Your feet are so important at Disney! Let’s talk about taking care of your feet at Disneyland. As usual, I’ll be putting my nurse’s cap on and share some awesome podiatrical tips! Also, podiatrical isn’t a word. 🙂
Of course, the best tip for happy feet is to wait in line less — which you can do with my Disney day planner:
Hi, I’m Hilary — I’m a Disneyland pro, I’m also overweight, have plantar fasciitis and my feet hurt (to quote napoleon Dynamite’s Lips “real, real bad” when I’m at Disneyland — so, I want to give you my BEST tips to happy feet at the happiest place on earth.
First — let’s talk about the #1 question:
How Do I Stop My Feet Hurting at Disneyland?
I think it’s a combination of the right footwear, stretching both in advance and during your visit, and appropriately timed breaks.
But, there’s a WHOLE lot to it besides that (including this new tape I found) so, let’s jump into this — we’re going to cover footwear, chaffing, socks, stretching, and even something new I’m just trying (and my experience is similar to the studies I’ve seen on it).
Best tip: I LOVE staying at a walkable hotel, and talking through what we want with Get Away Today is one of my favorite tips. Remember you can save an extra $10 (online or on the phone) with CURLS10. And yes, I have used them since 1998.
I also just did a post on the best hotels with shuttle service.
Foot Care for a Good Disney Trip!
When you’re walking tens of thousands of steps over varied terrain, along with LONG waits in line (be sure to pick the best time to go)– let’s keep your feet happy with my top 5 top tips for top toes!
Use Great Shoes!
Shoes are the absolute foundation of happy Disney feet.
I wore these for a few years and really liked them. However, after a LOT of trial and error (I’ve bought a LOT of shoes) — I recommend 3 shoes:
- Vionics — like these (I have a few different pair, including some dress shoes and I’ve done well with them every time).
- Hookas like these – I love how lightweight they are. The price is dumb, but it is what it is.
- I have recently REALLY started loving my Sketchers Go Walks — I prefer to get them in a wide (my feet swell at the parks) and they’re SUPER comfy (and look nicer than the other two, in my opinion).
GO TO A RUNNING STORE, and try stuff on, it made ALL the difference!
Pro Tip: If your feet are CLOSE to wise, consider getting wide (it may be harder to get, but it’s worth it).
A few tips on shoes at Disneyland:
- Be sure to “wear” them in at home! Don’t take brand new shoes to Disneyland!
- Don’t take shoes you’re not SURE of to Disneyland — make sure you’ve worn them a LOT before going to the park!
- If you love a pair, but you’re not sure they have enough support — grab an insole to wear with them (Wiiv’s also makes custom insoles made JUST for you!) — but again, try the insole before you take it! NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!
- I like to alternate footwear so my feet don’t have the same shoes every day — it seems to help!
Shoes are so important, I think they should even be worked in your Disneyland budget!
I REPEAT — DO NOT WEAR NEW SHOES TO DISNEYLAND. ALWAYS make sure to wear the for a few days at home in advance to know if they “work” and to break them in!
Should you wear flip flops at Disneyland?
I know a lot of people love wearing flip flops at amusement parks.
I found a great brand called Wiiv’s that makes custom flip flops with tons of support and quality. I love mine (and I hate all other flip flop brands) — so, they might be worth checking-out!
However, open-toed shoes do have the issue of strollers running over toes or gettings stepped on, so something to think about.
Glide is a brand name for an anti-chaffing stick. It is the most well-known, but there are a few other brands out there as well.
You’d apply this in areas that your shoe or sock is rubbing wrong.
I actually put this between my toes so that there isn’t any painful “fights” between toes. I also put it on the bottom of my socks just to eliminate any extra problems.
I put glide on in the hotel room, but I carry this stuff with me. FYI, I Loooove this stuff if you’ve had friction, really helps it heal fast! I keep some of that in a small contact lens case in my Disney park bag.
It can also be used in any other area — like I talk about a bit in my Overweight at Disneyland post.
** I also found that there is a Disneyworld rash…. true story?
Carry moleskin for happy Disney feet
I carry a strip of moleskin and a small pair of scissors in my Disneyland bag (btw Knotts was unamused by my child safety scissors and wanted me to take them back to my car — so something to be aware of at theme parks).
It is a more substantial way to stop any rubbing on your feet.
It has come in handy a few times, and isn’t very large, so I love having it in there.
You can also carry the pre-formed kind (but they don’t work as well with kids, in my estimations). I have also used duct tape to cover any areas that are starting to rub with good luck. It doesn’t come off as fast (and it’s easier to rip off).
Rest Frequently for happy Disney feet
Don’t feel like you have to go, go, go. That makes the Disney magic leave really quick. Sit down. Have a snack, people watch. Consider what you’d like to do the rest of the day.
I find that the Genie+ helps me to spend less time walking/standing in line — it’s one of my favorite perks of it!
BUT my favorite tip is to have a sit-down restaurant one time during the day (aka, a reservation restaurant). You tend to just sit there longer and enjoy the food (and them bringing you water) for longer at these restaurants. If you’re having a hard time finding one at Disneyland — check out Riverbelle Terrace. I actually really like the food and it’s a little less chaotic than the busy ones, I find.
Stretching & Mobility Training for Happy Disney Feet
Guys, I saw some tik-tockers talking about mobility training, so I looked at some youtube videos on it — especially HIP mobility videos. They’ve been a GAME changer. No more back pain, no more foot pain. Yes, a day at Disney still puts me to my max, but it’s HUGE. I can’t recommend enough to start NOW to change your hips to get you ready!
I often stretch while I am in line, and I don’t care what other people think, because I get so miserable if I don’t.
Doing some quick mobility training and stretching in the morning at your hotel can also be really helpful!
Here’s a quick mobility training video to start with:
Sometimes we say it’s our “feet” when in reality it is all the muscles of our feet/legs. Some people swear by Magnesium, or tonic water. Might be worth trying it if it super miserable.
I have also tried some essential oils for my sore muscles and found some good luck with it.
I talk a bit about all these kinds of things in my restless legs post.
But, I try to take an ibuprofen or an alieve with my lunch. It doesn’t seem like it will do a lot, but it can help a LOT. I’m always glad when I remember.
Pro tip: Always take that with some food in your stomach, don’t forget I’m a nurse too!
Let’s Talk Socks
I think that socks are underrated in the footwear game. First off, I always have an extra pain.
I like to throw a pair of thin socks in my bag. They don’t take up much room. That way if my other socks get wet or are somehow rubbing wrong I can try some new socks without much ordeal. It’s also come in luck to share these sucks with a friend or kid at the park. 🙂
But, a new thing I’ve tried are:
Compression Socks for Disneyland:
I had worn compression socks as a nurse and knew they’d help — but how annoying would they be at Disneyland? Well — I’m here to tell you that they are a GAME CHANGER.
I sometimes wear full leg ones like the ones I linked to above.
Bonus: These socks actually have compression in your foot area and you can pear them with sleeves if you like the idea of having them separate.
What to Do If It’s Raining
It was POURING last time I was at Disneyland, and I REALLY didn’t want wet feet & shoes, so I bought a pair of these and just LOVED THEM.
I mean, LOVED. THEM.
Are they crazy sturdy? no. But I needed to wear my good supporting shoes, and also keep them dry — and that type of thing worked great. Honestly, if I had gotten a lower silicon shoe cover, I think rain would’ve gotten into our shoes and it woudn’t have been as helpful. I did get my son a pair that were too big (he wouldn’t answer my text about his shoe size), which was annoying — so definitely go by your shoe size.
They were easy to fit in our bags & luggage, and easy to put on/take off when it rained.
If it’s warm and you don’t mind the wetness but don’t want sopping shoes grab these. They’ll protect your foot well, while also being quick to dry when the rain is over.
Pro tip: Don’t forget about the lockers. They’re not too pricey and you can always store your “good shoes” in them while it’s raining, and then stash rain gear in it once it’s done.
Kinesiology Tape for Happy Feet
Ok, I am skeptical of this stuff — when I first tried it I had NO idea how it would work (but I’d seen it in my work in pregnancy and the studies are legit). So, I tried some on my last visit. GUYS — 100% game changer and I literally have NO IDEA WHY. But it stayed on for all 3 days in the park (there was a bit of rolling, but it wasn’t bothersome, and the rest of the tape stayed put.
I know you can buy the tape alone, but I really liked this kind (they sent it to me, full disclosure — but I am buying my own for my next trip).
Again, no idea how it works — but it did!
How do you recover your feet after Disney?
After a long day at the parks make sure to elevate your feet (aka, lay on your bed) and some light massage may help. I also recommend doing some stretching and mobility training every night after the parks. It will make your morning a lot better!
If you have any chaffed spots I like to put this on it.
Why do feet swell at Disney?
Beyond the simple matter of gravity where the fluids in your body have a hard time returning to your upper body when you’re upright all day, you’re also consuming more salty foods and possibly not hydrating as well during your visit. Fixes for this include compression stockings, increased hydration, and elevating feet when possible.
Ok, so let’s review my whole:
Disney Foot Care Routine:
- Wake-up and stretch (I am not kidding about mobility training guys, start it today)
- Apply Kinesiology tape (if not previously on). Make sure your leg is dry and you don’t have lotion on before putting it on.
- Apply anti-chafing stuff between toes, and on sides of feet (or wherever you have issues)
- Put on your compression sock(s)
- Wear great shoes
- Stretch while I’m in line when possible (fun if you get your whole group to do it too)
- If you have an opportunity to sit down, take it (don’t stand around chatting or eating… find somewhere to sit — bonus points if you can prop your legs up).
- Stay hydrated, everyone’s more unhappy when they’re not drinking enough
- Take an ibuprofen at lunch
- Try to have a longer sit-down meal mid-day to rest your legs
If you liked this post, be sure to grab my Disney packing list — and check out my other Disney posts below that!
Don’t miss my list of Best Affordable Disneyland hotels — a list of 30+ of my favorite hotels (plus my own current top 10 hotel list).