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The excitement about your Disney vacation is building. The rides! The hidden Mickeys! The packing! No. Wait. Not the packing. No one ever gets excited about packing. That’s why we created this Disney packing list (and a free downloadable packing list you can print). It includes the Disney must-haves most of us remember, the clothes and shoes you’ll want to have and a few fun things to make your trip more magical. Also important, what not to pack for Disney.
I bet you can’t wait to get to Disney! You’ve bought the park tickets, booked the hotel, made your park reservations and downloaded the app. Now it’s time for that last, not-so-fun part of going to Disney: packing for the trip.
Fear not. Just follow this ultimate Disney packing list and you’ll have everything you need for your trip to Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, a Disney cruise or any another Disney destination around the world.
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And, yes, you can buy just about anything you forget once you get to Disney, but that’s the expensive way to go. I prefer to spend my money on Disney souvenirs, not deodorant.
Check shopDisney For Deals on Disney Gear
Disclosure: The following section is sponsored by shopDisney.
Keep an eye out for the frequent sales on shopDisney’s including the biannual “Twice Upon a Year” sales events. It’s the best way to find great deals on the authentic Disney gear your kids (and you) need to make the most of a Disney family vacation.
For example, the post-Halloween costume sale is a great time to buy the kids fun Disney character outfits for your trip. Or grab matching t-shirts for the whole family to wear in the parks. If you don’t want to miss the sale, sign up for the shopDisney newsletter here. Don’t forget that all purchases over $75 ship free, so start checking off your Disney wish-list!
Disney Must-Haves to Pack
As Walt Disney himself said, “Adults are just kids grown up, anyway.” That includes how we accessorize while we’re on vacation. When my family is at the Disney parks, we wear the pin trading lanyards and we rock our mouse ears!
First, the list of Disney must-haves to pack:
- Disney pins
- Disney pin lanyard
- Princess dresses/Superhero costumes
- Autograph book OR picture mat
- Retractable sharpies
- Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears
- Portable phone charger (This is the one our TravelingMoms recommend)
Now the details:
Read More: Buy these 22 Disney essentials BEFORE your Disney vacation to save a boatload of money!
Disney Pins for Trading
Pin trading is a great way to entertain kids while you’re waiting for rides. We started my boys pin trading when our youngest was about 3. In the months leading up to our trip, I often stop at our Disney outlet store to search for heavily discounted pins that we can use for trading purposes.
Before our last trip, I bought six of the same Star Wars pin because they were only $1.99! You can also choose to buy packets of 25, 50 or 100 pins from Amazon. Just be sure you’re buying official Disney pins with the Mickey-shaped backing. Pins that are don’t have the Mickey backing cannot be traded in the parks.
What to Pack for Disney Princesses
If you have a princess fan in your traveling party, I highly recommend buying and bringing a princess dress (or five) with you. For that, shopDisney is a lifesaver! You can often find costumes on sale at far cheaper prices than you’ll find in the parks.
If you have kids who prefer to dress up like their favorite superheroes, shopDisney also has Marvel and Avengers costumes such as the Black Panther, Captain America and Black Widow.
Read More: 27 Things to Pack for Disney with a Baby
When it’s Time for Autographs…
While character autographs are suspended thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope they will return one day. Meeting characters is a Disney World vacation ritual for my family. (You can read about all of the changes at Disney World here.)
Before Covid, each time we visited, we made sure our Disney packing list included a mat for a picture frame, like this one from Michaels. Plus, we would bring a Ziploc bag full of retractable sharpies in a variety of colors (but plain black works just fine too). These markers are easier for most characters to use — they aren’t able to pull off the caps of regular markers and pens.
We have the characters sign the mat around the edges. When we get home, we add one of the family photos we shot in the park and frame the whole thing for an instant memory of another fabulous Disney vacation.
TravelingMom Tip: Here’s where to find the best spots for a family photo at Disney World.
The No. 1 Disney Must-Have!
Whether you choose the iconic Mickey ears or the Minnie headband ears, don’t forget to pack those!
Again, I like to swing into my local Disney outlet to hunt for official Mickey ears and Minnie headband ears on clearance or check shopDisney for a variety of cute options.
Portable Phone Charger
OK, a portable cell phone battery charger may not feel like it belongs on the same Disney packing list with Mickey ears and princess dresses, but having plenty of phone juice is a definite Disney must-have. Why? Because walking around Disney parks quickly sucks the life out of your phone.
Between taking lots of photos and videos of everyone having fun and constantly consulting the My Disney Experience app to check ride wait lines, order quick service dining and more, my phone is in constant use in the parks. Having an extra power pack ensures I will still have enough battery life to shoot video of the gorgeous Disney fireworks at the end of a long, wonderful day in the parks.
- Magical Express letter
- Disney gift cards
You certainly can do Disney World just fine without a MagicBand, a ride on the Magical Express or a Disney gift card. But they make a Disney vacation that much more magical for visitors who are staying at a Disney World hotel.
MagicBands literally can be used for everything — to unlock our hotel room, to buy souvenirs without pulling out our credit cards, redeem Dining plan entitlements and get into the parks!
Until this year, MagicBands were sent free to people who booked rooms at Disney World resorts. They are no longer an included perk, but I think they’re still worth the price. You can also reuse a MagicBand from a past trip. And shopDisney offers so many cute ones, including character-themed MagicBands my kids love.
Sadly, the Magical Express is ending on Dec. 31, 2021. Until then, it is another perk for staying in a Disney resort. The Magical Express is the bus that shuttles visitors between the Orlando airport and their on property Disney accommodations. I always double check that I have packed our Magical Express letter in my carry-on luggage so I have it handy when we check in to the Magical Express podium on the first floor at MCO.
Disney Gift Cards
Since Disney is a pricey vacation, we like to pre-pay as much as possible. In the months leading up to our trip, we buy lots of Disney gift cards. Make sure to check that those have made it into your bag. There is nothing worse than buying Disney gift cards in advance and then realizing that you’ve left them at home on your dresser.
TravelingMom Tip: If you shop at Target with a Red Card, you can get 5% off Disney gift cards! We also like to ask the grandparents for Disney gift cards for holiday and birthday gifts in the months leading up to our vacation.
You’ll Be Happy to Have…
- Shout wipes/Tide stick
- Laundry supplies
- Ziploc bags
- Wet wipes (or baby wipes)
- Rain gear/poncho/umbrella (check out this cute Minnie one)
- Park bag/backpack/fanny pack
- Refillable water bottles
Because Spills Happen…
I don’t always do laundry during a Walt Disney World trip, but when someone (who shall not be named) dropped an entire ice cream cone on his shirt, I was thankful for the option.
I usually pack a small bag of Tide Pods and a couple of dryer sheets. Even if I don’t use them, they don’t take up much space.
Tide pens and Shout wipes go in the day bag I take with me into the park. That way, if it’s just an ice cream drip — vs. the whole cone! — I can fix it on the spot.
Kleenex wet wipes are another important clean-up tool to carry into the parks with you. These are safe for little faces, can be used to wipe off a table and are generally handy when your whole family is hot and sweaty!
Those Oh So Handy Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags are so handy to have on hand! I have used them on water rides to keep my phone dry. I have used them to save cookies and treats that no one could finish that otherwise would have been thrown away.
And I have used them AFTER my sunscreen leaked in my park bag to prevent it from happening again. (Note to self: Next time put the sunscreen in the bag BEFORE it leaks!)
TravelingMom Tip: Check out all of our favorite uses for Ziploc bags when we travel.
When it Rains at Disney
Yes, sometimes it rains on your Disney parade. While this is a less common occurrence at Disneyland in Anaheim, expect at least a brief rain shower most afternoons in Orlando. It pays to be prepared.
Ponchos at Walt Disney World are expensive. Save money by hitting up your local dollar store to stock up on throw-away ponchos instead of doling out big bucks when you’re already soaked.
Another benefit of buying these before you get to Disney: you already have them so you can protect yourself faster. While everyone else is running for shelter or waiting in the very looooong lines to buy ponchos in the park, your family can head to the next ride!
If you’re not “poncho people” you can also pack a rain jacket or an umbrella. I like to have a combination of rain protection gear. Ponchos are much easier for my kids, but if the rain is light, I prefer an umbrella.
The Right Day Bag
I have found myself in the Disney parks staring at people who casually walk around with nothing more than a phone in their pocket, and wonder how they do it?
But I wasn’t built like that; I need a day bag. I like this Vera Bradley option because the straps are padded and there are outside pockets handy for a refillable water bottle. (Ask for free ice water from any Disney quick service restaurant.) My husband also carries a park bag. He loves his North Face backpack for Disney. This model has been very durable through multiple trips and barely looks worn.
You’ll want a day bag that is comfortable while walking hours in the park. I have tried multiple different bags and now warn people against drawstring options. After walking miles in the parks with a fully stuffed drawstring bag, the strings cut into my shoulders.
Choose a day bag that isn’t too big but can still carry everything from a phone charger to granola bars. You’ll also want one that is washable. For convenience, choose one that has an outside pocket for a water bottle — you’ll be reaching for that regularly throughout the day.
- 2 pair of sneakers (or walking sandals)
- Flip flops/pool shoes
- Dressy sandals or shoes, if needed for fine dining outfit
- Moleskin pads
There’s a reason I list shoes before clothes: Comfortable walking shoes are the key to a happy day in the parks. You’ll can log 20,000 or more steps during a day at Disney. Blisters and sore feet are a recipe for disaster.
For more than two park days, I always like to have at least two shoe choices: comfortable sneakers and walking sandals. On a recent summer trip to Walt Disney World I wore these Vionic slip-ons all day. They go with every summer outfit and I was happy with the arch support.
Also, I have had great luck with these Keen sandals. I’ve worn them all over the Disney parks. They dry quickly when wet and, even at the end of a long day, my feet aren’t aching.
Toss in some moleskin pads in case someone’s shoes start rubbing a blister. They’re much easier to pack than another pair of shoes!
TravelingMom Tip: These are our favorite theme park walking shoes.
Clothing (Because You Need More than Mickey Ears!)
Pack one of these clothing items per person per day of your Disney vacation.
- Shorts and/or pants
- Shirts (+ 2 extra)
Pack at least one of each of these per person:
- Nice outfit
- Swimsuit (more if you plan to visit the Disney water parks)
- Pool cover-up
- Water shoes
- Swim goggles
TravelingMom Tip: If you are checking your suitcase, ALWAYS pack at least one clean pair of underwear, one clean shirt, and a bathing suit for everyone in your carry-on bags. On one trip to WDW, my suitcase didn’t make it to my hotel room on that first night. I was very thankful to have a change of clothes!
Dress for Comfort
My typical dress style for a Disney vacation is casual and comfortable. However, if you are planning on any Signature Dining experiences, particularly those in the resorts, check the dress code and pack accordingly. One of my favorite restaurants, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, does not allow diners to wear tank tops or flip flops.
We also like to buy some Disney-themed shirts in advance for the whole family. While we don’t often have matching shirts, we do pick outfits that fit the park we’re visiting that day. My go-to for affordable Disney shirts is Old Navy.
TravelingMom Tip: When packing for children, I like to roll shirts, shorts and undies all in one, secured by a rubber band. It helps younger ones dress faster in the morning so you can get to the Magic Kingdom before rope drop!
Summer Extras to Pack
- Misting spray fan
- Cooling towel(s)
- Water bottle
- Anti-chafing products
Orlando gets HOT in the summertime. But that’s no reason to stay home from Disney World! Instead, we beat the heat with misting fans that keep everyone cool while we’re waiting in ride lines.
We also like cooling towels. Just rinse them in cool water and lay them across the back of your neck. It’s amazing how quickly that cools down even the crankiest overheated kid.
And, of course, anti-chafing cream. This is one of those secrets Disney regulars know and don’t like to share. Chafing happens in the heat! But friends don’t let friends chafe! These are our favorite anti-chafing products:
Powder: Anti Monkey Butt
TravelingMom Tip: Check out all of our tips for staying cool at Disney World in the summer.
Winter Extras to Pack
- Warm hat
It can get chilly in the evenings. And winter can bring some surprisingly cool days. Always check the weather forecast (not just the calendar) the day before you leave for Disney to make sure you’ll have the right clothes for the trip.
A winter visit to Disney World might require shorts one day and a winter jacket the next. Florida weather is notoriously fickle in the wintertime!
Fun Extras to Pack for Disney
In the past when we have visited Disney over Halloween or Christmas, we have all dressed the part. So, if you’re traveling in the fall or over Christmas, don’t forget these:
- Halloween costumes
- Ugly Christmas sweaters
- Princess dress(es)
TravelingMom Tip: Think about the weather before you pack your costumes. Halloween at Walt Disney World starts in August. A hot and heavy costume in the Florida summer sun would not be comfortable. I would encourage lightweight costumes or costume t-shirts!
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Waterproof mascara
- Lip balm
- Hair brush
- Hair product
- Accessories for hair
When my family and I are at Disney, I still like to have most (not all) of my toiletries on hand. For instance, I use a waterproof mascara every day in the parks, but don’t use much else in the way of make-up.
Medicines/First Aid Kit
- Pain relievers
- Motion sickness meds
- Allergy tabs
- Antibiotic ointment
- Aloe vera gel to treat sunburn
- Hand sanitizer
- Visine/eye drops
If you are walking through the parks and not quite feeling yourself, it’s helpful to at least have the basics on hand. Keep in mind that there are First Aid Stations located at each of the four Disney World theme parks. But if you already have a blister, you won’t want to limp to the nearest station. It’s much better to have a Band-Aid in your day bag.
- Face mask
- Hand sanitizer
- Clorox wipes
Face coverings are required for all guests 2 and up while indoors, including when entering and throughout all attractions. They are also required on all Disney transportation (bus, monorail, Skyliner) not matter what your vaccination status is.
Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas. Rules have changed a few times, so definitely check before you go and bring masks no matter what the current rules say just in case they change.
Packing Tips for Baby at Disney
- Diaper bag
- Diapers and wipes
- Diaper cream
- Baby food
- Baby carrier/ sling
- Sleep machine
Both of my kids went to Walt Disney World before they turned 2. We loved every second. The key is to have your essential items for littles on your Disney World packing list.
One item that we found to be the most helpful was having their sleep machine at nighttime. This was and continues to be our go-to for getting the kids to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings.
TravelingMom Tip: Read all of our tips for taking a baby to Disney World, including info on where to find Disney’s Baby Care Centers.
Need help planning your Disney trip? Get all your questions answered from our Disney Planning & Fun Facebook Group!
Just for Fun
- Extra snacks
- Pennies for the Coin Press (and quarters to pay for the press)
- Disney word search books/MadLibs
- Glow sticks/necklaces
Packing Checklist for Your Day Bag
- Portable power bank
- Wet wipes
- Small first aid kit (pack ibuprofen, Dramamine, Band-Aids and antibiotic cream)
- Lip balm
- Water bottle
- Tide Stick
- Ziploc bags
- Light sweatshirt
- Activity books
- Autograph mat & sharpies
9 Things NOT to Pack for Disney
- Hand sanitizer
- Basic first aid products
- Insect repellent
- Shampoo, conditioner and soap
- DSLR camera equipment
OK, I know some of these things are already on our Disney packing list. But if you’re a committed light packer, skip these things because:
- You can get them for free from a Disney First Aid Station (hand sanitizer and basic first aid products such as Band-Aids and ibuprofen) or from bottles throughout the park (insect repellent)
- Your hotel will have these in the room (shampoo, conditioner and soap)
- They are easier to rent than bring (strollers) unless you have a really little one and will need the stroller for your travel to Disney
- You can order them from Amazon or Walmart and have them delivered to your hotel (snacks)
- You simply won’t need it (camera equipment) because you can order Disney Memory Maker or take perfectly fine photos with your phone!