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.
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.
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.
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.
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.