Orlando's Winter Weather

Every year thousands of northerners head south to Florida in an effort to take a break from the cold and snow. After freezing, shoveling, and slipping on the ice, they pack their bags during December, January and February trying to recapture the sun and warmth that they are missing in the cold arctic blasts. However, old man winter can be a cranky guy and the January weather in Florida has become increasingly colder. Two years ago they even reported that the lizards were falling out of trees because they would suddenly go into hibernation.

Winter Weather Shouldn't Spoil Your FunWinter Weather Shouldn't Spoil Your Fun
However, winter weather for us folks in the north means something different to those in Florida, so just how cool are we talking about? Despite its warm, southern location, Florida has recently experienced freezes detrimental to lucrative citrus industry, and in 2010 they recorded three days of light snow. In addition December, January and February in Orlando often get about 2 inches of rain. El Nino systems that come through in the winter tend to be cooler due to an increased cloud cover, but they have less overall precipitation.

Orlando Average Temperature & Daylight Hours (from Weather.com)

  • December: High Low 55-74 mean is 64; Sunrise 7:10am, Sunset 5:30 pm
  • January: High Low 40-72 mean is 60; Sunrise 7:19, Sunset 5:30-6:04 pm
  • February: High Low 51-73 mean is 62; Sunrise 6:50-7:15 am, Sunset 6:15 pm

The Florida nights are much cooler than the sun drenched days in Orlando, temperatures frequently drop into the 50's and occasionally can get even lower. When you leave your hotel to make rope drop, the temperature will often be cool and crisp, making it tempting to pull on a sweater and your overcoat. By lunchtime it could possibly be upwards of 80 degrees, leaving you sweating and wishing you had shorts on.

How does one dress to deal with the fluctuations in Florida's winter climate? My advice is that you be sure to pack with layering in mind; and make liberal use of the Park's locker rental stations. As you tour it's easy to pull off your outer layers and stash them in a locker, you'll be more comfortable during the day and always have some warmer layers near by for after the sun goes down. A 3-layer system is my ideal attire and is accomplished by wearing a base, middle and an outer layer. It always rains when I'm in Florida during the winter, so I make sure that my outer layer is waterproof.

Being from the Chicago area, even 40 degrees in winter feels pretty great to me! How about you? Have you spent the winter in Florida? How do you make sure that you're comfortable during the 30-degree changes in temperature? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Trueblue63 wrote on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:19:

Trueblue63's picture

It warms up pretty quickly In the morning if you have a sunny day. I might be pretty cold walking to the food court for breakfast at 7 am, and it's still chilly at the bus stop. But by the time we've gotten to the parks it's not quite so brisk (9am?).

We've layered and used the lockers, but realistically, you're not walking from one end of the park to the other to shed a layer 2 or 3 times in a day. The real kicker was the evenings. When the sun goes down the temps drop quickly, so that boat ride to DTD, that was nice on the way, can become a freezer on the way home.

I guess for us it boils down to this:

Tolerate a little cold in the AM, dress for a chill in the PM

crazycatperson wrote on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:32:

crazycatperson's picture

Better recheck that February sunset time - a little past noon seems kinda early, even in the winter!

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 12/21/2011 - 13:42:

Kristen K.'s picture

LoL! Looks like I copied the "Solar Noon" time! It would seem that I'm the world's worst self-editor. I can live with that.

Daryl D. wrote on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 03:14:

Daryl D.'s picture

We had 3 days of monsoon rain in October this year; we relaxed in the hot tub down at the pool.....hey, we were getting wet anyway...we made the best of it. I remember 1979-1980 in WDW....it used to be in the mid 70's for daytime highs....but I think we're on the verge of another Ice Age!!!
Rain or Shine...i'm looking forward to the first week of February at Fort Wilderness Cabins!!!!!!!

Jeff wrote on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 17:42:

Jeff's picture

Winter is pretty mild in Orlando. The coldest days of winter are in the 40s (even upper 30s), but only briefly. Most days are 50s (in the coldest months - January and February). I wear a moderate jacket in the mornings on the coldest days of winter, and it comes off fast as soon as the sun rises overhead.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options