August is an interesting time for Disney. It is, to borrow a phrase from sports, a tale of two halves.
The first half of the month is Disney at its peak time. But because of its proximity to school starting back up again, many families will try to pack in one final hoorah before settling back into normalcy.
By August, Florida’s hurricane season is also ramping up significantly. Therefore, both crowds and weather at this time can be unpredictable, but it is still one of the most popular times to vacation at Disney World.
Despite these concerns, there are a ton of good reasons to go to Disney in August. The latter half of the month is when children return to school, making families less likely to visit and freeing the park for others to come.
If you are going without children, you might want to go during the second half of the month to avoid bigger crowds. Once there, you should have full access to the rides, since none of the rides will be closed for refurbishment. If this sounds great, and you’re ready to learn what to wear in Disney World in August, then this article is for you!
What to Expect at Disney World in August
Before we get to the specifics of what to wear for your Walt Disney World vacation, we need to establish what you should expect when traveling to Florida in August.
The most important thing to remember when vacationing in Florida is the weather. Most people will be generally aware that it will be hot in Florida; after all, Florida is one of the most southernmost parts of the continental United States.
But it isn’t just about the heat—it’s about the humidity. Combine the humidity temperatures that regularly visit 90 degree Fahrenheit, you can definitely understand the immediate need to pack the right clothes to feel comfortable and limit your ability to feel clammy and overheated.
The humidity also means that rain showers are always around the corner. And on top of that, hurricane season is ramping up and is approaching its peak. When it comes to your clothing choices, you will need to prepare your wardrobe for the realities of heat, humidity, showers and hurricane season.
What Are You Looking For?
Besides the weather, when planning for Disney you must think about what kind of vacationer you are. This will determine how much money you spend, where you cut corners and, most of all, whether you will sacrifice looks for comfort or vice versa.
Among my own family and many of the families I know, there are several different kinds of vacationers who look for different kinds of things. Some of you prioritize function and comfort above all, no matter what you look like. To you, it doesn’t matter whether fanny packs are in or out, you will rock them no matter what because they work. Fortunately for fanny pack lovers, they appear to be back in style.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may care mostly about how you look. This isn’t just about vanity for you; this is about creating memories and creating pictures for posterity. For you, it doesn’t matter if those flat sole shoes kill your feet, they work for your outfit and that is all that matters.
The vast majority of us fit somewhere on the spectrum between these two poles. We want comfort because we will be walking quite a bit in the heat of the Sunshine State, but we don’t want to look like dorks while we do so. Because of this, I will try to offer a few suggestions to think about where you want to fall.
What to Pack for Disney World in August
Because of the unpredictability of the weather, you’ll need to pack for both rain and sunshine. For rain, you’ll want to pack a poncho–which is a Disney World staple. They sell them at the park, of course, but they’re cheaper if you buy them beforehand and you don’t want to have to buy one in a panic.
Froggs Toggs makes ponchos made from material that is more comfortable than your baseline poncho, but it won’t break your bank. The SaphiRose hooded rain poncho costs a little bit more, but it comes in twenty different colors and has its own compact carrying bag. If you want to spend a little bit less, you can get a disposable poncho for around a dollar at Academy Sports.
If you want to be a little more fashionable, you could take a light raincoat. You don’t want to bring one that is too bulky, or you might end up leaving it at home out of convenience. One benefit that ponchos have over raincoats, however, is that many of them are large enough to cover your backpack as well.
If you plan on visiting one of Disney’s water parks (Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach), then you’ll need to bring your bathing suit. If you have children in diapers, remember to bring some swim diapers such as Pampers Splashers or Huggies Little Swimmers.
Bring a hat or two, particularly if you are susceptible to the heat and sun. Wider brims can offer much more protection from the sun. Bucket hats seem to have returned to popularity, much to the relief to the 90s kids who retained theirs. They give good, all-round coverage. Otherwise, a good baseball cap will always work, as well. Some hats even provide built-in UV protection.
Be sure to pack, as well. In fact, bring two pairs of shoes for walking in the park, if possible. Between the rain and the water rides, one pair might end up too soaked to wear. You’ll also want some shoes for the resort or the pool, such as water shoes. Also, remember some dressier shoes in case you want to go out to one of the signature restaurants.
You will need to pack sunglasses, of course. Things to think about in sunglasses would be whether they are polarized and how well they fit. Sunglasses can cost quite a bit if you want to splurge, but I usually don’t. I lose my sunglasses too often. For reasonably priced sunglasses that don’t sacrifice quality, you could do a lot worse than Knockaround glasses.
Best Clothes to Wear in Disney World
When deciding what kind of clothes to wear to Disney World, it’s important to consider what those clothes are made of. Remember, in August it will mostly be hot and humid. So, when you think about what to wear in Disney World, you need to consider heat, humidity, activity, duration, and the possibility of water-based rides.
You might also think about linen clothing. For example, loose-fitting linen pants are a great option, if you don’t mind how much they wrinkle. Alternatively, consider a short sleeve, button-up linen shirt.
One great option is to wear clothing that wicks like Under Armor or Champion. This doesn’t have to just be workout clothes, since you can also find wicking clothes in the form of polo shirts, dresses, and short sleeve button-ups. Wicking clothing might be especially helpful for bottoms. You might also consider cotton, which doesn’t dry quite as quickly as polyester but provides a wide array of clothing options.
In humid weather, you should wear clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting. Clothing should be light and loose. Tank tops make for a versatile top. Camp collar shirts can be worn a number of ways, pairing with everything from beachwear to denim. A lot of women find that dresses make for a good option as well.
Probably the best advice to begin with when thinking about shoes is that you don’t want to wear brand new shoes in Disney World. Your shoes should be comfy and broken-in already. You don’t want your feet bleeding because you decided to try out your new Nikes on the day you did a Park Hopper across all four parks. Don’t go chasing waterfalls, friends; please stick to the familiar shoes that you’re used to.
Other qualities you should look for in shoes include overall comfort. They should be breathable; once again, you’ll be wearing them a long time. They should be light and easy to pack. They should probably have a bit of support rather than being flat.
One great option that combines all of these traits is running shoes, such as those made by ASICS or Saucony. One popular choice is the adidas Ultra Boost, which bills itself as both a running shoe and a “lifestyle shoe.” That maybe overkill for what you need, but you can also look for shoes with thick soles. Once again, make sure they are good and broken in. For kids, Sketchers are a very popular choice and are widely available. Keen sandals are also pretty popular and are incredibly versatile. They work great for water days and are nearly indestructible.
You may want to reconsider your socks, while you’re at it as well. Cotton takes a while to dry, and nothing is worse than walking around in squishy socks. You don’t want to wear no-show socks, unless you want to deal with them slipping down into your shoes.
You have a few options to take care of the sock problem. First, you might look into a different kind of sock, such as Feetures, that aren’t made from cotton. Alternatively, you could just bring along another pair of socks to change into after a water ride. Be sure to bring along a plastic bag for the wet socks.
Another obvious solution is to just forget about socks entirely. You might wear hiking sandals, such as those by Keen. For those worried about sore feet, plenty of sandals can also provide support, such as the Birkenstock’s Arizona Slide Sandal. Flip flops are generally not recommended for those with foot problems, but they will be useful for your resort pool.
You will need a bag of some sort. It’s worth reviewing the rules for Disney before you decide on a bag. Obviously, any bag might be checked by security, and they can’t be any bigger than 24x15x18. You might consider bringing a large cooler-style backpack. If you only want to bring the basics, you might think of something like a sling bag. You will not be able to carry a whole lot in it, but that may be preferable.
You don’t want to carry a lot of stuff on your back because it will weigh you down and make your back sweaty. Personally, I’m fond of my trusty Jansport bag. It isn’t expensive and it has lasted forever. It needs to be big enough for snacks, autograph book, water bottle, and sunscreen.
Comfortable Disney Outfits
There are a lot of fun shirts and tops that you can wear without sacrificing comfort while in the park. The obvious choice is to wear graphic tees of some kind. You can think ahead and plan for what you want to wear so that your shirts are planned for what park you want to wear. This website here has a lot of great suggestions for shirts you might wear to the parks.
You might also wear wicking shirts such as running or boating shirts such as Reel Legends. Most athletic wear is meant to be worn out, so there’s quite a few options for athletic shirts that won’t look sloppy.
Also, if you don’t like t-shirts, you could wear a button down made from lightweight material over a tank top. There’s a lot of fun designs appropriate for Disney World all over the internet.
In most cases, jeans are a great staple because they go well with almost anything, but when thinking about how to dress for a late summer vacation, it gets a little bit more complicated. Denim is heavy and takes quite a while to dry, so you especially will not want to wear it if you’re riding one of Disney’s water rides. You might pack denim shorts for an alternative that still has a lot of the versatility of jeans.
You can also wear crop pants or capris made from a lightweight material like linen. For ladies, skirts and dresses will also be lightweight and help you stay cool. For everyone, there are shorts of all kinds. Both men and women might consider wearing board shorts, which are durable and made from quick drying fabric. They also go with a lot of different kinds of shirts. You can also wear khaki shorts, which are lighter than denim.
Representing Your Favorite Character
Many people will not settle for only being comfortable in the park; they want to look good while doing it. You also want to celebrate and join in on the magic of Disney by showing off your favorite Disney characters. For those of you who don’t want to leave dressing up fun to the kids, consider preplanning your outfits to be special for Disney. There’s a lot of fun ways you can do so.
For years, Disney fans have preplanned clothes to represent their favorite characters, calling this “DisneyBounding.” DisneyBounding is not the same thing as cosplay or wearing a character graphic tee. It involves wearing casual clothing in such a way that represents a character or idea.
For instance, if you wanted to DisneyBound as Rapunzel, you might wear a purple dress, a flower crown, a short Rapunzel wig, and a Pascal plush. If you’re a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean, you can work pirate elements into your clothes. You can find other ideas all over the internet. The result is somewhere close to cosplay, but more subtle and easier to maneuver in while at the park. Plus, there are rules against masks for adults, so you wouldn’t be able to go full costume anyways.
Kids will want to dress in a way that represents their favorite characters as well. Remember character-based shirts, but also have them wear elements of costumes in their clothes. It will be too hot for them to wear full costumes, so just work in elements like ears, tiaras, or wands to enhance their clothing.
Of course, they sell quite a few Disney-themed shirts in the park, but if you want to save money, there’s plenty of options for shirts and such outside the park. You can find shirts in places like Target and Amazon.
If you’ve been to the park before and got a pair of Mickey ears, be sure to pack them in case you want to get a picture of everyone in their ears. Disney sells a lot of specially themed ears, as well. As a Marvel fan, I’m particularly fond of my Spider-Man Mickey ears.
Disney’s Boo Bash in August
I know what you’re thinking: isn’t August a little early for Halloween? The answer is “absolutely not” if you’re going to Disney World in mid-August.
You’ll catch the opening of Disney’s After-Hours Boo Bash, which continues all the way to Halloween. For the uninitiated, the After-Hours Boo Bash is a three-hour at night that involves character sightings, trick-or-treating, Halloween cavalcades (mini parades), and more.
Honestly, any excuse to wear a costume is a good one, and there are plenty of great ideas out there. Of course, there are some parameters in place. While children under fourteen can wear some costume masks, they are off limits for adults and kids over fourteen. If children do wear masks, they must not affect the child’s peripheral vision.
Overly layered costumes will be discouraged and might invite more rigorous screening from security. Avoid costumes that drag such as full-length princess dresses and capes that go below the waist. And, if you do decide to go as your favorite character, don’t give autographs to other guests!
Now, remember that in August, this will be quite a bit hotter than most Halloween celebrations, so costumes should be planned accordingly. Still, there’s quite a bit of options out there. Many costumes can be achieved through using face paint instead of masks. For families, consider what kind of group costumes you might assemble, as well. Perhaps you might go as the Incredibles or as your favorite characters from Alice in Wonderland.
What Else You Need
Disney is about more than just rides, so you will need to bring some clothes for those other needs as well. Disney has several fine dining options they have designated “signature dining.” For those signature restaurants located outside of the park, there is a minimum dress requirement. Men must wear collared shirts and may wear a sport coat, if desired. Women can wear dresses.
For pants, you must wear khakis, slacks, Capri pants, dress shorts, or jeans that are in good condition.
For shirts, you should wear a collared shirt. For most of the signature restaurants within the parks, you will be fine wearing whatever you wore in the park. There are two exceptions, both located in EPCOT: Takumi-Tai in the Japan pavilion and Monsieur Paul in the France pavilion. Disney invites you to exceed the minimum if you really want to have a night out.
You may also want to go out to Disney Springs at some point to do some shopping. For there, you can go casual, but you don’t have to be quite as practical as you need to be for the actual park. You can wear the same kind of summer clothes you would wear out on the town and, while you may have to prepare for rain, you don’t have to worry about getting your socks drenched on Splash Mountain.
Also, remember to bring swimwear. You will probably need more than one swimsuit since you will need them for water parks and for the resort or hotel pool. You will also need to bring flipflops and a cover if you wish.
Final Thoughts on What to Wear in Disney World
August is hot and humid in Florida, so when you prepare to spend hours in Disney World, your preferences should go toward loose clothing that breathes and material that will not weigh you down. Remember to take care of your feet, as you will walk an extraordinary amount through the parks.
Also, think beyond just the park to think about all of the other fun things you can do, like swimming and fine dining. Don’t let the August heat intimidate you. If you know what to wear in Disney World in August, you should keep cool and enjoy your time at the Happiest Place on Earth.
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