What NOT to Wear to Disney World: Lessons I Learned the Hard Way!

Check out my Dos and Don'ts for what to wear to Disney! These are lessons are learned from my personal epic fails!

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We have been theme parking it for over a year now and in that time we have visited Disney World and Universal 3 times and are heading back in one week to Disney! I am so excited! I’ve been to Orlando in hot and cold weather and have learned quite a few lessons the hard way on what not to wear to the park. I like to believe I’ve found the perfect options, at least for me, when touring theme parks and want to share my knowledge with you! In this post, we are primarily speaking of the hotter months, for colder weather tips, check out my What Not To Wear: Winter Edition post!

First things first, I am speaking of Orlando here, central Florida, the south. All though, Florida is kind of a world all it’s own and doesn’t really qualify as the deep south, portions of it do share the same weather. I grew up in and still live in Georgia and am used to here, but those of you coming from other parts of the country and world will not be so familiar. There are two things you should know about the south in general and Central Florida specifically.

The south has this “big thing” called humidity. Humidity is moisture in the air. I spent a week in California last summer and realized what it’s like without humidity. My hair was in heaven! But, in the south it’s a very real thing. Sometimes in the summer it gets so thick here, it feels like your swimming in it! This may sound like an exaggeration, but it really does get that bad!

The other thing is heat! It gets hot here and especially so in central Florida! It sometimes feels like they have only two seasons, Winter and Summer there. “Winter” or the cooler period really only lasts around mid-November to mid-March, but that is also not guaranteed. We’ve had close to 90 degree weather there in December! It’s going to be in the 90’s in the Fall and Spring and well over a 100 in the Summer. Don’t trust the weather averages that tell you the average high is mid-80’s in July. I told my husband I’ll never go in July! Now, of course there are always exceptions, but just be prepared and check the weather before you leave!

So, those two things combined brings me to a dirty little word that no one every wants to say out loud or admit that it happens to them.

Chaffing.

Unless your a super model, it’ll happen to you. If you have thighs, it’ll happen to you. Trust me, it’s real and it’s annoying, so plan for it!

So, having gotten that out of the way, here are my tips on what to and not to wear to a theme park!

*I am going to share some extremely unflattering pictures, so that you know that I’m telling the truth!*

#1 DON’T go without some kind of preventive measure to chaffing!

Men and women alike need to prepare for this! There are several options. The first is to use powder, I recommend extra strength Gold Bond Powder.

There are also roll on sticks you can use.

I prefer to wear dresses to the park, so as a woman, my go to, which hasn’t done me wrong yet, is to wear “skimmies”. These are thin slip shorts which keep your legs from rubbing together! They have saved my life! You can get them in multiple lengths. I like the mid length. Just be careful that your dress isn’t shorter than the skimmie you are wearing or this may happen to you too!

This is the link for Skimmies bought through Amazon. I’ve seen them at department stores too, but the cheapest I’ve found them was at Target for $12.99.

#2 DON’T wear the wrong shoes!

I am all about being stylish and cute, but please, don’t wear heels, flats, regular flip flops or any shoe without proper support. You will do more walking than believed possible when at Disney World! It is huge! I have a step tracker app and on our longest day, we walked over 23,000 steps and almost 9 miles! So, Disney isn’t a “walk in the park” literally and you need shoes that will keep up with you!

I’ve read a couple of articles recently stating that Tieks are the perfect theme park shoe. I actually read one of these before my September trip and decided to wear mine to Disney. Now, I love Tieks, I have three pairs now! They are wonderful work shoes. I’m an itinerant teacher and am on my feet all day, so they are wonderful for that purpose. They are also cute and professional. But, they are horrible for Disney.

They may work during the Winter months, but after the epic fail with them in September I didn’t go there at all. Tieks are leather and I learned the hard way, that leather and sweat don’t mix. When it’s hot, your entire body, including your feet are going to sweat. The first few hours were fine, but then comes the rubbing and the blistering and oh the pain! I only brought one pair of Tieks, which was a really bad idea and didn’t have a back pair of shoes.

I switched to wearing socks with them, which looked horrible style wise with them, so I finally gave in and went to buy a pair of tennis shoes! Also, Tieks when wet shrink some, so they may not be as comfortable the day after you wore them in a rain storm. So, please don’t make my mistake, don’t wear Tieks to Orlando!

The most common shoe choice for Disney is the tennis shoe. Which is a solid option. My tennis shoe of choice are any of Sketcher’s memory foam shoes. They are so, so comfortable! They come in many different styles too! 

But, unfortunately, as I love to wear dresses to Disney, tennis shoes don’t really go well with them! But, it all depends on whether you are going for fashion or function. On my 10th anniversary trip, when my epic fails happened, I was wanting to get “pretty” pictures and of course it back fired. But, since then I’ve found that there are other options that are comfortable and cute for park going!

Another down side that my husband and I both learned the hard way is that tennis shoes get wet! In Florida, you have to be prepared for sudden downpours. Your tennis shoes may get soaked! So, be prepared to bring an extra pair of tennis shoes and also to be blow drying your shoes in the hotel room that night!

Tip: Here’s a shout out to one of my readers, Sheri, who suggested taking newspaper to put in your tennis shoes to help soak up the moisture!

Saying this, we finally gave in and bought Crocs! They are super comfortable and will dry quickly when wet! I also hate wearing socks when it’s hot, so it’s nice to have a pair of shoes to stay cool in as well! They come in lots of different styles now, so it doesn’t have to be quite as noticeable that your wearing the Crocs brand! Yes, my husbands shoes shown above and my flip flops in the picture farther down are both Crocs!

Whatever shoe you decide to wear, just make sure you break them in first! The best shoe is a comfortable shoe that’s a bit worn in!

#3 DON’T forget your rain wear!

As I stated above, be prepared for rain, even when it isn’t in the forecast! Take either rain coats, or like we do, disposable rain ponchos! We just buy the dollar ones at Walmart in the camping section. We’ve tried the Dollar Tree ones, but they aren’t as durable or cover as well. I have heard recently, that if you buy the Disney ones, although pricey, that they basically have a lifetime warranty. If you buy one and it tears 5, 10 years from now and you take it into one of the stores, they will replace it for free! That’s pretty awesome!

We took our nice NorthFace raincoats the first time, which I love and roll up into it’s pouch really well. But, can prove heavy and bulky when you are trying to minimize what’s in your bag. They also take some time to roll up. We got stuck in a rain storm at Hollywood Studios back in September 2016. We had decided to leave when it started to sprinkle. We chose to keep heading out the park, we should have ducked into a store to wait out the worst. But, we headed out as the rain got harder and harder. It was a full on thunder storm and lightening actually struck a tree near by and it caught fire! Our raincoats only covered the top half of our bodies and we were still soaked through. When we returned to our resort, Pop Century on that trip, there was a massive puddle, more like a lake, that we had to get past to get to our room. Our shoes were more than soaked! 

This is why we ended up switching to ponchos. They are light, small, cover your whole body and you can toss them after the rain storm.

#4 DON’T wear jeans in summer!

Remember that dirty little word mentioned above, yeah, well it will be increased if you wear jeans in summer! Go with shorts or like me, dresses!

So, why do I wear dresses? Because they are light and airy. I prefer simple breathable cotton fabrics. Just don’t go too short, or rides like Space Mountain may be more than unflattering! I find nice ones very inexpensively at Old Navy and Target!

#5 DON’T forget about the sun!

The sun in Florida is extremely unforgiving! Please remember your sunglasses and/or hats and apply and re-apply your sunscreen every hour as recommended. You’ll burn quicker than you can say, “Mickey Mouse”!

 

#6 DON’T over do the hair and makeup!

Remember that heat and humidity I mentioned, it will affect your make up and hair too! Your foundation will melt off your face and your hair will frizz the second you walk out the door!

For make up, I keep it simple and don’t use foundation if I can help it. I’ll take some foundation or a concealer for blemishes and under eye circles just in case. But, I’ll stick to a water proof mascara (I have short blonde lashes that without mascara are non-existent!) and a light powder with SPF in it. I use bare minerals, so I’ll just brush on Mineral Veil and a tiny bit of blush. For my lips, I usually just stick to a lip balm with SPF in it. I just recently bought my first Lip Sense product and am told it protects from the sun and should stay on without re-applying all day! I’m going to test it out on my upcoming trip and will review it later on. But, regardless of what you go with, just keep it light.

For hair, it of course depends on your hair type. But, if you have naturally wavy or curly hair like me, don’t spend the time blow drying and straightening or your hair will quickly go from this…

 

To this…

Adding heat by blow drying and straightening will only make your hair frizz all the more, even if you use de-frizzing products, trust me, I’ve tried! I like to embrace the wave when I’m at Disney! You can use texturing spray for a natural look. I also when wet, twist my hair in ringlets and let it air dry. This is how it comes out and stays pretty and natural most of the day. Or just pony tail or braid it too!

So, those are my DO’s and DON’T’s for what to wear to Disney World! What tricks have you learned from theme park touring? What is your go-to for out-fits or shoes that haven’t done you wrong? Have you had epic fails like me? Share in the comments section below!

Do you want to know the DO’s and DON’T’s for colder weather at Disney? Check out my What Not To Wear To Disney World: Winter Edition post!

Want more Disney? Check out all of my Disney World Posts!

 

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20 Comments on "What NOT to Wear to Disney World: Lessons I Learned the Hard Way!"

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Melanie Tillman
Guest

Thanks for the tips, Tracy! I think I’ll be buying some crocs for our trip!

Jacinthe
Guest

You are absolutely right for the shows. I went to Disney last June and wore Clarks Flip Flop. It was perfect. Comfortable. My feet could get wet, it was drying really fast. I also wear dresses as we are more comfortable in dresses than jeans short. I am planning to return to Disney but on march, and I wonder if I should wear my flip flop again….

Angela
Guest

I am a tennis shoes/sneaker person. Even when I went in July 2015, I survived the rain with my sneakers. I also wore capris and I am planning on wearing capris when I go again. I am bringing a pair of sweats and buying a hoodie when I am there. I will survive as I am the happiest place on earth. I am leaving on Nov 28-Dec 5th.

Laura
Guest

I’m right there with you Angela… literally . We will be there at the same time as you but a day earlier. Yep sneakers and hoodies for us but will check the weather before we go. I live in S GA so I know the hate relationship between my wavy hair and humility . Good tips.

Amie
Guest
This is solid advice! I just completed my 50th trip to WDW from Boston last week. Everything in this post is absolutely true. I wear a 16/18 and favored dresses and maxi skirts for Disney up until a few years ago. Now, I wear fitted capri pants made for working out (breathable, wicks away sweat) and cute t-shirts with my Nikes and a drawstring waterproof backpack. I’m shocked to see so many women in stilettos (seriously) 4inch wedges and going to church style dresses with heavy make up. Take one day or one park or, hop part if the day… Read more »
Tara
Guest

I love Keens and Tevas for Disney! They dry out from the rain and a comfy WITH arch support!

Sheri
Guest

Just as an FYI take newspaper to put in your shoes if wet it will soak up the water, a Floridian through and through avide WDW and Wizarding world fan. Good shoes powder and comfortable clothes are definitely key. Great article

Kari R
Guest

I’m not a fan of crocs personally but I do strongly recommend Oofos-I wear the flip flop version but they make a slide also. They are designed and reconmended for runners. I’ve ran Disney runs finished and turned around to swap to my Oofos and completed 30+ miles in a day on my feet at Disney and ZERO aches that night/next day! They are designed to recover your leg muscles. If I’m not in running shoes I’m in these at Disney! Amazon has in a variety of colors for about $30-$50

Lisa S.
Guest

How did you handle dresses on the thrill rides? Any Issues? They are my goto wear in warmer weather.

Ashlyn
Guest

Haha its so funny! I clicked on this article because I’m actually wearing that same exact grey and pink floral Torrid dress that you have on! I also own the navy and pink floral one as well. My boyfriend and I love going to Disney so thank you for the tips!

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