Sorry for the break. I went to Disney World for a week, but didn’t think it safe to publish my plans on the interweb beforehand. I hope you were entertained with the Year Three round-up posts I scheduled to publish during my absence.
I don’t have much in the way of outfit photos to share. I packed comfortable, casual pieces that you’ve mostly seen over and over again. That doesn’t mean, though, that I was totally off duty. I did lots of people watching at the four parks and also reflected on my own vacation style strategy. And now, I bring you:
1. Bring at least two pairs of comfy shoes. I spent six days walking around the parks. Even the most comfortable shoe starts to wear on your foot with repeated wearings. If you bring at least two pair, you can alternate each day to give your feet and the shoes a break. As most runners know, shoes need a day to recover to give you the most cushioning and stability.
2. Start early, end late, and take a break in the middle. If you are staying on property, you’ll want to take advantage of Magic Hours, which means a long day. Even without Magic Hours, you’ll want to hit the parks early to ride your favorite attractions while the weather is cool and the crowds are light. After lunch, head back to your hotel for a rest. I used this time to nap, swim, or read. Once you’re refreshed, return to the park (perhaps with a fresh pair of shoes!) and party till it closes. Once again, you’ll be taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and lighter attendance. And Disney at night is magical.
3. Bring a crushable, brimmed hat. First of all, a hat is sun smart. Second, it will keep the water out of your eyes in case of rain showers or a drenching on Kali River Rapids. Finally, it hides the bedhead from your afternoon nap.
4. Wear a handsfree bag. I alternated between two bags: my leather hip bag and a small, cross-body satchel. I was able to leave my bag fastened to my body for every single ride and had no fear of leaving it behind. I didn’t have to tug at the straps all day as I would with a traditional purse. I didn’t have to sling it off my back to reach inside as I would with a backpack. I understand that backpacks and totes may be necessary if you are travelling with children, but also carry a handsfree bag on your body for your valuables.
5. Carry a ziplock bag inside your handsfree bag. Orlando is prone to thundershowers (although I stayed dry on my trip!) and certain rides can be a bit wet. A quart-size ziplock can be used to keep your cellphone and wallet dry inside your purse. I fastened a gallon-size plastic bag around my SLR camera to ride Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids without worry. The plastic bag that comes with your Disney World purchases will also work in a pinch.
6. Try on your vacation clothing before you go. And look in the mirror. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing and fun. It isn’t necessary to put on a fashion show for your fellow vacationers and I am not judging the crocs, logo tees, and cropped pants that were common apparel. I cringed, though, to see many (mostly) women wearing too-tight tops that hugged every roll and too-small shorts that persisted in crawling into bodily crevices, despite frequent tugging. When vacationing, we often pull out clothing that has sat disused in a drawer for a few months or even years. Take time, before you go, to try it all on and make sure it fits comfortably. If it doesn’t, don’t take it.
7. Bring a cardigan or other cover-up to the park. Even if it is 90 degrees outside, you can be absolutely miserable waiting in the cold, dark Pirates queue or dining at Le Cellier. The air conditioning feels refreshing at first, but becomes uncomfortable with prolonged exposure. I agree that wearing a cardigan tied around your waist for the rest of the day is a little unattractive, but I’d rather be dorky outdoors than cold inside. On the first day of the trip, Magic Hours were until 1 a.m. I didn’t bring my cardigan or jacket to the park that afternoon and ended up buying a hoodie at about 7 p.m. because I was freezing. And that’s how I ended up with a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.
8. Pack snacks. I was on the dining plan, so I got a snack a day, and there were healthy choices available, but I was glad to have additional options in my handsfree bag. I stashed a nutrition bar, dates, and almonds in my bag each day. I usually ate the bar as I walked around and the dates and almonds were perfect to sneakily munch while in line or even on a tame ride. The snacks kept my blood sugar stable, provided me with fiber, and kept me from binging on the less healthy options available for purchase.
9. Don’t take your whole wallet. I left my wallet at home and took only three cards and some cash. The smaller bundle fit in my bag (while leaving room for snacks!) and reduced fumbling at the cashier.
10. Plan wet rides just prior to breaks. No one wants to spend the day soaked. Even if your clothes fit and your shoes are comfy, they can chafe when wet. And your cardigan will do you no good in the A/C if it’s wet, too. Get in line for the rides with splash potential just before your afternoon break. That’s likely to be the warmest part of the day, and you can change during your break if you get soaked.
Finally, here’s a little fashion mash-up of what I wore to Disney World.