What Not to Wear to Disney

Written by Jessica Ma'ilo. Posted in Disney, Disney Parks, Park Wise

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Published on November 07, 2013 at 3:00 am with 34 Comments

There’s a distinct possibility that you will be photographed more on your Disney Parks vacation than you have been on any other trip you’ve taken.  With that in mind, some park goers make some not-so-smart ensemble decisions.  Or with all the planning, sometimes the most obvious dos and don’ts fall by the wayside.  Here’s what NOT to wear to Disney…

1. New Shoes

Everyone loves a new pair-o-kicks, but your Disney vacation is NOT the place to debut them.  With miles upon miles of walking and lots of standing still, your feet will begin to hate you by lunchtime.  When pondering your footwear, a pair of worn-in, comfortable shoes is your best bet.  If you have extra room, throw a second pair in the suitcase.  Sometimes it feels good to change it up, especially if your current pair is giving you a “hot spot” and you feel a blister coming on.  I slip a pair of flip-flops in for the pool, and my feet are happy for the week.

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Caption: A comfy pair of sneakers is a great pick for the parks.

Get Park Wise: If you do happen to score some new shoes before your trip, start wearing them a few weeks prior so your feet aren’t in shock when you hit the hard, hot concrete of the parks.

2. Offensive Clothing

Offensive is relative, but use a little common sense when packing your daily outfits.  Let’s leave the profane shirts at home.  We’re in a rated G environment, so avoid curse words, naked people and bloody images.  Yes, I’ve seen all three walking around Magic Kingdom.

Disney is also not the place to let your rear end hang out of your shorts, whether out of the top or the bottom.  Save the low-cut shirts for your night out on the town,  and let’s make sure those skirts leave a little to the imagination.  I’d also be willing to bet you’ll be a lot more comfortable if you leave some of these at home.

3. Bathing Suits

This one sort of goes along with #2, in that it’s partially due to the fact that some bathing suits cover so little.  I definitely understand throwing a swimsuit under your tank top if you know you’ll be splashing into the briar patch or rafting Grizzly River, but I’m going to be a little cranky, old ladyish and say that it’s really not appropriate to be traipsing around the theme parks in bootie shorts and a bikini top.  I will say that I’ve mostly seen teen girls guilty of this, but I’ve seen some grown-ups bordering on wardrobe malfunctions.

I’d say the exception to this rule would be little ones who may spend a good portion of their day playing in spraygrounds around the parks, but in those cases, I’ve not personally seen the swimsuit-clad kiddies sporting the look away from the water play areas.

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Get Park Wise: If you anticipate a drenched outfit, be sure to avoid denim.  Nothing kills a day quite like wet jeans.  Keep this in mind for water rides, as well as mid-day summer showers that Disney World is known for.

And A Few Things You Should Wear

1. Layers

This is especially important during the winter.  Mornings and evening can be chilly, while afternoons are pleasantly warm.  I’ve even known summer travelers to throw a light jacket or cardigan around their waist to slip on while in the air-conditioned restaurants and attractions.

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2. Light Colors and Fabrics

On our most recent vacation, a friend of mine and her daughter joined us for their first vacation to Walt Disney World.  While the daughter had plenty of park-ready duds, mom was a fan of black pants and shirts, mostly long-sleeved.  It took a few weeks, but I got her to agree to take shorts and tees in light colors.  She wore her typical outfit on our travel day, and once we hit Orlando air, she was so glad she had a suitcase full of cool cotton clothes.  Light, breathable fabrics are perfect for the parks!

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3. Disney Gear

You’re at Disney.  Everyone’s at least a little geeky just by being at the Happiest and Most Magical Places on Earth, so embrace it!  Wear those Donald Duck tees, Minnie Mouse dresses and Mickey ears!  It takes the pictures from fine to framers, and, frankly, it’s just more fun!

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What are your wardrobe guidelines and Disney dos and don’ts?

About Jessica Ma'ilo

Jessica is a special education teacher by day and blogger and Fairy Godmother Travel agent by evening. When not supervising play dates or sleepovers, she can be found creating, sewing or singing. She loves hitting the Disney Parks, and she and her family escape to the World and Land as often as they can. She can be contacted at [email protected], and you can also check out her family blog, Magic, Memories, Mayhem.

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34 Comments

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  1. Some great tips.
    When I came to the US for the first time in the 80′s to work at a boy scout camp in a cultural foreign exchange program I packed my speedo’s like all the European duds. We didn’t gave it a second though because that’s what everyone was wearing. It didn’t took long for the American guys to mention our swimwear. I ended up buying some swim trunks, not really understanding what the big deal was but I was a guest and wanted to be respectful to the culture of the country.
    That said, please women of America, the fact you fit in a legging doesn’t mean you should wear one.
    ;-)

  2. Certainly the worst of what I’ve seen is at Disney World. The hot weather encourages many to underdress for the occasion. There also seems to be a fascination these days with wearing clothes which are too tight or small for ones frame. Do these folks go home, pull up their Photopass pics and think “Gosh dang, I look good”?

    I broke rule number one on my last trip and packed NEW shoes. I knew at the time I was making a mistake, but the lure of new shoes sucked me in. Never again. . .until I forget and do it again.

    • Underdress may be an understatement for some! I can never understand some things people wear in public, much less to a family-friendly park.

      Noooo!! Can’t believe you wore new shoes!! ;)

  3. Dress code ….yes please!
    I have seen young ladies in bikini tops wandering the Magic Kingdom. That makes me uncomfortable.
    I have seen men young and old attempting to wear a tank top with such little material, I do not think it qualifies as a shirt.
    Put some clothes on. Please.
    I do not want my children to stand in a queue or be seated next to someone exposing so much flesh that they do not want to be there.
    *sigh*

    • Thanks for chiming in this week!

  4. Rule #4 – Wearing spandex is a privilege, not a right.

    • LOL! Too true. Just sayin’, fellow women, spandex is not for everyone……….

      • I’d have to say this is an equal opportunity rule. Haha!

    • Hahaha! I haven’t seen a lot of Spandex roaming the parks, but I tend to agree. ;)

  5. I would also like to make a point about sandals/thongs/flip-flops. Some people wear these constantly in their day-to-day lives and have grown to dislike sneakers/tennis shoes. When these people travel to WDW for the first time, they will be sorely tempted to wear their flip-flops in the park. For many people, this is a bad idea, and I have seen first hand friends and family wear them the first day, only to regret it and wear shoes and socks the rest of week because their feet hurt.

    A good walking shoe is the best solution for the parks, but there is the little matter of water rides like Kali River and getting soaked. As with denim, it is very annoying to walk around with wet sneakers squishing everywhere. I haven’t come up with a good solution other than lugging around different footwear just for those rides, or bringing plastic bags to tie around your ankles.

    • Keen sandals. Best things ever.

      • I’ve seen these all over the parks, but I haven’t tried them yet. I always see them being suggested online, too. May have to try a pair on soon.

    • Yeah, it’s a theme park, so comfort is tops. Gone are the days (thank goodness) of ladies wearing dresses and heels everywhere. Still, I don’t want to see your behind hanging out of the bottom of your shorts, nor you underwear sticking out of the top. I have (and wear) many slightly snarky or funny tshirts, but I really don’t need to look at your profane or x-rated ones. And (yes, fellow females, this is for you) please stop stuffing your average or plus-sized person into a size 2. Yes, we are looking at you, and no, it’s not because you look hot. It’s kind of like a car wreck; you can’t look away.

      Be comfy, be practical, be family friendly, and you won’t be sitting in the hotel nursing sunburn and blisters; nor will you be asked to put on something more appropriate for Disney. I do wish cast members were more able to address clear violations of the posted dress code without fear of losing their jobs.

      • Guests who psychologically torture CMs by pushing the limits could be taken to Tom Sawyer’s Island and asked to swim back…

        The “too tight” clothing seems to be some kind of national obsession these days — I see it everywhere. In some places people wear long robes, in America people burst out of their clothing.

        Flip flops are, for me, exceedingly comfortable for walking but as a safety measure I would not allow guests to wear open-toed shoes or “extreme footwear.”

        As to the bikini tops, I can remember wearing them on the streets in sunny Southern California in my teens and twenties (1970s) but never to Disneyland, always a T-shirt. Why would it be so hard to have one set of dress standards for Blizzard Beach or poolside and another for a park with moving parts and lots of public skin contact?

    • I have to admit that I do the parks in flip-flops quite a bit, but I’ll switch out with tennis shoes, too.

    • I DO bring flip flops into the park for the water rides, as well as an extra pair of socks (or even two) for my Converse sneakers, everything in ziplocks, of course.

      • Yeah, I do the extra socks thing too. I normally change after eating a turkey leg, gotta wash my hands anyways…..lol…

  6. When I go to the parks I try to dress up, nice jeans, collard button up shirt. Not everyone cup of tea which I get, but it makes me feel great.

    • As long as you’re comfy, dressing up is great! I often wear dresses to the parks both to look nice for the pictures, but also because they’re usually quicker to dry than pants after Splash and offer a, um, ventilation on a hot day. Haha!

  7. I don’t completely agree with #1, but that depends on the quality of shoe you wear. I am a runner so I typically buy shoes that are $100+ and can be worn for long periods of time out of the box without any discomfort. If you are buying less expensive shoes (Walmart, Target) then this is good advice.

    My suggestion would be to buy new shoes about a month before your trip so you can break them in, but still have the support/stability new shoes provide.

    • Eh, I don’t know. I bought a great pair of shoes at the Health and Fitness Expo last month, and I decided against wearing them in the parks because they just didn’t feel as good as the tennis shoes I brought with me. Something about slipping into a shoe that’s already molded to your foot. Now, I’ll definitely be sporting my runDisney kicks on my next trip!

      Seeing as your suggestion is the same as the one I mentioned after #1, we’re probably still on a similar wavelength when it comes to footwear ideas. ;)

  8. Another excellent column, Jessica!
    You are establishing yourself as one of Micechat’s best columnists.

    I find that my daughter and I get treated better when I wear a nice polo shirt instead of a T-shirt, though I do like showing off the T-shirt collection.

    One more clothing tip: Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom are PARKS. The person sitting on the attraction before you may have been a kid who had fun getting dirty on Tom Sawyer’s Island, so I’d avoid wearing white or your best pair of light khaki shorts or pants. They might get stains.

    • Thank you! And I had to laugh at the mention of stains. I had a new pair of khakis a couple trips ago and came home with a new pair of khakis with a bright pink spot thanks to a slushee.

  9. The layers tip is a great one, especially for DLR where its cool in the mornings and evenings but oh so hot in the afternoon. We’ve gotten into the habit of bringing a change of warmer clothes (jeans, sweaters, etc.) and renting a locker, so during the day I can wear shorts and a tshirt for the warmer weather and when it cools down, I just change outfits entirely.

    • Thanks for adding another suggestion!

  10. Offensive Clothing??

    I’ve seen security tell a guy to put his shirt on inside-out.

    • Yes, offensive clothing!!
      Unfortunately, when some people follow the layers rule, they’re first layer is unseen until they take off their jacket later in the day. As I also mentioned, offensive doesn’t always have to be a graphic to be graphic, if you catch my drift.

  11. Here’s something everyone needs to wear: SUNSCREEN!!! There’s nothing like standing in long, outdoor lines all day, and then being in pain the next day because your shoulders are too burned for your backpack to sit comforably.

    Clothing-wise, I am always in favor of keeping rubber slippers in my bag for the water rides so that my shoes don’t get drenched. I also like the idea of a bikini bottom (under shorts, of course) so that you can avoid a chafing rash from wet cotton undies. If I am going in the winter, I put a warmer pair of socks in my bag to change into.

    I will never understand the women who wear high heeled boots to the parks…

    • Thanks for the suggestions!

  12. I’ve seen women wear 4″ stilettos in the parks. And they’re not the suits from TDO. Now I love my heels but wearing being on your feet in them for several hours is NOT fun. Either these women have feet made of steel or their doggies are barking pretty loud by the end of the day.

    • I once saw a woman in a floor length gown and heels step off the monorail and head to MK for the night. Crazy!

      • Love your column, Jessica.

        Advice to women: don’t care to see your muffins fore and aft. Prefer to have mine with a cup of Starbucks, thanks. :)

  13. I do love to see “themed” families at the park. Makes it so much easier to respect them as a group and figure out how to get around them. I would think it might be nice for the CMs as well, helping with seating and such.