Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. You think you know how to dress. But take it from someone who has experienced the pain of chafing and blistering; dressing for a Disney day requires careful planning and deliberation.
Let’s start with your feet. First step is to assess the weather. Hot? Sandals are great. Colder? Think of something more covered. I have searched long and hard for footwear that I can walk in all day and not have to bust out the band aids. Old Navy flip flops and the like are too flimsy for an entire Disney day. That’s a recipe for aching feet, and a back that feels like its on fire. Some people can do it. I do not recommend it.
If you’re committed to wearing flip flops, Reef Sandals are fabulous. They have arch support, a great cushion, and several women’s styles have sparkle on the top… I mean, common. If you are willing to spend a little extra, Birkenstock sandals (specifically the Arizona and Gizeh) are fairly bulletproof. NOTE: even with the best of these shoes, you do NOT, I repeat, do NOT want to wear a brand new pair of shoes to Disney. It’s just too much walking. We recommend wearing new shoes inside for at least a week before you go.
Now, this isn’t to say that you will definitely never get a blister (which is why I like to pack blister band-aids; they save the day!) or that your feet won’t hurt at the end of the day. Through much trial and error, I have found that the styles mentioned have been the most durable and comfortable for a 20,000 step day. (Note: that’s a light estimate of how many steps you’re going to take).
Also, just having a spare pair of shoes to switch out can be a lifesaver. I usually have two pairs for Disneyland, either sandals and a pair of close-toed or two different types of sandals. Having the option to trade gives your feet a break. You might have the most comfortable pair of walking sandals ever, but when you are on your feet for 14 hours every shoe starts to hurt, so changing it up can give your tired feet a bit of respite. This is something I always used to do, but we are now stroller free so I no longer find it to be an option. So if your feet are hurting, pop an Advil around dinner time.
Let’s say that the weather is a bit more cool, or you do not like wearing sandals. Casual runners with good arch support are a great option. Something to consider is fabric breathability. You want something that has some airflow, as well as something that dries quickly. There is nothing worse than getting soaked on the Grizzly River Run and then having to walk around in soaking wet shoes all day. If you get cold and you are with a group, split the cost of a locker (follow the link to see the prices) and pop in a sweater and your evening shoes. Change around dinner time. I find once the sun goes down, I want a sweater and closed toed shoes.
If your hotel is close enough and you don’t want to pay for a locker, you can consider going back to change. I’m not a runners kind of gal… I’m really not. I find them ultra uncomfortable. My shoe picks are Natives, (these are great for the entire family… my son looooooves his!), Converse or Keds. Socks, no socks… totally up to you. They are light and durable, and you can go up a size or two if need be for your kids.
My husband needs the extra arch support, so these Nikes were his go to. Our toddler also has some Nikes on. I’ve got a pair of Reefs on.
Chub-Rub and All Things Uncomfortable
Let’s get a little personal now. Chub Rub. If you don’t know what that is, and have never experienced the burning pain that is chafing, continue on your merry way you lucky duck, you. For those who know the pain of not being able to wear a dress for extended periods of time in the heat, read on.
I have tried deodorant to help my legs glide against each other, to no avail. I have not yet found shorts for under a dress that do not ride up, so I have sadly had to set my dresses aside for Disney days. Also, consider the length of your shorts when picking an outfit for Disney. You will be doing a lot of walking, so those adorable short shorts that make you feel super sassy are maybe better left for a day off when you aren’t walking a 16k.
I found that Body Glide is the best thing for Chub Rub. You have to apply it a few times a day for it to be effective, but it’s the size of a small deodorant and you can keep it in your bag to apply on the inner thigh. This was a lifesaver especially after having a wax , and kept me from getting ingrown hairs due to rubbing (just being honest here!).
And since we are at the uncomfortable part of the convo, also just be aware of your undergarments and what happens when you get wet. I’m not going to name names, but someone in our party wore much darker under garments than the dress she was wearing and man, was it unfortunate after a quick run through Grizzly River Run. There are times when you are going to get regretfully wet… and it’s good to have an idea of what you’re going to wear ahead of time in case that happens.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you go. Especially, but not limited to, the off season. You can’t always assume it’s going to be sunny in California and this can make all the difference. Even if the forecast is nice, it’s always a good idea to pack extra layers just in case it cools down at night. We usually find a couple of sweaters (dark colours for the kids so you don’t have to wash them) and a pair of pants or two do the trick.
In the summer, you may want to think about hats. Keeping your head and face out of direct sun can make a huge difference. You have to remove them for rides, so just keep this in mind when you are picking your hat. They do have a small pouch on some rides to put your hats and sunglasses while you enjoy the ride. It’s easy to forget things when getting on and off rides so make sure to double check!
Ultimately, when picking your clothes, you just want to have these things in mind. Personally, I hate being uncomfortable, especially if I don’t have the option of changing immediately when I’ve had enough.
Have a magical day!
Elisia, Erica, Heidi and Danielle
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