(When Queen Elsa Is Visiting Florida)
I took a three-day trip to Disney during a pretty harsh cold snap – which meant packing some extra clothes. I tend over-pack for trips – I mean, what if, for some reason, I spill something on myself everyday? I’ll need a replacement shirt, a shirt for various occasions, a spare shirt in case I don’t feel like wearing the shirt I’d initially planned to wear…
So, with this added obstacle of unusually chilly weather, I needed a U-Haul truck to get my luggage to the resort.
Well – yeah. Think about all of the space you need for…
- At least three outfits per day
- Spare clothing
- Seven pairs of Minnie ears you need for those perfect pictures
- Multiple pairs of shoes to go with each outfit
- Scarves and gloves for nighttime shenanigans
- Snow boots and ski pants
- A swim suit and goggles (just in case – this is Florida)
- Four pairs of winter gloves
- A stuffed animal friend (don’t look at me like that – I know you still have a place in your carry-on for your favorite Disney character plushie)
- Makeup and perfume (you want to meet that prince/princess charming, right?)
- Extra space for all of the shopping you’ll do when you get there.
And nothing is more upsetting than when you realize that your suitcase is too stuffed to stay shut by the end of the trip.
Okay, okay. Here’s how to actually pack for a simple, cooler day at the parks – and it does get cold in Orlando, Florida.
- Long-sleeved tees: If you’re used to the heat year-round, make sure you bring some heavier clothes to layer. Hear me out. 60 degrees may not sound too chilly, but when that wind is battering you around and the humidity is low, it can be pretty cold. For those of you who’re coming from colder weather, dress in layers and peel them off as you go. A long-sleeved tee may be just right for your day at the parks.
- Fleece sweaters: For my southern friends who get the chills when the temperature dips below 70, make sure to bring a fleece sweater with you – especially at night. Pair that with a windbreaker and you should be good to go.
- A windbreaker: It gets windy. And that wind is cold – when there’s a cold snap, there aren’t any calm, warm winds rustling those palm trees. So, don’t forget that windbreaker. Either pair it with a sweatshirt at night (the lack of sun really makes a difference), or wear it over a long-sleeved tee during the day. That wind can go right through you.
- Scarves: I don’t kid when it comes to scarves. I live in Florida, where it only reaches legit scarf-wearing weather about five to ten days a year, but I own enough to sink a ship. But seriously – the temperature can reach the mid-30s here at night. Keep track of those weather apps.
- Long pants: I saw more than enough people walking around the parks in short-shorts, trying to get as much of their body curled up inside the over-sized sweatshirt they purchased at the nearest gift shop. Pack leggings, jeans, sweats – anything. Icicles for legs are not fun.
- PJ pants: Believe it or not, the cold can follow you inside. I’m sure most of you know it can take a while to thaw from those winds. I made the mistake last year of bringing a pj set – with shorts. I wound up sleeping in jeans my second night because I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing shorts – even to bed. This year, I didn’t even bother with sleep shorts. Flannel pj pants FTW.
- Hats: It’s cold, sure. But it’s still Florida. If we have four cloudy days per year, that’s a lot. So, bring a baseball cap or something with a nice, wide brim to block that sun. I neglected to wear one this time and couldn’t see a thing for half the day because of the sun glare in my sunglasses. Not to mention, it can reduce your chances of getting sunburn.
- Sunglasses: This goes without saying. If you want to skip the hat, don’t forgo the shades. It’s called Sunny Florida for a reason. There aren’t many trees to help shield your eyes and there’s a huge contrast between the lighting inside and that Florida sun. Brutal.
- Sunscreen: If you have sensitive skin, burn easily, or are pretty pasty, make sure you pack this, too. You may not feel the burn because it’s so chilly, but believe me – the sun is powerful.
- Extra socks: It’s cold. But it’s also Florida. If it’s not sunny, it’s raining. While the “rainy season” technically starts around May/June, pop-up showers still happen. It’s almost impossible to perfectly predict the weather here. So, bring extra socks in case those storms decide to take an impromptu tour through the Magic Kingdom. (Also, you may find it helpful to sleep in socks if your toes get cold easily).
I know, I know – I’m missing a good chunk of what I said I actually packed. But these 10 items are pretty essential if you’re headed to Mickey’s House in January and February. I can already hear my New Jersey friends and family laughing at how acclimated I’ve become to the Florida heat. But keep in mind: there has been snowfall in Florida. Don’t test Elsa. And, as Scar said in The Lion King, “Be prepared.”