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Inside: Wondering what you need to pack for Disney World? We’ve got the ultimate Disney vacation packing list including items you cannot forget to pack. Read on to find out how to save money, stay cool and comfortable and have a Magical trip!
The Ultimate Disney Vacation Packing List – AKA What Do I Need to Pack for Disney World?
Wahoo! You’re going to Disney World! You’re going to have a blast for sure. We’ve been traveling to Florida almost every year since 2003, and before that as a kid too, and over the years we’ve learned some secrets and hacks that we’ve combined into our ultimate Disney World packing list.
This isn’t just about remembering to pack shorts and sunscreen. This packing list will help you stay cool, avoid blisters and save money all while having as much fun as possible in the most Magical Place on Earth!
This is the ULTIMATE list, but it doesn’t mean that you need to bring EVERYTHING on it! You’ll need to take into account whether you’re traveling to Disney World in the winter or the summer, with or without kids, and whether you’re driving or flying.
Pssssttttt! This is the specific item our readers say you must not forget to pack! Don’t leave home without it!
General Disney World Packing Tips
Here are a few tips to help you decide what you need to pack for your Disney World vacation.
What’s the weather like in Orlando?
The weather in Orlando changes throughout the year. In the summer months, it gets very hot and humid and you could experience frequent and very heavy rainstorms.
By contrast, in the winter months, it can get very chilly, especially at night time.
It can also be unpredictable, we traveled during early December one year and started the trip wearing jeans and sweatshirts, with scarves and wooly hats in the evening, and ended the trip wearing shorts and T-shirts with the temps in the high 80s!
How long is your Disney vacation?
If you’re visiting for a couple of days your packing list will look very different from the one you would need for a 10-14 day stay.
When it comes to clothes you will likely appreciate having more than one outfit per day especially when the weather is hot and humid.
Make sure you find out whether your hotel or condo has a washer/dryer available because if you can do laundry during your stay you won’t need to pack so many clothes.
How are you traveling to Disney World?
If you are driving to Orlando then you can bring a lot of things with you, including non-perishable groceries and crates of bottled water.
If you’re flying you’ll be limited by your baggage allowance, especially if you’re traveling carry-on only so take this into account. You can order groceries and other items from Amazon and have them shipped directly to your Resort using the Amazon Prime Pantry service.
The best clothes to pack for Disney
The only dress code you’ll find at Disney is that you must wear a shirt and shoes at all times. You don’t need to get dressed up for dinner unless you really want to of course.
The key thing when deciding what clothes to pack for your Disney vacation is that you will want to be cool and comfortable. Shorts and T-shirts are your best bet, maybe dresses if you prefer those. Pick out clothes made of cotton rather than polyester as that can make you sweat even more.
Even during the hottest months of the year it can be chilly in the air conditioning so bring a light cardigan or sweater with you too.
The best footwear to wear to Disney World
The Walt Disney World Resort is HUGE and so are the theme parks. You will spend hours and hours on your feet each day and you will walk MILES!
So when choosing footwear for your trip you want to think about comfort over style.
This is the one place in the world where my hubby will trade his sneakers for a pair of Crocs!
Try not to buy new shoes especially for your trip, and if you really have to, make sure you walk a few miles in them first to break them in ahead of time. You do not want blisters ruining your vacation!
Flip flops and sliders are probably best saved for the water parks, instead, think Crocs or sneakers for comfort.
Can kids wear costumes in the Disney World theme parks?
If you’re traveling with children, consider bringing some Disney costumes with you. There’s nothing quite as magical as meeting your favorite Disney princess while you’re both wearing the same dress right?
You will need to take into account the weather because costumes can be hot and scratchy. You can either carry a change of clothes for when they start to feel uncomfortable, or if you’re handy with a sewing machine check out our collection of DIY Disney Costumes which are much more comfortable to wear.
Just to be clear, only children aged 13 and under are allowed to wear costumes in the Disney World theme parks, unless you’re attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in which case the whole family is welcome to get dressed up.
Wear cute matching Disney shirts on vacation
Disney World is probably the only place on earth where anyone in your family is going to be happy to show up in matching shirts so you’ll want to make the most of it!
It’s easier to keep track of your kiddos when you’re all wearing the same shirt, but families in matching shirts can also get an extra sprinkle of magic dust from cast members and characters too.
We have an ultimate list of matching Disney family shirts to help you find ones your family will enjoy wearing!
Can you bring a stroller to Disney World?
If your kiddos are stroller age then consider traveling with yours because the strollers you can rent in the parks are expensive and uncomfortable to ride in.
Another option is to rent from a firm like Kingdom Strollers or Magic Strollers. They rent Baby Joggers for a very reasonable price, and it means you have access to a stroller all day long.
If you have children who have outgrown their stroller you might want to consider renting a Summit X3 for them to ride in. You will cover a lot of miles in the theme parks and it’s tough for littles who don’t usually walk that far.
We rented strollers for our 7-year-old twins and because we were able to cover more ground more quickly we were also able to experience more attractions in the day. And since they weren’t tired out from walking they were much happier too.
Don’t be tempted to bring those wagon-style strollers because they have recently been banned from the parks. Disney now has a “width limit” on strollers to double-check to make sure yours is no wider than 31” and no longer than 52” before you bring it.
Do I need a car seat on vacation?
If you’re flying into Orlando and then renting a car and your child is still in a car seat then think seriously about bringing it with you.
Sure you can rent car seats from your car rental company but they’re expensive and who knows how safe they actually are. When we’re traveling on unfamiliar roads I want to make sure my kids are traveling in a car seat I know is safe.
Airlines usually let you check car seats in for free, and we use a travel bag like this one to keep ours clean and safe in the hold. Oh, and those bags are pretty roomy so you can easily fit a blanket or some extra clothes in there if you’re short on space in your luggage… just saying!
If your car seat is big and bulky you can think about buying a lighter one for travel, which is what we’ve done in the past.
Items you’d never think to bring to the theme parks – but you’ll be glad you did!
Face Masks – As of June 15, 2021 face masks are no longer a requirement for vaccinated guests, but if you haven’t had your vaccination yet or you still wish to wear a face mask be sure to pack enough for your stay.
Dried Snacks – All that walking and waiting in lines sure does make you hungry so carry dried snacks or trail mix with you to the parks. They’re easy to carry in small ziplock bags and you don’t have to worry about anything melting!
Bottled Water – We’re not fans of the taste of Florida water so we prefer to carry bottled water to the parks. If you have a freezer in your room you can pop a couple of bottles in there each evening then carry them with you to the parks so you’ll have ice cold water to cool you down when you get thirsty.
Glow Stick Bracelets – You’ll be surprised at how many uses you can find for the humble glow stick which makes them a must-pack item!
If your child is wary of the dark they can wear one on dark attractions to feel a bit braver.
If you have a stroller you can wrap one around the handle to make it easier to spot in the stroller parking area.
You can put one on the toilet cistern in your room and it gives off enough of a glow to see in the dark without having to turn the light on!
If you’re planning to experience any of the nighttime parades or fireworks (and you should because they’re all MAGICAL) you can entertain your children with glow sticks you’ve brought along rather than paying for the expensive light-up toys they sell at the parks.
Over the door shoe pocket holder – if you have a stroller bring one of these along and hang it over the handlebars at the back. It is PERFECT for carrying water bottles, sunscreen, hats etc. Be sure not to overload it though or when your child gets out of the stroller it could tip backward from the weight!
Swimmer’s Towel– these are a great way to dry off after a rainstorm or riding a wet ride.
Shout Wipes – if your kids manage to get covered in ketchup and ice cream as much as mine do you’ll want some of these wipes to rescue clothes from stains!
Harness Backpack – if your child does not like holding hands you’re less likely to lose them in a crowd if you are holding onto them using one of these cute harnesses.
Bag of Pipe Cleaners – To keep kids entertained while waiting, they can make all kinds of creations with them. Just be careful of sharp ends with little ones.
Around the Neck Fans – for the ultimate in staying cool when you’re out and about you will want this fan that hangs around your neck!
Cooler Backpack – The easiest way to carry your snacks and picnic into the parks without anything melting in the heat is a cooler backpack.
Carabiner Clips – For hanging hats and water bottles from your backpack.
Travel Dish Wipes – For cleaning your refillable mug before switching drinks.
Ponchos – It’s likely to rain (heavily) at least once during your trip and the Disney ponchos are not only expensive they’re all the same. Which makes it very easy to lose your kids in the crowd. Bring some with you instead, they’re cheaper and you’ll stand out in the crowd!
Bobble Water Bottles – They come with a built-in filter so you’ll be able to refill at the fountains without the water tasting so bad.
Collapsible Water Bottles – Or try these collapsible ones, once you’ve finished your water you can fold them up so they’re easier to carry.
A Bright Scarf or Bandana – Attach it to your stroller handle so you can find it more easily in the stroller parking area.
Bag of Toys – Take a trip to the Dollar Store and pick up toys and bubbles to keep your children entertained while waiting for attractions.
Cheap Flip Flops – Your feet will get wet on the wet rides, and walking around in wet shoes will cause blisters. You are not allowed to ride barefoot, so carry some cheap flip flops in your backpack. You can put them on before you hit the wet rides and leave your sneakers safe in a locker!
Chewing Gum – You cannot buy chewing gum in the Walt Disney World Resort so if you can’t survive without it you’ll need to bring your own. Please dispose of it responsibly!
Crystal Light – because Florida water doesn’t taste very nice!
Ear Plugs – If you have sensitive ears (or a sensitive child) they can be helpful for the loud attractions and fireworks.
Drip Free Popsicle Holder – pop the stick from your Mickey Bar through the hole and it catches all the drips. Genius!
Disney Bandaids – You never know when your child might get a scrape or a scratch and boo boos at Disney are easier to soothe with a Disney bandaid right??
Odd Socks – Pop your water bottles inside them to keep the water cooler longer, and to stop the condensation getting your bag contents wet!
Plastic Shower Curtain – Grab a cheap one from the Dollar Store. You can sit on it for a wet day parade, or use it as a rain cover for your stroller using clothespins.
Post-it Notes – If you’re traveling with a child who is afraid of the flush you can use them to cover the automatic flushers on the toilets.
Collapsible Tupperware Containers – Pop your snacks or sandwiches in to keep them from getting squashed.
Body Glide – This stuff will become your best friend at the parks because in the humidity you will start to sweat and that can lead to some… erm… uncomfortable chafing!
Small Fleece Blanket – You can sit on it while waiting for parades and shows, or use it as a pillow for little ones napping in a stroller.
Two Mini M&M Tubes – Pressed pennies make wonderful souvenirs and you’ll find multiple machines in each park. Be ready by bringing one M&M tube filled with quarters and one filled with pennies.
Portable Battery Pack – I stopped taking a digital SLR camera to Disney World years ago and much prefer to take photos with my iPhone. But between photographs, the My Disney Experience app and the odd YouTube video to pass the time in lines your battery can run down pretty quickly. We carry a portable battery pack to keep our phones topped up during the day.
Disney Pins for Trading – Pin trading is a fun activity and your child will come home with lots of fun souvenirs. They’re expensive to buy in the parks though so see if you can buy some from eBay to bring with you.
Items to pack for your hotel room to make your life easier!
Packing Cubes – We switched to packing cubes a couple of years ago and have never looked back. I LOVE them. They make packing your luggage more efficient, and if you have a different cube for each family member to unpack all you do is take the cube out of your suitcase!
If you’re arriving late in the evening then designate one cube to hold Pjs and other things you need for the night and the clothes you want to wear on the first day, and then you don’t have to worry about unpacking your case to find what you need.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser – No matter how carefully you pack your clothes some of them will have that lovely crumpled vibe when you unpack them in Orlando. This stuff is magic because it gives your crumpled-in-the-suitcase clothes the freshly ironed look!
Hanging Collapsible Shelf – Our one complaint about the Disney World Resort rooms is that there’s not enough storage for clothes. If you’re traveling for more than a couple of days bring along one of these shelving units to maximize your space!
Over the door shoe pocket holder – While we’re talking about storage these shoe holders are great for storing toiletries and undies as well as shoes.
Electronics Bag – To keep all of your charging cables, memory cards and other essentials together.
Battery Powered Night Light– Pop it in the bathroom so you can find your way in the middle of the night.
Soap Bag – Pop your bar of hotel soap in it and hang it in the shower.
Folding Potty Seat – For little ones who aren’t very confident.
Ziplock Bags in various sizes – For storing snacks, phones and cameras when it rains, autograph books, wet clothes, swimsuits etc.
Popup Hamper – these lightweight hampers fold flat and are perfect for filling with dirty laundry so it doesn’t take over your room. If you’re planning to do laundry you can take it with you to the laundrette, and if not you can upend it back into your case when it’s time to pack.
Lightweight Duffle Bag – If you are traveling by car, or by plane and you have enough baggage allowance consider bringing a duffle bag instead of a pop up hamper. Bring the bag empty and use it as a laundry hamper during your stay. When it’s time to go home you just need to zip it up, and your clothes are now packed. Then you can fill your suitcase with the souvenirs you bought!
Bluetooth Printer and Photo Album – At the end of each day print out your photos and pop them into the album. When you get home your pictures are all ready to share!
Power Strip – Because there are never enough power outlets for all of your gadgets.
Brita Water Filter Jug – To make the water taste better. Pack your socks inside it to save room in your luggage.
Pre-printed Address Labels – for your postcards.
Now you know what to bring in your luggage it’s time to check out our views on the best mom backpack for Disney World and what you should carry in it!