I can’t even tell you how many times I visited Disney World as child. The one thing I know for sure, though? I never once debated what to wear.
Fast forward two decades and every time I’ve taken my own daughter down to Orlando, I’ve been faced with the same dilemma–what to wear to Disney World? First off, there’s the issue of the weather. Our first two trips to Disney were in June and July and it was predictably scorching hot. Our third trip was in March and it was much milder, but still warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt.
The real heart of the matter when deciding what to wear to Disney World, however, is footwear. You’re basically guaranteed to be on your feet for anywhere from six to twelve hours, which makes choosing the right shoes an extremely crucial decision.
So as a mom who’s been lucky enough to not only visit Disney World three times in the last seven years, but also love it enough to actually want to take my daughter back again, here’s my best advice on what to wear to Disney World (or Disney Land, for that matter).
- Footwear. This is definitely the most important part of your outfit when heading to the theme park. You want shoes that are lightweight, but also supportive. Supremely soft and cushy soles are also a necessity. I made the mistake of wearing flat sandals for my first trip to Disney with my daughter and by the end of the day I wanted to cry because my feet hurt so badly. I smartened up the next time and wore sneakers, which were a much better option. I wore a pair of New Balance 574 sneakers for my second trip and a pair of Nike Internationalist sneakers for my third trip, and not only was I able to stay at the park longer, but my feet weren’t unbearably sore at the end of the day. Lightweight sneakers with good arch support and a nice thick sole are definitely the way to go.
- Accessories. You definitely have to look the part when you head to Disney World and bring out your inner child. There’s one new accessory that can do just the trick—rose gold Minnie Mouse ears. Adorned with a massive bow and matching sequins, Disney World just released this headgear as part of their merchandise collection and fans are absolutely losing it via social media. If you rock a pair of these one-of-a-kind Minnie Mouse ears, you’ll be the most stylish parent at the park, and your kids will love you for getting into the youthful spirit. The ears can become especially handy for keeping strands of sweaty hair at bay if you venture to the Magic Kingdom on a sweltering day! Besides, you can’t go to Disney World and not buy any merchandise. Unfortunately, they’re currently sold out, but Instagram fans seem to believe they’ll restock soon. If not, you have another excuse to head to Disney World again.
- Clothing. When it comes to the actual clothing you wear, this obviously depends a lot on the time of year of your trip. Summer in Orlando is hot–like, really, really hot. The sun is blazing and shady spots are few and far between when walking in the park, so chino shorts and a breathable cotton tank top or tee are your best bet in terms of a complete outfit. I’d definitely advise against denim, which doesn’t dry quickly if you get wet on a ride or sweat a lot. It’s also just heavy and uncomfortable when you’re outside for this many hours straight. I also find that lightweight, airy dresses are a less-than-ideal option because you wind up spending so much time worrying about flashing someone that it takes away from actually having fun. Another thing to consider? If you leave for the park first thing in the morning (like we did), it’s much cooler than later in the day. I found that wearing a long-sleeve tee in the morning was great because it was easy and light enough to tie around my waist during the day, but also a nice option to have once it got dark (and cooler) again. I would recommend against a hoodie because it will just be too heavy and cumbersome to carry around all day.
- Handbag. Another crucial component to getting dressed for Disney? What bag you’ll carry. In addition to your wallet and cell phone, you’ll also need a place to stash water (an absolute essential) and sunscreen (also very necessary). My recommendation is a backpack, but not just any backpack. You need a backpack with padded shoulder straps! The first time I went to Disney with my daughter, I carried a crossbody bag, which was a nightmare. First of all, it wasn’t nearly big enough. What’s worse, however, is that after just a few hours the shoulder it was hanging from was killing me. I switched to a leather backpack for my second trip, which was a better option, but still not great. Halfway through the day those slim leather straps were also doing a number on my shoulders. I finally gave up vanity on my third trip and wore this incredibly lightweight LeSportsac backpack with padded shoulders and was so much more comfortable throughout the day.
So there you have it–a real mom’s tips on what to wear to Disney. If you have tips of your own, please share in the comments!