Disney World is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” say many families… that is, if you pack appropriately! Don’t make the mistake of touring the “World” without these essential items—many of which can make the difference between a simply magical trip and an unnecessarily uncomfortable one. Here’s what to pack for Disney World.
1. Day of the Week Hanging Organizer
Steal this seasoned Disney mom tool to streamline packing for kids ages 2 to 12: hanging day of the week clothes organizers. Everything your child needs for a week of touring—from Mickey ears to underwear—can be stored in five day-of-the-week pockets for easy organization.
2. Retractable Markers and Autograph Book
Collecting autographs from favorite characters is a breeze with this clever hack: retractable Sharpie markers. Available in classic and “fun” colors, these permanent markers are easy to retrieve and easy for characters to grip. Chip and Dale will love them, and the kids will, too. Order a Disney autograph book to pair them with, and you’ll be fully prepared for magical encounters.
3. Personal Misting Fan/Battery-Powered Fan
What’s hotter than the Sonoran desert? A concrete Florida desert in summertime. Save the sweating for Sonora—and save your vacation budget—by pre-ordering personal misting fans for the entire family. You’ll spend a lot less on Amazon than you will at the kiosks around the theme parks. Use them when standing in line for rides, when sprinting to the next attraction—or to give siblings a playful soaking.
4. Parade Bling
Flashy light-up toys are like kid magnets—and if you’re a victim of the theme parks’ merchandise “bling” pull at parade time, you’ll find they can quickly zap your vacation budget. Buy a few ahead of time and repel the last-minute urge to splurge.
5. Rain Ponchos
Florida showers come on fast and furious in the summertime. Thankfully, they’re generally fleeting, but it’s no fun to be soaked OR soggy on vacation. Skip the dollar store ponchos and purchase these practical, easily portable ponchos in advance. A little seasonable weather can’t rain on your vacation parade!
6. Winter Hat and Gloves Set
Contrary to popular belief, it actually gets cold in the winter in sunny Florida! During the months of December and January (and sometimes February), you’ll need to bundle up a bit in order to stay comfortable while touring the theme parks. There’s nothing more annoying than having to dole out your hard-earned Disney vacation dollars on overpriced winter gear. Save cash and frozen fingers when you pack these Disney-themed hats and gloves. Then, like Elsa in Frozen, you can let the cold weather go!
7. Packable Warm Jacket
Packable jackets save precious space in your luggage for souvenirs, while helping you to stay comfortable while touring the theme parks. These lightweight models by Amazon Essentials are easy to pack and don’t take up a lot of room. You’ll stay warm and toasty in windy, cool and even frigid weather.
8. Ziploc Bags
What one packable item will help you keep cameras and autograph books dry, organize touring gear by day, and store your snacks, drinks, souvenirs and bathing suits for later use? Let us introduce the versatile, economical, and disposable Ziploc storage bag! A Disney parent trick-of-the-trade, Ziploc bags are invaluable tools for keeping the kids clean, dry and nourished while on the go. These themed storage bags are imprinted with various Disney characters, from Frozen, Star Wars and more (even Mickey)! They’re available in quart and gallon-size.
9. Portable Charger
Disney apps can quickly deplete your cell phone battery, and a dead device can take your trip on an unplanned (and unpleasant) detour. Keep all your devices charged on the go, and enjoy uninterrupted access to Fastpasses and dining reservations, with a handy mobile charger. These are some of our favorites.
10. Well-Designed Storage Bag
When touring the Disney theme parks, you’ll need a carrier to keep your photo ID, credit cards, cell phone and autograph books at-the-ready in one convenient spot. Whether you’re visiting with only the bare essentials, or else toting a day’s worth of necessities for the entire family, choose a well-designed bag that will help you stay calm and collected, while storing your collective gear. These are some of our picks for amusement park bags.
11. Comfortable Walking Shoes
A few words of warning about Disney theme park touring: you WILL walk a lot. If you want to avoid cutting your vacation day short due to feet that can’t go any further, skip the flip-flops and invest in some comfortable shoes for Disney World, such as sneakers. Your feet—and your family members—will thank you!
Save money and stave off “hangry” meltdowns by packing plenty of non-melting, easily-portable snacks. Granola bars, crackers and dried and fresh fruit are all great on-the-go options. Tip: Get food items, drinks and essentials delivered directly to your Orlando hotel or vacation rental with Amazon Prime Pantry.
Writer Jackie Perrin has covered the best of family travel for nearly two decades, for media ranging from newspapers and magazines to TripAdvisor.com. At home and on the go, she manages a crew of companions. Follow her on Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram, @NYfamtravels.