UPDATED January 12, 2017
I put a lot of thought into what I wear to the parks for many reasons.
I consider going to Disneyland a privilege and I dress like it. That doesn’t always translate to an actual dress and heels, but I do tend to wear my cuter clothes to the parks. It makes me feel more put together and when I feel like that, I’m a whole lot nicer to be around.
Why else do I dress up for the parks? For pictures. I take more photos in the park than I do at most events. Twice now I’ve ended up using a picture from a visit for our holiday card. I have several photographs framed and on our walls from Disneyland. I probably wouldn’t use them as much if we looked like a mess.
In this article
I have a few key pieces that accompany me nearly every visit that I think would work well for most people:
- A colorful pashmina scarf – These are so useful in so many ways, above and beyond wearing them to stay warm. If it gets chilly unexpectedly, you can use it as a blanket for a little one. It can cover a stroller for nap time. It stores easily in your backpack and can even be tied onto your stroller. The one I use most often is a bright turquoise which photographs well. These can be found at most department stores, online and in boutiques. Larger than a scarf, they can be used as a wrap. You’ll often see one of these tied onto my purse when I’m not wearing it.
- Cute, but comfy shoes – This is an automatic for most people, but I have a few suggestions for you. Keens are excellent in design and comfort and will give you good support throughout the day. I’ll often wear my Keen Mary Janes for daytime so my feet don’t get too hot and then pack a pair of socks to wear under them for when temperatures drop at night. Minnetonka Moccasins are excellent, too, at keeping your feet not-too-hot and not-too-cold. Tennis shoes, of course, work well. Recently, I’ve been wearing the Yoga Slings by Sanuk and love them. I also love my Tieks. If you purchase these, wear them for 2 weeks around the house, with socks, to break them in. (I often have these in my bag for emergency shoes in case I need them during my park visits.) But, my favorite brand of all shoes is OluKais. I wear their Ohana Flip Flops every day, in the park or not, and can’t say enough good about them. They’re podiatrist recommended and provide great support.
- A cute hat – For sun protection, of course, a hat works well. But, I also feel like a hat keeps me looking pulled together. I don’t want to fuss with my hair throughout the day, so I often wear a hat. If I don’t start out with it, I pack one for later in the day.
- Minnie Ears – These are not only cute, but functional. I wear them at almost every visit now because they serve as a headband to keep my hair back. They look cute in photographs, too! You can find these on Amazon, at Target (party section for $6.99) or, of course, in the parks. There are so many cute versions now in the parks. I want them all.
My Bag and what is Packed in my Bag
First, which bag do I use? You’ll see a lot of photos in this post showing me with black bags – with stripes or just plain. I bought those from Target and they worked fine for a few trips and then fell apart. I finally bought my favorite (actually two of them) RaisCase messenger bags and can’t say enough good about them. Use code RCxDLPS st checkout for 20% off your purchase until 5.31.2017 at RaisCase.com.
RaisCase bags are beautifully made and styled. They’re also just big enough (but not TOO big) to hold the majority of what you need for the day. Take a look:
This is the Two Tone Leather Avery Messenger.
Here is the Canyonlands Messenger:
Also, in my bag, that is related to what we wear:
- A princess dress – For my daughter. Even if she leaves the house telling me she won’t want to wear it, she might want to later in the day and I’d rather be prepared than be tempted to indulge on-site. Amazon and Target’s princess dresses run about $20. They’re $60+ at the park!
- My makeup bag (with deodorant) – To freshen up throughout the day, especially if it’s a hot one.
- Essential oils – I keep several of these on hand for stress-relief and in place of perfume.
- Extra hair accessories – In case my daughter breaks a rubber band or loses a hair pin.
- Dollar store ponchos – It rarely rains in Anaheim, but you don’t want to be caught without coverage for your cute clothes in case it does. Ponchos at the park are pricey!
I wear leggings to Disneyland on at least half my visits. They’re so nice to have for chilly mornings and nights. Wear them under a dress or tunic and then take them off mid-day if they get too warm.
Temperatures at Disneyland
Although SoCal is known for perfect weather, night time does bring chilly temps and you want to be prepared. We dress in layers and always have something on hand for cold weather – even during warmer months. Year round, you will almost always need a sweater for the evening hours.
Check out the lows and highs for each month in our area:
January – 48/71
February – 48/71
March – 51/73
April – 53/76
May – 57/78
June – 61/81
July – 65/87
August – 65/89
September – 63/87
October – 58/82
November – 52/76
December – 47/70
Ideas on What to Wear
*A simple, sleeveless dress can transform from morning to daytime to nighttime. I bring leggings to wear until it gets warm and then add them again at night when I’m cold. I also wear a sweater when it gets chilly.
*Here is a similar dress to what I’m wearing above, but with leggings and a sweater. It all works together and requires little packing on my part. Leggings are lightweight and don’t take up a lot of room in my bag and I usually tie my sweater onto my purse when I’m not wearing it.
Some other ideas for dressing:
- Yoga pants, long sleeve t-shirt, pashmina scarf and mary janes.
- Maxi dress, light sweater, and moccasins.
- Jeans, tunic, light sweater, moccasins, and hat.
- Leggings, casual dress, sweater, Keens and hat.
I can usually use one of these combinations for day to night wear, but I don’t get cold easily. Some might want a heavier jacket for night time. Keep in mind, you’ll likely walk 10+ miles during a single day at the park, so a work out is included in your visit. That often keeps my body temperature up and I feel less of a need for a heavy coat.
Take a look at my post on the logistics of Disneyland to know where to find lockers in case you need to store coats or other gear.
Going the Extra Mile
I’m a big fan of over-doing things and dressing for Disneyland is no exception. Dapper Day comes and goes each year, but I’ve been told a few times that I dress like it’s Dapper Day every time I go. I can live with that.
Here are Lainey and me at Dapper Day in 2014:
And, while Dapper Day dressing isn’t for everyone, I do have some ideas on how to add a little extra to your outfit to look and feel cute:
- Minnie Ears – As mentioned above, they’re as useful as they are cute. And, I always feel put together with my hair pulled back out of my face.
- Jewelry – I wear earrings, a watch, bracelets and more to Disney. I know that’s not for everyone, so consider even just a cute statement necklace to add interest to your outfit. You can still be comfortable, but cute, at the parks.
- Hats – Men and women can wear hats for both comfort and style. The Mad Hatter (on site in three locations at Disneyland) has all sorts of fun options, or you can stop by Target prior to your trip for something a little more fashionable. A hat is the easiest way not to have to deal with your hair.
What Kids Should Wear
My children are almost always dressed in patterned clothing because we are messy and I can’t stand to see stains on their clothes. So, plaids or printed pieces work best for us.
I also recommend layering for children. My older son often wears shorts, a t-shirt and hoodie. He doesn’t get cold often. My middle son always wears pants a short sleeve shirt with a hoodie tied around his waist. My daughter wears jeans or leggings with dresses or tunics like me and then adds a sweater at night.
Shoes might be the most important selection you make for your children. If a little one starts his or day without socks, pack some. You’ll likely need them later. Comfy shoes make all the difference for tired feet who are walking, essentially, double what we are with their tiny legs.
See the look on my daughter’s face here? This is the look of defeat. Of mom being right. Her furry kitten heels (God give me strength) didn’t make it out of Mickey’s Parking Garage. Good thing mom had Toms in her backpack. Why am I speaking in third person?
Check this out! We almost look like a normal family here:
Disney Bounding occurs when park guests wear clothes that identify with a popular Disney character without being in actual costume. Costumes are not allowed in the park – with the exception of special events – so Disney Bounding is a way to emulate your favorite character without the actual costume.
Here are Shannon (creator of WDW Prep School) and I Disney Bounding in our favorite princess jackets.
***Search “Disney Bounding” on Pinterest for more inspiration for your visit. You can learn ways to put pieces of your own wardrobe together to participate in Disney Bounding. Anyone can do it on any day at the park.
***Visit my Disney Style Board on Pinterest for other ideas on what to wear to the park, for Disney Bounding ideas and more.
What About When it Rains?
It rarely rains at Disneyland, but when it does, there are plenty of places to take cover.
And, if you know it’s going to rain prior to your visit, don’t panic. In fact, a rainy day at Disneyland provides you with the chance to ride and do more than what you would be able to on a bright and sunny day, so have no fear.
You should dress appropriately, however. Review my post on how to deal with the rain at Disneyland and consider what I suggest on how to be prepared. Water-resistant shoes are a must.
Recently, on a day with rain in the forecast, I wore this:
It was a chilly day and I knew I’d need the rain boots for later on. The leggings kept me warm and I had an extra pair in my bag should the ones I was wearing get wet from the rain. When jeans get wet in the rain, they stay wet. Leggings don’t stay as wet and with another pair to change into, I was set.
I absolutely adore my pair of Hunter Original Tall Red Rainboots because they’re just about the cutest thing ever. Find those on Amazon.
Being prepared can make all the difference in your Disneyland visit. Looking good (which translates to feeling good for me) will make for a great day, too! Bottom line: Be comfortable, but like what you’re wearing. Don’t put all your effort into your kids and forget about yourself.
Hashtag your Disneyland outfits with #disneylandcute (now and in the future) so I can see what you’re wearing. I’d love to get inspiration from you, too!
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