Going to Walt Disney World is an extremely exciting experience for families, but packing for such a trip is not so exciting.
As a mom who has taken her family to Walt Disney World multiple times per year, I have learned some game-changing tips and tricks to help make the packing easier. Here are my top packing tips for a family trip to Disney World:
First things first – packing cubes. Before you start even think about packing, grab yourself packing cubes for each member of your family. You’ll thank me later. It’s even better if you can get each member of your family their own color packing cubes.
When to Start Packing
I typically start my first round of Disney World packing about four weeks out from our trip. I do this so I have enough runway to do inventory and order the special outfits or items that I could be missing. Because packing for Disney can be intense, give yourself enough time.
What to Pack When Traveling to Walt Disney World
Walking is a major part of the Disney World experience, so it’s essential to have comfy shoes.
Make sure everyone in your family has at-least two pairs of well-broken-in comfortable shoes that they can wear for long periods of time. It’s always great to have a back up pair of shoes incase you get caught in a Florida rain storm. I typically take 3 pairs of sneakers because I get sore feet.
Pro Tip: if you get sore feet don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
My kids have been wearing Crocs in the park for years with zero issues. They are comfy, can get wet and they are easy to take on and off.
Florida can get quite hot, so it’s important to pack light, breathable and comfortable clothing. I highly recommend thin white socks for long days in the park. Thick socks can get uncomfortable in the heat.
If you’re going to the parks during warmer times of year consider purchasing fans in advance of your trip. We’ve tried them all, and I prefer the neck fans so you can remain hands free and cool. These ones work really well.
A lot of people use cooling towels in the parks like Frog Toggs. I am not a fan of being damp or soaked – so look at that when you decide on what brand you select. What I did find recently are cooking hats. These are totally worth the investment.
Save some cash and the headache of waiting in lines by bringing a triple wall insulated water bottle with you. It’s so nice on a hot day, to have access to ice cold water while you’re waiting in the line.
Pro tip: if you run out of water, every Disney quick service location (including Starbucks) provides ice water for free. Personally I like my wide top Yeti water bottle, but any triple wall bottle will do.
Just remember, the bottle neck types are harder to fill with ice.
Make sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Do not, and I repeat do not forget your ponchos. Head to a dollar store before your trip and grab enough for everyone in your party. Disney ponchos are more expensive than you think.
On days that it calls for rain, I typically throw flip flops in the park bag just in case. Most people do not think that far in advance. Then they get wet feet which could eventually clear out the parks. If packing flip flops won’t work, check out the rubber waterproof shoe covers from Walmart of Amazon.
Cool Weather Gear
Evenings can get pretty chilly some times at Walt Disney World. I suggest packing a light coat or solid hoodie that can be reworn during your trip.
Bring a Backpack
A backpack is a must-have for a day at Disney World. It’s the perfect place to store snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, hats, and any other essentials you might need throughout the day. Make sure to choose a backpack with plenty of pockets to keep everything organized (especially outside pockets for water bottles).
Don’t Forget the Stroller
If you have young children, bringing a stroller is essential. Even if your child is a proficient walker, the amount of walking involved at Disney World can be overwhelming. A stroller can provide a much-needed break for your little one, as well as a place to store bags, snacks, and other essentials. My youngest has been to Disney over 20 times, starting at just a few months old. For infants and young children, pick a stroller that has an easy open and close function. This is key when using Disney transportation. Strollers must be closed in order to ride.
Now that my youngest is five, we found the best stroller for big kids that folds down to the size of a backpack.
If taking your own stroller isn’t an option, look at places like Kingdom Stroller Rentals. It might actually be less expensive to purchase a new stroller when you get down there and have it shipped to the resort.
Strollers in most cases are not allowed in the lines. During these times, purchase a baby carrier in advance of the trip. Some baby carriers go all the way up to 45 pounds. As your child grows most options allow for front or back carrying.
Disney World can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to bring your own snacks, drinks and special treats for the kids. Some good food options include granola bars, mini muffins, fruit snacks, rice crispy treats, goldfish crackers and trail mix. If you have a cooler we always opt to throw in some Uncrustables. These PB&Js have really come in handy when there is a hungry child but it’s not time to eat yet.
Pro tip: Disney does not sell gum. If you like chewing gum, throw some in you leave for the day.
Disney does allow outside food and small coolers. The best cooler I’ve found in the thin cooler from ThirtyOne. If you don’t want to deal with a cooler, consider freezing water bottles and throw them in the bottom of your stroller.
Surprises for the Kiddos
Disney has some amazing merch and your kids will want it all. Get one step ahead by packing some fun treats and surprises for long days. I typically get a whole box of Pez and Disney Pez dispensers before our trip from Amazon. I wrap each one individually and give them out when a child wants something or starts to get crabby. I also stock up on little Disney figures, sticker books, and small toys from the Dollar tree before the trip. I also wrap these.
Who doesn’t love present? This will save you money and your sanity.
I also used to do Tinkerbell gifts. We would sneak into the room before the kids and leave presents for the kids including things like, Disney t-shirts, Disney candy, toys, glow toys along with a letter from Mickey and Minnie. N
ow a days with older kids, they still get a letter but now they each get a $25 gift card. This is their souvenir budget for the trip.
Pack a Portable Charger
Your phone is likely to die quickly at Disney World with all the pictures and videos you’ll be taking. Bring a portable charger to keep your phone charged throughout the day. We are even purchased a solar powered charger for long days in the sun. Your portable charger can be used for more than your cellphone, they also can charge your fans!
The Florida sun can be intense, so make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen. Apply it liberally throughout the day, especially if you’ll be spending time in the water parks. Personally I like the little sunblock sticks for everyone’s face and spray sunblock for the rest of your body.
Things You Didn’t Know you Needed but Probably Do
- Costumes: Don’t pay Disney prices if you don’t have to. Buy your Princess dresses and costumes before going to the parks.
- Vitamin C: I always load up everyone with Vitamin C a week before and during our trips. Don’t let sickness steal the magic, but some Airborne of Emergen-C
- Pain medicine: throw some ibuprofen in your bag for unexpected headaches and body aches. It’s actually tougher to find in Disney. I also like to pack peppermint oil for aches, pains and upset stomach. Personally, I use Doterra.
- Hair ties
- Mickey Ear Headbands (can be purchased before you trip for a lot less)
- A nail file
- Multiple travel hand sanitizers
- Reusable straws: Disney went to paper straws a few years back. They have gotten better but not great. If drinking for a soggy straw doesn’t sound like a good time, pack reusable ones. I like that type attached to a keychain.
- Yeti cup for coffee: You absolutely do not want to wait in line for a Starbucks or Joffrey’s in the morning when you could be riding or having fun. Make coffee in your room or fill up before you leave the lobby.
- Waterproof bags for your cellphones
- Ziplock bags: Great for left over pretzels or Disney snacks
- Pop up hamper for the room for dirty clothes
- Over the door shoe hanger
In summary, packing for a family trip to Walt Disney World doesn’t have to be stressful.
By following these tips and making a checklist of everything you’ll need, you can ensure that your family is prepared for a magical and unforgettable experience.