Beth M. (NDM#226) (4 Posts)

Beth, a New Orleans native, grew up a Disney fan driven her neighbor’s fascination with Disney and his brother-in-law, Disney concept artist, Herb Ryman. She grew up entrenched with the artwork, early Imagineering and Disney’s focus on families. After losing her home in a hurricane shortly after her first trip to Disneyland, Beth realized the value of the loving memories like those from her Disney vacation that helped ease the pain in more difficult times. Today as a mental health professional, she applies her knowledge to help others with travel to the parks. Her experience includes keeping families intact, LSU Kid’s Cope and research with post-Katrina children. Currently Beth works in a private setting and heads a nonprofit website, Mouse-aid.org dedicated to helping others with special needs and travel to Disney parks.


photo credit: Christin Clement

Yes, it does get cold at Walt Disney World. Despite contradictions and stories that it’s always warm, the weather can change fast and before you know, it you’re not prepared,  you’ll have a miserable time. This year, there were record and prolonged lows; but, even if it’s only for two days the cold weather can impact your trip.

Don’t forget:

•    Elderly, sick or disabled often feel the cold more than most.
•    Infants and toddlers can feel colder especially immobilized.
•    Alcohol can increase your exposure.
•    Humidity makes it feel colder than you imagine.
•    Temperatures drop very quickly.
•    Wind-chill off the lakes can feel colder than anticipated.
•    Temperatures often drop fast after sundown.

Some forget when packing that Florida cold is often more humid and penetrates your clothing faster than a dry cold. Temperatures drop fast, and can  range from mid 60s and 70s by day to a chillier 40s or 50s by night. There is prolonged exposure to the cold and frequently, many come unprepared. When packing for a trip remember to check the extended forecast and prepare accordingly. If there are predicted lows in the 50s then consider warmer clothing. If the rain is ending by afternoon, chances are warm temperatures are ending too, so prepare for cooler temps.

It’s important to note that if someone in your traveling party is an infant, elderly, sick or very thin, they will often feel the cold faster than the rest of us. You may want to adjust your plans and apparel accordingly for their comfort.  Layers are usually best when headed to the park. Check to see if someone in your party is on a medication, such as blood thinners, which can make them more susceptible to the cold. Activity is reduced when using a wheelchair or scooter, so those using them are more prone to cold.  Infants and toddlers are often in strollers with minimal activity and may be unable to express their cold.

Remember to bring blankets, gloves and scarves for those less mobile. Avoid alcohol which leads to vasodilation, which causes you to lose more heat with exposure. Don’t forget if you are traveling with a person who is ill, they too can be more susceptible to cold. An anorexic or very thin, frail visitor frequently has difficulty with thermo-regulating and feel cold even though the temperature is normal or only slightly cooler, so don’t forget to bring sweaters or sweat shirts for the air conditioned attractions or restaurants and chilly nights.

Pack lip balms and moisturizers for exposure to the wind and cold. Those refillable cups are handy when you get back to your resort and need a quick “warm up” with a mug of hot chocolate, coffee or tea. My favorite is a mix of hot chocolate and coffee for a great mocha to warm me up. If you do find yourself a little over-exposed in the cold, a great remedy is a quick stop by the Basin for bath bombs and enjoy a hot bath back at your resort with a relaxing fragrance that will melt those cold Disney memories into heartwarming memories before you know it.

Contributed by: Beth B. (NDM #226) Beth is the DDL Special Needs Blogger. She is also a contributor at Mouse-Aid.

One thought on “BRAVING THE COLD IN THE PARKS

  1. Beth,
    Great post! I have learned this the hard way. The last 2 yrs I have visited WDW during xmas. In 2009 we were not really prepared since we did not know what to expect. I mean we did not come with shorts or Tshirts, we did have capris & shirts & jackets, but yes 1 day it rained all day and we were lucky the temps got into the 40’s. This past yr I was I thought more prepared, I had jeans, long sleeves and jackets. During the day it was a nice 70 some, but once the sun had went down and the wind picked up on the lakes it got cold! Next time I plan to have gloves & scarf’s.

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