Walt Disney said it may have all started with a mouse, but for me, each trip begins with a packing list.
Whether you sport the classic Mickey Ears hat, choose your favorite from your wall full of Minnie Ears, or just channel your inner Mouse as you walk through the gates of Magic Kingdom, what you wear can impact your entire day. Although I personally believe the accessory on top of my head is the most important, let’s start with the foundation:
Regardless of the time of year or the weather, what you wear on your feet might be the most important decision you will make for your vacation. Comfort is key when it comes to your shoes at the theme parks. When you put on those glass slippers you want to be able to walk 500 miles, and then 500 more. You will definitely be getting all your steps and closing all your rings, so a supportive sneaker or comfortable sandal is my go-to shoe choice. I always recommend bringing two pairs of sneakers/tennis shoes and one pair of sandals or flip flops if it happens to rain, which it unfortunately does quite often in Central Florida. No one will be looking at your feet, I promise! But if you want to dress up your look, opt for a solid color sneaker or a lower profile lace-up like Keds or Converse (#NotSponsored). The key to any great shoe is wearing them before your trip to break them in. And don’t forget to select the perfect socks to wear with them.
Speaking of rain, pack a poncho or umbrella! You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the park and spend your ice cream budget on theme park rain gear!
Now for the fun part. What time of year are you traveling? Weather plays an important role in what you wear to the parks. Check the average weather in Orlando or Anaheim during that time of year and then check the forecast before you pack. Remember you will be walking, standing and climbing in and out of rides, so plan accordingly. Shorts, leggings, and even comfortable jeans are great options for the long days in the parks. Sometimes the day calls for a cotton summer dress, but I recommend shorts underneath just in case! For the months of the year that can be a little cooler, bring light layers that are easy to pack or tuck into your park bag.
One thing that is great about a Disney trip is that you have incredible backdrops for pictures in each of the theme parks. This is a great opportunity to get those beloved family photos for your Christmas or New Year’s cards or capture fun memories with friends and loved ones. (If you haven’t already, talk to your travel advisor about adding Memory Maker to your vacation package so you can download all of the pictures taken on your trip.)
Are you the type of packer that lays out your clothes weeks before your trip? Or do you throw it all in an hour before you leave? When it comes to planning your daily outfits, here are a few options:
Option 1: You and your travel party can wear whatever you want! The greatest thing about a trip to Disney is that you are going to the happiest place on Earth and will be fully immersed in the magic no matter what shirt is on your back. You also might just naturally be more fashionable than I am and can rock any outfit you throw together. Embrace your style and go with it.
Option 2: Take the guesswork out of it and get themed matching shirts or outfits for each day of your trip. Although this takes more time and planning upfront, matching can actually make getting ready each day a little easier. It can also help you find your family or friends in the park easier. If you’re worried about little ones wandering off or grandparents stopping to see the Disney ducks, might I suggest a bright color like yellow to alert them to where the rest of the family is waiting. There are fantastic options for themed shirts from Etsy or your local Target, Walmart or Disney stores. If you’re going this route, I do recommend trying to theme your shirts around which park you are visiting each day or stick with classics like Mickey and Minnie. If you have Memory Maker, you’ll want to stop and take a lot of pictures with the Photo Pass photographers in each park. So, even though you love Star Wars, you might want to have your BB-8 “this is how we roll” shirt on at Hollywood Studios in front of the Millennium Falcon and not in front of Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom.
Option 3: Mix and match! This is my favorite plan to follow when traveling with a large group of family or friends. Some people prefer to wear more individualized outfits, so picking a general theme or color scheme per day is a great way to keep everyone coordinated, while not requiring everyone to wear the same t-shirt. An example of this would be to recommend colors like green and blue for your day at Animal Kingdom. This way everyone can wear something that fits their own personal style, but still coordinate with the group for those classic pictures in front of the Tree of Life. You could also pick a Disney character or movie to focus on, like classic Fab 5, for your day at Magic Kingdom.
The pixie dust on top of whichever outfit you choose is, of course, what you wear on your head! While some prefer a bucket hat or baseball cap for sun protection, I usually opt to get my ears on! Where else in the world can you wear a hat or headband with mouse ears all day and fit right in? You can buy ears directly from the Disney parks or find great options online before your trip. There are options to match every personality and, most importantly, every outfit! The best part of wearing your ears is they look great in both group pictures and selfies. So, “get your ears on” and have a magical time!
(Get Your Ears On- A Mickey and Minnie Celebration debuted as a nighttime show at Disneyland in January 2019 and the theme song has been stuck in my head ever since!)