Why you need to make matching T-shirts for your next group trip to Disney
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Chances are, if you’ve visited Disney in recent years, you’ve seen them.
Those matching Disney T-shirts for groups — a pervasive trend that comes in endless incarnations and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, particularly with the ongoing popularity of multigenerational travel.
They’re usually festooned with some version of a castle silhouette, Mickey ears or Minnie bows and sport one-liners like “Best vacation ever,” “Most Expensive Day Ever,” “Disney Christmas” or perhaps even “Let’s get matching Disney shirts…said no man ever.”
Some matching Disney tees are handmade at home on fancy cutting machines (though you’d often never know it, they often look so professional). Others might have been ordered in mass off Amazon and Etsy.
There are tie-dyed and hand-etched versions and T-shirts personalized with names, a favorite character or anything else that fits the particular theme park occasion.
And you’ll see them on everyone from grandparents and gaggles of siblings and cousins to pint-size Disney-goers wearing onesies that mirror their parents’ matching T-shirts.
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For Ontario, Canada, family blogger Kevin Wagar of Wandering Wagars, a multi-family trip to Walt Disney World in early 2020 inspired his sister-in-law to have matching T-shirts made for their group of 40 people who had gathered in Orlando from points around the U.S. and Canada.
The estate of the family’s patriarch paid for the trip for everyone, said Wagar, who said the matching T-shirts were an additional way to commemorate the occasion and him.
“He loved spending time together as a family and wanted to ensure that his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren could spend a vacation where everyone was together,” said Wagar.
The T-shirts were red for the kids and white for the adults, with “Cousin Crew” printed on the front and “with love, Grandpa Pete,” scrawled on the back on the shoulder.
“It was the only time we have done something like this,” said Wagar. “But it certainly helped bring us together and made it easy to find each other in a busy place.”
There are many reasons people wear matching T-shirts to Disney
Keeping track of your crew is one reason to wear matching shirts during a Disney trip. That’s also why you’ll often see the tees in bright colors — think yellow, green and bright red —– meant to stand out from the crowds.
Especially during peak season (Wagar’s family visit was on New Year’s Day 2020), wearing matching T-shirts can be a good way to visually keep track of where your stream of fellow humans is going — whether’s that off for a bathroom break, waiting in line for a ride or detouring to a cart selling cotton candy.
Families also have other reasons for wanting to do the matchy-matchy thing at Disney.
“It does make you feel a bit more immersed in the Disney bubble, too, during your vacation,” said U.K. blogger Darren Cater. His site, Next Stop WDW, has an article featuring 20 Disney-inspired T-shirt designs you can purchase off Etsy that include Star Wars, My First Visit and even Mickey-meets-coffee-themed tees (picture mouse ears and a knockoff Starbucks logo).
“It’s a fun thing to do, especially with younger children,” said Cater. “T-shirts are something fun to buy that builds up the excitement for your vacation” (as if all those new Disney attractions launching in 2021 weren’t enough).
Some families go so far as to make a different matching shirt for every day or every different park, which can make packing and deciding what to wear each day that much easier.
And it’s hardly only families with kids getting in on the matching T-shirt action.
Now that her kids are grown, said Kelly Hunter of Dallas, Texas, “we still do matching or coordinating couples’ shirts designed for each day and each park,” even on adults-only trips.
Where to buy matching Disney T-shirts
A quick Google search for “matching Disney tees” (and similar variations on that theme) brings up a stream of suggestions for outfitting your group, including Disney’s official merchandise site, Etsy and Amazon, among others.
On ShopDisney, the “official site for Disney Merchandise,” there’s a page where you can “complete the look” with matching and family tees that start from around $16 for a youth-size Toy Story T-shirt to $34.99 for a personalized Star Wars-themed adult T-shirt printed with your family’s name (look for discounted prices on several T-shirt options, too, when you buy more than two).
Amazon pulls up enough options to make you dizzier than a ride on Space Mountain, with more than 1,000 options for matching Disney-themed T-shirts for family vacations, bachelorette parties, Valentine’s Day and other occasions that say things like “I’m done adulting, let’s go to Disney” and “Her Mickey.”
If you’re looking for a personal touch, Etsy has customizable options where you can add your name to a simple design of silhouetted Mickey Ears ($9.99) and many more elaborate customizable creations, too.
How to make your own matching Disney T-shirts
Looking to DIY your own Disney tees for an upcoming group trip? It can be a good way to make something truly unique and perhaps even save money, too.
RV Blogger Cindy Scott said a friend she’s traveling to Disney with this fall bought an electronic cutting machine — the Cricut Air Explore 2 — off Amazon for $179.99. The plan is to personalize T-shirts for everyone in the group with their favorite Disney characters, said Scott.
“She realized once she bought two days’ worth of T-shirts’ for all of us on Etsy, it would pay off the machine,” said Scott in an email to TPG. “And she can still use it for other projects after the trip like labels, decorating water bottles, masks, etc.”
And while they might sound complicated to use, Cricut machines and comparable brands like the Silhouette Cameo make it easy to create heat transfer vinyl designs (akin to iron-on designs that can be pressed onto a T-shirt) for your own matching T-shirts, said blogger Lisa Manderino of Planning Away.
“They have their own programs that allow you to download images, resize and format your design,” she said.
Fonts are available for download (often free) on websites like Dafont, where you can find Disney-inspired fonts. Then you upload your images and designs into the cutter’s program and format them for the size you need.
When you have your design perfected, said Manderino, you can print it out onto vinyl heat transfer paper, then iron the designs right onto the T-shirts, using parchment paper as a barrier.
How’s that for some DIY Disney magic?
Featured photo by Hoowy/Shutterstock.
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