Table of Contents

23 Top Disney Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

23 Top Disney Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
By
Updated on

Since I was about eight years old, I have visited Disney World almost every year.

I know the parks like the back of my hand and have really great insider tips for all types of visitors. I’ve been there dozens of times in every season: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Summers in Disney World are hot and rainy and can be brutal if you’re not properly prepared, and winters can be surprisingly cold.

Having the right gear can take your trip from disaster to magic! I’ve also included what to wear at Disney and what NOT to bring.

My husband and kids on our recent Disney World adventure
My husband and kids on our recent Disney World adventure

What to Pack for Disney – 23 Essentials

  • 1. Wearable Neck Wallet

    A neck wallet is an essential item for Disney to ensure your valuables are safe from sticky fingers, (or when you’re going 60 mph on a roller coaster!) The simple but beautiful idea behind these pouches is to keep your items tucked away discreetly and securely. It can be worn underneath your shirt to minimize the risk of pickpocketing and prevent valuables like your I.D. and phone from flying away on high-speed rides. It’s also RFID-blocking to prevent e-thieves from scanning your wallet for credit card info as they stroll by.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Handheld Fan

    Sweating profusely in the direct sun can ruin an otherwise perfect day, so I recommend bringing a personal fan with you to help keep yourself and your kid(s) plenty cool in the theme-park heat. This little gem is USB rechargeable battery operated and packs a cooling, gentle breeze when you need it most. Especially during peak season, you’ll be waiting in long lines that can consume hours of the day. Skip melting like an ice cream cone or feeling held back from the pure joy of Disney!

    Handheld Fan

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    You’ll be snapping photos and managing vacation plans on the Disney App, so you will need a well-charged device. Never worry about a dead battery again with a portable charger – this is one is a family favorite because it’s about the size of a tube of lipstick yet powerful enough to charge several devices (phones, cameras, and other USB-standard electronics). We throw it into our backpack and forget about the rest.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    A quick-dry towel has infinite possibilities and will be handy in so many ways. You can sit on it, dry off with it, use it as a sun defense, keep sweat off your skin, dry off the little ones after playing in the water, etc. These towels are perfect for a day (or days) at Disney because they dry extremely fast, 10x quicker than cotton, and weigh next to nothing. No more lugging around soggy, stinky towels!

    Magenta travel towe

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Waterproof Backpack

    Okay, this is a seriously non-negotiable item for me when going to places like Disney. When you bring items onto rides like Splash Mountain, you’ll have to store them on the wet floorboards of the ride, where they’ll get absolutely soaked! Protect your essentials with this waterproof backpack. It folds up into its own tiny storage pouch when not in use so it won’t take up much space when packing and offers a compact (yet high-volume) design.

    Waterproof backpack blue

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Children Safety I.D. Band

    It is easier than you think to lose someone in the buzzing crowds of Disney. While you’re taking in the sights, wiggling through flocks of people, and planning which rides to enchant the fam with next, someone may get lost… In fact, about 11-15 kids get lost in Disney parks each day (don’t worry, Disney is aware of its maze-like mayhem and has precautions in place, so children typically find their parents in under 30 minutes).

    Regardless, I can’t stress this enough, you can never have too many precautions. These bands will give you peace of mind that if a child strays, an adult can easily contact you. Waterproof and reusable.

    Children's safety I.D. bands

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Packing Cubes

    Staying organized while with your family at Disney is critical for the enjoyment of all. These cubes make it easy to know exactly where everyone’s belongings are because you can keep all t-shirts in one cube, all pants in another, etc. They also have an index card holder on the back so you can write precisely what’s in each cube. If you’re going as a family, we recommend getting a different color set per family member so you’ll never be confused about where everyone’s things are. A TOTAL GAME-CHANGER!

    Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    aqua packing cubes

    Or view them on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Blister Balm

    This stuff is GOLD and has saved my feet on more than one occasion. I try to bring blister prevention with me whenever I know I’m going to be doing a lot of walking, even if I’m in trusted shoes. Excessive walking is hard enough on my feet, I don’t need blisters adding to that and slowing me down! This balm is fantastic – it glides on smoothly and stays on for a long time using vitamins A & C to help protect my feet from the friction that causes blisters.

    Anti-blister balm

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Brita Filtered Water Bottle

    Carrying a refillable water bottle with you is always a good idea when you’re at Disney or any similar park. They charge out the wazoo for bottled drinks, but if you bring your own water bottle and simply fill it at drinking fountains, you’ll be set for the day and have extra cash to spend on more enjoyable things. I personally like to have the filter in my water bottle to be extra sure that the water is clean and tasty enough for my family and me.

    Brita water bottle greenish teal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    It’s funny, but the way the weather behaves around Disney World makes it hard to predict when it’s going to rain. Spoiler alert: It rains A LOT (sometimes 15 days in a month!) Storms can pop up out of nowhere even when it looks like a sunny day. If you’re unprepared, this can leave you soggy and cold for the rest of the afternoon. Carrying around a windproof travel umbrella (or two) is a great precaution for staying ahead of moody weather – this one also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    travel umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Travel Insurance for Disney

    As much as we hope everything goes smoothly on vacation, accidents and cancelations happen. In the event that something unfortunate does occur, paying a small cost for travel insurance can save you a whole lot of time, stress, and money.

    Don’t wish upon a star – use a trustworthy provider like TravelInsurance.com to find and compare reliable and affordable insurance for your wanderlust needs. They protect you against flight delays, theft, baggage loss, medical emergencies, COVID-19-related events, evacuations, and more.

    travelinsurance.com

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 12. Luggage Locks

    While the park does have lockers available, these combination locks add an extra layer of defense. Simply attach it to your bag or backpack and you won’t have to worry about anyone rummaging through your stuff in the chaotic crowds. This is especially important if you wear your valuables behind you or in a purse at your side, because they are out of sight. These locks are TSA-Approved so you can use them for air travel, plus they’re 10x harder to crack than a typical 3-digit lock.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    When leaving the happiest place on earth, you may want to bring a little magic home with you. You’ll inevitably do a bit of shopping on your trip and souvenirs make excellent gifts. This “just in case” bag is the best way to save yourself carry-on fees because it counts as a personal item bag, folding to the size of a sandwich when empty, and fitting neatly under your plane seat when full.

    Just some of the trinkets and treats you may want to collect at Disney parks include: Lightsabers, hats, mugs, a Millennium Falcon popcorn bucket!, Mickey ears, clothing, shoes, ornaments, toys, snacks, sweets, hand-crafted art, etc.

    Just in Case bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Picnic Blanket for Parades

    Some of the most fun parts of any Disney park experience are the parades. They’re colorful, entertaining for all age groups, and a wonderful way to see all of your family’s favorite characters. These performances can last a while and I prefer to find a central viewing spot before parades start, so I always bring a comfortable blanket to sit on while we wait. This one is very compact when folded, and you can easily carry it with you or store it in a backpack until showtime.

    picnic blanket

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Glow Sticks

    Glow sticks are a necessity if you’ll be staying after dark for any park festivities. Trust me: if you’re going to bring your kids to a nighttime parade, restaurant, or show, everyone seems to have them and you don’t want to be the odd-one out. The park sells them at exorbitant prices, but you can always bring in your own and save a TON of money! That way, you can be the kids’ hero without breaking the bank.

    Glow Sticks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Waterproof Cell Phone Case

    I am beyond sold on this phone case! It’s waterproof, dust-proof, dirt-proof, and shock-resistant. But most of all, it actually works. I can seal my phone inside and still have access to the touchscreen and the camera so I can snap pictures at the hotel pool, on the rides, and at the attractions without any worry. Additionally, the fact that it’s super affordable makes it a serious no-brainer.

    Waterproof case

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Comfortable Mesh Slip-on Water Shoes

    We found out the hard way that walking around Disney in soggy shoes is horribly uncomfortable and can lead to blisters. My solution was to wear these top-notch mesh slip-on water shoes. They’re built like sneakers so they’re very comfortable and supportive for walking around the park all day, but they’re also made of breathable mesh that allows both air and water to flow through them. Water doesn’t get trapped inside, so you don’t have to slosh around in wet shoes after riding the Kali River Rapids at the Animal Kingdom!

    mesh shoes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Official Autograph Book

    With stars like Mickey, Anna & Elsa, Cinderella, Gaston, Chewbacca, and more – an official autograph book is a beautiful way for your kiddos to document the memory of meeting their favorite characters. You can ask almost every lead for their autograph or request a custom love note for your little tot. Each signature is distinct to that specific character and your kids love seeing their names written uniquely by each idol. Autograph books are sold at Disney theme parks for a significantly higher price tag, so buying your own ahead of time is a much better value.

    Disney Autograph book

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    As you can imagine, there are A LOT of visitors at Disney every day (approximately 250,000 at each park). That also means there are a lot of strangers connecting to public Wi-Fi networks in the park, hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants. Even if it seems like a safe location, you could potentially be putting your digital information at risk by joining one of these unsecured networks.

    A VPN is the best way to keep private information safe from hackers who may try and steal your passwords, credit card numbers, or identity. Our go-to provider is NordVPN for reliable security of our online information that is extremely easy to use.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 20. Cooling Towels

    One of the lesser-known facts about Disney parks (and really most amusement parks) is that they can be incredibly hot even when the weather isn’t blistering. The combination of crowds of warm-bodied people, reflective surfaces concentrating the sun, and very little shade can cause some seriously intense temperatures. This cooling towel feels heavenly on a hot day. It’s easy to use and can be worn throughout the day to keep you cooler for longer. I highly recommend bringing one – just wet it at a sink or drinking fountain, squeeze excess water out, and enjoy the pleasant chill.

    Cooling Towel Pink and blue

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. Natural Deodorant Wipes

    While rides like “Journey to Imagination” and “Stitches Great Escape” are purposefully stinky for ambiance (the aromas of chili cheese hot dogs and straight-up skunk), you don’t have to be stinky too. The heat and activity combined can leave you feeling fragrant and sweaty. Instead of just dealing with it or trying to clean up with paper towels in the public bathroom (hey, we’ve all been there), try these lovely deodorant wipes that can be carried with you for on-the-go use. Made with zinc and pre/probiotics to protect your skin’s barrier, they leave you feeling fresh as dew on a daisy.

    deodorant wipes, busy brand

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Sun Hat

    It’s harder than you think to find a quality kid-friendly sun hat, so I’ve scoured the internet to find a viable option. Especially if you have fair skin, a good sun hat can be a lifesaver on warm, bright days. It’s always good to stick a sun hat on the little ones so that they don’t overheat and the UV rays don’t harm their eyes. Plus, bucket hats are a 90’s classic for a reason – they look good on everyone. This one is inexpensive and comes in all sizes.

    Sun Hat

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Stroller Clips

    Don’t underestimate the power of stroller clips, they are a must-have for anyone traveling with kids. These nifty little clips will keep all of your loose items attached to your stroller or cart. They make life so much easier when little ones are trying their hardest to scatter blankies, sippy cups, toys, (and your sanity) to the four winds while you’re navigating Disney! Even your purse, camera, daybag, and other heavier items can be secured with these sturdy clips.

    Stroller Clips

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear at Disney

To fully enjoy your Disney experience, it’s important to stay comfortable and cool in the summertime and warm in the winter. Wear comfortable walking shoes, breathable clothing, and definitely nothing that will chafe. Always bring a sun hat, and be ready for rain with a poncho.

It can get very hot in the park, so pack a lot of lightweight clothing items – shorts and tank tops should do the trick for most travelers. If you’re going in the winter, dress in layers. Long-sleeved shirts and jeans or leggings are perfect!

You may also want to bring or wear a swimsuit and swimsuit cover-up if you’ll be visiting the water park or riding a lot of water rides. Walking around in soggy clothing is miserable, and a swimsuit cover-up will alleviate this problem since it dries quickly and stays comfortable while wet. Along these same lines, mesh water shoes that you can also comfortably walk around in all day may be the best shoe option for those who will go on any water rides at all. Wet shoes are miserable and can cause blisters, so quick-dry water shoes will save you a lot of discomfort.

What NOT to Bring to Disney World

  • 1.DON’T BRING Perfume or Body Spray

    A lot of people get headaches from strong perfumes. Since you’ll be in close quarters in the crowded park, be respectful and stick to neutral smells!

  • 2.DON’T PACK Uncomfortable Shoes

    A day at Disney involves a lot of walking. Ditch the sandals or trendy boots and opt for sneakers, tennis shoes, or Crocs.

  • 3.DON’T BRING Drones

    Drones are also not allowed. Although it might be tempting to capture the awesomeness of Disney World with a bird’s eye view video, drones can be dangerous with the rides and crowds in the park.

  • 4.DON’T TAKE Skateboards

    Skateboards are not allowed in the park. Leave it at the hotel and explore the park on foot.

  • 5.DON’T PACK Shoes with Wheels

    No heelies allowed here! Accidents are bound to happen when you mix kids, roller skates, and big crowds.

  • 6.DON’T BRING Wagons

    Unfortunately, you cannot bring wagons into the park. If you have little kids who might not be able to walk for very long, bring a carrier.

  • 7.DON’T TAKE Other Restricted Items

    Here is an official list of Prohibited Items at Disney World.

FAQs about Disney Vacations

  • 1. What shoes would be best for children who are not used to walking around all day?

    The best option is to have them wear these enclosed mesh water shoes which are comfortable for walking and will dry quickly. They are fairly easy to put on and take off, but kids can’t easily kick them off while riding or being carried. Crocs that fit well are also a good option. They’re breathable, comfortable, and easy to slip on and off if you think you’ll need to be able to do so.

  • 2. Can I bring food and beverages into Disney parks?

    Yes, guests are allowed to bring food items like snacks or foods that do not require heating into Disney theme parks. Non-alcoholic beverages are also welcome, so try to plan ahead and bring some juices and snacks for the kids and some water or other cold drinks for the grown-ups!

  • 3. Will there be lockers available in the park?

    Yes, Disney World offers lockers that are available for a (somewhat pricey) fee. You can rent a key-operated locker that you can access all day for a one-time fee. A $5 refundable deposit is also required for each locker key.

  • 4. What are the best Disney movies to watch before your trip?

    We have an amazing resource on the best Disney movies of all time. In this list, you will find timeless Disney classics but also more recent blockbusters. We recommend researching the parks that you’ll be visiting to see what movies inspired each attraction. Truthfully, there is nothing better than watching a few of the greatest Disney films to inspire the whole family for your upcoming trip!

  • 5. Should I stay in a Disney park hotel? Or is it better to stay at an off-park hotel?

    Should I stay in a Disney park hotel? Or is it better to stay at an off-park hotel?

    You can benefit from staying at an on-site hotel. Staying at a hotel on the park campus will get you extended park hours, exclusive experiences, and they’re good at matching competitors’ prices. This option is ideal for those who can’t (or don’t) want to travel between the park and an offsite hotel. The convenience of staying close to the parks themselves is hard to beat, and often saves money.

     

  • 6. Can you leave and re-enter Disney parks in the same day?

    Yes, but your park allowance depends on the pass. If you purchased a Base Pass for one park, you may leave and re-enter that particular park as many times during the same day as you wish. If you choose to go with the Park-Hopper option, you can enter multiple parks on the same day, so you’re less limited.

    Some people choose to seek reprieve from the heat by taking a lunch or hotel pool break during the hottest hours of the day. Those folks often come back into the parks to enjoy the afternoon and evening festivities, such as the parades and fireworks. If you do this, don’t forget your glow sticks! They’re pricey in the park.

  • 7. Is foreign currency exchange available at Disney?

    Yes, you can exchange your foreign currency for U.S. dollars at any Guest Relations (in the parks), or Lobby Concierge/Front Desk (in the resorts) on Disney property. I don’t recommend carrying around excessive amounts of cash, but a little is fine.

  • 8. Can I use my own wheelchair at Disney parks?

    Of course! Everybody has different needs, so your personal wheelchair is welcome at Disney parks. If you do not have your own wheelchair, the park has some that you can use, but they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • 9. What kinds of non-ride and non-show attractions are there?

    What kinds of non-ride and non-show attractions are there?

    If you’re looking for something to do in between or instead of rides and shows, look no further than Tom Sawyer Island, The Pirates League, and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. There are so many things to do that don’t involve riding rides or seeing shows, but these three are especially fun for all ages.

    Tom Sawyer Island encourages all sorts of exploration and imagination. The Pirates League (for all ages) and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (ages 2-12) are Disney’s way of including you in the dress-up fun while at the park, so if you’ve got a family member who is a fan of costumes, these are the places to go.

    There’s also the Swiss Family Treehouse if a bit of light staircase-climbing and treehouse exploring are on the agenda! Take a look at more Disney World attractions here.