Planning a trip to Walt Disney World is exciting, but packing for it can be daunting.
With so much to see and do, it’s important to be prepared for anything – particularly if you have young children with you. After all, your vacation memories will be much more magical if everyone is comfortable along the way.
To help craft the most helpful guide to packing for Disney World, we enlisted our Disney-specialized travel agents (we call them Vacationeers) to provide their top tips for travel preparedness.
This list includes your must haves for Disney World including what to wear (hint: no new shoes) and other considerations (Ziplock bags, anyone?) to keep you and your family swimming along happily.
How Far In Advance Should You Pack For Disney World?
In life as in vacation planning, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Our Vacationeers agree: it’s best to begin gathering your vacation gear at least 1 week before you leave for the Most Magical Place On Earth.
Here’s what they recommend…
I tend to get things ready during the week. We are procrastinators at packing, but we at least have things washed and set aside to pack. That definitely helps when it comes time to pack. – Steve R.
I always recommend making a Disney World packing list at least a week ahead of time. I always break it into things I need for the park, personal items, carry on bag, things to pack last minute. By making this list ahead of time, you have time to add items that you may have forgotten initially, and it essentially eliminates that last minute stress of “I hope I packed everything”. – Lauren P.
And check out this pro toiletries tip from Rebecca Johnson…
“I keep a bathroom bag with extras and minis packed at all times. That way I can’t forget my toothbrush or a razor because they were already packed.”
What To Pack For Disney World
What To Wear To Disney World
1. Comfortable clothes for fun-in-the-sun Orlando temperatures.
Our agents err on the side of packing light for your Disney World vacation.
That said, you’ll want to make sure you include at least 1 change of clothes per day plus 1 or 2 extra in case you get sweaty or rained on in the parks and want a quick mid-day change.
If you’re staying in a villa, you’ll have laundry options right in the room so that can lighten your load, too!
Make sure you bring a bathing suit with you and don’t forget your coziest pajamas so you can rest easy at night.
“I recommend that you pack 1 nice outfit if you have reservations at a super nice restaurant. Otherwise casual clothes and shoes will work. You will most likely be wet from a ride or the rain, or sweaty so you might as well be comfortable.” – Heather T.
As our agent Jen Allen reminds us…
“Honestly, I pack the same for every season. Florida is like Texas in that it can be all four seasons in one day, or hot and humid for days on end.”
When it comes to what to wear for all those photo opps and costumes for kiddos, Rebecca J. has a few great tips for you…
“Don’t subject kids to hot itchy costumes all day. They will get cranky. Bring them for photos then have a change of clothes for comfort. Do wear matching clothes if that’s your thing. But, whether it is or not, just remember that clothes that are similar in color make for the best photos.”
2. Comfortable shoes for walking and standing for long periods of time.
The best shoes for Disney World are the ones that are most comfortable for you.
That said, Rebecca Johnson recommends that you bring not just 1 but 2 pairs of walking shoes. That way you can switch between them or have an extra pair of shoes if one gets wet.
Katie Neu echoes this saying…
“Make sure you bring comfortable, well broken-in gym shoes, walking sandals, and flip flops. Changing your shoes each day can help prevent blisters.”
The consensus seems to be 2 pairs of walking shoes plus at least 1 pair of sandals for trips to the pool.
And – just like Edna Mode’s rule of No Capes – our Vacationeers have a strict no-new-shoes policy.
Jen Allen minces no words: “Do not buy new shoes. You will be sad.”
Blisters are the enemy of Disney World fun, so be sure to pack your Moleskin just in case.
3. A few flexible layers as the weather can change dramatically throughout the day.
Depending on the season you’re visiting, make sure you check the forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly.
“One Christmas it was in the 40s at night and we were happy to have gloves and coats. We had to buy hats so pack those too!” – Heather T.
If you’re packing for a Disney World vacation in October or March, you may need a light jacket or a sweatshirt at night – or you might not! You just never know.
So make like Scar and be prepared!
4. Rain gear…because…Florida…
Florida is known for its unpredictable rain showers. Make sure you have easy-to-carry rain gear with you at all times, such as a poncho or a UV umbrella which can help you out – rain or shine!
Disney World Must Haves
When making your packing list for Disney World, don’t leave out these must haves that our Vacationeers won’t set foot into the parks without!
1. A backpack or tote bag for carrying snacks, water bottles, and souvenirs.
Looking for the best Disney World backpack? We suggest either opting for a soft-shell insulated Disney cooler backpack or a smallish Disney backpack for adults.
Either way, you’ll have plenty of room for all your gear.
Or be like all the cool Disney kids and start your LoungeFly collection!
2. Sunglasses and a hat are a must to protect from the strong Florida sun.
In addition to the above, Lauren P. hits on a real sticking point for a lot of Disney fans – the soggy paper straws you now find throughout the parks.
They’re eco friendly (yay!) but also a bit…erm…chewy…
So if you prefer your midday Starbucks break without a paper straw to gnaw on, do what Lauren does and bring your own reusable straw. You can even pack it in your fancy new Disney World backpack.
1. A smartphone.
Most people wouldn’t forget their cell phone these days, but it’s especially important to remember as it’s the easiest way to capture memories and moments – and keep track of your plans for the day in the Walt Disney World app.
2. An on-the-go phone charger.
This ensures that your phone stays charged throughout the day – which is incredibly important given how much of your park experience is now managed via the app.
Disney World has Fuel Rod stations throughout the parks and resorts so you’ll never be caught without a charge!
3. Don’t forget your MagicBand!
If you’re bringing a favorite MagicBand from home or ordering fun personalized MagicBand covers ahead of time, plan ahead and make sure they end up on your wrist or in your bag.
1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
As Heather Tomasek reminds us, don’t forget to take your sunscreen to the parks with you! You’re going to need to reapply often.
2. Cooling towels and handheld fans (around the neck fan, clip-on fan, or handheld fan with misting action).
These little beauties will help you beat the heat during the hottest months in Florida.
Don’t leave home without a clip-on fan. These can clip to the back of your pants, skirts, etc and will blow up your back. – Rebecca J.
3. Refillable water bottles – particularly those that squash down when not in use – are incredibly handy.
As our Vacationeer Heather P. shares…
“Refillable water bottles are an absolute must for our family. Even in the cooler months it is still important to stay hydrated while in the parks.”
4. Plastic zipper bags and wet wipes, especially if you’re traveling with little ones in tow.
If you are traveling with little ones, pack each outfit into ziploc bags. That way when you are loading up the stroller or backpack you can just throw them in. Also works well for their wet or dirty clothes if they change at the park or water park. – Heather T.
Heather P. agrees!
“I like to take ziplock bags with me in my park bag. If we don’t finish a snack or an item from lunch, I simply put that in a ziplock bag instead of trying to carry an awkward to-go box around the park.”
5. An autograph book, like this one, to collect character signatures. (And don’t forget your Sharpie! Mickey and friends will thank you for a thicker pen.)
Don’t forget a big pen or marker for the characters to use to sign your autograph book! – Katie N.
6. Medications and first-aid supplies, as well as any necessary medical documents.
While there’s plenty to think about, try to pack light and bring only what you need. There are plenty of stores and kiosks throughout the parks to purchase any items you may have forgotten.
Or you can hire a local delivery service like Magical Vacation Services to bring sunscreen, water, snacks, and beer or wine, and leave it at the front desk of your resort while you’re out and about enjoying your vacation.
As Heather P. reminds us…
“Don’t stress the small stuff. You’re at the Most Magical Place on Earth and nothing could be better than making lots of memories with those that we love.”
We couldn’t have said it better. Have fun and enjoy your magical trip to Walt Disney World!
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