Disney World has some strict policies on dressing in the parks. One being: no clothing with offensive writing. If a Cast Member sees a shirt with profanity or otherwise crude displays they are forced to ask you to change or buy another t-shirt. PhotoPass will delete any “on ride” picture that captures the clothing and they most certainly won’t take your picture with a character. This is due to their brand integrity. Disney doesn’t want to be put in the same context as a naughty pullover.
What about restaurant dress codes though? If you’ve ever made a reservation at a swankified restaurant like Narcoose’s, you may have noticed a small note saying that they suggest a dress code. For frequent park-goers, the note goes unnoticed. For a first timer, it may be a little intimidating. Do I need to change for dinner? Are they really expecting me to wear a blazer in the 90-degree humidity? Short answer: no. But, they do put these notices out there for a reason and I’ll tell you why.
First off, here are the guidelines listed on the official Disney World website:
In order to preserve the atmosphere of this dining experience, Guests are asked to adhere to our dress code.
Appropriate attire for men includes khakis, slacks, jeans, dress shorts and collared shirts; appropriate attire for women includes capris, skirts, dresses, jeans and dress shorts.
Attire that will not be permitted includes tank tops or hats for gentleman, swimwear, cut-offs or torn clothing. In addition, while T-shirts are allowed, T-shirts featuring offensive language and/or graphics are not.
They’re not suggesting a formal evening gown or a suit and tie. This goes for most restaurants that require dress codes, excluding Victoria and Albert’s and The Edison, which have stricter guidelines.
Victoria & Albert’s:
Guests must wear proper attire.
Men must wear dinner jackets with dress pants or slacks and shoes. Ties are optional. Women may wear a cocktail dress, nice dress, dressy pantsuit or a skirt with a blouse.
Jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes are not permitted.
The newly opened Disney Springs restaurant and cabaret, The Edison is now requesting a dress code for its nightly entertainment. Starting at 10:00 pm each night the restaurant undergoes a transformation to a “nightclub atmosphere” and guests are encouraged to wear slacks, dress shoes, and collard shirts. They won’t turn you away if you’ve put some effort in and look put together. Before 10:00 pm there are no dress codes.
Tips for Dressing Under the Guidelines:
With these in mind, please understand these are merely suggestions. They will not kick you out because you don’t own a pair of khakis. Can you imagine the publicity if they did? From I what I understand, the guidelines are noted for you to understand the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. For guests visiting their first time, they may think that all restaurants are super casual and evoke the atmosphere of a McDonald’s. I mean, you’re at a theme park, so it’s natural to assume that.
That being said, some may feel embarrassed walking into California Grill, expecting it to be like T-Rex Cafe. Try not to feel this way because it’s still very much a theme park and there will be screaming kids at every restaurant on property. However, if you’re the type who likes to be dressy at dinner, the dress code notice will hint at what to expect. Personally, I err on the casual side when dining at Disney anyway.
One more thing, some Signature Restaurants do not require a dress code, but they do offer the same experience as those that do. For instance, Todd English’s bluezoo doesn’t say they have a dress code, but it is very much a fine-dining experience. You can usually tell by the photographs online what are considered the fancier restaurants.
Tips for Dressing for Dinner: These are obviously only suggestions. Minus The Edison and Victoria & Albert’s, most places will not mind what you’re wearing.
- Comfortable Clothing: Unless you plan on using your reservation for a fancy date, it’s best to wear something versatile for fun in the parks as well. Don’t be afraid to wear a nice pair of shorts and a comfortable button-up/blouse.
- Shoes: No matter where you’re dining, you’ll want to wear shoes that you can walk in. Most, if not all, Disney restaurants require a bit of walking or extended transportation to get there. For instance, if you’re not driving or taking a Lyft to Grand Floridian, you’ll have to take a bus to Magic Kingdom, then a monorail to the resort. For style, Tiek’s are a popular traveling flat that are also built for comfort and support.
- Indoor/Outdoor Conditions: Florida weather is unpredictable with roaring thunderstorms one minute and oppressive heat the next. If you’re traveling during hurricane season, it’s advisable to carry a poncho or rain jacket. You don’t want to mess up the one nice shirt you packed. And no one likes walking around in wet clothes. This is especially true if you’re heading inside to a nicely air-conditioned restaurant. That being said, if you’re wearing light clothing to your reservation, you might consider carrying a light sweater indoors as well.
Restaurants That Suggest a Dress Code:
- Victoria & Alberts-Grand Floridian
- The Edison-Disney Springs
- California Grill- Contemporary
- Jiko-Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Monsieur Paul-French Pavilion, Epcot
- Artist Point-Wilderness Lodge
- Narcoossee’s-Grand Floridian
- Citricos-Grand Floridian
- Flying Fish Cafe-BoardWalk
- Yachtsman Steakhouse-Yacht Club
Whether you’re suited up or wearing jeans, Disney won’t stop the money flow, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Like I said, it seems that the guidelines really are just guidelines. The rest is entirely up to you and your comfort level!
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