Disney is a happy place, there’s no doubt about that! With seemingly endless attractions and a variety of things to do for all ages, you’ll be entertained day in and day out.
It can be hard to know how to pack for Disney trips – and these aren’t places where you want to have to buy the things you’ve forgotten. I’ve created a list to help you out, plus I’ve included tips for what to wear at Disney, what NOT to bring, and some FAQs.
Above all, plan to take your time and enjoy the experience – you’ll make memories worth treasuring!
Us on our recent Disney World trip
Table of Contents
What to Pack for Disney
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 reflective surfaces concentrating the sun, pavement and blacktop paths soaking in the heat, and very little shade can really cause some intense temperatures. This chilly pad can be carried around and worn to keep you cooler for longer! It’s easy to use, easy to store when not in use, and works really well. I highly recommend bringing one – just wet it in a sink or drinking fountain, squeeze excess water out, and enjoy the pleasant chill!
Getting overheated on a fun-packed and busy family trip can ruin your entire day, and keep you from taking part in certain activities. I always recommend bringing a personal fan with you to help keep yourself and your kid(s) plenty cool in the theme-park heat. I love this one – it’s compact and hand-held but kicks out a great breeze. It’ll keep you cool when you need it, and can be stored in your daybag when you don’t.
“But won’t I look too touristy wearing a pouch around my neck?” No, I promise you won’t. The idea behind these pouches is to keep your items tucked away discreetly and securely, and they’re very effective! I wear one and tuck it under my shirt or jacket to minimize the risk of pickpocketing, and to ensure that I don’t drop or otherwise lose my wallet while I’m Disney-ing with my family.
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 clear enough for my family and me.
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) floorboard of the ride car, where they’ll get wet with the water from the ride! Protect them with this water-resistant backpack. It’s actually described as the “perfect backpack for any Disney trip” because of its great waterproof coating and sleek, compact, but high-volume design. Plus it folds up into its own tiny storage pouch when not in use so it won’t take up much space when packing.
This portable charger is a favorite in my family. It’s compact – about the size of a tube of lipstick – and still holds several charges before it needs to be plugged in to power back up. It can recharge your phone, camera, and other small electronics while you’re on the go since it uses standard USB cables, and it can do its job while tucked safely inside your daybag!
It’s funny, but the way that the weather is around Disney World makes it hard to predict when it’s going to rain. Rains can pop up out of nowhere and leave you soggy for the rest of the day if you’re unprepared. Carrying around a whole family’s worth of rain jackets can be a pain, so I prefer to bring this family pack of travel ponchos. It’s an affordable and compact way to carry rain protection, and if you don’t need them on this trip you can always bring them along next time.
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 walking in trusted shoes. Excessive walking is hard enough on my feet, I don’t need blisters adding to that and ruining my day! This balm is fantastic – it glides on smoothly, stays on for a long time, and protects my feet from the friction that causes blisters.
Some of the most fun parts of any Disney park experience are the parades. They’re colorful, entertaining for all age groups, and a great way to see all of your family’s favorite characters. Because they can last a while and I prefer to find a great viewing spot before parades start, I always bring a comfortable blanket to sit on while we wait. This one is very compact when folded, so you can easily carry it with you or store it in a rented locker until parade time.
I am so sold on this phone case. I love that it’s waterproof, dust/dirt proof and shock-resistant. I also love that I can seal my phone inside and still have access to the touchscreen and the camera so I can get pictures on rides and at attractions without the worry. The fact that it’s super-affordable makes it a no-brainer!
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 or show, everyone seems to have them. 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.
I found out the hard way that walking around Disney in soggy shoes is horribly uncomfortable. My solution was to wear these fantastic mesh 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 which 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 Splash Mountain!
I can’t stress enough the danger that water poses to your non-waterproof electronics. Even with a water-resistant backpack it’s likely that your camera will be exposed to water at some point, especially if you’re planning on taking any pictures! Bring a waterproof camera to capture those memories without the worry of water damage.
Wearing your swimsuit around Disney parks is certainly not frowned upon – in fact, you’ll need it for many activities, especially the water rides. A swimsuit cover-up is a great way to ensure you’re covered for comfort, but still able to dry quickly. It can get wet on rides, it’s breathable and comfortable, and I found the women’s one to be very flattering!
The heat and activity combined can leave you feeling sticky and stinky. 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. They can be carried with you for on-the-go use. They’re also safe and gentle, and will leave you feeling much cleaner and nicer-smelling.
Especially if you have fair skin, a good sun hat can be a lifesaver on warm sunny days. It’s always good to stick a sun hat on the little ones so that they don’t overheat and so that the sun doesn’t get in their eyes. This one is inexpensive and comes in all sizes.
These stroller clips are a must-have for anyone traveling with kids. They’ll keep all of your loose items attached to the stroller or cart that you’re using. This makes life so much easier when little ones are trying their hardest to scatter blankies, sippy cups, toys, etc. 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.
To fully enjoy your Disney experience, it’s important to stay comfortable and cool. 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
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 restricted items in Disney World
FAQs about Disney
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 also 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.
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.
Is foreign currency exchange available at Disney?
Yes! You can exchange your foreign currency to US 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.
Can I bring in food and beverages into Disney parks?
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!
Will there be lockers available in the park?
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.
Should I stay in a Disney park hotel? Or is it better to stay at an off-park hotel?
You can benefit from stay at an on-park hotel. Staying at a hotel on the park campus will get you extended park hours, 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.
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 chose 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 in to 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.
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.