How should I prepare for all the walking at a Disney Park?

  • Frequently Asked
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  • October 17, 2016
  • The first time I went to a Disney Park as an adult, I didn’t plan at all. I didn’t have any dining reservations, no plan for which attractions to go on when, and no idea that I would end the day with swollen feet. The extreme tiredness at the end of the day shocked me. I didn’t feel like I was in terrible shape. I was able to walk at local day-long events like the fair with no problem, but a day at Disneyland did me in. I ended my day sitting with my feet in the bathtub covered in ice. The resulting swelling and pain was so memorable, that the day I decided to plan a Walt Disney World vacation, I started planning for my feet.

     

    -How did I plan for my feet?
    First I ended up getting a professional opinion about what I could do to help my feet. I decided on custom foot support and getting a new pair of shoes that would make me look like a clown. After several tries at home, and a professional recommendation for me, I ended up trying out Crocs. I always thought these things were ridiculous. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would wear them. But I was desperate to not repeat my previous Disneyland foot death, so I’d try anything. I put on my socks and Crocs, and started my DTP.

    Pick shoes that work for you.
    Pick shoes that work for you.

     

    -What's a DTP?
    When I realized I wasn’t prepared enough to tackle a day at Disneyland, much less a week at Walt Disney World, I had to put a plan in place. I did some reading on what other people did to combat foot fatigue, and I came up with my own Disney Training Plan.

     

    -What do I do for my DTP?
    I realized I had about 6 months before my trip, and I wanted to be about to walk 4 miles in one stretch without stopping. I figured in a day at WDW I would probably walk anywhere from 3-7 miles, but probably never more then 4 miles without a significant break for a meal or a long show. So I decided my goal was 4 miles. I was currently able to walk about a mile without too much grief, so I started walking 1 dedicated mile three times a week. I didn’t count any of my normal daily walking in my mile total. This was the extra buffer to help me be able to handle a longer day at the Parks. Each month I would add at half mile.
    So
    Month 1=1mile
    Month 2=1.5 miles
    Month 3=2.0 miles
    …….
    Month 6=4.0 miles.
    I made sure to walk outside, and mostly on a pavement, mimicking Disney Parks walking conditions. I did choose to walk mostly in the cooler parts of the day, but sometimes I would end up walking during the hottest parks of the day; got me ready for noon in the parks.
    I really didn’t mind this plan in the first few months, but by month 4 and 5 I was sick of walking. I don’t enjoy it. I find it boring. But I stuck with it. Some days I’d spend the entire walk telling myself this was so I could sprint to Toy Story Mania. Other days I would name every ride I could think of in a land. Anything to make this torture more entertaining.
    Come the end of my 6 month I found myself doing my DTP in Magic Kingdom wearing my socks with Crocs. Suddenly months of walking around the block a couple dozen times was all worth it. I made it an entire week without any foot problems. My legs might be tired at the end of a long day, but I didn’t have insanely sore feet.

     

    -How do you set your own DTP?
    First get your feet in order. Find shoes that are sturdy, comfortable, wear well and don’t rub. Don’t worry how they look. Honestly I’d rather wear gym shoes, I think I look weird in the Crocs, but at the end of the day when your feet don’t hurt, you won’t really care what your feet look like while walking around in crowds.
    And yes, wear socks with your shoes. It helps with wicking away moisture, and helps pad your feet. Also if you have any sore spots continuously on your feet, try adding padded Moleskin to your shoes or directly to your feet under your socks. It can make a world of difference to have some extra padding in those tender spots.
    Figure out how much you’d like to be able to walk without stopping. I find 4 miles to be a great number. Then figure out how much you can walk now comfortably. Figure out how many months to you have before your trip, and then work out how often you want to add more mileage. I liked doing it a half mile at a time. One more half mile didn’t seem like THAT much more. So I could trick myself into it. After a month I was comfortable with that number, and added another half mile.

    Grab your family. Anyone going on your vacation should join you on your DTP. You don’t want to be the only one who can hack the walking. Plus having others with you makes the walking much more enjoyable.
    After months of walking we ended up making it a family time. It gives us time to talk about our day, what’s going on, we use it as a family meeting time to plan stuff, get to things we don’t have time to talk about at the dinner table. We also use it to run errands. I don’t like walking without a destination, and when you get up into the 4 mile range, that means you can go 2 miles out and 2 miles back. You might be surprised how close the grocery store really is. We use it to run errands that are close and don’t require a huge purchase. No one wants to walk two miles with a ton of bags.

     

     

    It's a long walk out to Chick-a-pee Hill. Be ready with a DTP.
    It’s a long walk out to Chick-a-pee Hill. Be ready with a DTP.

    After the BIG trip, I usually end up taking a week or two off as a nice break. But, I did learn the hard way, don’t stop for 6 months, and then decide to get back into it. I had to start almost at the beginning of my DTP numbers all over again. So now I keep up my DTP. It’s good for my heart yes, it’s good for my health, but mostly it’s good for my feet in case of any last minute Disney trips!

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