or hot tub, there can be an additional charge to turn on the heater for the water outside. Yeah it stinks, but if it costs the home owner money, they will be sure to pass on those charges during the winter months in Florida.
Using the hot tub can be a great way to wind down in the evening, but personally I prefer hitting the water parks where Disney keeps the water heated year round. Usually during the cooler months like December you won’t face long lines for the water rides so you can have the water parks to yourself.
What to Wear to Walt Disney World in December?
I recommend packing layers for your day at Disney Parks. For example, you could wear a short sleeve shirt and have a light jacket in your park bag for when the temperature drops.
You could also tie a jacket or flannel around your wait during the day for easy access if you get cold. Sometimes, rides can also be very cold while you are waiting in the queue so having a jacket with you could come in handy there as well.
Imagine being stuck in a long line waiting for your favorite ride for over an hour and being freezing cold. No thank you!
How do people dress in Orlando in December?
To put it simply, in layers from my personal experiences while being down here during the month of December. Florida weather can be tricky to predict, so that’s why layers are important for your comfort. Just because that snow doesn’t make it down this far of the sunshine state, doesn’t mean that cool winds won’t put a damper on your Disney trip.
Your clothing options should be versatile and easy to put on or take off during the day. This gives you the ability to get warm if needed or cool down if needed.
I recommend long pants, sweatpants, or athletic leggings to go with your layers. It’s a lot simpler to layer on a jacket or roll up your sleeves on your long-sleeved shirts. Again, this is going to be based on your best judgment for your own needs and comfortability. In true Floridian fashion you can wear shorts with a sweatshirt and it’s still acceptable. Sometimes it’s hard to predict the weather here!
During the holiday season, Disney sells holiday merchandise with many long sleeve and sweatshirt options. If there is a time you are much colder than you thought you would be, pop into a store such as the Emporium in Magic Kingdom and take a look at their holiday line!
They always step up the designs from the year before and I really love looking at their holiday line of clothes and accessories. You can also check out their holiday line at ShopDisney.com and preorder any of the items.
No matter what time of year it is, you should always wear closed toed shoes. Your feet will thank you at the end of your trip! There have been some days I walk close to 20,000 steps at a Disney Park in one day. If you buy new shoes before your trip, I recommend breaking them in before you arrive.
Combat boots or Doc Martin style boots are very popular and a great way to keep your feet warm. Make sure if you pack boots that you also pack the correct socks! Being from Maine, I am pretty fond of my L.L. Bean boots during the winter and find them comfortable enough to walk in the parks.
You’ll want socks that cover your ankles to avoid getting blisters around your heels and ankles. Fuzzy socks are also my personal favorite but avoid those if the weather will be too hot.
No matter what time of year it is, a hat is always helpful. It can block you from the harsh Florida sun or keep your head warm if it gets cold. Any type of hat works but for the colder weather consider bringing a beanie or something fuzzy.
Bucket hats are a trendy option for headwear and there are even fuzzy bucket hat options in stores. Bonus points for hats that are Disney related! Disney shops sell all sorts of hat options with your choice of Disney characters.
For the colder days, a sweatshirt or a crewneck sweater is a great option to layer over a short sleeves shirt. In my personal experience I like anything that is lined with fleece or a warm layer to keep my body warm. If it does get cold, you’ll be spending a lot of time outside in that weather so consider packing a pair of gloves and a scarf. These are easy accessories to throw into your bag if you are not using them. Hand warmers are also a great option to be able to put into your jacket or pants pocket to keep your fingers warm.
Are you staying at a Walt Disney World resort during your stay? You might want to consider packing sweatpants and a long sleeve for lounging around the resort. Main lobby areas and other common areas tend to be quite cold no matter what the season.
Your resort may also have a heated pool or hot tub on sight so consider packing a bathing suit and flip flops for your time at the resort. If it’s cold outside, the sweatpants and long sleeve can be thrown over your bathing suit to keep you warm when heading back inside the hotel.
Leave the beach towels at home, your resort will supply those for you! This is a good place for the Croc’s or waterproof shoes again.
What do you wear to Disney for Christmas?
If you are heading to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party you will want to pack your festive PJs. Another option if you don’t want to wear PJs is fun family holiday shirts.
There are many cute Christmas Disneybound ideas you can plan to wear for your next Disney World trip. Just make sure you pack your comfortable shoes no matter what you choose to wear.
Do I need a jacket in Florida in December?
Check the weather before you leave for your trip to help you decide. This past December we needed our thick winter jackets at Christmas time in the 40 degree weather.
You may not need a jacket most of the time at 70 degrees. Early Mornings will likely be cold and I would at least suggest a sweatshirt. If your Disney World Vacation weather looks like it’s unusually cold like last year, you may need a jacket.
What to Pack for Disney World in December
This is a difficult question to answer given what we have already discussed in the weather and what to wear section. Watching the weather and packing layered options will help you to make your packing list for December.
Here is an overall ultimate Disney packing list for December:
- Short sleeve T-shirt(s)
- Tank Top
- Light pants (think yoga or other lightweight leggings)
- Jeans or Heavier Pants if it will be cold
- Long sleeve shirts
- Bathing suit and sandals
- Reusable water bottles
- Multiple pairs of tennis shoes or boots if it will be colder
- Extra bags (think plastic grocery bags for dirty clothes)
- Mickey ears
- Cell phone charger block & cord
- Sunscreen (At least SPF 30 or your personal preference)
- Festive clothing or Pjs
What should I pack in my park bag for the parks in December?
When you’ve packed all your warm clothes and layers it’s time to think of what you’ll need in your park bag. First, you’ll need to make sure you have a good bag to bring into the parks each day. This will be different for everyone depending on your needs for the day.
If you are going with your family or kids, you might need a backpack to hold things like snacks and juice boxes. However, if you are just going with one other person or a small group you might just need a fanny pack or a small backpack to hold your phone and necessities.
Some parents have small backpacks for their kids to hold onto things like small toys or hand sanitizer. If you have a stroller these can be thrown into the bottom if your child doesn’t want to hold onto it anymore (we know how quickly that can happen).
I recommend something that can hold things like a water bottle or a reusable bottle to refill during the day. Even if the bag is empty, chances are you’ll end up buying a drink or something that you’ll want to put into a bag. I don’t recommend a huge backpack as this can get difficult on some of the rides. Contrary to many other theme parks, Disney allows you to bring your bags onto most of the rides. If you have anything too big you might have trouble getting it in and out of the ride. Rides like Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom have a little pocket at each seat for you to place your bag into.
Guests are allowed to bring outside food and drinks into the park so, mini water bottles or sports drinks are great to throw into your bag. Also, snacks such as granola bars or trail mix are great in the middle of the day. Food can get very expensive out there so any little thing helps!
Even on the colder days, the Florida sun is nothing to mess around with. In fact, even on cloudy days you are still exposed to extremely strong levels of UV rays from the sun in Florida. Even Floridan’s should be wearing sunscreen out there. It’s a good idea to pack a small bottle that can go on your keychain or fit into your park bag in case you need to reapply during the day. If you are sweating while walking through the parks, it’s a good idea to keep reapplying your sunscreen according to the directions on the bottle. The higher the SPF the better! A sunburn can still occur even on a cold cloudy day. Consider packing a pair of sunglasses for your time at the parks as well.
Neck fans are very trendy at the parks. This wraps around the back of your neck and each side has a small fan attached to the front. On warmer or hot days these fans help keep your face cool and sweat free. If you are traveling with a child or baby in a stroller, consider getting a stroller fan that clips to the side of the stroller to keep them cool.
Walt Disney World Parks are the most magical place on Earth, especially during the holiday season. Get ready for Christmas trees, lights, celebrations, and singing. But, also for cold weather!
It’s such a treat for Floridians when the weather cools down in December and January, but it’s arguably the best time to visit the parks weather wise. I would stay far away from Disney during the summer months because of the brutal heat and summer thunderstorms.
Disney during the winter makes me think of hot cocoa, “ugly” Christmas sweaters, and holiday lights. We can’t wait to see you on Main Street USA this December, so tag us or share them in our Disney World Secrets Facebook Group.
Stay warm out there and enjoy your magical holiday season!