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We just went to Disneyland. And by we, I mean my husband and I, two adults in their thirties. And it was glorious.
I highly recommend a Disney trip for adult couples. We had so much fun together. And as adorable as kids’ responses are to the magical atmosphere and the characters, kids also come with a ton of stuff – changes of clothes, snacks, diapers, strollers, emotions. As adults travelling with no kids, we were able to fully immerse ourselves in our own childlike joy. We grew up in the Disney animated film hey-day of the 1990s. Disney is just as much ours as it is a five-year-old kid’s.
Here’s what we learned that made our Disney experience better.
Bring a Lightweight Backpack Instead of a Cross-body Purse
I shopped and shopped and shopped for a cute cross-body purse for this trip. I figured that since we weren’t going to have a baby with us we wouldn’t need to carry very much. So, rather than bring a pack that would get in the way, I wanted a nice bag that would look cute in pictures and be easy to stow on rides. A bunch of blog posts told me that was a great idea. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
By half-way through day two my shoulders hurt sooo much. I wasn’t carrying a lot – my purse had a light wallet, sunglasses, sunscreen, a granola bar, and a water bottle in it. But, all the weight was on one shoulder and while not a lot, it compounded throughout the day leading to pain. Plus, whenever we bought anything, we had to lug it around in a plastic shopping bag.
Half-way through day two I switched to my lightweight Alberta Pack from Livingstone Brand and it was a game-changer! We knew we were planning to buy some t-shirts and I brought the backpack so we wouldn’t have to carry them in a plastic bag. This backpack is made of tent material and weighs nearly nothing. It was a dream on my shoulders. I had the same items in the backpack that I’d had in my purse and it felt a million times lighter. The weight was evenly distributed across my shoulders and the pack is so small, I could easily fit it on all the rides. I wish I’d brought it with me every day. The only downside of the backpack, was that I couldn’t easily get things out of it without taking it off. My husband became my backpack-buddy and would pass me anything I requested – be it a snack, my wallet, or the water bottle. Take a look at my blog post about the Alberta Pack here – and get a discount!
Why is this helpful? You might not be carrying a lot, but a purse doesn’t distribute weight as evenly as a backpack and with all the walking and standing you do in Disneyland, a lightweight backpack will save your neck and shoulders from a whole lot of pain. Plus, you’ll have room to carry any souvenirs hands-free.
Wear Comfortable, Supportive Shoes
Don’t get me wrong – feel free to be stylish, you will be in lots of family photos from your Disney vacation. But…you’re gonna be walking A LOT on concrete. Give your feet, knees, and back a break and wear shoes that actually provide support. Even better, bring two pairs of comfortable shoes and wear them on alternating days to give your feet an even better experience (this is my plan for next time). I wore my trusty running shoes that served me well in New Zealand last year. But by the end of day two my feet were killing me. And that was with breaks to sit and people watch and breaks at the hotel where we took our shoes off to let our feet breathe.
You’d think this would be common sense, right? Apparently it isn’t. I saw people in rubber flip flops (limping), three-inch stiletto heels (somehow navigating cobblestones), slippers (shuffling along), shiny dress shoes (squeaking) and more. I cringed every time I saw another rendition of non-ideal footwear.
Why is this helpful? You will enjoy your trip MUCH MORE if you’re NOT IN PAIN. Disneyland is a place where you walk and stand a lot. This impacts your feet, your legs, your knees, your back, and your shoulders.
Wear What’s Comfortable
Everyone has their own idea of what’s comfortable. Some folks say you shouldn’t worry about what you look like at Disneyland, just focus on comfortable clothes. Others are all about looking fashionable in your vacation photos. I’m all about the middle ground – wear comfortable clothes but make sure you still look presentable for being in public. You do want to enjoy your photos, after all. I chose to pack my suitcase with distressed jeans, capri leggings, cute t-shirts and cardigans. This way, I knew I’d be comfortable but I’d also feel cute. Sure, the jeans got warm in the heat of the day, but a little shade and some water helped me stay comfortable. Some women are more comfortable in dresses or skirts. Sure, those would have been a little cooler in the hot weather, but like with shorts, I didn’t want my legs sticking to hot seats on rides and I’d rather be a little too warm than be cold.
Why is this helpful? Only you know what’s most comfortable for you. Are you a skirt girl? A shorts person? A pants person? Wear what makes you comfortable and you’ll have a better vacation.
This is Part 2 of a three-part series on Disneyland tips.
Check out Part 1: 6 Disneyland Tips for Couples
and stay tuned for Part 3: How to Eat on a Budget at Disneyland.