Disney Tips and Tricks: Footwear Edition

You might think this is a weird topic for a post.  Trust me.  It isn’t.  I have actually put a considerable amount of thought into my footwear choice at Disney.  The reason is that Disney is big.  You’re going to walk A LOT.

The Walt Disney World Resort area is made up of 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 1 shopping area, and over 25 hotels.  According to the internet search I just did, thats over 40 square miles of Disney fun times.  Or, Disney fun roughly the size of San Francisco.

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Map of the Walt Disney World Resort area.  Its big.  Map courtesy https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/maps/

The 4 theme parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.    With a variety of ticket options, and enough time, you can manage to visit all 4 parks in a single trip.  Ticket options range from 1 day passes to 10 day passes, and you can get admission to 1 park per day, or a “park hopper” that allows you entry to multiple parks per day.  Admission to water parks is separate.

The parks themselves are big, with Magic Kingdom being the smallest park and Animal Kingdom being the largest.  Different sources quote different numbers, but I went with the sizes listed on themeparktourist.com.

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Approximate park sizes.  Sizes are courtesy http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20140401/17257/numbers-comparison-disneys-theme-parks

What that also means is that you’re going to do a lot of walking trying to see everything.

We live in Florida and have had annual passes for a few years now (I know you’re jealous).  I’ve put more thought into what goes on my feet than is probably normal, but we walk a TON when we’re at Disney.  The max we’ve walked in a day was during Star Wars Weekends, and we (somehow) walked 13 miles around Hollywood Studios.  Thats a half marathon of walking, just to give you an indication.  On our last trip, our average daily distance was about 8 miles per day, some days being more and some less.

Getting straight to the point, you’re going to walk more than you think.  Thus, your footwear choice is something that you should put at least a little thought into.

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With the right footwear, you could be as happy as Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 5 years of Disney trips, I have yet to find an option that has left me pain free by the end of the trip, and that I didn’t find hideously ugly.  What I have found to work tremendously is a combination of Reef flip flops, Cobian flip flops, and Asics slip-ons, and swapping them out daily.  Yes, that means I have walked upwards of 8 to 10 miles in flip flops.  Yes, my feet were fine afterwards.  I actually prefer them.  These all get between a 4.5 and 5 rating (out of 5).

Here are some others I have tried (with ratings), hopefully this will help guide your search for the perfect footwear:

Sanuk yoga mat flip flops (4/5):  Actually not bad, but for some reason soap would come out of them when they got wet and that annoyed me.

Chaco Flip EcoTread (0/5):  People swear by Chacos but these were possibly the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever owned.

Merrell Sandals (3/5):  Good for walking but not cushion-ey enough to stand on my feet all day.  The sandals I own aren’t available anymore.

Minnetonka Moccasins (4/5):  These were actually pretty good, but I could only wear them 1/2 a day.

Sperry Canvas Sneakers (2/5 at Disney, 4/5 for casual wear):  I actually love these shoes and wear them all the time, but walking long distances is ridiculously painful in them, so I do not recommend them for Disney.

Seriously though, cycling through Reef flip flops, Cobian flip flops, and Asics slip-ons has really been the most pain-free trip I’ve had.

Also, what really works is stretching while I wait in line.  Seriously.  You’ll look weird.  EMBRACE IT.

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts footwear at Disney?

Before you leave for your vacation, put some thought into your shoes.  Are you bringing shoes you wear every day?  How far have you walked in them?  Are they broken in?  THEY HAD BETTER BE BROKEN IN.

Trust me.  Its better to think about this before you leave then to realize, 3 days into your 7 day vacation, that your feet are killing you and you have blisters.

And really, stretching while your waiting in line is a good idea.

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Snackin’ Around Disney’s Magic Kingdom: Pinocchio Village Haus

I actually think the food options at Magic Kingdom are somewhat lacking.  There are some cult favorites like the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow or the Dole Whip at Aloha Isle.  But if you just want a small and quick lunch the options at Magic Kingdom aren’t as great as Animal Kingdom.  Its mostly your standard chicken fingers/etc.  That being said, I have never waited in the ridiculously long lunch line at Be Our Guest, which does look like it has a great menu.

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Pinocchio Village Haus Menu (December 2016)

On our last trip we ended up at Pinocchio Village Haus.  We got a sausage and pepper flatbread as I have a ridiculous aversion to pepperoni, which isn’t listed on the menu anymore.  It was … edible.  For a flatbread pizza.  Nothing to write home about though.  We also got a side of fries which were your standard fries.  Overall it was a good meal to split between 2 people for lunch.

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Sausage and pepper flatbread and side of fries at Pinocchio Village Haus

What stands out a little more about Pinocchio Village Haus is this upstairs seating area which actually has a great view of the back of the castle, carousel, etc.  And it was pretty shady and empty while we were there.

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Upstairs seating at Pinocchio Village Haus
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View from upstairs seating at Pinocchio Village Haus

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on Pinocchio Village Haus?

Well… If you’re looking for something somewhat cheap, quick, and to provide sustenance, then sure I recommend it.  I’m sure Be Our Guest for quick service lunch is the best option, but this could be a solid choice depending on the circumstances.  If those circumstances are “I am walking by and need some food right now”, I guess.

Disney Special Events: Holidays at Walt Disney World!

If you’re ever feeling like you’re not in the “Christmas Spirit,” I have found a way to remedy that.  November and December at Walt Disney World are like Christmas/Holiday overload.  There are decorated trees everywhere, gingerbread creations, Holidays Around the World at Epcot, Holiday Wishes, Holiday Illuminations, and of course the Cinderella’s Castle is specially decorated.  Oh, and pretty much everywhere smells like gingerbread.

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Cinderella’s Castle decorated for Christmas with bonus fireworks.

Really, there is more stuff.  Its too much for one post.  But you definitely wont feel any lack of Christmas spirit anywhere at Disney during the months of November and December.

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Epcot getting in on the holiday action with topiary Mickey and a festive snowman.  Even Living with the Land is decorated!

I absolutely recommend resort hopping to look at all the holiday decorations, Holiday Illuminations at Epcot/Holidays Around the World, and Holiday Wishes at Magic Kingdom.  If you’re going to Magic Kingdom, keep in mind Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which happens on select nights during November and December.  This means that unless you have tickets to the Christmas party, you wont be able to visit Magic Kingdom on nights its occurring.  This also means that Magic Kingdom is pretty busy on non-Christmas party nights because everyone wants to see Main Street and the castle decorated, and Holiday Wishes.

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Christmas Trees EVERYWHERE!  These are at Epcot, the Grand Floridian, and Disney Springs

One of the highlights of the Disney Holiday season is the huge amount of gingerbread creations at both the parks and hotels.  We started at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.  While the Boardwalk does not have a gigantic gingerbread display, they have a bunch of small, intricate gingerbread houses.  They also offer a “Gingerbread Academy” for guests, where you can build a gingerbread house or decorate an ornament (cost varies, more information here).   Oh, and there is gingerbread for sale.

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Gingerbread house display at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

At Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club (in the Beach Club lobby), there is the amazing gingerbread carousel.  Each of the horses is decorated in the spirit of a Disney Character.  And it actually works!!

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Gingerbread Carousel at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort.  Goofy, Mickey, and Pluto themed horses shown.

And don’t forget to look in the parks.  The America Pavilion at Epcot has a Gingerbread US Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial.

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Gingerbread Washington Monument, Capitol Building, and Lincoln Memorial at Epcot.

And, the pièce de résistance at the Grand Floridian resort.  A gigantic gingerbread house.  This thing is crazy.  If you go around to the back, there is actually a store in it.  Guess what they sell!?  If you guessed “gingerbread”, you’re correct.

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Gingerbread house at the Grand Floridan.  Look at those shingles!  Look at that detail!!!

I recommend capping off your gingerbread extravaganza with some gingerbread ice cream (seasonally available) from L’Artisan des Glaces from France at Epcot.  Its the perfect ending!

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Gingerbread ice cream from L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot.  Delicious!  And there were huge chunks of gingerbread in it.

Of course, there is plenty more Christmas/Holiday spirit at Disney during the Holidays, and lots more to see. If you’re visiting during November and December, be sure to check out these special details across all of the Disney properties!