Packing for a Disney World vacation can be a little stressful, especially if you’re packing for yourself and the kiddos. The Disney theme parks are a great deal more fun when you’re dressed for the “occasion.” Wearing the wrong kind of clothes, on the other hand, can leave you and the children uncomfortable and irritable.
So, what should you pack for a Disney World trip? It all comes down to when you’ll be visiting the Disney parks in Orlando because Florida weather can be all over the place.
As someone who has visited Disney World practically every month of the year, I’ve seen it all – rainy, hot, muggy, and chilly. That’s why I’ve written this comprehensive guide on what to wear when you’re visiting Disney World.
Disney World Packing: General Guidelines
First things first, I’m a big believer in packing lists.
We are a family of six, and a packing list is a life savior. It saves me the hassle of arriving at Walt Disney World and not having something I absolutely need. I highly recommend making a packing list for every person in the family after you’ve finished reading this blog.
Check out this helpful guide to get you started: The Ultimate Guide To Disney World Packing List
Now, coming to what to wear on a Disney World vacation – both in your resort and in a theme park. Regardless of what month you are visiting, there are some common guidelines that will stand you in good stead.
The average person can easily walk 10 miles or 20,000 steps in one day in a Disney World theme park.
Given all the walking you’ll be doing, comfortable walking shoes are a must, year-round.
Leave those heels at home and pack a pair of running shoes, tennis shoes, or comfortable sandals for summer weather.
I don’t recommend wearing flip-flops, even though they might seem like the most comfortable option in the Florida heat. Flip flops are not designed for walking for long periods.
Your feet can really start to feel the distance, and you definitely need more support than flip-flops provide when you’re spending an entire day in a theme park.
But sure, you can bring a pair of flip-flops to wear at a water park or the pool at your resort.
Another quick word of advice:
Do not wear a pair of brand new shoes when visiting Disney World!
Even the most comfortable walking shoes often need a few days of breaking in. You don’t want a shoe that bites or irritates your foot and leaves you limping.
It’s also a good idea to bring a spare pair of footwear if one pair gets wet or is uncomfortable. Make sure you do this for every member of the family.
Disney-Themed or Matching T-Shirts
A great way to add an element of fun to your Disney vacation is to wear matching t-shirts or themed clothes with Disney characters. This not only makes for adorable vacation photos but also makes it easier to spot your tribe among the crowds (the brighter, the better!).
If you’ve got a little one in your troop who loves to dress up, it makes sense to buy a princess or pirate outfit online when there’s a sale. These items can be quite pricey in the Disney World gift shops, so it’s a great way to save money and avoid disappointing your kid. Plus, you don’t want to waste precious vacation time in Disney World deciding on outfits and trying on clothes.
If you’ve been to Walt Disney World before, don’t forget to dig up all the stuff you bought on previous trips. There’s no point blowing your budget on more of the same stuff like Mickey ears (unless you want the absolute latest styles!).
Casual vs. Formal Clothes
The dress code in the theme parks is informal. Most people wear casual clothes like summer dresses, t-shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts, so that’s what you should pack, in general.
I recommend sticking to breathable fabrics for your Disney trip, given the hot and humid Florida weather. Plus, these fabrics dry faster if you happen to get drenched on water rides like Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom or Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom.
Keep in mind that if you have dining reservations in Disney Springs or one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, some restaurants here do have dress codes.
You can call and check, but I find it’s always a good idea to pack a couple of sets of smart casuals (one or more, depending on the length of your trip).
After a long hot day in a theme park, it’s nice to go to your room, take a shower, drop off your park bag, and change into something a little fancy before enjoying an evening meal in an upscale restaurant.
A bathing suit is a must for any trip to Florida, regardless of when you visit. I recommend it even if you’re not planning on visiting the water parks in Walt Disney World.
It can sometimes be warm enough to use the hotel pool, even in the winter months. Indeed, there’s no better way to relax after a long day in an amusement park than to take a dip in the resort pool.
If you’re headed to Orlando in the summer, I’d say bring a couple of bathing suits for every member of the family so that one is always dry, especially if you’re planning on visiting a water park.
Extra Clothes for Arrival Day
Many people arrive in Walt Disney World or the Universal Orlando Resort from cold weather and are dressed in winter wear. It’s a good idea to pack a set of clothes appropriate for the hot weather in Florida for each member of the family in your carry-on suitcase.
You may not get your checked-in suitcases in your hotel room immediately. If you want to head out to a theme park without wasting any time, this will help you get changed and all set to visit the Disney parks without delay.
General Tips on Weather in Central Florida
While writing this blog about what to wear to Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, I’ve considered historical averages for every season to give you an idea of the highs and lows.
Please keep in mind that there can be wide variations in the actual temperatures. That’s why I recommend you check the forecast a few days before your Disney visit and before you finally pack for your trip.
In general, highs are 70ºF or above throughout the year in Orlando. But you also need to look at the lows, which can dip into the mid-50s in the colder months, in which case you’ll need to pack something warm, especially for the evenings when the sun goes down.
Lastly, remember that Florida can experience big thunderstorms that can come on suddenly. I recommend packing a rain jacket or rain poncho.
You can also purchase rainwear in all the Disney theme parks, Disney Springs, resort gift shops, but they can get pretty pricey.
What to Wear to Disney World in Spring (March, April, May)
Spring temperatures in Orlando are usually highs ranging from 75 to 88ºF and lows from 55 to 70ºF.
This is the shoulder season between winter and summer, so you’ll start to see warmer temperatures in the daytime. But the weather cools in the evenings. If you’re coming to Florida from the northern states, you’ll find it’s a great deal warmer than it is at home.
Here’s what I suggest packing if you’re visiting Disney World in the spring.
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sweatshirt or light jacket.
- Long pants
Your bottoms should be based on personal preference (how cold you tend to get) and when you’re going (I like to pack long pants for March, but I usually wear shorts in May).
- Tennis shoes
For the kids:
I like to keep a change of clothes in the diaper bag for my toddlers. And I definitely want to have something warm on hand, like a blanket for the stroller and a long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt.
What to Wear to Disney World in Summer (June, July, August)
It is HOT in Florida in the summer months, with highs ranging from 80 to 95ºF and lows from 68 to 78ºF. The humidity can also be unbelievable.
Sure, you want to be fashionable on vacation, but if you don’t plan, you could end up being miserable on the warmer days.
- Short sleeved t-shirts
- Tank tops
- Summer dresses in lighter colors and breathable fabric
You probably won’t need a sweatshirt during these warm days, but you might want to bring a light jacket for the airplane.
Shorts are the perfect option for hot days. Dresses are also comfortable for long days in the theme parks, but be sure not to wear anything with a lot of flare that could be a hazard on the rides.
- Sneakers or comfortable sandals
- Rain gear (ponchos or a small umbrella)
It’s the start of hurricane season, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll experience a torrential downpour while you’re at Disney World.
Here are some activities that you can do at each Disney park in case it rains:
- What to do at the Animal Kingdom if it Rains
- What to do at Hollywood Studios When it Rains
- What to do at Epcot When it Rains
I like to have an extra top in my backpack just in case, given that it doesn’t take up much extra room.
Also, don’t forget face coverings are still required at many places in Disney World until the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.
One of the most important things that I always bring on a summer Disney trip is refillable water bottles for every family member, including children, so we can stay hydrated throughout the day.
Here’s a guide on where to find water refilling stations in Disney.
For the kids
Summer outfits with their favorite characters look great and keep the little ones comfortable throughout an active day. I would steer clear of synthetic fabrics. Darker colors are also a bad idea.
What to Wear to Disney World in Fall (September, October, November)
Daytime temperatures in the fall are typically between 75 and 88ºF, and nighttime temperatures range between 58 and 75ºF. You’ll still have sunny days, but the evenings will be cooler temperatures, so you should pack clothing items accordingly.
- Long or short sleeved shirts
Wear a shirt depending on your personal experiences (how cold you tend to feel) and when you’re going (short sleeves for September and at least a couple of long sleeves t-shirts if you’re going to Disney World in late November).
- Shorts for early September
- long pants for late November
I personally don’t like wearing jeans since they can take forever to dry in case you get wet, but if it’s something you prefer, then, of course, jeans are okay.
- Comfortable tennis or running shoes
You’ll still need sun protection in the form of shades, hats, and scarves for both you and the kids.
For the kids:
Short sleeve shirts are usually suitable for the beginning of the fall season, but the evenings can start to cool down, so I like to have something warm handy.
I remember one trip to Walt Disney World in October, where it got so chilly in the evening that we ended up buying sweatshirts for everyone.
Also, it’s when the holiday season is in full swing, so you might want to pack something with their favorite character, like a favorite pair of Mickey pants and something that’s in the spirit of the season, such as a costume for Halloween.
What to Wear to Disney World in Winter (December, January, February)
While winters are relatively mild in Florida (I’ve never seen snow), I would definitely pack for cold weather. The average high is between 60 and 80ºF, and the lows are usually between 45 and 60ºF.
I recommend packing darker colors, long sleeve shirts, long pants, a sweater or sweatshirt, plus jackets for everyone.
If you’re going to WDW for the holidays, bring something festive to wear!
- Long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt
- Jacket or coat
I like to wear layers because the weather can be unpredictable. That way, I can bundle up when it’s cool and strip off when it’s a bit warmer. I like to pack an extra top in case I get wet on a water ride.
- Long pants.
- Comfortable shoes.
- Shades (the sun still shines in Florida in the winter!)
- Sunscreen (you should wear it on cloudy days too)
And, of course, you still need a face mask for all indoor areas.
For the kids:
If you’re going to be in Disney World for Christmas eve or Christmas day, I will pack a special outfit.
Remember that you will likely experience chilly nights and early mornings during the winter months, so don’t forget to pack layers for the kids. A change of clothes for the little ones is always a great idea if it’s raining and their clothes get wet.
Even the most magical place on earth and the happiest place in the world cannot console a cold, wet, and cranky kid.
What Not To Wear At Walt Disney World
You now have a pretty good idea of what types of clothes you should wear to Disney. But there are also certain clothing items that you shouldn’t wear.
Remember that the Disney theme parks are a family-oriented environment, so you need to dress accordingly.
Use your common sense when deciding what to wear at Disney World, but here are some general guidelines and prohibited items:
- Avoid clothes that expose a lot of skin or are excessively torn or transparent.
- Avoid clothing that exposes inappropriate body parts, such as bikini bottoms, string bikinis, or G strings.
- Avoid clothing items with obscene or offensive graphics or slogans.
- Avoid clothing that’s too tight or difficult to sit down in.
- Choose a crossbody bag or backpack over a purse or handbag.
- Guests over 14 years of age are not permitted to wear costumes and marks in Disney World.
- Accessories or toys that resemble weapons will not be permitted inside the theme parks.
Planning Your Next Disney Trip?
I hope my ultimate guide on what to wear to Disney World will help you plan your next trip better and reduce some of the stress of packing. My goal is to help you be prepared for the Florida weather, dress in style and comfort, and avoid over-packing your bags.
I think I’ve covered almost every common question, but if I’ve missed something, ask me in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer.
Here’s to you having a good time in Walt Disney World and Florida!