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How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable

How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable | CosmosMariners.com

You're probably thinking, "It's a theme park. I shouldn't have to dress a certain way."

And I would agree with you wholeheartedly. As long as you're more or less covered, I say rock your vacation wear as you see fit.

However, in my many years of visiting Walt Disney World, I've come to find that certain wardrobe choices will grant you wildly different experiences. Here are my tried-and-true tips for making sure that your clothing doesn't keep you from loving every minute of the magic.


1) Don't bring brand new shoes. The breaking in process for shoes can range from mildly annoying (best case scenario) to hideously painful (not what you want to do on vacation!). As you can easily walk five or more miles in one day at Disney, you don't want your footwear to be anything but perfect. Leave those fancy new shoes at home, and pack the worn favorites.

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2) The comfier the shoes the better. This should go without saying, but a theme park is not the place to show off your newest wedges or heels. Yet, every time I visit, I see some poor woman tottering around the parks in something that I could barely walk three feet in before I developed blisters. It's Disney World, not a runway, so leave the heels at home in favor of your comfortable flats, tennis shoes, or sandals.

3) If your child is dressing up, pack an extra set of clothes. While that princess dress or pirate costume may appeal at the beginning of the day, that same outfit may become itchy or uncomfortable as the day wears on. If your child is particularly sensitive to itchy clothing, have them wear a base layer (shorts/ jeans and a t-shirt) and then slip the costume on when it's time to meet their favorite characters or pause for a photo op.

4) Avoid dresses and skirts. Oh, the hilarity that is someone trying to get into the tiny seats at Space Mountain with a dress or skirt on. Space Mountain, like many of the rides at Disney, requires you to clamber into a seat quickly. You'd better be prepared to share your underwear preferences with the Cast Members and the rest of the people in line if you choose to wear something flowing and breezy. Avoid flashing everyone by adding leggings or tights--or better yet, skip the skirt and wear shorts.

Orlando Discounted Theme Parks and Attractions - Florida Ticket Station

Note: if you go on one of the Dapper Days (days where many parkgoers come together in their nicest Disney inspired dresses, skirts, and three-piece suits), you'll see many people in much fancier clothes than you'd expect at a theme park. These days, which aren't officially sponsored by Disney (but aren't discouraged by the company either), would be a great time to wear your fancy shoes and full skirts for a fashion shoot--I just wouldn't plan on walking around for 10+ hours in that.

How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable | CosmosMariners.com
Rocking my monogrammed Minnie tank top, shorts, and suncreen in Hollywood Studios.
(June 2014)
5) Prepare for the heat. Florida is wonderfully warm year-round, but it can quickly become heat-stroke material in the summer. A hat with a wide brim is a great item to have (just remember to take it off before the thrill rides, or you'll be buying a new one in the gift shop) to keep the sun off of your face. Whether you're wearing a tank top, tube top, or short sleeved tee, sunscreen is a must: no one likes looking like a lobster on vacation. Not to mention, it's quite painful to throw your hands up on the rollercoaster once you've gotten a bad burn! I've gotten a burn while there in December, so pack sunscreen no matter what time of year you visit.

6) Ham it up. There aren't too many other places in the world where I would happily wear a shirt covered in cartoon characters while a pair of mouse ears was perched atop my head. One of the greatest parts of Walt Disney World is that you can embrace your inner child, and no one will care...because they're doing the same thing! Get yourself a fun hat, pack that crazy t-shirt, put a bow in your hair, and have fun.

Note: Officially, anyone over 12 can't wear a full-length costume since Disney takes their face characters very seriously. In other words, if you're 24 and you show up in a full-on Cinderella costume, other park goers will think you're the actual Cinderella, even though you're not. The Disney staff will actually ask you to leave the park if you arrive in a serious costume like that. That being said, if you really want to channel your favorite character (and you've made it out of middle school), try Disneybounding your vacation costumes (like this!), wear matching graphic tees you wouldn't dare try anywhere else, or getting custom Disney shoes from Etsy.

How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable | CosmosMariners.com
Add a Minnie Santa hat for instant magic.
P.S. Don't be surprised if you see these same sweatpants again on the trip I'm about to take!
(December 2008)
7) Be comfortable. I'm not one to normally condone wearing sweatpants or yoga pants around in public places, but you'll definitely find me rocking both of those at Disney. While at Walt Disney World (or any theme park), you'll be in nearly constant motion as you get on and off rides, wait in line, meet the characters, and walk from one ride to the next. I highly recommend a theme park wardrobe that's heavy in tennis shoes, loose shirts, and stretchy pants.

What is your go-to theme park outfit?

Orlando Discounted Theme Parks and Attractions - Florida Ticket Station
How to Dress at Walt Disney World: Look Like a Princess While Staying Comfortable | CosmosMariners.com
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