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Heading to Walt Disney World? Happy dance time! Getting ready for a Disney trip is more than making dining reservations and deciding where to stay. The trick comes when packing for the Disney vacation. I go on autopilot when packing for a Disney trip, so I thought I’d share my Disney packing list. Here are my essential items for traveling to the House of Mouse.
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My Labor of Love: A Disney Packing List
“M-I-C. See that you’re packing. K-E-Y. Why? Because you’re going to Disney! M-O-U-S-E.” Yippee! That open suitcase is waiting to be filled with goodies for your vacation. And yet it can also be the most daunting task. After trekking to Disney for over 30 years, I’ve learned a thing or two. Here’s my go-to packing list for Disney.
Disney Packing List
Crossbody bag and/or Backpack
Even with the advent of MagicBands, I need too much stuff to head in the parks without a bag. My favorite is the Vera Bradley crossbody bag. I can fit my phone, camera, and wallet along with lipstick, sunglasses, and Mickey ears all in this beauty. Backpacks also work great for carrying the necessities and evenly disbursing the weight on my shoulders. But they are difficult to stow on some of the attractions, so for that reason, I prefer my crossbody bag.
Everyone has a camera these days in their phone, but I’m talking the good old DSLR mack daddy camera. It’s worth schlepping for zoom features and nighttime shots especially. And it takes better photos…period.
Nobody wants their phone to die halfway through the day and having to stay chained to a power outlet for 30 minutes while recharging. What a bummer! So I usually pack at least 2-3 backup batteries. Many phone cases now have added battery boost that make them “practically perfect” for a day at the parks.
Don’t forget to put your Walt Disney World resort luggage tags on your checked luggage if you are flying into Orlando International Airport and staying on property. Your luggage will be whisked away for you and will magically appear at your Walt Disney World resort a few hours later.
TravelingMom Tip: Be sure to pack what you will need for the rest of the day just in case your luggage takes the “behind the scenes” tour and doesn’t arrive quite as punctually. While the luggage is estimated to arrive about three hours after your flight, that is not set in stone. So bring what you need the first day with you just in case.
Sunglasses are a MUST whether the Disney vacation is in Florida, California, or even a Disney cruise. So pretty much, for any Disney destination, pack the sunglasses! Plus, it saves you the squinty look in your photos and makes you look super cool.
I always like to grab a few ponchos at the Dollar Store. It seems to be a rain deterrent if you have a poncho. If you don’t bring them, ponchos cost approximately $9 at Walt Disney World. Either be prepared to shell out the money if it rains, or bring your own poncho.
Granted, over the counter medicine is available at the Disney parks and resorts and even the First Aid stations. But I’ve found that having Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, and Imodium are vital.
When vacationing at Disney, we embrace the Disney spirit and love to wear Disney shirts. Well, it’s getting harder to convince my now teen and tween to wear them. But can’t blame a mom for trying to carry on the tradition. It was much easier when they were little and I would get us all matching t-shirts.
Meanwhile, my wardrobe has a healthy selection of Disney shirts. My favorite companies are The Home T and Happily Ever Tees. The Home T’s shirts are made of super soft cotton and feature Cinderella Castle with the word “home” written on it. Happily Ever Tees are the coolest around. I love the messages and their personality. From celebrating Dole Whips to quoting the lyrics from the song “Wishes” that is played during the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, this brand has incredible pizzazz.
Walt Disney World resort guests and Disney Annual Passholders get MagicBands as the newfangled keys to the kingdom. (Non Disney resort guests can also purchase MagicBands.) Disney defines MagicBands as “colorful, waterproof wristbands—resembling a watch or bracelet—that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a touch point. Cards work in a similar fashion, but physically resemble a plastic credit card or driver’s license.” They can:
- Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
- Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
- Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
- Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
- Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay)
- Add a touch of magic to your vacation by unlocking special surprises, personalized just for you, throughout the Walt Disney World Resort!
More questions about MagicBands? Frequent Flyer TravelingMom Leslie has the skinny on the 12 Most Important Things about Disney’s MagicBands.
TravelingMom Tip: Order MagicBands at least 11 days before departure and they will be shipped free of charge to US residents. I like to do that for two reasons: 1) I can choose what color band I want, and 2) I can use the MagicBand to check in for Disney’s Magical Express, the complimentary bus service from Orlando International Airport to Disney resorts.
Disney Packing List for Kids
I’m going to borrow a line from Scar in The Lion King and say that the name of the game for packing with kids is “Be Prepared!”
Their Own Wheeled Suitcases
Ever since my kids could walk through the airport on their own (about age 3), they have had their own suitcases. They have responsibility in packing and pride that they are toting their own weight. I would suggest checking behind them to make sure they have underwear, toothpaste and toothbrush since those don’t always make the cut–but every stuffed animal they own will be in there! Or is that just me?
For kids 7 and under, you will be thanking your stars that you have a stroller. Heck, even kids older than that will be eyeing that stroller with envy before the day is over! But it’s debatable whether you need to bring one from home. Here’s why: you can rent strollers at the entrance to all the parks or use a stroller service. Several companies like Buena Vista Scooters, Kingdom Strollers, and Magic Strollers are available. They will even deliver your stroller directly to your resort and pick it up again upon departure.
When my kids were little, I loved having an umbrella stroller to make traveling at the airport easier, too! One year we borrowed a double stroller when ours had just given out. Best decision ever! We even picked up an extra passenger…
Not hard to remember a bathing suit when headed to Florida, right? Walt Disney World resorts boast some of the most amazing pools, so you would be wise to make sure everyone in your party has a bathing suit at the ready. The few times when the thermometer may dip a little low in Florida, having a bathing suit is still handy for the indoor pools and hot tubs.
Using ziploc bags to pack outfits for the kids makes getting dressed in the morning a breeze! This may keep everyone from overpacking, too. Roll clothes so they stay wrinkle free and put each outfit in a ziplock bag. Voila–no worries trying to pick out what to wear!
While you can find lots of yummy treats at your Walt Disney World resort, you would be wise to pack some snacks your family enjoy. Or better yet, order grocery items from the Garden Grocer. Minimum orders must be $ 40 with deliver charge of $14, and orders over $200 have a $2 delivery fee.
Hand sanitizer and baby wipes
Keep the germs at bay by bringing hand sanitizer to use when sinks aren’t handy or practical. And baby wipes aren’t just for diaper changes. They are especially nice to wipe down your airplane tray table, doorknobs, and sticky hands after meals.
Hats & Suntan Lotion
My dermatologist will be so proud of me that I included these on my list. She’s screaming, “Yes! She gets it!” I’ve come a long way from the 1980’s days lounging by the pool all day and bronzing in the sun. From a girl who tanned so easily as a kid swimming on the swim team and using suntan oil, I’ve learned to pack the suntan lotion! And reapply often.
The same goes for hats. I didn’t wear my hat on our Disney cruise and my scalp wasn’t very happy with me afterwards. Truth be told, I may be more hypersensitive about skin care after having a chemical peel a few months ago. I sure didn’t go through THAT experience to suddenly ignore my skin care regimen.
Disney Pins and Autograph Books
For pin traders, be sure to pack your Disney pins and be ready to trade away. Learn more about pin trading from Toddler TravelingMom Britni. Another idea is giving the kids autograph books. It’s both a fun activity with the characters and a souvenir to cherish!
TravelingMom Tip: It seems like the characters interacted more with my kids when they had autograph books. So if your child is game, get them an autograph book.
My Little Extras
I love wearing Mouse Ears (those cool headbands with Mickey or Minnie Ears attached) because they let me show my love of Disney with pride. Plus, it makes the photos pop even more. Ear hats make another option that remind me of the quintessential Mouseketeer ears.
I like to throw in glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces for our nighttime trips to the parks. Then the kids are less tempted by the roving carts selling the light up toys and accessories in the parks.
Alex and Ani bracelets
Jewelry is a wonderful souvenir, and collecting Alex and Ani bracelets to commemorate memorable Disney experiences is my new obsession. I love how you can mix and match the silver and gold colors, and they are always coming out with some new designs. Naturally, you can only find the Disney charm bracelets through Disney and not at Alex and Ani’s retail stores. So be on the lookout for these at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, on the Disney Cruise Line ships, and The Disney Store.
These handy dandy photo tools are banned in all Walt Disney World parks. Bummer because I really loved taking group shots with these, and you can squeeze everyone into the shot. But I get it. No one wants to be whacked upside the head because the person beside you pulls out a selfie stick on It’s a Small World or during the Festival of Fantasy parade. Poor form.
So leave the selfie stick at your resort and pull it out for family shots there. The Walt Disney World resorts are some of the most ideal landscapes for memorable photos. My personal faves: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Seems so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, I do it every time. Countless trips, I have looked at all the clothes I didn’t end up wearing and grumbling. So I’m turning over a new leaf. No more overpacking. (The ziploc bags can help with that.) Then I’ll have more room for souvenirs!
What did I forget? Any must-haves you like to pack for your Disney vacations?
Where to Buy Discounted Disney World Tickets
Headed to the Happiest Place on Earth? TravelingMom recommends Undercover Tourist for discounted tickets including $7 off Mickey’s Christmas party tickets and $8 off Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween tickets.