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Travel Inspiration | Travel
What to Wear to Disney? Tips for Disney Outfits


Coordinating outfits for a Walt Disney World vacation was not a thing when I was a kid—at least, not for my family. We would visit Disney theme parks wearing whatever was already in our closets, usually a cringeworthy combination of neon shorts and t-shirts popular in the 80s and 90s.

How times change. Today there is an entire culture around Disney outfits. It’s fueled, in part, by several things that didn’t exist when I was younger. There’s smartphone technology—which makes picture-taking and sharing easy. There’s also ubiquitous Disney merchandise and collaborations—which makes it easy to find beloved Disney characters on almost anything while shopping online.

And, there are Disney fashion influencers who leverage social media to show off cleverly curated, head-to-toe Disney clothing while exploring the parks, and inspiring others to do the same.

I willfully went down the Disney apparel rabbit hole when preparing for my 2-year-old daughter’s first Disney vacation. I knew that putting some effort into our vacation attire would make our experience— and yes, the photos—more magical. Not to mention, the wardrobe planning added to the excitement and anticipation leading up to what is, for many, a bucket-list vacation.

Here’s some advice based on what I learned during my attempt to infuse some creative, Disney-inspired fashion into my family’s recent trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Pinterest board of Disney outfits and accessories.Disney inspired Pinterest board; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

The moment my husband and I made our first trip deposit, I started a Pinterest board to begin collecting ideas for Disney-themed attire. I became even more excited for our upcoming trip, and starting early helped me compare costs and learn which items might take longer, especially anything custom-made.

Mom and dad holding little girl's hand, all three wearing matching Disney t shirtsFamily Magic Kingdom photo in matching outfits; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

Use internet searches and social media to collect ideas. I perused Pinterest and Instagram accounts where Disney attire was a theme, and I also found ideas within Facebook Groups focused on Disney vacation planning, such as “Smart Moms Planning Disney” and “Taking Tots to Disney.” If I stumbled upon something that sparked my interest, I’d save the photo and shopping link to my Pinterest board.

For instance, I spotted a “Most Expensive Day Ever” t-shirt in a social media post and decided to build our family ensemble around my husband wearing that shirt.

I tried to coordinate themes around each park we would visit. For instance, Disney’s Hollywood Studios dedicates an entire area to the Disney/Pixar-animated film “Toy Story,” which is one of my daughter’s favorite movies. I knew we’d peg our outfits to this theme by focusing on the squeaky aliens from Pizza Planet.

Mom and dad holding little girl's hand, all three wearing matching Disney t shirtsSkylar and dad wearing custom Disney t-shirts; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

A longstanding Disney tradition is getting matching Disney t-shirts for your travel group. The shirt becomes even more valuable if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or some other special occasion, as Disney cast members are known to sprinkle celebrating guests with special treatment.

Since it was my daughter’s first Disney vacation, I wanted shirts commemorating this for our arrival day. I created custom t-shirts that read “Skylar’s 1st Disney World Trip” -- and yes, it did earn my daughter extra attention and little surprises from Disney cast members upon check-in.

Little girl in Cinderella costume having picture taken with Cinderella at Disney WorldSkylar meets Cinderella; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

If there are specific characters you plan to meet, consider coordinating your Disney clothes accordingly. For instance, we had reservations to Cinderella’s Royal Table, a character dining experience within the castle, where our daughter would get to meet the glass-slippered princess.

I brought along a Cinderella princess dress (which happened to be her most recent Halloween costume) for the meet-and-greet occasion. My daughter wore it for character photos and pictures in front of the castle, then changed into more comfortable park attire for the rest of our day at Magic Kingdom.

As much as I would have loved to also dress as Cinderella, it’s important to note that anyone over the age of 14 dressed as a Disney character cannot come inside a Disney property. Only little kids should be coming to Disney dressed as a head-to-toe Disney character.

Adults who don’t comply have been known to be escorted out. The only exception to this rule is attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in September or October, when adults in costumes are acceptable. Read Disney’s Attire Guidelines before packing anything that could be deemed questionable.

Woman wearing Mickey Mouse ears, photo taken from behindWoman wearing Mickey Mouse ears in front of Princess Castle, Disneyland Paris Park; Photo by satur73/

It might be tempting to wait until you get to Disney World, but trust me on this. You’ll have more design choices—including cool customization options—and often cheaper prices if you get your ears ahead of the trip.

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Do a little homework before making your purchases. Simple internet sleuthing allowed me to find certain items cheaper than where I originally spotted them. To give you a running start, here’s my abbreviated “cheat sheet” on where to secure Disney clothes and Disney accessories.

shopDisney.comWait for sales and sign up for the newsletter for discounts.

Amazon, Walmart, TargetThis is where you can find almost anything you might need that can arrive quickly. I found my daughter’s character-themed cotton dresses on Amazon and Walmart.

TEMU, Ali ExpressThese online companies carry most of what you’ll find at the big-box stores at significantly cheaper prices. Just be prepared to wait. Delivery can take one month or longer, as the merchandise is often shipped directly from China.

EtsyGo here for customization and truly one-of-a-kind items, such as custom Mickey ears and custom Disney shirts. I appreciated being able to communicate with each vendor on what I specifically needed in the finished product.

eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, Facebook MarketplaceOnline resale sites can be a treasure hunt, but you may be able to find exactly what you need—or didn’t know you needed—by scrolling through what other people are selling.

Spirit HalloweenIn the days after Halloween, everything in this store is 50% off. It’s a great time to grab Disney-related attire and accessories at a steep discount.

Of course, you don’t need to buy an entirely new wardrobe for a Disney vacation. My family creatively repurposed a lot of what we already had in our closets. For instance, for our Animal Kingdom day, we wore leopard-themed t-shirts from my daughter’s “Two Wild” birthday party.

White Crocs with Lilo and Stitch charmsCrocs featuring Lilo and Stitch charms; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

A Disney vacation is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes or wear even the most mildly uncomfortable high heels, because you’ll be doing a ton of walking in the park. My husband clocked us at nearly 13 miles in one day. Wear what’s comfortable and, ideally, waterproof. If there is an uncomfortable shoe that makes your outfit, just keep the pair in a day bag and slip them on for photos.

Expect rain at some point during your visit. Pack a durable poncho or rain jacket in your day bag, or risk getting your thoughtfully curated Disney outfit wet.

Woman holding ice cream cone with Disney themed nail art on fingernailsDisney themed nail art; Photo courtesy of Erica Bray

The smallest details count. The night before my trip, I got nail art inspired by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. (If you search online for “Disney nail art,” other ideas abound.) I received lots of compliments while at Disney—including appreciative claps from Mickey and Minnie themselves.

If you plan on being at Disney for several days, I recommend splurging on Memory Maker. This provides unlimited digital downloads of all the professional photos taken during your Disney vacation. My family made full use of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers stationed at iconic locations throughout each park. It allowed us to focus on the fun—and have our cute Disney outfits documented for posterity.