Wondering what to pack for Disney World or Disneyland? This post covers unique items that’ll improve your vacation, not a check-list of basics. For 2015, we’ve added some fun new gadgets, plus other items you never knew you needed. When packing, we do follow a simple check-list, but most of you probably have similar lists, so you don’t need a reminder to bring toothpaste and deodorant. Instead, here’s our list of less obvious items that we bring with us to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the international parks (like Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris!), which you may want to consider adding to your own checklists.
We change our packing list regularly based upon feedback and suggestions we receive in the comments on this list (thanks!), as we like to try new and useful travel products that will improve our trips. Our 2015 ‘what to pack for Disney’ updates include a few new products that we’ve found have made our trips easier and has saved us money. Note that this list is not tailored towards any specific season, so check out our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more specific insight on what to take on your trip if you’re visiting from November through February.
For the food and consumables, to avoid adding weight to our luggage (we have a page devoted solely to choosing the right luggage) that might cause us to have to pay baggage fees, we often place an order with Amazon.com prior to our trip, and have the items shipped to our Disney resort. (In Address Line 2, specify your arrival date.) Shipping on orders over $35 is free with Amazon.com. One tip for this is that you need to specify when ordering that you want your order in “as few shipments as possible.” A few Disney resort-hotels charge a small “package fee” when you pick up the package. This $2 or so fee isn’t much for one package, but could really add up if Amazon ships each little toiletry separately!
With all of that said, let’s get to the Disney packing lists. Hopefully this ‘Unique Disney Packing List’ makes your trips better, too…
Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad – By far the most popular item on this list, Chilly Pads use some sort of space-age science material (or witchcraft?) to simultaneously be “cool and dry.” After getting wet (and being wrung out), the towel becomes cooler than the outside air, providing cooling relief without the wet mess. When it stops cooling, re-wet the towel and wring it out. Viola, cold again. We were skeptical of these at first, but now they’re a must-pack for us. They are cheap and convenient, and are perfect for unbearably hot days in Walt Disney World or Disneyland!
Compact External Charger – Poor reception in the parks and the need to check wait times, planning apps, or share photos via social media can be a drain on your battery; this very small battery backup will get you through the day and doesn’t take up much space and is approximately 3 full phone charges. Another small option with double the juice is this backup.
Ponchos – If you don’t want to spend $250 on ponchos (slight exaggeration) at Disney over the course of your vacation, we recommend taking a 4-pack of ponchos for each person in your group. Chances are, there will be afternoon showers on at least a few days of your trip. These ponchos are also great for water-based attractions. If you want something higher quality and more versatile, I recently got this $20 Frogg Toggs Rain Suit and am loving it so far. You might get some odd looks in your rain pants, but you’ll be the one laughing when you’re dry following the afternoon Florida monsoon, while everyone around you has soaked shorts. Get the yellow color for added style so you really stick out in the crowd! 😉
Mini USB Power Strip – Not only can this power strip charge standard items, but it has 2 USB charging slots and is super-compact and cordless! With all of the electronics we have charging in the room at the same time, a power strip is quite useful. If you only need USB ports, this is a great credit card-sized alternative.
Gear-It All-In-One Travel Adapter – Above you can see our mini-power strip plugged in at our hotel near Hong Kong Disneyland. If you’re heading there, to Disneyland Paris, or Tokyo Disney Resort, it’s a good idea to also get this adapter that works in 150+ countries. You can purchase overpriced adapters (albeit ones limited to the country you’re in) abroad, but having your own multi-country adapter is the way to go.
Over-the-Door Organizer – If you hate a cluttered hotel room or end up having cramped quarters because of all your stuff, this is perfect for putting over the bathroom door to organize. Not just your toiletries, either. Throw in everything from Pop Tarts to park maps so everything is in one easy-to-find location and off your counters!
Photography Gear – Only mentioned here because we know a lot of people visit us looking for camera suggestions…if that describes you, you’re on the wrong page! Check out our Ultimate Disney Parks Photography Guide for photography tips and tricks, plus camera suggestions. Oh, and while it’s not technically a piece of photo gear, one thing I recommend for photographers is a head lamp. Don’t laugh…it’s really useful, albeit extremely dorky. It’s actually a good option for non-photographers, too, but in fewer circumstances. I use this Energizer 7 LED Headlamp.
Grid-It Organizer – The concept behind this is great, and it works wonders for organizing your suitcase, assuming you have a lot of little trinkets (chargers, batteries, cameras, etc.) like us. If you don’t, or if you don’t have items sized appropriately for it, it’s just one more piece of clutter.
Plug-in Yankee Candle Scent – It may sound hokey, but if we have space in our suitcase, we bring a new Yankee Candle plug-in to give a “scent” to the trip. When we return home, we forever associate that scent with our Disney trip. Room spray also would work, but we no longer recommend actual candles. Our favorite YC scents are Sun & Sand for Summer trips and Holiday Bayberry for Christmas trips…just in case you care!
Shout Wipes – Shout Wipes, Tide pens, anything that can clean up stains. I’m an expert at making messes, and these stain treaters are lifesavers.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser – Clothes packed in suitcases can get wrinkled and no one likes ironing. A much better solution than letting wrinkled clothes “air de-wrinkle,” like I do when I forget to pack this.
Body Glide – Since making the original list, many others have recommended this product to us as the best way to combat chaffing. We have not used it.
Neck Wallet – For those who fear being pick-pocketed or just don’t like carrying a wallet in your pocket, the neck wallet is for you. We know a couple people who swear by these. We’re including it on the list because we see a lot of people wearing lanyards and fanny packs in the parks…and this is a step up from both of those things!
Brita 24-Ounce Water Filter Bottle – The taste of the water at Walt Disney World leaves something to be desired. If you want regular ‘ole water, and want it to taste palatable, make sure to pick up a couple of these before your trip! A potentially great alternative to this (that we have yet to try) is a space-saving
Collapsible water bottle – If you don’t care about the filter, this is a great way to save space and carry water with you in the parks.
Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee – Joffrey’s Coffee and the new Starbucks in-park locations improved coffee in the parks, but packing your own is still much cheaper. Disney restaurants provide free cups of hot water, making Starbucks VIA a great alternative to buying coffee in-park.
Kind Granola Energy Bars – High in fiber and protein, these bars are gluten-free and offer a nice, healthy snack in between trips to Aloha Isle. Feel a little less guilty about having 3 Dole Whips per day by balancing with these.
Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks – Same idea as the Kind bars above, except in fruit snack form. Our friends with kids swear by these as a great snack option for their kids.
Gatorade Powder Packs – Get free cups of water from a Disney counter service restaurant for Gatorade on the go. Again, cheaper than buying in-park drinks.
Clif Bar Energy Bars – An excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamins, Clif Bars are the perfect compliment to jerky if looking for another great snack!
Beef Jerky – High in protein, flavor, and awesomeness, bags of beef jerky are the perfect snack to bring to the parks. I am a self-proclaimed beef jerky expert-extraordinaire, and I prefer Jack Link’s Teriyaki Jerky out of mainstream brands.
Dresses – If you’ve ever viewed one of our trip reports, it’s no secret that Sarah likes dresses. Based on the emails we’ve received, she’s not the only female who does. Check out her What to Wear to Disney page dedicated to where she shops and ideas for finding cute outfits that are also practical for those humid days in the parks. She also has Tips for Accessorizing for Disney, to give your normal outfits cute ‘dashes of Disney.’
Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Padding Roll – Okay, so Moleskin isn’t footwear, per se, but after a couple days in the parks, it might as well be! This stuff works miracles, and can save your feet significant discomfort and pain. Four rolls of it may seem like overkill, but think again.
Travel Umbrellas – Sarah and I each received “Totes” mini umbrellas a couple of Christmases ago, and they’ve held up wonderfully. We often forget to take them to the parks, but when we do remember to take them, we prefer them to ponchos (which are always in our bags). I have no clue whether this is the exact model we own.
OluKai Ohana Sandal – Fashionable sandals that perfectly combine comfort and cuteness. These look less ‘clunky’ than other sandals you might wear, but still provide enough comfort so your feet won’t hurt after logging miles in the parks. Merrell sandals are another favorite of Sarah’s for the same reason.
Saucony Kinvara 4 Breathable Shoes – The benefit to these shoes for Disney is that most Saucony shoes have “HydraMAX” technology that wicks away water, which is huge because you don’t want to have soggy feet all day after an afternoon rain shower or an especially wet rides on Splash Mountain. I don’t wear sandals in the parks, so these are my go-to footwear. If you want to forgo the socks completely, try these Merrell Glove Shoes. I’m a big fan, but be warned: they aren’t for everyone.
Moisture Wicking Socks – In order to get the most out of moisture-wicking shoes, you need moisture wicking socks, too. Again, these are totally worth having, and if you don’t believe us now, you will after a day of soggy feet following a ride on Splash Mountain.
Water Shoes – If you’re hitting the water parks or plan on spending significant time at the pool during your trip, water shoes are a great purchase. Not just because they’re good for the water, but because they will keep your bare feet from being burned on the hot pavement. These are great, high-quality water shoes that will last a while.
As far as less-ordinary things go, at least, the less ordinary things that would be useful to others, this is about it for us. What about you? Are there any interesting things you pack that might make the rest of us say, “why didn’t we think of that?!” If so, share them in the comments!
We hope this guide helps you better-prepare for Disney! If you are considering a purchase of any of these items (or anything else for that matter–just click the links here to get to Amazon and navigate to any items you might need for your trip), we would greatly appreciate it if you use the links in this post to make your purchase. It benefits the site, doesn’t cost you anything, and help us to keep providing you with useful content!
For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
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What unique items do you recommend packing for a Disney trip? Share some of your favorites in the comments!