Even after kids, our family has operated with a simple packing philosophy. Pack light, pack versatile, and be prepared to procure on site. While it may get more difficult now that there are five of us, I still hope we can get away with mostly carry ons. (Probably wishful thinking). Still, when considering what to pack for Disney World, there are definitely items I consider must pack. Even if they take up extra space.
I’m not the type to make extensive packing lists, but these six items will save you headaches and money if you bring them to Disney World. I tried to focus on items that will cost you an arm and leg if you need to get them at Disney and items that you likely will need to have.
Disclosure: When applicable, I’ve included recommended items. If you buy through my Amazon affiliate links for those items, I may receive a small commission, which I appreciate. But for a lot of these things you may have your own preferred bands – so just find what works for you! If you’re interested in other family travel gear I recommend check out my Family Travel Gear page.
Orlando weather fluctuates wildly, especially in the winter where it can be 80 one day and 40 the next. But one thing you can count on at almost every trip to Disney World is some rain. If you get caught in the rain on your Disney vacation, you can of course buy ponchos in the parks for about $15. They are sturdy and have a cute Mickey pattern on them, but save yourself money and stress by bringing some from home.
I like to pack ponchos because they’re light and because they are so much cheaper if you bring them from home. On my last trip, I bought ponchos for three of us for under $15. I really liked the ponchos I bought from Amazon, but unfortunately they are no longer sold. Still, just search ponchos on Amazon and you should be able to find something that works for you. Some even have Disney characters on them!
People who use Fitbits or distance trackers love Disney World because they will get thousands of steps in per day. When you visit Disney, you will walk: a lot. My family averages about 8-10 miles walked per day when we visit the parks.
Since you’re going to be walking so much, it’s important to bring a comfortable pair of shoes. I prefer to wear sneakers though I’m sure you have a type of shoe you prefer to walk in. Just make sure you’ve broken your shoes in before you get to the parks – blisters are no fun! This goes double for children. I like to force my family to go on long walks before Disney trips, both to test our footwear and to build stamina.
When it’s not raining in Florida, it’s probably incredibly sunny. Pack your sunscreen or be prepared to pay a premium at the parks or in your hotel. We like to pack our sunscreen in GoToobs – they are 3 oz (so will fit in carry on) and we generally don’t need more than that for longer trips. Whatever your preferred brand, just try not to buy sunscreen at the hotel or in the parks if you don’t have to. I don’t generally even like the brands they offer.
Portable Battery Charger
Nowadays, everyone goes everywhere with their phone. In Disney World, you’ll use your phone for a myriad of important tasks. You will want to download the My Disney Experience app, call Uber/Lyft/Minnie Vans, perhaps download the Touring Plans app, check reservations, and most importantly, take pictures.
All of those tasks means your battery drains fairly quickly, so you need a reliable portable charger to help you out. I generally take two Anker lipstick sized (candy bar) chargers though Anker makes a lot of great portable chargers if you want something more heavy duty. I haven’t personally tried other companies but I’m sure anything works.
If you’re the type of person who needs the official Disney autograph book, you won’t save much money buying it online (when I checked it was like, $1 or $2 cheaper). However, if any autograph book with Mickey/princesses/whatever will do, you can save a bunch of money buying online before your trip. There are plenty of options to choose from, including “official” ones.
Again, in the park autograph books cost around $12-$15, I bought two for about the same price before I left for my last trip. It’s a small cost savings, but everything adds up. I will say, though, the books you can pick up at Disney are nicer, so bear that in mind.
Disney World is great at keeping things clean and offers plenty of places to wash your hands, but it’s still good to bring your own wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Hands get sticky, tables need wiping, and chairs sometimes may need disinfecting. Really, you should have this stuff wherever you travel, but it’s great to have them at Disney when the crowds may make it less appealing to get up from your table to get napkins and the like. Also – don’t underestimate the amount of melted Mickey bars your children will get on themselves, and you.
Obviously, you could fill an entire suitcase with stuff to bring to Disney. But these six items fit best with my traveling light philosophy, they save me money and don’t take up a ton of space.
Still, I know every family has their must bring items to Disney, so let me know in the comments – what are yours?
Can’t get enough Disney? Check out our Disney planning podcast, Disney Deciphered (latest episode embedded below)!
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