Trip Planning – Shopping!

I am in the process of planning my own family’s Walt Disney World Christmas trip. The room is set, the dining is booked. Now comes my favorite part! The pre-trip shopping. We all have busy lives so online shopping is the most convenient way to go. I’m often asked by clients about which shoes, bags, how to dress for the parks and what to pack. Here are some tips.

Shoe Shopping – I LOVE love love Zappos.com. And even more I love 6pm.com – Zappos outlet. Many of the exact shoes that are on sale on Zappos are even more reduced at 6pm.com. Zappos ships free and my shoes usually arrive overnight or within 2 days of ordering. They make returns very easy and are fast to credit refunds. 6pm used to charge $6.95 for delivery, however recently all my orders have had free shipping. Returns with 6pm are not AS easy as with Zappos, but if you know what you want and what size you want you can often find a terrific deal at 6pm.com and then no worries about returning.

Some of my very favorite WDW and real world walking shoes are Saucony (absolutely adore these shoes and I’ve tried many brands over the past 20 years of park touring. I don’t go cheap with them, though. The ones I buy are usually over $100 but my daughter has a less costly pair that she loves for P.E. and WDW).

My new favorite flip flops for WDW are Havaianas. Flip flops for WDW?? Oh yeah… I never thought it was possible to be comfortable in cute flip flops all day, but it is. For warmer weather and rainy season touring flip flops are terrific. Nothing feels worse than sloshing around in soggy gym shoes and wet rubbing socks all day. My other favorite flip flop brands are Teva – anything – but for me Mush and Olowahu styles. Another favorite gym shoe sandal cross over are my Keen H2Os. These Keens are my go to shoes in WDW. They have support like gym shoes but handle water well. I often start the day in flip flops and change into my Keens or Sauconys for evening. Switching shoes mid day is a good tip. I need the added support after a long tiring day on my feet. I only use my Saucony gym shoes for colder less rainy seasons in WDW, though.

A few other flip flop brands I can recommend from happy park touring feet experience are Douglas Paquette and Yellow Box. Both are extremely comfy and cushy and come in super cute and stylish prints and bling. If you need arch support specifically, Teva Mush have the most IMO.

Chaco is a shoe brand with a lot of arch support and another good Disney shoe. I guess as I’m getting older arch support has taken a back seat to overall cush and squish. Reef also has good support, but I find they run a bit wide for me.

Another online shoe store I like is ShoeBuy.com. They do not deliver nearly as fast as Zappos or 6pm but I can almost always find a discount code to use. I know which Saucony shoes I like and what size, so I always purchase them online from Shoebuy.

Even with the pre-trip shopping being a big part of my trip fun, there have also been plenty of times where life gets away from me and I have waited too long to place an online order and even with express shipping the item will not make it to me in time. I have had those orders sent to me at my Disney resort. I just address the package to myself, guest # (confirmation number) c/o Disney’s *whatever resort* at whatever address (google is my friend) Lake Buena Vista FL 32830.

If you have some shoes that are giving you issues while in the parks, Body Glide is one of my must haves in my bag. You rub it on the sore area and it coats and prevents any more friction. As soon as anyone complains about any shoes rubbing wrong, I whip out the Body Glide. The sooner you use it, the better. You can even do a preventative coat before you leave the resort.

Bags… I have carried backpacks, Coach bags, Dooney’s, Harvey’s seatbelt bags… but my very favorite is a Vera Bradley Hipster. I prefer this bag for it’s size and light weight. I’m tall so I also appreciate the length of the strap. It is 55 inches vs 48 inches on the Coach swing bags and the Dooney cross body bags. The Coach and Dooney bags are smaller and heavier than the Vera. I bought an adorable Mickey and Minnie Harvey’s Seatbelt Bag on one of my trips that is similar in size to the Vera Hipster with a nice long strap, however it is HEAVY even before I stuff it full of my park must haves.

I own the seatbelt bag on the right.. I love it! And I’ll sacrifice “heavy” for fashion in WDW if it matches my outfit ;)

My new favorite clothes come from Athleta.com.  They make active wear with style and it is “proof”..water proof, sun proof, wear proof.. you can return anything at any time if you are unsatisfied.   Other than Athleta, I am a Gap, Eddie Bauer, and American Eagle online shopper.

Must haves…. Shout wipes. They are the best thing ever… well since Downy Wrinkle Releaser anyway…but that stays in my hotel room. Shout Wipes, Handy Wipes, Body Glide, and my camera and cell phone are my bag “must haves”. If I can get away from carrying Handy Wipes & Body Glide and my camera I like the Vera “All In One Wristlet” hooked onto a belt loop. I love being able to skip those bag check security lines.

As far as packing… I will out myself that I’m a mess. I am a horrible pack-rat. I pack… then I repack..then I feel bad about bringing so much so I take some stuff out. Then I reconsider and think.. I MAY NEED THAT.. so I put it back.. then I redo the entire thing again from scratch with the intention that if I just go with certain colors I can pack less because I can mix/match more..Therefore I am not going to give any packing advice except something I heard a while back. It is a good idea NOT to give everyone their own luggage. That way if one of the bags is lost nobody will be without their entire wardrobe. I can’t do this. I am too unorganized to pack that way. I give everyone their bags and say, “Have at it”. I do have the final check and say when it comes to what they bring, but we each need our own luggage. Packing the other way does make sense to me – especially since SWA just lost a client’s suitcase. Only hers, no family members. It turned up in Key West (the REAL Key West, not the “old” one). It was returned to her after about 36 hours, but what a bad way to start a vacation. I’m knocking on wood as I type…

Most places in WDW are very casual and comfort is priority number one.  The exceptions are the “signature” restaurants which have a dress code.  Some restaurants are stricter with the dress code than others. It seems the ones in the parks are a bit more flexible than the restaurants in the resorts are. You never know what you will run into so it’s best to be prepared and know the rule and what is expected so you don’t run into any surprises and get turned away only to wind up eating counter service. The dress code is simple. I think of it as resort casual. No cut offs, tank tops, obnoxious tee shirts, or torn clothing. Men should wear a shirt with a collar and either nice shorts or slacks. Women can wear capris, slacks, neat shorts, dresses or skirts. Even nice jeans are OK at many places, but use your common sense. In my opinion it’s almost always better to over dress than under.

Happy travels.  I need to do more online shopping….the countdown is on… 19 days!  And then I’ll be shopping on Main Street USA!

 

 

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