Some people are surprised to learn that Disney World does actually have a dress code. How strict the enforcement of the code is uncertain; I’ve seen some violations myself and can only assume that eventually someone spoke to the guest in question, but can’t be sure. Read on to find out what Disney considers inappropriate attire for the parks, as well as other dress-related recommendations.
Inappropriate Park Attire:
1. Character Costumes
If you are over the age of 10, dressing up as your favorite princess, or in any other character attire, is not allowed. Dressing up can be lots of fun, but you’ll have to save your adult Elsa costume for Halloween. Ladies, you can style your hair and makeup like your favorite princess if you want to, provided you don’t go all out and also wear the costume.
Why does Disney enforce this rule? Disney does not want children to be confused about who the “real” characters are in the park, nor do they want a child to see two versions of the same character simultaneously. This ruins the magic, and Disney goes to great lengths to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Plus, it could be a little bit creepy. (There are 2 exceptions to this rule. If you attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or participate in a RunDisney race, then you are free to wear your princess costume.)
2. Clothing displaying anything vulgar or obscene
Vulgarity and Disney don’t mix. Written obscenities, as well as violent or sexual images, are not allowable on your park attire. You’ll probably receive a warning if you are caught, along with a suggestion to turn your shirt inside-out. If you don’t comply, you may be asked to exit the park (or not be granted entrance). That being said, I’ve seen some raunchy t-shirts in the parks before, so I’m not sure how often this is enforced. Please be a rule-follower and self-enforce this policy!
3. Clothing that reveals too much skin
This point includes minimal clothing, like belly shirts, super short-shorts, and tiny bathing suits, as well as excessively torn or transparent clothing. Disney (and let’s face it, your fellow guests) doesn’t want to see your bottom hanging out below your cutoffs, or other parts of you through unfortunately placed tears in your shirts and shorts.
As for bathing suits, unless you are spending the day at one of Disney’s water parks, your bathing suit is not an acceptable park outfit. Furthermore, when you do don your bathing suit for your trip to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, be sure to wear something tasteful. Although teeny tiny bikinis are sometimes seen, Disney technically does not want you to wear thongs or other extremely revealing swim attire.
Can you wear a bathing suit top on water rides? If you use common sense, you’ll be fine. Pair your swimsuit top with shorts and shoes, and use good judgment. Make sure the top actually covers your assets- the dress code says no to teeny tiny string bikini tops or G-string bottoms.
4. Objectionable tattoos
Yup, tattoos count too, even though they aren’t clothing. What’s considered “objectionable” is somewhat subjective, but you can assume that if your tattoo would not be allowed if you were wearing it on a t-shirt, then you can assume it’s a no-go. Cover up the naked lady artwork on your arm or risk being asked to either “modify” your appearance or exit the park. If you forget to cover up, just buy yourself a new Mickey sweatshirt!
Other Tips about Attire:
5. Wear comfortable shoes
There’s nothing outlined in Disney’s code for guest attire that mandates your comfort. However, if you want to enjoy your long day of park touring in comfort, you’d be wise to wear extremely comfortable shoes. Wearing brand new shoes, regardless of how comfortable, might be a mistake. Make sure you bring well-worn shoes with you. You might also consider two pairs of supportive shoes, so that you can alternate them daily (especially if one pair ends up irritating an area of your foot). Another mistake to avoid: wearing stylish (but uncomfortable) shoes for the sake of dressing up for meals. Obviously, if you are attending a fancy meal, you’ll want to look the part. If that is the case, minimize your walking time prior to the meal, or simply bring the shoes to change into before dinner.
6. Restaurant attire
When I dine in Disney, I often wish I was dressed less casually for my meals. Nothing about a t-shirt shirt and shorts and messy hair is very appetizing. However, it is expected and perfectly acceptable at most of Disney’s restaurants to arrive “as you are.” Remember, everyone else in the restaurant has also spent the majority of the day riding rides and walking the parks. You won’t be alone in your touristy outfit.
If you are dining at a “signature dining” location (aka, one of the fancy places), you’ll want to adhere to a “business casual” dress code. The dress codes at signature dining locations are not very strictly enforced; if you look presentable, you will most likely be seated. Items that would be considered inappropriate would include any non-park appropriate attire, as well as tank tops and baseball caps. Jeans and nice shorts would still be considered appropriate. Signature dining restaurants located inside the parks (Hollywood Brown Derby, for instance) only ask that you wear appropriate park attire. Outside the parks, you may see people dressed somewhat nicer for signature dining meals (Citricos, California Grill, Flying Fish, etc.) Note that if you dine at Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian, you’ll be expected to adhere to a more strict dress policy. Women would be expected to wear dress slacks or dresses, and men would be expected to wear dinner jackets. Jeans, sneakers, shorts, and flip flops are not permitted.
Now that you know what to wear (and what to avoid), pack your bags with appropriate clothing and let’s go to Disney World!
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