Packing for Walt Disney World can be a lot of fun because there are so many ways to personalize your vacation. I’m sharing our best packing tips for Disney World, what you need, and a few fun items that you can purchase before you arrive at the parks.
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Packing for Disney World doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and really you can purchase anything you may forget. I prefer to prepare ahead of time to save time and money.
We pack the necessities but also some fun Disney essentials to have an amazing Disney World vacation. I also try to leave a little room in our luggage for souvenirs if we plan on purchasing any.
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Our Best Packing Tips for Disney World
We try to pack light when we travel and only bring the necessities. When planning a trip to Disney World you need to plan for change in weather and clothing that can protect you from the elements.
If you are planning on fine dining you may want to bring a few outfits to dress up a bit but most of the time casual attire is fine at Disney World.
Disney World Packing Tip: Be Prepared for the Weather
In the winter months you may need long pants and a light jacket. During the summer months you may not even need a sweatshirt. During the rainy season plan on a sandal or bring a second pair of sneakers.
We have returned to our hotel room many times with soaked sneakers and were very thankful we brought two pairs. Fill your shoes with paper towels and change often to help absorb the water.
During the hot summer months you may want to bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. Cups of water are free at the parks if you would rather not carry it around.
Pack Magic Bands and a Plan are Essential for Disney Vacation
When packing for Disney World you need to remember a few things to make the most of your day. If you are staying on-site pack your Magic Bands. Magic Bands are what guests use to get into the park, pay for purchases, and find their photos.
Magic Bands are being phased out as a free item sent to you when you book your Disney vacation. Guests can purchase ones or use the app on their phone for linking tickets and making purchases.
If you are planning on using Magic Bands carry them with you on arrival day. Do not pack in your luggage because you may need them when you arrive.
I have talked about this before but I always recommend visiting Walt Disney World with a plan. I call it a “flexible plan”. Before I leave for our Disney vacation I plan out what park we will visit each day, hours of the parks/shows/parades we want to see, where we want to eat, and the attractions we want to experience.
I promise this is easier than it sounds.
Start by looking at Walt Disney World website and explore the parks pages. Get to know what type of attractions are at each park and what attractions are best for your family. Write down each park on a sheet of paper and start listing the attractions and restaurants that would be a good fit for your family.
When you have everything ready you can start making dining reservations(60 days from arrival). If you need help organizing sign up for my email list and receive a printable worksheet to plan your vacation.
Take the time to include your kids in the Disney planning process. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page. There is so much to do at Walt Disney World for all ages, and taking the time to plan the best plan for your family is so important.
In the last 5 years every visit to Disney has been different. When we had 3 under 5 we did more characters and it was a slower pace. Now we are running for roller coasters.
With each visit I had a plan of what would be best for our family and it saved us wasting time at things that were not a good fit.
Read these articles to help decide what is best for your family on your visit.
- Epcot with Kids
- 9 Best Rides at Magic Kingdom for School Age Kids
- 24 Fun Things to Do in Disney World Besides the Park (Non-Park Day at Disney World)
Purchase Mouse Ears Before You Arrive at the Parks
Mouse Ears are a fun essential when visiting Disney World. I always have intentions of purchasing them when I arrive at the parks, but we are so busy checking out attractions and rides that I sometimes miss the chance to stop and shop. This year I am prepared before we even leave the house!
My daughter and I wanted to do matching ears for our upcoming Disney World trip and I was so excited to find Mouse Life Ears. Mouse Life Ears has amazing options. She has so many different choices that we honestly had a difficult time making a choice. I could have picked at least a dozen pair for the trip.
We narrowed it down and can’t wait to wear them on our next visit. Mouse Life Ears also makes ears for the cruise. They are so unique and original too! Check out this post of Disney themed gifts for more inspiration
If you don’t want to pick out ears before, don’t worry! There are lots of options inside the park!
Disney Packing Tip: Disney Character Clothes
On our first visit to Walt Disney World I had a different Disney shirt for each of my kids for each day at the park. It was fun for them to meet their favorite characters and be wearing them on their shirts.
My daughter had to hide her Rey shirt when we met Kylo Ren, but he really liked the boys Darth Vader shirts. It is so fun to interact with the characters and wearing fun shirts makes it even better.
If you are looking for Disney theme shirts on a budget check out your local Five Below or Wal-Mart, they usually have shirts perfect for Disney World.
Disney World Packing Tip: Purchase Items at Home
This might be one of my easiest tips for planning a Disney World vacation. Purchase themed shirts, stuffed animals toys, glo-sticks, and anything you think your kids might want at the park.
You can stop at any local dollar store, party store, or Target/Wal-Mart to pick up some really fun Glo-Sticks. I have even found Disney themed glo-sticks.
If I am short on time I will order from amazon. You can find glo-sticks here.
For a family with three kids this can be a significant money saver. Most of the Light-Up items for sale are at least $10 a piece and bringing your own can save a lot.
I like to pack a few extras to share with the other families that may be around me. Usually the parents are so happy to find a less expensive alternative and I love sharing the Disney magic!
Packing Tip for Disney: Pack the Poncho
This is another Dollar Store find that is a necessary for visiting Central Florida. Depending on the time of year you visit you may encounter rain at least once during your visit. We have had days where it rains every afternoon and a week with no rain at all. It always helps to be prepared.
We visited in late August and it rained every day! I was so happy we packed the ponchos. We have purchased ponchos from the Dollar Store and recently found some on Amazon that we loved. You can check them out here.
Ponchos are really pricey in the parks and this saves my family of 5 over $50! The rain really clears out a park so having the ponchos mean short lines and less crowds because you don’t have to leave the park.
We also used the ponchos to ride the water rides when we didn’t want to get soaked. This might sound crazy but we would put them on in line when we got close to the loading station. It kept us dry and happy for the rest of the day too! We didn’t have to worry about changing clothes and carry around wet clothes all day long.
Packing Tip for Walt Disney World: Ziploc Bags in Every Size!!
This planning tip for Disney world can be applied to all family travel. I am always reminding myself to add some to my bag when we are out for the day.
I know this isn’t the most environmentally friendly and we are working on using reusable containers but I do find they can be extremely helpful at the parks.
I typically pack gallon bags and sandwich bags for our vacation. It is an essential for us in so many ways and I am so happy I started doing this a few years ago. The list of ways to use Ziploc bags are endless but here are 12 ways I have used them so far…
- Distribute snacks among my kids.
- Bring medicine to the parks.
- Roll our wet ponchos up.
- Take leftover food from a meal my kids didn’t finish.
- Pack a change of clothes.
- Carry my sunscreen. Keeps it easy to find and it doesn’t spill in my bag.
- Carry antibiotics when my son had an ear infection.
- Keep tissues in.
- Hold hand sanitizer and wipes.
- If there was an accident during the potty training days.
- Little collectibles that my kids always find.
- Keep my phone dry on the wet rides.
- Carry my portable phone charger.
Pack for Your Day at the Disney Parks
If you are arriving at opening and leaving after fireworks you need a few essential items to get you through the day. Be sure to pack these items in your backpack or stroller for a full day at the parks.
- Comfortable Shoes(Not packed but Essential!)
- Hats for you and the family.
- Sunglasses for Everyone.
- Sunscreen (Apply while you are waiting for park opening)
- Aspirin/Motrin-You don’t want a headache to ruin your day so this is essential for the adults!
- Sweatshirts for cool mornings or evenings.
They do sell many of these items inside the parks but it can be difficult to find and way more expensive then bringing your own.
Can You Bring Snacks into Disney World?
People wonder about bringing snacks into Disney World and the answer is yes! And you should!!
When traveling with kids it is at the top of any parents list to pack snacks. A visit to Disney World is no different.
Bring small snacks that you know your children enjoy and it will help distract them while waiting in line and in-between meals. This little planning tip can make unhappy and tired kids(and adults!) much happier.
Where to Pack it All?
A few years ago we decided our kids could start carrying their own luggage. They each have a rolling piece of luggage and are responsible for packing what they need in it.
We love using our American Tourister. Having a great piece of luggage to pack is important for getting everything safely to your destination.
Above all when you are visiting the parks it is important to have fun and be flexible. Preparing before you leave helps ease the stress of forgetting things when you arrive but if that happens it is okay!
You have your plans, but sometimes being flexible leads to unexpected surprises. It is your family vacation so have fun because you are going to Walt Disney World and it is the most magical place on Earth!