Planning what to pack is a big part of planning your Disney World vacation. Whether you choose to plan coordinated outfits day by day, or just plan to throw a few things in your bag and go, we’re here to help provide you with some guidance on how to dress for Disney World.
What to Wear at Disney World
Disney World does not have an overly strict dress code; they primarily state that “proper attire” — which includes shirts and shoes — must be worn at all times in the theme parks. While there are some types of clothing that clearly don’t make the grade (see the next section of this article), you should generally be fine with t-Shirts or polos, shorts/pants/skirts, and decent footwear. Khakis and collared shirts are occasionally spotted on Guests as well, though don’t be surprised if a fellow tourist thinks you work there and asks for directions to the nearest restroom. Unlike the earliest days of Disneyland in the 1950s, you will now be hard-pressed to find anyone wearing dress clothes in the park; but it does happen from time to time.
A good baseline for how to dress for Disney World is that you should be comfortable and casual. You’ll want to make sure that you’re dressing appropriately for activity that includes lots of walking, standing, and sitting.
Comfortable shoes may be the most important thing in your suitcase. It’s not unheard of at all to walk upwards of 10 miles in a day at the parks, broken up by long periods of standing in lines. A sturdy pair of well-broken-in athletic shoes is best for most people; sandals and flip flops are cute but don’t really provide the support needed; and if you get caught in one of Florida’s trademark mid-afternoon monsoons, you’ll be slip-sliding around a bit more than you might like.
Ride vehicles can be hard to get in and out of, so you’ll need an outfit that works on everything from the tamest and easiest to board (such as the Walt Disney World railroad) all the way up to the scariest ride at Disney World — and everything in between. Some rides such as Space Mountain require you to board extremely low to the ground level, and are not the place to tempt fate with clothing that’s just a bit too tight in the seat (lest someone see your Bibbidi Bobbidi Bloomers).
As to dressing for the weather, plan for heat and you likely won’t be disappointed; that said, Florida can get surprisingly chilly at times — especially after you’ve been roasting all day. And of course a rain shower (or downpour) is never too far away. Dressing in lightweight, easy-to-add/remove layers can help make your vacation wardrobe more flexible. Quick-dry fabrics can be most welcome should you get drenched; the only thing worse than getting soaked in an afternoon rainstorm is wearing sopping wet denim for the next hour while the sun beams down on you in 100% humidity.
Remember that you’ll be going through a security check upon entry; so while you’re certainly free to wear things like cargo pants with multiple pockets, perhaps don’t stuff them so full that you experience delays upon arrival. If you bring a backpack or purse with you, it’ll be searched as well — so plan accordingly.
What Not to Wear at Disney: Dress Code Violations
While we’re not here to play the Fashion Police, we do want to make sure you’re aware of the policies Disney has in place in regards to inappropriate attire.
Disney makes it clear that they reserve the right to deny admission to someone (or remove someone who has already been admitted) should that person be wearing “attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests.”
That’s a rather broad definition, but they do offer some further guidance:
- Costumes and costume masks* may not be worn by Guests 14 years of age or older (except during certain Halloween and Christmas events, which are subject to further guidelines). “Disneybounding” — wearing outfits that are inspired by (but do not directly impersonate) characters — is generally permitted within reason.
- Clothing with objectionable material, including obscene language or graphics, is prohibited
- Excessively torn clothing — or clothing which by design exposes “excessive portions of the skin” may be deemed inappropriate.
- Clothing which touches or drags on the ground is not allowed
- Objectionable tattoos may not be displayed
- Clothing with multiple layers is subject to search upon entry
*One further note on wearing masks at Disney World — medical style masks are permitted for those who wish to wear them; they are not required.
Note that the above guidelines apply primarily to theme parks; should your plans include a round of golf, a visit to a water park, or dinner at one of the nicer restaurants on property, you may be subject to further clothing guidelines.