When you think of Florida, you don’t exactly think winter and cold. Florida is a great escape in December, and a great time of year to visit Disney World. Even though the weather is still warmer than a lot of regions in the country, Disney in December can still get pretty chilly! This makes packing a little more difficult than other times of the year, but follow along carefully so you know exactly what to bring to Disney World during this time.
Even though the weather may be colder, December is such a great month to visit Disney World for extra magic around the parks, and you will not be sweating all day! I love visiting Disney World in December because the weather creates a much more enjoyable experience.
There are also special events going on around the parks this time of year that enhance the experience. You will not be sweating through your clothes by nine in the morning and it is more manageable walking around the parks all day which in itself makes it a great time of year to visit Disney World. It is also one of the months that is less crowded which is great for ride lines and crowd control. I have been to the parks before when the crowds were unbearable, and it affects your experience.
Visiting Disney World in December is one of the best months for a more relaxing Disney vacation. However, visiting in December does mean that the weather is cooler, even in Florida. This alone means packing for your Disney World vacation will require a little more thought and a little larger suitcase.
Even though this may seem like a hassle, it is a lot easier to plan and prepare than you may think, and knowing it ahead of time will save you a lot of time in the long run. If you are looking to escape the winter weather and wear shorts every day, you may want to reconsider Disney World in December. It can get really cold in central Florida and you definitely will not want to be wearing shorts every day. Still pack those shorts and t-shirts but consider a warmer option to go with them to accommodate the weather.
Things You Need for Disney World
Deciding what things you need for Disney World is a bit overwhelming, especially if you have not been before. Planning for it seems nearly impossible with so many variables to factor in. Changes in the weather, long days, and different activities are just a few things to factor into your packing list which can make it a bit overwhelming. Not to mention extra shoes and plenty of socks.
Not to worry! I am here to spell out exactly what you need and some of the things you can leave at home.
One thing I love to bring especially to Disney is a packable laundry bag. Between the rain, water rides, and sweat throughout the day, you are not going to want those clothes mixing with your clean clothes. A poncho is another must-have on any Disney trip. A word of advice-do not wait until you get to Disney to purchase a poncho. The cute mickey design is enticing but you will end up spending more and you do not know how often you will wear it.
On the other hand, if you plan to take a lot of Disney trips, investing in the Disney ponchos is something fun to bring to each trip. For a cheap poncho, option check out these! A poncho is a great option to protect yourself and your family from the rain and wet rides that can be folded up small enough to fit in your bag without taking up precious room. I have brought a rain jacket too but I find a poncho is much easier to bring and pack. Also, a small tip, if you are on a water ride and do not want your bag getting wet, put your poncho over your bag!
You should also plan to layer your outfits. It is warmer during the day but once the sun goes down, you are going to want a sweatshirt or a light jacket to throw on. I have been fine in shorts and I have been fine in pants. Luckily, Florida is typically always warm at some point during the day, minus the few cold days they have, so if you tend to not mind being slightly chilly, you might be just fine with shorts. If you plan to bring a big enough bag, I like to pack a pair of pants and a sweater or sweatshirt to change into later in the day.
It may seem like a waste of space but you will be happier when the sun goes down. Throw some sunscreen and an anti-friction balm in your bag for the day you will not regret it. The sun is typically always shining in the sunshine state, so even with the temperatures a bit cooler, you will still find yourself in the sun for hours each day. I usually bring a stick sunscreen that is easily applied while walking. An anti-friction stick will save you from being uncomfortable walking miles every day with potentially wet clothes.
You can get away with bringing your ugly holiday sweater in December. You will not be too hot, especially if you bring it to change into in the evenings, and you will be festive and enjoy your experience that much more. Grab a small external battery charger. It is great to have when your phone battery is low from taking all of those pictures.
There are a ton of photo and video opportunities and you never know when you are going to want to pull out your phone to snap a picture or video. Having a battery pack is a great idea to keep your phone charged and ready to go. Plus, using the Disney app throughout the day, that also drains the battery so you will be glad to have a portable charging option.
Do not pack anything too heavy in your backpack. I promise you will not need it. You do not want to be lugging around a heavy bag all day. Keep it to the minimum of what you need, but also do not minimize the amount of stuff to avoid your bag filling up. A Disney trip in December calls for extra clothing items. This is not the trip where you will find a water bottle in your bag and that is it.
But if you are questioning if an item is worth it, you probably do not need it. You do not have to worry about basic first aid needs-there are first aid locations in all of the parks that carry Band-Aids, Tylenol, etc. I like to carry a small first aid kit just in case of a scrape or blister, it is easier to have it on hand than running to a first aid location. But anything more than that is something the first aid place will have for you.
It may seem silly but triple-check that you are bringing your wallet, tickets, etc. Sometimes those items are easily forgotten! Keep those items in an easily accessible spot in your bag. You will constantly be reaching for these items and you do not want to be digging around your entire bag each time to find them. And there you have it. A list of what to bring to Disney World that will leave you more prepared for your trip.
Packing Food for Disney World
I love bringing my food for my Disney trips. It is more convenient and saves a ton of money. Easy to pack in your suitcase snacks go ahead and buy ahead of time. Anything bigger or perishable I like to order and have it delivered to my resort. I also always bring a small lunch cooler like this one that fits in my backpack to bring sandwiches for lunch! When you are packing food for Disney World, do not overdo it. I have packed way too many snacks before and ended up bringing some home.
Only bring or order food that you know you are going to eat in the time you are there. I like to get individual size snacks for the parks because they take up less room and are all-around easier. Think goldfish packs, chips, granola bars, trail mix. They are all good snacks to have on hand and helps you save money and time in line anytime someone wants a snack! I like to bring multiple snack options, considering the time of day you will be reaching for them.
A granola bar or small pack of cereal will be great for mid-morning. Something like cheez-its or pretzels is great for a quick afternoon snack. I also like to bring some healthier options. While you are on vacation the last thing you want to do is to be counting calories. But with all of the special treats, you will be allotting yourself, having a healthy snack option will be welcomed during the day. Typically, healthier options will fill you up longer too, so I like to pack snacks with a good amount of protein.
I like to have a suitcase dedicated just to snacks and those extra items needed for your trip. This eliminates having to dig through your suitcases to find what you are looking for, and it prevents any snacks from opening up and getting on your clothes. This leaves a suitcase dedicated to shoes and clothes which makes everything a lot easier. One smaller suitcase is plenty for all the snacks you will need.
You may even have room to fit extra items you will want, like a small lunch bag cooler, ice packs, bags, hats, etc. You will not regret packing in multiple bags on this vacation. You will most likely be buying extra items on your trip, so even after you eat some of the snacks or clear some room in your suitcase, you will want extra room for anything you pick up on your trip as well.
Packing food can seem a bit ridiculous when you are going on a vacation to Disney World. You may want to eat out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. But even though there are a lot of food options and many great restaurants, you will find yourself eating a lot of the same items.
That is one of the main reasons why I like to pack food for my family for our Disney trip. Even bringing oatmeal cups is a great way to add in a healthy breakfast and break up eating the same breakfasts each day. I find searching for lunch options is the most difficult inside the Disney parks. With a lot of the same options offered for both lunch and dinner, you may find yourself getting bored eating the same foods.
I like to save eating out for dinner because I feel as though there are more options for dinner and you will not be eating the same food so much that you get sick of it. Ordering groceries to pack sandwiches is a great alternative to eating at the parks for every meal, you will have healthier choices, and you will save money on your trip.
Best Bag for Disney World
It is so important to bring a good bag on your trip. You want a bag that is big enough to comfortably carry all of your items but also lightweight enough to carry around all day. However, for those of you who are bringing a stroller and plan on storing your bag in there, get one that you can fit easily or hang it without it getting in your way and one that can fit everyone’s items to avoid multiple bags.
This is the best bag for Disney World in my opinion. It is deceivingly large but so comfortable and holds up amazing. I cannot recommend this bag enough! I always love bringing a bigger bag when using a stroller because you do not have to limit the items you want to bring. Especially with toddlers at Disney World, sometimes you just never know what items you will need to reach for.
I always like to over-prepare for a trip to Disney with kids. And having a bigger bag option gives you the flexibility to pack everything you think you might need. Having a bigger bag is also great when you have younger kids that might not wear a backpack all day. You can easily fit their items in the bigger bag and consolidate them.
Everyone else in the family should still bring a backpack to keep their items for easier access and to save room in the bigger bag. I love this diaper bag/backpack combo for if you are going the stroller route but also easy to throw on like a backpack when need be. A diaper bag/backpack combo is so great for Disney when you need items for your child but you are waiting in a long line.
Your hands will be free for holding the baby, without sacrificing having to leave something behind. I find this helps me organize everything better as well, instead of having a huge bag to throw everything into. Plus having a big bag hanging off your stroller tends to get in your way a time or two.
A good backpack is a great investment for your Disney World trip. I like a backpack that is lightweight with many pockets to store your items. I like smaller pockets to hold my phone, wallet, keys, hand sanitizer, and quick access items. I also need a pocket to hold a water bottle or two to avoid your water spilling in your bag.
I recommend getting a backpack that has comfortable straps that will not bother your shoulders throughout the day. Getting a backpack that is made from a water-resistant material is a great idea to avoid your items getting wet from the rain or water rides. I also like to get a backpack for each member of the family so everyone can carry their items.
Putting everything in one backpack will be too heavy to carry around all day and it will make it a lot more difficult to find the items you are looking for. If you are traveling with a stroller, I still suggest bringing at least one backpack to put items you will need quickly in. This will eliminate digging around bags to find important items and you can easily grab the backpack on the go when parking the stroller. There are so many great bag and backpack and diaper bag options out there that you will have no problem finding exactly the right bags for everyone in your family.
Helpful Tips for a Disney Vacation
I love Disney in December, but as far as packing goes, you will need extra room in your suitcase to accommodate the layers and extra items. Everyone should have a warm sweatshirt to bring to the parks. Depending on the weather forecast, a lighter jacket and/or a winter hat and mittens might be good to pack as well. I have been there wearing Ugg’s and I have been there wearing shorts. You just never know! So, be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly. Bringing a light blanket is great to have for kids but also is great to have when you are sitting waiting for a parade or the fireworks.
Some other helpful tips for a Disney vacation are to buy souvenirs for the kids online and pack them. You will save money and will not have kids begging for every light-up toy they see. If you want to shop ahead of time, there are tons of souvenirs you find in the parks here and some other really fun, cute, Disney merchandise to bring a little extra magic to your trip.
Plus, it is fun to shop online before your trip to get you even more excited! I like to pack all of the extra items I have ordered ahead of time so everything is ready to go and we do not forget anything. This also adds a bit of magic if you surprise your kids with these special treats while on your vacation. I love any chance to create more magic for kids, and Disney is the best place to do that.
This will make getting them a special gift even more special than just buying it throughout the parks. Download the Disney World app. This is your key to a relaxing, organized vacation. The app gives you everything from park hours, to wait times, to reservations, showtimes, and you can even unlock your Disney Resort hotel room with the app. I am telling you; this app is gold and you will not regret downloading it. Your planned park days are right there so there is no guesswork about where you are going and when. You will not forget a ride or experience when everything is listed nicely for you in the app. I love to filter through the app to the park we are visiting that day and make sure we did not forget anything but scroll through the list quickly. This app has it all and is your gateway to a great trip.
I also suggest planning your reservations well in advance so you do not miss out on a restaurant you want to try. If you are planning your trip on short notice, I suggest checking back frequently to make sure you do not miss a reservation. Reservations pop up and go away quickly and often, so checking frequently is your best bet for getting one. So, there you have it. A great list of what to bring to Disney World to help you in your planning and packing process and some helpful tips for a fun, relaxing Disney vacation.
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