Walt Disney World’s climate is wild. That’s true year-round, however particularly in winter when there will be 30-40° swings in temperatures from the day by day highs to lows. This picture report shares my near-freezing day in Magic Kingdom–masking what I completed, and (most significantly) actionable recommendation for beating the crowds on chilly days and nights in WDW.
Winter is my favourite time of yr at Walt Disney World. In all probability an unpopular opinion amongst snowbirds who escape the freezing temperatures and winter climate of the Midwest and Northeast, fleeing to Florida for sunshine and heat. However I far choose the coldest days of the yr (all 13 of them!) in Orlando to the most popular ones (all 43 weeks of them!).
Don’t get me unsuitable, I like sunshine and heat climate…however I’m simply not geared up for these days with 90+ diploma warmth and triple-digit looks like temperatures. Final summer season was simply brutal–I’ll fortunately take the chilly over that. When temperatures drop, you may at all times add layers to remain snug. On the oppressively sizzling and humid days, there’s solely a lot you may take off earlier than safety will get concerned.
There are additionally plenty of misconceptions about how the climate impacts crowds at Walt Disney World. That is price mentioning as a result of we frequently hear feedback from readers who’re shocked by this. Opposite to widespread false impression, rain often doesn’t filter out crowds until it’s an absolute deluge lasting hours.
Excessive warmth additionally has minimal impression on crowd ranges. Anecdotally, I believe it does make company grumpier and extra meltdown-prone, however they play by the ache. (Critically, there’s a noticeably higher ‘vibe’ at Walt Disney World from November by March than through the summer season months.) About the one factor you’ll discover when it’s actually sizzling is that nighttime crowds improve as extra folks take noon breaks and extra locals come out after darkish.
Scorching and wet climate have minimal impression on crowds as a result of each of these issues are just about par for the course with Florida climate–if Walt Disney World wasn’t busy when it’s wet or sizzling, the parks can be uncrowded half the time! On the contrary, vacationers and locals alike put together for these kinds of climate so it doesn’t ship them heading for the exits. Nobody is forgetting their shorts for summer season in Florida; in the event that they do make the error of not bringing ponchos or umbrellas, they’ll simply buy these within the parks.
What does make a distinction is chilly climate. Extra importantly, a wider vary of temperatures or “shock” lows. If the daytime excessive is within the higher 70s or low 80s however the nighttime low is within the 40s, that is the candy spot. Bonus factors if there’s a little bit of precipitation, or higher but, wind, thrown into the combo. It additionally helps if these lows happen all of the sudden, throughout timeframes when lows are in any other case within the 60s.
Just about everybody seems on the climate forecast for Central Florida whereas packing. If planners see present temperatures within the 60s to 80s, they plan for that. Furthermore, most individuals will gown for no matter season it’s once they head out the door within the morning. So if it’s within the excessive 70s or low 80s, that’s shorts and t-shirt climate.
Anybody who has spent period of time in Orlando through the winter can let you know that there’s a large distinction between a sunny 80° day and nights when temperatures are within the 50s or decrease. Even on paper, that 30 diploma swing is important, however it’s completely huge when you account for the divergence in “looks like” temperatures.
We’ve been warning about this for years, and I’m not too proud to confess that this recommendation comes courtesy of classes I’ve discovered the laborious means. As a local Michigander who grew up within the belt that bought hit laborious by the “Lake Impact Snow Machine,” I assumed no Florida climate might faze me. Then got here a fateful journey in December 2010, with lows within the higher 30s. I haven’t made the error of underestimating Florida climate since. (That’s not fully true–I’m a gradual learner–however I’ve largely not made the error of underestimating Florida climate since.)
Level being, even in the event you’re from the Midwest or Northeast and are used to chilly climate, you shouldn’t make the error of assuming you’ll be fantastic–that Florida (of all locations) can’t dish out winter climate. Your physique will grow to be acclimated to these 70-degree Florida daytime temperatures fairly shortly, making double-digit temperature drop as soon as the solar goes down really feel much more pronounced.
Extra importantly, Florida chilly is much worse because of the humidity. I can’t reiterate this sufficient. The “looks like” of even 50º climate in Walt Disney World is considerably worse than at dwelling. Florida’s humidity makes even semi-cold climate far much less snug. I might not be a meteorologist, however belief me on this–it’s science.
Most individuals gained’t be ready for a dramatic drop when the solar goes down. At that time, their choices are to bear the chilly climate in no matter they’re carrying, head dwelling, or purchase hotter clothes. There’s a cause racks of sweatshirts roll out to each reward store when the temperatures drop–however at $60 a pop, shopping for your means out of the chilly is a dear proposition.
Individuals begin dropping like flies. An hour or so after sundown, Magic Kingdom can filter out on days which might be abnormally frigid. We’ve had late nights when the park is a ghost city, because the chilly climate drives plenty of company away. The parks filter out in a means that simply doesn’t occur in different excessive climate, in need of a veritable monsoon or hurricane scare.
On busy days between November and February, one of the simplest ways to ‘forecast’ a decrease crowd degree within the night at Magic Kingdom is taking the distinction between the day’s excessive and low temperatures. The larger the unfold, the extra seemingly crowds will probably be decrease. That’s a greater predictor than day of week traits, crowd calendars, or the rest.
For example, I need to share my latest expertise in Magic Kingdom on an evening in January when temperatures dropped into the 40s. Daytime was fairly uneventful. Each as a result of the park was fairly busy and since I wasn’t centered on effectively. Most of my day was spent saying goodbye to Nation Bear Jamboree (on loop), plus the Peoplemover and Carousel of Progress. I did that trio of points of interest over a dozen occasions–most likely no have to stroll you thru that.
As a substitute, let’s decide up when issues truly get fascinating–my near-freezing night time in MK instantly after Fortunately Ever After, which was proven at 8pm. That left somewhat over 2.5 hours on the clock in Magic Kingdom, because the park closed at 11pm.
My first intuition was to knock out Peter Pan’s Flight, as it’s doable to beat the gang to that in the event you’re quick after the fireworks.
Sadly, I used to be not. The Lightning Lane overflow queue was already in use, so I had a reasonably good concept that the 55 minute (not 5 minute, the picture deceives) wait was too near accuracy for consolation.
In the event you watch the fireworks from Fantasyland, Peter Pan’s Flight is a good first cease after that on an evening like this. In any other case, wait till the ultimate half-hour or so.
I did Haunted Mansion as an alternative, which was a posted 20 minute wait time and truly a walk-on.
Now that I’ve lastly had an opportunity to see Hatbox Ghost in individual, I can’t say that I prefer it. I get why different followers are enthusiastic about this–it’s new and who doesn’t love new issues?! Additionally, Hatbox Ghost is simply flat-out cool. The gnarly cane, the big high hat, the rib cage exhibiting by his trench coat for some cause, the good field for conveniently storing his personal head. Girls need him, males need to be him.
Setting apart his enviable seems and equipment, Hatbox Ghost simply feels too shoehorned into this spot and doesn’t stream with the remainder of Haunted Mansion. To every their very own, however I hope the work is finally carried out to maneuver this AA to the attic, the place he belongs.
Talking of spirits, Frontierland was a ghost city.
I’m actually a bit shocked they haven’t been working Nation Bear Jamboree from park opening till closing. The stage present was taking part in to (actually) full homes each single time I did it, to the purpose that looping typically wasn’t even doable.
I do know it gained’t occur, however I’d love if Imagineering modified the present to be Disney songs through the day and Nation Bears ‘After Darkish’ at night time. Sorta like how Magnificence and the Beast Sing-Alongside rotates with Impressions de France. Have the bears sing Toy Story songs or no matter till 8pm, however allow them to do the grown-up routine that includes violence, humor, horniness, and different hijinks within the night hours!
Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad was posting a 20 minute wait time at this level, however was extra like 10 or so. I don’t recall the precise quantity, however it was not a walk-on.
I used to be truly barely shocked by this. It’s an outside curler coaster, which means that 44° temperature feels even colder. Regardless, the road moved shortly–much better than the 85 minute wait time it hit at one level earlier within the day. (That additionally helps clarify why it nonetheless wasn’t a walk-on at this hour.)
Pirates of the Caribbean was posting a 5 minute wait time, which was roughly correct within the sense that it takes that lengthy to stroll by the empty queue.
Driving this so quickly after Haunted Mansion, I couldn’t assist however examine the Jack Sparrow and Hatbox Ghost AAs. I bear in mind when Captain Jack was first added to Pirates of the Caribbean–it was an enormous deal. There was even mainstream advertising and marketing alongside the strains of, ‘first the journey impressed the film, now the film conjures up the journey!‘
I used to be one of many Walt Disney World followers who was excited for this, and I nonetheless suppose the AAs are fairly cool. Nonetheless, I additionally need to admit that the luster has worn off, and I now suppose that Captain Jack feels shoehorned in, and the journey would most likely be higher off with out him. Both means, it’s not an enormous deal to me–I simply suppose it’s an fascinating parallel. Already, different stuff from the movie franchise has been faraway from Pirates of the Caribbean. I assume the identical will occur with Jack Sparrow, finally.
Jungle Cruise was subsequent up, posting a ten minute wait with an precise wait of 0 minutes.
This was truly one of some walk-on points of interest the place I truly handed folks within the Lightning Lane. Late at night time, this truly isn’t unusual–it usually takes folks longer to scan into the Lightning Lane than it does to stroll by an empty standby line. It makes me marvel why they don’t simply shut the Lightning Lane in some unspecified time in the future because it provides zero worth? In all probability as a result of the notion of worth is essential, and/or as a result of the standby line might all of the sudden get longer at which level the Lightning Lane would have some nominal worth.
Since I didn’t go into this night time pondering this might be a put up subject, I ended to screw round and take pictures in Frontierland and the Central Plaza. I additionally did the PeopleMover twice in direction of the top of the night time to get off my toes.
The largest blunder I made was fully forgetting to seize a spot within the TRON Lightcycle Run digital queue. I’ve talked about this earlier than, however I at all times gamble on becoming a member of the digital queue now. All the time the 1pm entry, and by no means proper at 1:00:00pm on the dot. I’ll often wait till a minimum of 1:05pm, at which level I’m usually in a boarding group that will get referred to as after the fireworks. If I wait till the top of my window, I’m among the many final teams.
That may’ve been a incredible technique on this night time, as there gave the impression to be nearly no bodily line for the digital queue. As with the remainder of the park, I’m guessing that the chilly climate cleared folks out and folks bailed on their spots within the VQ. Earlier within the day, the return line had a protracted overflow space, so the distinction in precise waits between day and night time would’ve been fairly important.
House Mountain was my second-to-last journey of the night time, with a posted wait time of 20 minutes and an precise wait time of lower than 10.
This was truly the shortest I had seen House Mountain shortly. There have been a number of occasions I’ve carried out it lately firstly or finish of the day when the precise wait barely exceeds the posted one. Plus, it’s indoors and this was a chilly night time–I used to be bracing myself for a 20-25 minute wait.
I debated doing Peter Pan’s Flight subsequent, however I wasn’t assured I’d be carried out earlier than park closing. As a substitute, I ended for extra pictures earlier than leaping in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice at 10:58pm.
Above is the top of the queue behind me. I used to be truly shocked at how many individuals had been in entrance of me–a lot “worse” (delicate air quotes) than I used to be anticipating given the shortage of strains elsewhere.
Posted wait time was 55 minutes, my precise wait was slightly below 20 minutes.
Clearly, that’s not dangerous (in any respect) for Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice. Only for perspective, although, I’ve had waits as brief as 7 minutes on the finish of the night time. Not that I minded–a method or one other, I’ve to kill time earlier than the park clears out for pictures. It’s both ready Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice, consuming corn canine nuggets, or searching the Emporium for stuff I don’t truly need.
On the plus facet, between the chilly climate and Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice taking barely longer than regular, the park had actually cleared out by the point I used to be off the journey.
Fantasyland was shortly emptying, and the Central Plaza was uncrowded as soon as I bought up there. On a traditional day, these areas can nonetheless be packed half-hour or extra after closing. That’s very true if it’s a hotter day or Magic Kingdom closes at 10pm or earlier.
Listed below are some extra pictures from my near-freezing night time in Magic Kingdom:
In the end, it was a productive night time in Magic Kingdom. By the point I left the park at 12:15am, the temperature had dropped to 42° with a looks like of 38° (there was even a wind chill advisory issued for Orange County). That’s not even near the coldest I’ve ever been at Walt Disney World, however it was frigid sufficient to filter out Primary Road in a rush.
Amusingly, there have been nearly as many PhotoPass photographers on Primary Road as company at one level–presumably as a result of they didn’t have the ‘all-clear’ to go away but from a supervisor. I bought this shot to commemorate the event:
The ethical of the story is that, between the top of the night time and Early Entry/rope drop, you may knock out each high-profile journey in Magic Kingdom as a walk-on, even on a busy day with 7/10 to 9/10 crowds. That leaves the center of the day for stage reveals, snacking, and even engaging in extra points of interest effectively by way of Lightning Lanes, in the event you so want.
All in all, a really satisfying day at Walt Disney World regardless of chilly climate and winter attendance fairly removed from low season lows. Hopefully this demonstrates to you the way it’s doable to have an awesome expertise and use the climate to your benefit as a way to beat increased daytime waits!
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Have you ever carried out a freezing night at Magic Kingdom? Had been you in a position to accomplish so much after the solar went down and temperatures plummeted? In the event you’ve carried out chilly climate at Walt Disney World prior to now, what are your suggestions? Do you agree or disagree with our recommendation? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even once you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!