So it's not a must, but I'm telling you MOST people are dressing up in cute shirts and tank tops, dresses, hats, and of course the ears headbands. It's fun to get into the spirit, and our kids LOVED seeing what shirts we wore each morning.
Here are my tips for finding DEALS on these shirts, as they are NOT cheap. The actual Disney Store is the last place I'd look for park attire.
When shopping consider these tips:
- Go for comfort. I found adorable poufy dresses for my daughter. She loved them, like screeched with excitement! But they aren't park attire. She wore a dress the first two days, then swapped over to shorts and tank tops- just easier to wear and less hot in the Florida weather. So get those adorable dresses for dinners or pool days, but as for wearing to parks, I'd say hold off and go for comfort instead. Same for adults, I bought cute T-shirts, but wished I'd gotten more tank tops since it was so hot.
- Consider the parks you're attending. For Animal Kingdom I wanted specific Lion King shirts to match that theme. For Hollywood Studios you could wear Frozen, Toy Story, or Star Wars shirts, and so on. You don't just have to stick to Mickey -although those are clearly the best!
- You don't have to match. It's SO fun seeing the large parties of people or families all wearing the exact same Disney shirt, it's really cute. It was my original plan to do this, but then I found it was more expensive to order 5 shirts in various sizes, as I found it difficult to find a cheap place to do that. So I opted for just random Disney shirts and the kids looked great all the same. Of course I'd love to be all matching at some point, but just know that if you do not match up, it will be fine, you will look great, and you will not be alone- so many park goers were not in all the same outfits.
- Scour your closets first! I didn't realize how much Mickey and Minnie, princess etc. attire we already had in especially my daughter's closet until I was packing for this trip. I took the opportunity over Christmas vacation, about six weeks before our trip, to go through all my kids clothes to see what fit them, and pull out the Disney attire. I found two Disney shirts I didn't remember getting for my oldest - so that was two less shirts I had to buy. We were given some great hand me downs from cousins, too, for the baby, so that saved us tons- I only had to buy two things for the baby! Start at home first before shopping!
- Personal preference- Remember like with everything with parenting, what works for some may not work for you. For example, I found really sweet families all in long sleeved sweatshirts and matching shirts- in 85 degree weather! I would not have gone for long sleeve at all. I found lots of people with their names on their shirts, it was adorable. But some people are not into putting their kids names on the shirts so strangers knew their names. It's what works for YOU. Don't get caught up in the pressure to do what everyone's doing at Disney. Make it your own experience and it'll be just great.
A few places I found deals for Disney attire:
- Thred Up- This was the place I found the most outfits for great deals! I could not believe all the awesome Disney stuff on there. I started looking two months before our trip. I would type in Disney, Mickey, etc. and search our sizes and found SO many cute things! I found a $35 sun hat for my daughter that had never been worn, tags still on it. I found her tons of dresses with all the princesses on them for less than $10. I found my son a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt with ears on the hood for $15 and it was originally in the Disney Store selling for $55! I found my baby a Mickey rash guard on here for $6, brand new! These items are in PERFECT condition. I highly recommend searching here first to save you some money. They oftentimes have deals, too, to save even more. Check them out for other things too like sandals or sun hats- great deals there too!
- Swap.com- I stumbled upon this site, had never ordered from here before. I found a few shirts from here. They were not in as perfect condition as Thred Up, but worked well for kids.
- Target- You can find matching attire here for your whole family at a fraction of the cost Etsy or other Disney stores are going to cost. Great deal if you start looking early!
- Kohl's- I looked everywhere for a Lion King shirt for my youngest baby for a few weeks and struck out on any deals. Finally a week before we left on our trip I found an adorable shirt for him on Kohls.com. It was $6! To find this deal I typed in what I wanted into Google - size 18-24 month Lion King shirt boy, and this came up!
- Wal-Mart- You can definitely find a few deals randomly at northeast Wal-Marts... but man, what you can find easily at Florida Wal-Marts is astonishing! I wish I'd taken a picture... but when we went shopping for groceries while in Florida recently there were ROWS upon rows - like bigger than the Christmas season sections in stores - of just Disney, Mickey, princess heaven! It was amazing. All sizes, colors, items you'd ever want. Tons of ponchos with Minnie on them, or shirts and hats with ears on them, or autograph books in eight different colors or with various characters. It was amazing. What I'd been searching online for for months was RIGHT there and VERY cheap. I bought a tank top (see Jasmine picture above) with Mickey and Minnie on it for myself for $13. My new tip is if you are staying off property and have to go to Wal-Mart anyway for food- WAIT to buy most of your shirts until you're down there. This is their speciality, they do this yearround providing to guests from out of town who want shirts. They had way more options than I'd found in the Maine winter stores or even online. I was so impressed.
- Amazon.com- I ordered matching Mickey and Minnie shirts for my husband and me from Amazon at last minute after I couldn't find something great for us on other sites. They were about $16 or so each, not terrible.
- Etsy- I found an adorable Mickey love shirt on Etsy, too. You can easily find great ideas on there. SO many to chose from!
- Consignment shops- I found an adorable pair of Mickey Mouse swim shorts for my baby for $5 at Lots for Tots in Scarborough, as well as dresses for my daughter at Children's Orchard in Newington, NH. It's hard to find summer attire in the winter in Maine... but I found the summer stuff coming out after Christmas so it wasn't too bad. You just have to visit a few times to look around for some deals.
- Gap and Old Navy- They have a new line this year of amazingly cute princess attire and other Disney clothes. I found my daughter some princess leggings after Christmas really cheap! Just go on randomly through Black Friday, Christmas and into your vacation time to find some cute ideas.
Others have told me about finding attire at H&M and Lularoe also.
Above: I got the left Lion King shirt BRAND NEW with tags on it for my oldest from Thred Up less than $10! I got the middle shirt for my daughter from Swap.com for about $7. I got the Lion King baby one from Kohl's for $6. Great deals!
Below: The left side T-shirt for my son was in mint condition from Thred Up, as was the Frozen dress from the same place. I cannot believe I got these two things for about $10 together! The little Frozen shirt was a hand me down from cousins. Score!
The left Mickey shirt we already had in my son's drawers from someone, free yahoo! The dress in the middle I found a week before our trip at a consignment shop Children's Orchard for $6! The righthand side Mickey shirts for the baby were hand me downs, yay!
Each night I set out their outfits so they knew what they were wearing and so I could make sure I had the matching things together. They loved waking up in the morning to see what they were wearing- my daughter especially loved the treats of new dresses. So fun!
It was super cute in pictures to dress up our matching kids. It just added to the fun and magic and specialness of our trip.
Above: I found the green Disney shirt for my son in his closet! Easy enough! The right side shirt I got from Swap.com for my daughter for $5.
We got so many compliments on our matching Lion King shirts. I even found some for we adults- Amazon for my husband and Thred Up for me.
You don't have to spend a fortune to look adorable and be matching one another at Disney World. You are spending SO much money on this trip, don't let the attire piece be one more expense. It's certainly an expense to buy attire, it adds up for sure. BUT if you do it cheaply like I did, finding deals here and there, you can do it much better than if you shopped at expensive stores or even the parks the whole time.