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Do you have a castle shaped countdown in your kitchen? Are your MagicBands ordered? Have you made Fastpass+ selections? Then your family must be getting ready for a Walt Disney World vacation! Before you head out the door with only a pair of ears, make your life easier and take a look at TravelingMom’s packing list for a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
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Disney World Packing List
Whether for a long weekend, a 10-day Orlando extravaganza, or anything in between, a trip to Walt Disney World takes a lot of planning. We book our dining reservations six months in advance. And we make our Fastpass+ selections 60 days before check-in. We are planners.
However… I’m not always the best packer, which is why I need a Disney Parks packing list! Since my family and I travel to Walt Disney World frequently, I finally have packing down to a science.
While I know I can purchase most things I might forget on Disney property, I prefer to save my dollars for spirit jerseys, not deodorant. The following Disney World packing list contains my “must-have” items:
The Disney Musts
As Walt Disney himself said, “Adults are just kids grown up, anyway.” To me, that phrase translates into how we accessorize while we’re on vacation. When my family is at the Disney parks, we wear the pin trading lanyards, we get those character signatures and of course… we rock our mouse ears!
Disney pins for trading
First, if you’re new to pin trading, it’s a great side activity to combat waiting in lines. We started my boys’ pin trading when our youngest was about three years old. In the months leading up to our trip, I would often stop at our Disney outlet store and purchase pins that were heavily discounted for trading purposes. Prior to our last trip, I bought six of the same Star Wars pin because they were only $1.99! You can also choose to purchase packets of 25, 50 or 100 pins from Amazon. Just be careful that they are official Disney pins. Those without the official logo are not tradable.
What to pack for Disney princesses
Second, if you have a princess fan in your traveling party, I highly recommend purchasing and bringing a dress (or five) with you. The first place to check is ShopDisney. Sometimes you will find great online sales for costumes at much cheaper prices than you’ll find in the parks. I have also had good luck at the Disney outlet store and Target when shopping for my nieces.
When it’s time for autographs…
Next, meeting characters at Walt Disney World is a ritual for my family. Each time we visit, we bring a new mat for a picture frame (picture to be added at home) and retractable sharpies. We like to use a variety of different colors, but plain black works just fine too. These markers are easier to use than pens. Carry them to the parks in a Ziploc bag. The signature mats I have purchased include this one at Michaels.
The one thing you simply can’t be without
Last, but not least, those ears! Whether it is 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 and to hunt for official Minnie headband ears on clearance.
Make sure to pack the following:
- Disney pins
- Disney pin lanyard
- Princess dresses
- autograph book OR picture mat
- retractable sharpies
- Mouse ears
TravelingMom tip: Retractable sharpies are easier for most characters to use because they aren’t able to pull off the caps of regular markers and pens.
TravelingMom tip: If you have a makeover booked at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you are permitted to bring your own outfit. There are changing areas for anyone regardless of the level package you have purchased.
Don’t Forget These
Many of these items do not fall within another category, but they may just be the most important items on the list.
If you are a first time Disney visitor and staying at any Disney Resort Hotel, your MagicBand literally can be used for everything.
MagicBands are the first items to go in my suitcase and the last items I double check before we leave. We use our MagicBands to unlock our hotel room, purchase souvenirs on vacation, redeem Dining plan entitlements and get into the parks! Don’t forget those MagicBands!
I also double check that I have packed our Magical Express Letter in my carry-on luggage. You will want to have easy access to this when you check in to the Magical Express podium on the first floor at MCO.
Since Disney is a pricey vacation, we like to pre-pay as much as possible. So, 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 purchasing Disney gift cards in advance and then realizing that you’ve left them on your dresser.
Check and double check these items:
- Magical Express letter
- Disney gift cards
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…
I would have listed these under the “don’t forget” heading, but, since they are not obvious choices, I thought it would be helpful to separate them.
First up, a portable power bank. Even when I’m at Disney World and hoping to “unplug”, I am constantly using my cell phone. Between using the camera and checking the My Disney Experience app, the battery drains very quickly. My husband and I each carry a portable power bank. Currently we are using this fuel rod because it’s lightweight and perfect for in the parks.
Because spills happen…
Many times I don’t do laundry while at Walt Disney World, but when someone (who shall not be named) drop an entire ice cream cone on his shirt, I was thankful for the option. I usually purchase a small bag of Tide Pods because they are easy to pack, Then I throw in a few dryer sheets. Even if they aren’t used, they didn’t take up much space.
You’ll be happy you have them
Ziploc bags are handy to have on hand. I have used them on Splash Mountain to keep my phone dry. I have used them to save cookies and treats from being thrown away. And I have used them AFTER my sunscreen leaked in my park bag to prevent it from happening again. Similar to the laundry items, it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them!
When it rains at Disney World
Next, the Florida rain. Somehow even when the forecast doesn’t show it, a rain shower is likely to pop up. I think we have gotten caught in the rain on each trip. It pays to be prepared.
For first time Disney visitors, it’s important to know that ponchos at Walt Disney World are expensive. Hit up your local dollar store and stock up on throw-away ponchos instead of doling out the money when you’re already soaked. The other benefit of purchasing these is that since you already have them, you can protect yourself faster! If you’re not “poncho people” you can also bring 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.
Finally, my number one item on this list is wet wipes. I love the Kleenex wet wipes and carry them all over the place. 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! These also make us feel cleaner than hand sanitizer when it’s hot.
Before zipping up that suitcase, check to make sure these are packed:
- phone charger
- portable power bank
- Shout wipes/Tide stick
- laundry detergent pods
- dryer sheets
- Ziploc bags
- wet wipes (or baby wipes)
- Rain gear/poncho/umbrella
- Park bag/backpack/fanny pack
TravelingMom tip: Make sure to think about what daybag will be comfortable while walking hours in the park. It helps to have one that isn’t too big or too small, can be washed and has an outside pocket for a water bottle. I like this Vera Bradley option because the straps are padded and there are outside pockets handy for a water bottle.
Clothing (Because you need more than ears)
These items for your Disney World packing list are per person in your party, per day.
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, notes on their website that tank tops and flip flops are NOT permitted.
We also like to purchase some Disney-themed shirts in advance for the whole family. While we don’t often have matching shirts, we do pick out 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!
Check off the following clothing items:
- shorts and/or pants
- shirts (+ 2 extra)
- nice outfit (if needed)
- pool cover-up
TravelingMom tip: If you are checking your suitcase, always (read: ALWAYS) pack at least one clean pair of underwear and one clean shirt in your carry-on bag. On one trip to WDW, my suitcase didn’t make it to my hotel room on that first night. I was very thankful for those emergency items!
TravelingMom tip: If your group is planning on visiting one of the water parks, consider adding additional swimsuits and water shoes.
Cold Weather Items
We visited Walt Disney World the first week of December and needed every one of these items some nights. And then, a few days later, we sweltered in shorts! Florida weather can vary day to day. When traveling in winter, don’t assume it will be warm.
If you’re traveling in the winter, add these to your Disney World packing list:
In the past when we have attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we have all worn costumes. Similarly, you will see lots of guests dressed in their Christmas finest at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
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!
For more than two park days, I always like to have at least two shoe choices.
I typically will always bring 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 parks. They dry quickly when wet and, even at the end of a long day, my feet aren’t aching.
Make sure to pack:
- 2 pair of sneakers (or walking sandals)
- flip flops/pool shoes
- dressy sandals or shoes, if needed for fine dining outfit
When my family and I are at Walt Disney World, 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. Listed here are what I call “essentials,” but some may have far fewer or far more.
Start with this as a guide and cross out or add, as needed! Also note that the first three items are provided at all Disney Resort Hotels. If you’re running out of room, or you’re not picky, eliminate those!
- body wash*
- face wash
- waterproof mascara
- hair brush
- hair product
- accessories for hair
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.
- ibuprofen/pain reliever
- allergy tabs
- band aids
- antibiotic ointment
- aloe vera gel
- hand sanitizer
- Visine/eye drops
Many people will argue against taking an infant or even a toddler to Walt Disney World; however I traveled with both of mine before age two and 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.
- diaper bag
- diapers and wipes
- diaper cream
- baby carrier/ sling
- sleep machine
If You Have Room…
These items aren’t “necessary” but useful if you have a little extra wiggle room in your suitcase.
Things like activity books for the kids and pennies for the Coin Press machine. The activity books help for waiting in line. I like to throw those in my park bag in the morning, just in case.
Nighttime at Disney World brings out street vendors selling lots of light up necklaces, lanyards and bubble wands. One way to save a little cash is to purchase and pack a few glow sticks or necklaces. Check your local dollar store for these. It’s so fun to slip these in your park bag without your little ones knowing and pull them out at night! This is a great way to be the hero without spending lots of money.
If you have room add these:
- refillable water bottle
- extra snacks
- pennies for the Coin Press
- Disney word search books/MadLibs
- glow sticks/necklaces
Road trip necessities and grocery items are NOT included in this Disney World packing list. Assembled here are the items my family feels are essential once you set foot onto Walt Disney World property. If your Walt Disney World vacation includes a pre and/or post-road trip check out TravelingMom’s road trip packing list.
Hitting the parks
Packing your daybag is just as important as packing those suitcases before you leave the house. I have found myself in one of the Disney parks staring at people who casually walk around with no bag, a phone in their pocket and wonder how they do it?
I wasn’t built like that, but if you can, do it, I’m impressed. If not, welcome to the club, and grab your favorite touring bag. I have tried multiple different ones and now warn people against drawstring options. After walking miles in the parks, the strings are not comfortable. In addition to the one mentioned above, my husband also carries a park bag and he loves his North Face backpack for Disney. This model has been very durable through multiple trips and barely looks worn.
The following items go in my backpack before leaving the hotel on an average morning:
- Portable power bank
- Wet wipes
- small medicine bag (contains ibuprofen, Dramamine, tums)
- water bottle
- Tide Stick
- ziplock bag
- light sweatshirt
- activity books
- autograph mat & sharpies
Now you’re ready to tackle all of the attractions, character meet and greets and restaurants the “World” has to offer!