Is there ever really a right and wrong way to dress—especially at Disney World?
Well, yes actually!
Typically, people are hoping the way they dress, and their overall fashion choices, don’t make them stick out like a sore thumb. Disney World is a destination where people tend to let themselves be a little more open and creative with their expression (remember the days of Fanny Packs in the 1990s?).
Adults wear clothing to match their children, and it seems like everyone has an extra set of ears on their head. Although you can feel free to wear whatever crazy outfit you come up with, there are some important factors to keep in mind.
Weather in December
December can be one of the best times to visit Disney World. That isn’t changed by the fact that the month of December is one that can be hard to plan for in Florida. Depending on where you are traveling from, your expectations of the weather will vary.
For people who are traveling from areas that tend to have bitter cold and extreme winters, taking a trip to Disney World in December will offer a bit of a respite from the cold they experience at home. Your expectations for the weather will have a pretty big impact on how prepared you are for the weather you are likely to experience.
If you are traveling from somewhere like the Northeast, you will have a much different experience than someone traveling from Puerto Rico. Average temperatures in the Northeast can be in the single digits! This makes winter attire necessary, and a vacation in Disney World where the temperatures will likely be in the low to mid-seventies even more desirable.
Naturally, the nights are cooler and will drop into the fifties. People traveling from colder areas will likely need to remember that it will still be a little on the cooler side early in the morning and later in the evening, but will be comfortable in t-shirts and shorts during the day.
On the other hand, people traveling from warmer climates may feel that December in Orlando is on the colder side. Walking through the parks, it is likely that there will be people who seem to be dressed for an arctic freeze!
It will never be quite that cold, and you may not need to go to such extremes to make sure you stay warm in December, but by all means, understand that the temperatures are not going to be sweltering hot. If you are accustomed to temperatures in the nineties, you may want to wear longer pants when you are walking through the parks.
There may not be a reason to dress for bitter cold during the day, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from wearing hats and gloves at night. Even the guests who are from areas with colder weather will feel the cold a little more acutely. The drop from a comfortable, even warm afternoon, to a much cooler evening can be a bit of a shock to the system.
Don’t worry about what your friends at home will say when they see pictures of you bundled up in Florida. Wear what you need to to stay warm and comfortable. The temperature will fluctuate throughout the day, so having winter attire ready to go is a good idea.
Another weather issue to be aware of in December is the likelihood of rain. Any time you travel to Florida, you should be prepared for there to be rain for part of the day. In the hotter months of summer, sometimes it is a welcome relief, and helps bring the temperature down for a little while.
In December, it is a little less welcomed. There’s nothing a little preparation and the right choice of clothing can’t overcome! Although they are far from fashionable, if it rains, break out the poncho. You will be surrounded by other people, wearing the same uncomfortable and unsightly plastic covering, and you will be happy you put it on. No one wants to walk around in wet clothes. To avoid the discomfort, put your pride away and just wear the poncho.
How to Dress Your Children
When kids get to Disney World, like the rest of us, they tend to be overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation. Dressing them appropriately can create both an added challenge and a fun opportunity for you. Shorts and short-sleeve shirts are perfect for sunny afternoons at the park, but kids can get cold in a hurry. The ever-changing temperatures in Orlando in December make layers your best friend when you are dressing your child.
If you are getting to the park for rope drop, not only is your little one likely to be tired, they will probably be cold, too. Having them wear shorts will be ok, but consider having them wear a sweatshirt over their t-shirt. This extra layer will help them be more comfortable while they wait anxiously for the park to open and the fun to begin.
Just like adults, kids will notice a sharp decline in the temperature after sunset, so be prepared for that. It may be a good idea to bring warmer clothes in your park bag for the day. Even just a pair of long pants will help make them more comfortable. Helping them stay warm and comfortable, will help make the evening more successful and enjoyable.
You may also want to consider layering long sleeve shirts under t-shirts. This will provide a little extra warmth in the morning that can be removed if they get too warm. It will be a welcomed layer when the temperature drops later on, and they have an extra shirt to wear. This is a little less bulky and should be enough for early in the evening. Of course, as the night progresses, they are likely to need sweatshirts, hats, and gloves, so make to bring them along with you to the park.
Making sure your child is dressed appropriately for the changing temperatures can be a little bit of a challenge, but there are plenty of fun things to consider when you are deciding what they should wear for the day. If you are traveling with more than one child, you may consider having them wear matching t-shirts on certain days.
These will create fun photo-ops and give you great memories to look back on. You are likely to see children everywhere through the parks wearing shirts that are offering to trade siblings for FastPass+ selections. This fun sibling rivalry type of t-shirt isn’t the only option. You can find a wide variety of creative t-shirt designs for your children to wear. There also isn’t a rule that they have to match.
It might be fun to let your kids pick their own before you leave for vacation. This will help get them more excited to wear the shirt when you suggest it on vacation, and save you from having to fight with them to wear a specific outfit for the day.
Let your kids have fun with how they dress in Disney World. Yes, there is a need to be practical and comfortable, but it is vacation! Let them wear their favorite shirts, even if you didn’t imagine them being part of your vacation photos.
Get the celebration buttons when you walk into Magic Kingdom. If your child has never been to Disney before, they can wear the “1st Visit” button with pride. Is it their birthday? They will love having cast members and other guests wish them a happy birthday everywhere they go. Celebrating something else? Don’t be afraid to let them wear a button and tell the world about what they are celebrating. These are not just for kids, so if you are celebrating something, wear your button with pride as well!
Make a stop and pick up a Mickey ear hat for your child to wear. It can be fun to let them find a hat that matches their personality, or shows their favorite Disney character. This will be a fun addition to any outfit they wear throughout the trip. These accessories are fun to wear in the parks, and just as fun to hold on to, and show off at home.
December Means Christmas!
While staying comfortable in fluctuating temperatures is incredibly important while you’re on vacation in Disney World, there are other, more fun, things to consider. When you’re in Disney World in December, you have an excellent opportunity to celebrate Christmas every day of your trip! No matter where you look, you will see Christmas décor.
Larger than life gingerbread houses are scattered throughout resort hotels. Santa Claus is ready to meet everyone in the Magic Kingdom. Epcot will give you an opportunity to explore Christmas traditions from around the world. This also means your choice of outfit can match the celebratory feeling of the décor.
Disney World is always a great place for pictures, but the Christmas decorations make it an even better backdrop for your pictures. If you, and your family, put on your best Christmas outfits and head to the Grand Floridian, you can get Christmas card worth pictures taken in front of one of the biggest, and most beautifully decorated Christmas trees you will ever see. There will be no denying the Christmas season is upon you, so dressing the part will on enhance the experience.
You’ll want to make sure you stop by these top five photo opportunity locations and get some awesome pictures to show off when your Disney World Christmas!
Santa Claus outside of Guest Relations in Magic Kingdom Everyone wants to get in one more picture with the “Big Guy” before the holiday. Add in a little Disney Magic and the photo is sure to be memorable.
In front of the Christmas tree in the Grand Floridian This awe-inspiring Christmas tree offers an incredible backdrop for your family, or solo, Christmas pictures.
Visit the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs Is there such a thing as too many Christmas tree photos? Well, maybe. But when the trees are this impressive, it’s hard to pass them by! Take all the pictures you can, and share the good ones with your friends when you get home.
Pose with Mickey and Minnie While you are wearing your best Christmas outfit, strike a pose with the couple at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, where they will also be wearing their Christmas best!
Main St., USA It doesn’t sound like it’s anything that screams Christmas, until you see it! Everyone loves to get pictures with Cinderella’s castle, so this photo will kill two birds with one stone. You will get an amazing picture with the castle in the background, but also all of the Christmas decorations will make every picture you take in Magic Kingdom look like the cover of a Christmas card!
This holds true for the extra experiences Disney World offers in December. If you are at Disney in November or December, chances are there will be a night during your stay that offers Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is an all-out Christmas extravaganza!
Your admission to the party, which is an extra ticketed event, will give you all the cookies you can eat. Eggnog, hot chocolate, milk, and juice are also included. It will make sure you get your fill of Christmas cookies even when you are away from home, and feel like you might be missing out on a cookie tradition.
The party offers unique photo opportunities, including with the Seven Dwarfs, who are rarely out and about in the parks. Love Nightmare Before Christmas? This party is your chance to take a picture with Jack Skellington, as Santa! With all of the characters out around the park, it’s hard to pass up getting your picture taken with them.
You can take one alone, or with your entire family, but make sure you wear something that screams Christmas! This is your opportunity to embrace the whacky side of dressing for the holiday, that you might not want to wear to Christmas dinner with your extended family.
Wear something unique and memorable. When you do that, you are sure to have even better character interactions, and awesome pictures to remember for a lifetime. Wearing something for the characters to react to will almost guarantee it won’t be a run of the mill interaction.
A crazy outfit can have Mary Poppins questioning your upbringing, and cast members complimenting you left and right. This is an opportunity to just have fun with what you wear, but also remember, comfort is key, so don’t wear something that will leave you shivering and running to the nearest store to buy extra layers.
Being at Disney World any time of the year is a fun experience that truly gives you the opportunity to show your love for any given character. For adults, expressing how passionately they admire a certain character is a little more difficult than it is for children. Disney has strict rules against adults wearing costumes in the parks. It makes sense!
You don’t want to confuse the kids, and there are, of course, safety concerns. However, adults want to have fun, too! If you are a Disney lover, you have likely heard about Disney Bounding. This gives adults the opportunity to dress in a way they feel encompasses a certain character, without wearing a costume.
Much of this is a play on different colors that a character is famous for wearing. Overall, this is a fun option for dressing at Disney World, and even at home when you are really missing all things Disney World! Can you do it in December, though? With unpredictable weather, all of your clothing choices are put into jeopardy. With a little planning, it is absolutely possible to do a little bit of Disney Bounding in December.
The first thing you need to do is decide on your character. The best part about Disney Bounding, instead of wearing full costumes, is that you don’t wear the same clothing as the character. You are just creating an outfit that makes people think of them. So, although dressing like Ariel in the winter might be difficult, with Disney Bounding there is no bikini needed!
Layering is actually going to help you in this case. Every character has a few key colors that people associate them with. Through layering, you can show how the colors work together, and possibly even create a more noticeable Disney Bounding outfit.
Don’t shy away from this trend because the weather isn’t really hot, and is a little unpredictable. Wear what makes you happy and comfortable! It is not an exact science, and is something you should have fun with. Wearing outfits that, at least to you, scream a certain Disney character can help make it feel like you are fully immersed in the Disney universe.
Unlike kids who are wearing costumes to be noticed, think of Disney bounding as a wink and a nod to the character you are channeling through your outfit. It’s not about being noticed, it’s about having fun with you how you dress for the day. Enjoy yourself!
Dress to Impress
For the most part, the trick to dressing for Disney is comfort. Just like everywhere else, sometimes you need to be a little fancier. One time you have to consider wearing something that goes beyond comfort and practicality is when you have dining plans. Disney World offers a wide variety of dining options. Not every restaurant has a dress code that exceeds what you would wear in the parks. However, some do. If you are looking to try out some of Disney’s “Signature” dining options, you’re going to have to dress accordingly.
There are several restaurants that have dress codes clearly stated and listed on the website. These are places where you are likely to have a more adult friendly meal, as opposed to the hijinks and fun of places like 50’s Prime Time. If fine dining is something you are interested in, you have to be prepared, just as you would outside of Disney World, to dress the part. You do not want to walk in wearing shorts and a t-shirt, when you are expected to be wearing dress pants and a collared shirt.
There are not many restaurants at Disney World that have strict dress codes, but it’s important to be prepared if they are places you are interested in trying out.
Seven restaurants have business casual dress codes.
Jiko—the Cooking Place Located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, this highly rated restaurant gives diners a taste of African cuisine.
Flying Fish Café Found at the Boardwalk Resort, they offer a slow-paced seafood dinner that is worth getting a little dressed up for.
California Grill Situated on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, this is a Disney dining favorite.
Narcoossee’s is located at the Grand Floridian along with it’s fine dining counterpart, Citricos.
Artist Point is found at the Wilderness Lodge, and fully embraces the beauty of the wilderness.
Yachtsman Steakhouse is appropriately located at the Yacht Club resort, and is revered by steak lovers.
Those seven restaurants have a business casual dress code, meaning men should wear slacks and a shirt with a collar. Women should wear dress pants, a skirt with a nice blouse, or a dress.
These are not the options with the strictest dress code. That is actually found at Victoria and Albert’s. If you are prepared to dine there, you should have reservations far in advance and you will be advised of the dress code when you make your reservations.
If dining is your thing, make sure you pay attention to where you are eating and the dress code they may have. If you are not leaving the parks to eat, you won’t run into a problem with how you are dressed for meals, but restaurants at hotels are different. Keep in mind where you are eating, and how you feel you can fit in. You don’t want to stick out in a bad way! Try to dress appropriately, and if you ever have any doubts, don’t hesitate to call and check with the staff about any dress codes there might be.
One Important Thing to Note
The most important thing you can do when considering what to wear for a Disney vacation is to be comfortable and confident! Don’t worry too much, and when in doubt, wear layers!
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