orlando winter season

How to Pack and Prepare for the Orlando Winter Season

The Orlando Winter Season is Coming

Thank you for listening to The Orlando Local Show. We appreciate you and hope you enjoyed our show about the Orlando Winter Season.

Believe it or not, it can get cold in Orlando. If not cold, at least chilly. Enough that you may want a light jacket or sweater. No snow here. Maybe that’s why we have so many snowbirds migrating here in the winter.

The weather is mild, but the prices are high. That’s because Orlando hotels and other tourist destinations are booked solid during the winter months. When you have great demand and limited supply, prices go up.

Even Walt Disney World, which has had some declining attendance figures this year, will be packed solid in December.

Related Links

Orlando Historical Temperature Averages


William:   Hi, welcome to the Orlando Local Show.  Today we are going to be talking about Orlando’s winter weather and how to pack and prepare for it, just so you don’t freeze yourself to death here in the Sunshine State.

Lee:         Oh, heaven forbid!

William:   I know, isn’t it horrible? The chill that we get here!

Lee:         I know, it’s absolutely unbearable.

William:   I mean we are sitting here the day after Black Friday and we are still wearing shorts and running the air conditioner in the house.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   We had a little cold blast, but that is kind of it so far this season.

Lee:         I know and it was so unusual that I complained bitterly for two days!

William:   And just so you know who’s complaining, hi!  My name is William Beem.

Lee:         Hi, I’m Lee Beem.

William:   I have lived here all my life; I understand how the weather works and basically, Orlando winter weather is usually kind of dry. You get occasional bits of a cold spell, but overall, it’s comfortable.

Lee:         Yes, it is.

William:   That’s why people like to come here in winter. That’s why all the rates are so much higher, because when it’s a snow globe up north you can come here and have a perfectly pleasant time. It’s not sweltering, sweaty weather.  But it does kind of make it a little bit difficult to know how to pack, because you’ve got to decide how many of the days are going to be weather for shorts and how many of the days are going to be weather for cold.

Lee:         You can probably mix in a little bit of both.

William:   Yep. So before we get started with that, let me tell you that show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/20 and of course you can find a free transcript of the show there.  And we would love it if you would subscribe to the show. You can find links at orlandolocal.com.

And of course social media, we are pretty much orlandolocal everywhere – on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; except for Instagram, where we have to be orlando_local.

Lee:         Yes, just the one.

William:   Just the one.

Alright, so Lee, you’ve made a lot of trips over here, but you never really came over here in the winter, except for after we got engaged and you came over for Christmas.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   You were coming from a very cold climate. It’s like you come from the UK and from everything you’ve told me and shown me, it’s cold, it’s snowing, it’s foggy and you never see the sun!  And then you come here. How do you plan for it? How do you pack? How do you prepare?

Lee:         That one was a little bit different because remember I’d been sending and bringing clothes over so I basically left all my summer clothes here. There were shorts and I’m not sure that I would have packed more than one or two pairs of shorts. I think we were here just short of two weeks for that Christmas trip, but I was comfortable in jeans; I was comfortable in shorts and you could probably, for most of the day, get by with or without sleeves. Early in the morning and then into the evening, once the sun is gone, I was more comfortable having some sleeves on. I think that December and early January was particularly pleasant and a little warmer than what we had expected.

William:   It was kind of a warm year last year. And I don’t know if you want to blame that on global warming or just change of the seasons, because some years are going to be a little colder than others; some years are going to be a little warmer than others.  Overall I’m looking at Intellicast and they’ve got an historical average for Orlando weather. I’ll share a link to this in the show notes.  But if you look at it for December the average low is 53 degrees and the average high is 73 degrees. And it doesn’t vary that much.  In January the low is average 50, the average high is 72 and then February the average low is 51 and the average high is 74. So when you think about that, overnight you are probably going to be getting into the 40’s.  And then during the day you are going to be in the 70’s and those averages, I think, are a little bit lower. You might get warmer than 70 – you might be out there in 77 degrees or so during a part of the day.

Lee:         Yeah, we’ve been hitting low 80’s, even mid 80’s this week. So I think during the day is not the problem. It’s before and just after sunrise, early in the morning, and then once you start getting to sunset time when the sun goes down it certainly cools down significantly and I am definitely more comfortable with some sleeves on.

William:   But really, what it comes down to I think is for the evening and maybe early morning, you need a light jacket and some long pants or sleeves, as you said. But during the day you want to be able to take those layers off and maybe you might get into some shorts or maybe you might keep your long pants on, depending on how you feel.

Lee:        You might. I think it also depends on how you need to keep warm. I know this varies from one person to the next, but I can deal with my legs being cold. But my arms, my chest, my shoulders and back – that core part of my body – if that is warm, I can deal with the rest of it.

William:   I know people like that. It will be zero degrees out in Denver and I’ve got a friend who will be out there with a snow blower in shorts. And he will never change out of his shorts all year long.

Lee:         Yeah. The shorts I can get by with them. If I am planning to wear shorts in the day I will just put them on in the morning. I’m OK with that. But I want the longer sleeves and a few more layers on the top.

William:   And if you’re worried about rain, average precipitation is on here as well. I am pleased to tell you that the average snowfall year round is zero inches.

Lee:         Yes! There was a little girl – we were out shopping this morning – and there was a little girl I overheard talking to her mom and she was looking at some snow globe and saying, “When are we going to get snow for Christmas?”

Mom said, “It doesn’t ever snow here!”  And she looked at her mom and said, “Never? Why?”

William:   It did snow here in the late 60’s or early 70’s. That’s when we were going through what people thought was going to be a little ice age. I was growing up and we were stunned. We saw this stuff falling out of the sky and I thought, wow!  It didn’t stick around. I mean it may have fallen a little bit of snow, but it didn’t really stick to the ground. We certainly were not building snowmen in Orlando!

Average precipitation is about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ inches for the month. That is our dry season.  I mean, when you get here in June and July it’s over seven inches and in August, six inches. When you are here in the winter time it is generally pretty dry. That’s not to say that you won’t find some rain come along. It won’t be a big, heavy storm. It will be like a steady drizzle maybe, if we get a rainy day. Overall you don’t really have to prepare for a lot of rain and you don’t have to prepare for extreme weather swings either.  You are not going to have any snow and you are not going to burn in the sun.

Lee:         No, honestly unless you live in a climate that is generally warmer than what we have here, you probably would not bother with gloves and hats and things like that. I know the locals sometimes wear them. I’ve seen people out early in the morning with scarves, gloves and hats on.

William:   Trust me, if you are in Florida and you live here and you are from Florida, it will be 72 degrees on the beach and you’ll find a girl out there bundled up with a big heavy coat and a scarf and knit-hat and stuff like that. It’s freezing!

Lee:         Yes, I had an elderly lady tell me the other morning – it was quite early – and she said to me, “Oh I’m very pleased to see you have sleeves on!” I didn’t tell her when I got to the traffic lights later on I was actually peeling them off and tying them around my waist.

William:   If you’re coming from a cold climate during the winter here, obviously you want to have some coats and sleeves or whatever for the weather that you’re going to have at your home.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   But once you get here, are you going to need that stuff at all?

Lee:         Probably not, but when you are traveling from somewhere cold and we’ve had to do this; sometimes even our September or October trips we knew when we got back it was going to be really cold so you have to suck it up, bring the coats.  You wear it on the flight or you wear it through the check-in, take it off and you have it with you again when you fly out.

William:   Yes and you don’t wear it again until you get back home and get off the airplane and then you say, OK it’s cold again now for real!

Lee:         You really don’t and I guess if you’re driving and you’re in your car and not really going to be standing outside for a while at any stage, you are probably OK to leave those behind.

William:   Yeah, but when you’re here I would say the heaviest coat I have is a pea coat. It’s not insulated, it’s not got a lot of padding or anything into it and it’s overkill for most of the time. I just like it because there are plenty of pockets in it.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   And it looks good.

Lee:         It does!

William:   It’s the kind of thing I wear in the morning and then by lunch time usually it’s warmed up enough that I really don’t need to wear it. I’ve got sweaters here that I would really love to wear, but it’s the same thing. I’ll put them on in the morning because it’s a bit brisk in the morning during the winter here. But by lunch time or early afternoon it’s a bit too warm to be wearing a sweater.

Lee:         Yes it is.

William:   That’s how you really plan on your visit to Orlando during the winter. Expect a chill in the air during the evenings and early morning, but by lunch time, through dinner time you are going to be comfortable probably at the worst case, even with long sleeves if it still hasn’t warmed up that much.

Lee:         Yes. Now that said, you’ll still be comfortable if you have jeans or some long pants or something on; you will still probably be OK during the winter.

William:   So are we still saying the same thing that they say up north? Wear your clothing in layers so you can peel them off?

Lee:         Yes.

William:   The problem is if you are on vacation, where do you put that stuff when you’re walking around?

Lee:         Well you don’t need that many layers. I mean layers here means a light sweater or something. I don’t even know that I would worry with the coat here. Generally, unless you’re going off on some early morning expedition somewhere in January, February or during a cold front, you are not going to need it.

William:   Yeah, I would still say have a light jacket just because every once in a while – and this is where you need to look at the weather forecast just before you leave – sometimes we will get a brisk, cold period that will last a day or two; three at the most, I would say.  But for the most part you are going to find just what we said. It’s going to be cold over night and in the morning and then after the sun goes down it will start dropping off again.

Lee:         Yes, I mean when we had that cold front at the beginning of the week I still had my shorts on. I did want some light sleeves on, but I still had shorts on and I was OK.  By the time 7:00 or 7:30 am rolled in it was a whole lot more pleasant.

William:   One thing I have never worn while I was in Florida is a scarf. I owned a scarf, but I only owned that for when I took trips up to New York and there it made sense. Here you wrap that thing around your neck and your eyes are going to pop out of your head because of the heat. They do a wonderful job of bottling in the heat and I’m sorry, we just don’t get cold enough really do deal with a scarf.

Lee:         Well, I don’t know. I see people running in the morning with scarves on.

William:   I see people wearing scarves here as a fashion statement and I wonder just what’s wrong? How do they stand it?

Lee:         Well you get different kinds of scarves as well. They are not necessarily to keep you warm and I can tell you from someone who has had to use scarves to keep warm, they don’t all keep you warm!  There are dress scarves.

William:   Oh, maybe I had a really good scarf then.

Lee:         You probably did.

William:   It was Burberry.

Lee:         There you go!

William:   That sucker kept me warm and it was great in New York and even in Washington DC, but around here there’s just no way in the world I’d wear that.

I guess hats ... you don’t really need any big, heavy hat to keep you warm. Again, that is probably more of a fashion statement than it is a real need. Except maybe at night, I’d say. But I don’t really worry about going out and saying, oh I don’t have a hat to keep my head warm.

Lee:         No, it’s not that kind of cold.

William:   No. So even like a little knit beanie or something like that, again those or things I bought to wear in other places that really are cold. I don’t need them here.

Lee:         You’re probably better with a hoodie.

William:   I’ve got a hoodie and I swear I don’t put the hood up because that gets just a little too warm for me.

Lee:         Yeah, but you don’t need to put the hood up. It’s there if you need it but you are not going to lose it. It’s very convenient.

William:   So welcome to Florida and welcome to Orlando. It’s actually quite comfortable and pleasant here in the winter time.

Lee:         It is. It’s wonderful.

William:   OK, have you got any other ideas or tips for how to pack and prepare?

Lee:         I don’t think so. I think most people are probably better equipped to deal with the cold wherever they live than what they are going to experience when they come here.  I would just say, pack layers, but light layers.  Don’t think heavy layers and bundling up. You really are just going to put one extra, light layer on.

William:   I think that’s probably true. Like I said, look at the temperature and the forecast for the seven days before you come here. You’ll see if we’ve got another cold front coming through. Occasionally it can get kind of nippy here, but that is about the extent of it. You are not going to be in extreme cold weather, even in winter in Florida. It is going to be pleasant and comfortable. At best, like I said, a light jacket and long pants.

Lee:         Yes, a pair of jeans and long sleeved shirt, maybe a light sweater or something to go over the top or a very light jacket and you are not going to be miserable.

William:   Now for a lot of people that live up north, they have got a lot of fashion items that they wear because they need them for the cold. So are you saying pretty much bring your summer clothes? Or your autumn clothes?

Lee:         Well, I wouldn’t say summer clothes. Just because you get cold winters up north doesn’t mean that you don’t get warm summers so I wouldn’t go as far as saying bring summer clothes. But I would say thrown in a couple of pairs of shorts, depending how long you’re going to be here, because you might just want them and it’s not that you are going to be miserable in a pair of jeans, but you might be more comfortable in a pair of shorts during the day. We get some lovely days. The weather warms up. We’ve been in the high 70’s touching around the low 80’s this week.

William:   Even on the beach there is usually a good breeze coming in. I remember times I’ve been out there on the beach with shorts and maybe a long sleeve t –shirt and that was comfortable enough for walking up and down the beach.

Lee:         Yes, you’ll be fine.

William:   OK, we hope this helped you and thank you so much. And we will see you again here next week.

Thank you very much for listening to the Orlando Local Show. We really appreciate you and are glad that you here. As I said at the beginning, show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/20.  You can find a free transcript of the show there and we hope that you will subscribe to the show so that way, when it comes in, you’ll just get it downloaded to your iPhone or Android or Windows phone – whatever you have. Or your computer, your Apple TV and all those fun places.  You’ll find links there and of course if you get the transcript, you’ll have links to subscribe inside the notes.

Thank you very much, everybody!  We appreciate you and we’ll see you again next week.

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