What to Wear to Disney World is one of my all-time most popular blog posts, but styles have changed tremendously since I originally posted four years ago so I’m updating it for 2016!
Let’s start out with what NOT to wear. Pleeeeease DO NOT wear this. Anywhere.
Disney is certainly no fashion mecca, but that’s no reason to throw all sense of style to the wind. You can be cute AND comfy at a theme park. It just takes a little bit of thought and planning.
I know it’s not all about how you look, but even if you don’t care that you’re going to run into approximately 25,000 people in a day, those photos are going to be around for years. Let’s make them something our kids won’t want to make fun of.
What To Wear To Disney World
The first thing to consider when planning what to wear to Disney World (or any theme park, really) is your footwear.
Let’s face it, you’ll be doing a TON of walking, so you need practical, comfortable footwear. Fortunately there are lots of stylish options for comfortable shoes these days. The athleisure trend has made it quite acceptable to wear sneakers with your street clothes, or you can even get away with yoga pants if you want. The key to looking cute and casual is to throw on a few accessories and make sure your clothing fits you well and is on trend.
For stylish athletic shoes, consider the popular Adidas Superstars (shown above), a Puma Suede Classic, or even a Nike Free. You may also want to pack a sporty Mary Jane such as the Keen Rivington or the Propet TravelActiv. They are cute with shorts and dresses. If it’s spring or summertime, a pair of sandals is great to have along as well. Vionic makes sandals and flip-flops with an orthotic footbed that are great for doing a lot of walking. Fitflops are great too, and there are always Birkenstocks.
It’s wise to change your shoes a couple times a day when you’re doing a lot of walking, so if you have finicky feet, consider going back to your room mid-day to change. The last time I went to Disney World, I changed my shoes twice a day, and it really helped save my feet! (I’m recovering from running injuries so I have to baby my feet.)
The next thing to consider is the type of bag you’ll need.
You want to be prepared for anything — a random rain shower, an errant spray of ketchup, a leaky toddler . . . so you need a bag that can accommodate all your gear. If you have older kids or you aren’t traveling with your kids, you can get away with a small or medium-sized cross body bag. That’s my bag of choice because it’s easy to carry, it keeps your hands free, and you don’t have to worry about losing it because it’s always on your person.
A Tumi Voyageur is on my wish list. It’s made of a durable, lightweight nylon with leather trim. The front zippered pocket and back pouch are perfect for holding smaller items such as receipts, passports, boarding passes, etc. The main compartment is perfect for larger items such as sunglasses and your wallet, and the roomy interior features numerous organizer pockets so your stuff is neatly stored and easy to find. It comes in red, black, and 2 pretty prints.
And Relic makes a more affordable crossbody. They come in a nice selection of styles and colors.
If you are traveling with kids and need a larger bag, consider a lightweight backpack so you can carry everything you need and remain hands-free. The Baggallini Step Backpack has tons of pockets and compartments, which I love in a larger bag because I want everything to have its place so I can go right to it when I need it. Watch the video on the Zappo’s website to see all of the features.
(Or do what I do and make your husband carry the backpack so you can get by with a small crossbody. Heh!)
No matter what type of bag you carry, go for a lightweight nylon rather than a heavy leather bag. It won’t get ruined if it gets wet, and it’s much lighter to carry around all day.
The last thing to plan is your clothing.
I have always traveled to Disney in fall or spring. I’ve never been there in the dead of summer when it’s stifling hot, so most of my outfit ideas are geared for the fall/winter/spring seasons when the weather is milder. If you are traveling in the summer months, take these ideas and apply them to summer clothing.
I love jeans and jean shorts and find them quite comfortable, so the outfit pictured above features jean shorts. If you’re there during cooler weather, you will want to make sure to have a hoodie in your bag. A nylon backpack is perfect for moms with young kids who need to cart along some extra gear. The Keen Rivington ballet flats are cute and comfy for the miles of walking you’ll be doing. Just be sure to break them in a few weeks before your trip.
Cotton shorts work well too, and they lighter than denim if you’re visiting during the warmer months. They also dry faster if you get wet on a water ride. If you don’t need to carry a large bag, go for a lightweight crossbody. Baggallini makes a ton of cute styles. I like the Criss Cross. There is a spot for everything in this clever organizer.
A casual dress is another great option. Some women find dresses more comfortable than shorts, and it’s certainly a cute look — especially if you’re going out to dinner. Go for a nice lightweight cotton or a moisture-wicking fabric. Athleta always has a nice selection of casual dresses, as does Title Nine.
And there’s nothing wrong with wearing cute athletic wear at an amusement park these days. Athleisure is now a thing, so go for it! I like to accessorize when I’m wearing athletic wear for daily activities so it looks intentional and not like I’m just being lazy. I usually throw on my favorite pendant necklace and Alex and Ani bangles, and I’m good to go!
Let’s sum it up!
1. Keep it casual, but put some thought into it.
Leave the designer duds at home and go for a casual skirt, shorts or jeans. Top it with a favorite tee and bring along a hoodie or casual cardigan in case it gets chilly. Lightweight pieces are best because you will probably be sweaty, and you might get wet on an occasional water ride. For cooler weather, definitely pack jeans and a few long-sleeved tops or sweaters. Layers are your friends!
2. Bring shoes that are comfortable; change often.
There are tons of choices for shoes other than sneakers that give your feet the necessary protection and support. That said, athletic sneakers are trending right now for street wear, so if that’s your thing, go for it. For comfortable sandals, check out Vionic. They make sandals and flip-flops that are very comfortable and have orthotic footbeds for extra support. With any shoe, be sure to break them in at home before packing for your trip.
3. Dress in layers, depending on the weather.
Always bring a sweatshirt or cardigan (evenings are often chilly, plus sometimes the indoor rides are cold and dank). And a lightweight rain poncho is always a good idea for those surprise rainstorms.
4. Bring a lightweight bag that is large enough for your gear.
5. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
I highly recommend this 3-piece set from Supergoop! It comes in a handy tote bag that is perfect for travel.
Now that you’re all set with what to wear to Disney World, it’s time to pack! Check out my post, The Perfect Travel Outfit: What to Wear on a Plane.
Interested in some real life examples of what to wear to Disney World? See my outfits from my last 2 trips to Disney:
Disney Vacation: What I Wore (2015)
Also see my post: 10 Tips for Enjoying Disney World with Kids
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