In this article, you’re going to discover exactly how to dress in Disney World in January. We’ll cover all the clothes you’ll need to pack and why. And what better way to roll into what clothing you should wear than a brief discussion about January weather in Florida.
Now January in Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl is a puzzling time. For many parts of the world, January indicates cold weather and winter gear; however, Florida has a mind of its own when it comes to temperature.
On average during the month of January, Orlando has a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. More on temperature and averages can be found here.
This means that you are likely to experience chilly times of day in the evenings and the mornings. This can be a welcome reprieve to many vacationers, but it is important to understand how to best prepare for this kind of Disney World weather.
Being in a theme park provides a lot of different challenges than you might find in your daily life. Odds are you will be outside for most of the day and you’ll need to have the proper supplies to ensure your visit is pleasant.
Thankfully in January, the weather is pretty dry. While there are some rainy days (and those are worst) they are few and far between. Days are normally sunny and mild. It’s a lovely time to visit Florida because humidity, heat and mosquitos are less oppressive.
While many native Floridians or current locals will try to avoid the cooler times of the day, this provide an excellent time for tourists to enjoy the many attractions Walt Disney World Resort has on offer.
What to Wear – Women
My biggest tip for visiting Walt Disney World is to dress in layers. I know, it can be a pain carrying around a bag but it’s 100% worth it in January. My ideal outfit for women is leggings or comfortable jeans, a t-shirt with a jacket over it, hat or ear muffs, gloves, and socks and tennis shoes.
This will help ward off the cooler moments of the day while also allowing you to shed a few of these layers during the warmer parts of the day. You will be wearing all of the bulkiest items (except for the jacket which I suggest tying around your waist when it’s too warm to wear) and that small articles of clothing will be able to fit comfortably in a bag.
Walt Disney World does offer some winter wear; however, the more reasonably priced items are plain black and something you could get at Walmart or Amazon for a couple of dollars. It’s not worth spending $20 per person purchasing generic winter clothing that you probably won’t use after your vacation.
These generic winter items are also unique because they are not meant for real winters. These items are typically meant for Florida winters (where it rarely gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) so even if you do splurge on something with Mickey Mouse’s face on it, it probably wouldn’t be warm enough to wear during winter in your home location.
Also, the items which feature a Disney character, design or logo cost closer to $20/item. If you consider that each person needs at least a scarf and gloves, that’s about $35 – $40 dollars a person. If you’re a family of four, that means you’re spending $160 on Disney themed scarves and gloves. Personally, I would rather book a table at the Crystal Palace or Ohana than spend that money on mediocre winter wear!
What to Wear – Men
My suggested outfit for men would include a comfortable pair of jeans or light sweatpants (although I know there are dads out there who will wear shorts and sandals – don’t do it! Trust me, your toes will thank you.), a t-shirt with a light jacket over it, a scarf, socks and tennis shoes and maybe a hat, if you’re prone to getting chilly.
I intentionally left out gloves for men because in general, their pockets are much larger and accommodating for putting hands into. Again, bring a bag, fanny pack or share with another member of your group. You don’t want to be the one person who is miserable because you weren’t prepared.
What to Wear – Children
For children, I suggest almost the same. A t-shirt or tank top with a slightly heavier jacket over it, leggings or comfortable long pants, socks, shoes, hat, gloves and if they’re going to have a stroller, a blanket. I know, it seems odd, but children who ride in strollers aren’t moving around as much as their adult counterparts, which means they aren’t generating as much body heat. That’s where the blanket comes in.
It doesn’t need to be a comforter but a small blanket that can fold up or roll up into a small bundle or square is perfect. Blankets are upwards of $30 in the parks so it’s better to come prepared. If you’re planning on waiting for the parade or sitting while you’re watching the night time shows, I would also highly suggest bringing along an extra layer for yourself. If you are going to be stationery for any amount of time outside when the sun isn’t out, bring a blanket or pashmina for extra warmth.
If your children are planning to be in costume as their favorite Disney character (costume rules and guidelines can be found here), ensure that they are warm enough under their outfits. Many parents will pair similarly colored tights and long-sleeved undershirt with their costumes, so they are kept safe from the elements. Alternatively, Disney does sell winter versions of outfits, which often includes some kind of fur cape or fleece-lined jumpsuit.
Additional Items – Socks
There are a few other articles of clothing that are important for the whole family. The first of those is extra socks. Even if you have socks and shoes on, bring an extra pair of socks. If for some reason your feet get wet, you will be miserable especially as the day gets cooler.
Changing your socks from damp, cold ones to a warm, dry pair is one of the best feelings in the (Disney) world. This is especially true for children. If they step in a puddle or get rained on, they probably haven’t learned that emotional control it requires to separate an unpleasant feeling with feeling physically hurt. My experience with smaller children is that a dry pair of socks and a little tickle on the feet is a good cure for a case of the grumpies.
Additional Items – Sunglasses
The next important item for everyone to have is sunglasses. There is nothing worse than leaving your sunglasses at home and spending upwards of $20 on sunglasses in the parks or at your hotel. Don’t bring your best sunglasses because they are more likely to get lost or broken but do bring some from home.
Especially near the water or light-colored things, the sun can feel wildly bright (riding the ferry boat to Magic Kingdom, waiting in line for Space Mountain, walking around the World Showcase at Epcot, etc.). It’s better to be prepared than strain your eyes. The sun can feel brighter in Florida than anywhere else!
Additional Items – Sunscreen
Speaking of the sun, that brings us to our next mandatory item to wear. Sunscreen! I know, this doesn’t really have anything to do with what clothing to wear but it is just as important. While it may not be as swelteringly hot, the sun is still very present in Florida in January. Any skin that isn’t covered by clothing should have sunscreen on it.
Getting burned your first day of vacation and having to endure painful sunburn the rest of your trip is not fun. Don’t risk it and wear sunscreen. While there are places in the parks and resorts that sell sunscreen, you will experience sticker shock. Save your money for pictures, souvenirs and delicious food and bring sunscreen from home.
Additional Items – Ponchos
Another item that you should absolutely bring from home is a poncho. It probably won’t rain in January; however, on the off chance that it does, you probably don’t want to spend $10 on a poncho or $20 on an umbrella. Go to your local drug store and buy them for $2 apiece and throw them in your well-stocked bag.
The ponchos you can buy at your drug store often come in tiny folded squares of plastic. They will easily fit in a fanny pack or small bag and it can save you copious amounts of money. It also doesn’t take up as much space as a rain jacket, which is a nice perk.
Non-Park Attire: Dining
Aside from park-based essentials, it’s also important to consider what you might want to wear while eating at a restaurant or hanging out in Disney Springs. Because this is Florida, many indoor locations still have air-conditioning turned on. It can get chilly while you’re eating indoors. For this reason, even if you’re not going to the park, plan on bringing an extra jacket. Trust me, it’s worth it.
There aren’t a lot of restaurants that have dress codes on Walt Disney World property. I have seen flip flops and shorts worn to Cinderella’s Royal Table in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Conversely, if you do want to dress up, go with a button-down shirt for men or a sun dress for women. Children wearing princess, pirate or superhero attire are acceptable at any Disney restaurant and encouraged at many!
The few restaurants that have dress codes can be found here. But even those restaurants are in the resorts and only require business casual, not black tie, attire. Aside from those few restaurants, the only other requirement is that you have clothes on but that’s a requirement for most places in the park. Shoes are a must!
Non-Par Attire: Pools/Water Parks
Pools are water parks are pretty lax with their rules. If you do decide to go for a swim, bring a swimsuit and sandals. The pools are heated to 82 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, so the worst part is going to be getting out of the pool. Make sure you have a warm towel and dry off quickly, so you can minimize the time you’re in the cold.
This is especially true for children. If you’re planning to take them swimming, you might also consider including a wetsuit for them. These are the kinds of suits that many surfers wear. They insulate the body while also acting as swimwear. Even if it feels like a balmy 76 degrees, it can get pretty uncomfortable if you’re soaking wet in the shade.
On the same note, also consider pool shoes for children. These protect their feet from the hard concrete as well as keeps those little toes warm!
January Dress Essentials for Walt Disney World Resort
Below is a list of my best Disney World tips and tricks to enjoying your January vacation.
- T-shirt or tank top
- Jean, leggings or light sweatpants
- Light jacket or hoodie for cooler times of the day or when eating inside restaurants/watching indoor shows.
- Extra socks
- Closed-toe shoes – no, Crocs do not count!
- A hat
- A scarf
- Gloves (if your pockets won’t accommodate your hands)
- A blanket or additional layer of clothing, if you’re planning to sit outside or if you have a child in a stroller
- A bag to keep all your things in!
January can easily be one of the best times of the year to visit Walt Disney World Resort. It is cool but still pleasant, it has fewer crowds, you’re able to enjoy both cold and hot food and drinks (the spiked hot chocolate in Epcot is SO good but so is the Dolewhip in Disney’s Magic Kingdom!), and you get to spend more time with Cast Members who want to make your vacation special. Slower times can easily be the most magical.
The key to getting the most enjoyment out of our visit during January is simply a small amount of preparation. With a couple of key items, you’ll be able to focus more on the magic and less on your frozen ears!
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