Wondering what to pack for Walt Disney World? This guide & packing list covers essentials, items to bring in your backpack for park days, and 50+ unique products and clever gadgets that’ll help you save money, stay cool & comfortable in Florida’s weather, and improve your vacation. (Updated August 3, 2023.)
The first part of this Disney packing list highlights the less-obvious items–things you never knew you needed. These are interesting and sometimes odd things we’ve learned about over the years, some of which have dramatically improved our experiences when traveling. We pack some of these when visiting Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo, Paris, and beyond. Consider including some of them in your luggage.
The second half is our comprehensive Disney packing list that you can download and save. This encompasses things you almost certainly already own–but might forget without this downloadable packing list for Walt Disney World. We use this checklist to make sure we’ve remembered all the basics. As for unique items, we update this list regularly with new ideas, plus essentials based upon feedback and suggestions from readers. We love discovering innovative things that improve travel, so please share your finds and recommendations in the comments!
Note that this Walt Disney World packing guide is not tailored towards any specific season. If you’re visiting between now and late October, consult our Summer Packing Tips for Disney post for suggestions on beating the heat and handling humidity. This summer has been brutal pretty much everywhere, including Central Florida. There are a couple of items on this list that’ll help you keep cool, but we’d also recommend dressing practically. Looking stylish for photos can be fun…but not at the expense of comfort.
Temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up, as the heart of hurricane season starts this month. Storm season brings heat, humidity, and spontaneous downpours. The triple weather whammy! On rare occasion, the parks can also close due to hurricanes–that has happened on a few occasions in the last several years. So be prepared for that if you’re visiting this summer or early fall. See our Guide to Storm Season at Walt Disney Worldfor an updated forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season, historical info about past storms that caused closures, and more.
Those heading to the parks between November and February, supplement this with our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post instead. True winter weather is exceedingly rare in Central Florida, but due to the humidity and big swings in daytime highs versus nighttime lows, it can feel cold during a few months of the year. Orlando weather can be like a roller coaster, and unlike the Walt Disney World variety, it’s not always fun. Basically, there are about 3 weeks per year when Central Florida weather is predictably temperate and mild!
Additionally, we’ve just made a new-for-2023 Guide to the Best Shoes for Walt Disney World. There is no one-size-fits-all “perfect” footwear for the parks, and with that in mind, we have a number of recommendations that are tailored to theme parks. This includes options that are great for hot weather and rain!
This next tidbit applies to all items you order, but also non-perishable groceries and snacks. If you’re ordering a lot and don’t want to hassle with bringing it with you, it’s possible to place an order with Amazon.com prior to our trip and have the items shipped to your Walt Disney World resort. In Address Line 2, specify your arrival date. Resorts now charge a $6 package handling fee will apply to all packages that are received by the hotel. This fee does not apply to grocery delivery.
Finally, the idea behind this list is not that you buy and pack everything here. These are just ideas, not a list of comprehensive necessities for Walt Disney World. If you packed all of this, you’d be taking way too much. We are firm believers in not overpacking. It’s important to comb through this list, determine what might help improve YOUR vacation, and take that. Not everything here is for everyone–they’re just ideas.
With all of that said, let’s get to the unique item Disney packing list, and then the packing checklist. We’ll start with the items our readers love the most–smart items that’ll save you time, money, stress, or (literally) physical discomfort and pain!
Smart Stuff to Pack
Autograph Book Substitute – One of our friends used this Junior Character Encyclopedia of Disney Characters, and we thought it was the most brilliant thing ever. Instead of having characters sign a blank page, have them sign this actual book about 150+ Disney characters. After the trip, it’ll be a treasured keepsake. We’ve heard tons of feedback on Facebook from people who have tried–and loved–this! (Do NOT buy the Disney Pixar Character Encyclopedia New Edition. That’s an “update” to the best autograph book substitute, but it’s no longer suitable for autograph purposes. You’ve been warned!)
Compact Portable Charger – Poor phone reception in the parks and the need to check wait times, planning apps, use Genie+ to book Lightning Lanes, or share photos via social media can be a drain on your battery. We use 3 different external batteries, depending upon how much juice we will need. (There’s an older version of this charger that can be significantly cheaper when it’s on sale; we’d recommend the newer one unless the older option is half the price or less.)
Anker “Lipstick Sized” Battery – This is commonly known as a “lipstick charger” due to its shape and size and is approximately 2 full phone charges. This is pocket-sized.
Anker Ultra-Compact Battery(TOP PICK FOR VALUE & CAPACITY) – Double the capacity of the first battery, giving you around 4 full phone charges. It’s a bit bulkier, but still easy to throw in a lightweight backpack. This one works well for the two of us.
Anker High Capacity Battery – With a whopping 8 full charges, this will get an entire family (or one teenager) through a day at WDW. In our opinion, you’re better off buying 2-3 of the middle battery.
Lightweight & Water Resistant Travel Backpack — You probably already own a backpack, so hear us out on this. The material is super-thin, meaning it’ll easily pack into your luggage. The bigger selling point is the light and breathable material, which is critical in the Florida heat. It’s designed to stay cool while hiking and other strenuous activities…and visiting Walt Disney World definitely qualifies!
Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad – By far the most popular item on this list, and for good reason! 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. Boom, cold again.
Frogg Toggs Chilly Sport– Same idea, but different dimensions that makes this even more suitable for wearing around your neck. A good alternative if you want to save a little money on your Frogg Toggs purchase.
Sukeen Cooling Towel 4-Pack– Some people don’t like the Frogg Toggs texture, which might make this breathable mesh material more attractive. The cooling system uses moisture from the towel to draw the sweat away from your skin to keep you cool. We do not find these Sukeen towels as effective as the Frogg Toggs and don’t actually recommend them as a result, but some Walt Disney World fans prefer them. YMMV.
5-Pack of “Pro” Ponchos – While these are technically disposable, they’re a thicker and higher quality material than the ponchos above. We’ve found that they’re easy to reuse–just hang them up to dry in your hotel room! Unless you really want to throw away your ponchos after each use, this is the superior option. For something with more personality and durability, Sarah loves this reusable “Minnie Mouse-Inspired” Polka Dot Poncho. There are also other patterns for those who aren’t polka dot enthusiasts.
10-Pack of Disposable Ponchos – These will save you a ton of money. Ponchos in the parks cost $10 each, and over the course of a vacation, that can really add up. We recommend taking a 10-pack of ponchos (or more) for your group. They’re small and easy to throw in a backpack.
Body Glide – Since making the original list, many others have recommended this product to us as the best way to combat chaffing. Unless you normally walk 10+ miles per day at home over the course of several consecutive days, this is a very real problem that many people will unexpectedly experience. Better to be safe than sorry!
Moleskin Padding Roll – Along those same lines, your “dogs will be barking.” Seriously, one of the biggest shocks visitors have is all of the walking at Walt Disney World, which can be brutal on your feet. This stuff is a great “insurance policy” that can work miracles, saving your feet significant discomfort and pain.
Parade Mat – This durable blanket is a great alternative to sitting on the ground while you wait for parades at Disney, but it works in a number of scenarios in the parks. This has weighted corners, is pocket-size, and puncture-resistant. It’s also water-resistant, so you can use it as a poncho in a pinch. It’s really versatile!
Life Straw Go Filter Water Bottle – Florida water tastes awful straight from the tap, so it’s key to get a bottle with a filter. This bottle is the best option, hands down. It’s durable, BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and uses a 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste!
Brita Filter Water Bottles – If you don’t want to spend as much money, this is the second-best option. It’s inexpensive and durable. Not quite as effective or durable as the above option, but still good. Either way, we highly recommend bringing a water bottle. It’s increasingly difficult to enter counter service restaurants (or find open snack stands) to get cups of water.
Collapsible Water Bottles– These don’t have filters–essential for us given the taste of Florida’s water–but if you’re more concerned with saving space and convenience, they’re a great alternative. Maybe you like the taste of swamp water!
Apple AirTags– We now use AirTags to track our car (good for rental cars that can get lost in the sea of the TTC), checked baggage (good for peace of mind), and much more that isn’t relevant to travel.
The best use of all that we have not tried is tracking strollers. In a recent article about Walt Disney World’s new strollers, several readers complained that Cast Members relocate parked strollers, making them difficult to find. AirTags should offer a great solution to this problem! There are tons of great non-Disney uses for AirTags, or their non-Apple counterpart, Tile Pro Tracker.
Stroller Fan– Technically, this is a clip-on desk fan. If you read the reviews, almost everyone buying it is using it for strollers. It’s great to keep your kids cool, and it’ll last 5-10 hours before the battery needs to be recharged–which can be done via USB with one of the external chargers above. This is perfect for the hottest hours of the day at Walt Disney World!
Glow in the Dark “Stuff”– Okay, this might seem silly or pointless (my initial thought), but these glow-sticks are very useful. They make it easy to find your family (or stroller!) in the crowds at night. Kids love creating cool things to wear out of them–very fun stuff!
Packing Cubes – These are perfect for organizing, and make it easier to to manage your luggage. I love this 4-piece set as they’re the perfect size for organizing a carry-on size suitcase.
Compression Cubes– There are two great options here–I’ve moved on to these compression cubes, as I find they save more space in my luggage, which is huge for me. Below is the cheaper alternative, if you’re simply looking to stay organized.
Bladeless Personal Neck Fan— Dorky, but shockingly effective. It’s like a nice little breeze that’ll cool you down a bit. Sarah prefers it to the Frogg Toggs due to this being dry, which is better for her long hair. For me, it’s more of a toss-up. While this fan is quiet and effective, it’s also a tad annoying and, again, dorky.
Darn Tough Socks– A running theme of this list is “things to make the Florida heat and humidity slightly less miserable.” Well, these socks fit the bill on that front. As a warning, they are expensive, but they’re made in the USA, have a lifetime warranty, and are incredibly high quality. Most importantly, they’re soft and comfortable, as well as sweat-wicking and odor-resisting.
On a similar note, we also highly recommend quick drying underwear to avoid the dreaded swamp bottom. I’ve purchased this pair and am a fan, but the best-value option for both men and women that we’ve found is UNIQLO Airism. That’s our go-to brand.
WetBrush Pro Detangle– This hair brush performs well with wet hair, and your hair will get wet if you’re visiting Walt Disney World. A staple of Sarah’s Disney bag.
Repel Travel Umbrella – This travel umbrella is compact, windproof, and has a lifetime guarantee. We have ruined so a few umbrellas that have been caught by gusts of wind at Walt Disney World, so this actually is important.
Honest Co. Hand Sanitizer Spray – Walt Disney World has removed its in-park hand sanitizer stations, but even if they hadn’t, we’d recommend this instead. It’s higher quality and won’t leave your hands feeling dry after a few days.
Sanitizer Wipes– Same idea here with these alcohol-free sanitizer wipes. Walt Disney World is magical, but not magically clean. Every surface has been touched by countless other hands. These are great to clean your hands, phone, stroller, or literally any surface–an essential item to reduce your chances of getting sick on vacation!
Sun Bum Oil-Free Face Stick Sunscreen– My face sunburns really easily and I’ve tried numerous sunscreens to combat this over the years to no avail. While a bit pricey, this works fantastically. As an added bonus, it smells delicious!
EltaMD Face Sunscreen— Sarah favors this fancier brand of face sunscreen, which is recommended by dermatologists and distinguished scientists from all over the world. (Probably.)
Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel – No matter how diligent I am about applying sunscreen, I invariably end up getting a little (or a lot) too much sun. This offers relief and recovery. Hopefully you won’t need to use it, but the Florida sun can really sneak up on you!
Post-It Notes– On a related note, if you have kids who are afraid of loud toilets (per several commenters, this is a thing), pack some post-it notes to cover the automatic sensor that can otherwise cause “premature” flushing.
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.
Discounted Disney Pins – This one isn’t so much a practical thing to pack as a money-saving one. If you’ve read our Disney Pin Trading Tips post, you know that pin trading is a fun, albeit expensive thing to do in the parks. However, by buying pins before your trip online, you can pay ~$1 per pin instead of $8-10. Highly recommended!
Wireless Sleep Mask Headphones— Sarah has used “last gen” variations of this product for years, swearing by both sleep masks for travel and ‘cozy’ headphones for getting rest on flights.
Tourit Cooler Backpack– This is a new one based on reader questions about collapsible cooler options for bringing food into the parks. We looked at a variety of options, but ultimately felt this backpack option was best for keeping drinks, snacks, and sandwiches cold–also the easiest option at bag check. (If you don’t plan on carrying perishable food, check out our lightweight backpack option below.)
Reusable Straws– A new addition to the list, as both WDW and Disneyland have eliminated plastic straws (and in-park Starbucks use terrible paper straws that disintegrate after about 10 minutes). A good item to throw in your backpack.
Pop-up Hamper– With how much money you pay for a hotel room, you probably don’t want it to look like the perfect habitat for Oscar the Grouch halfway through your trip. We’ve found the biggest issue always (ALWAYS!) is with dirty laundry, and a good way to keep this under control is by bringing a pop-up hamper.
Travel Sunscreen Packets – For your arms, legs, neck, etc., we recommend these sunscreen packets. If you’ve ever had a tube of sunscreen spill in your luggage or backpack (we have…many times), you know how inconvenient it can be. These individual travel packets take care of that problem, and are also much easier to put in your pocket or in a bag. They’re a perfect solution!
Frogg Toggs Rain Suit – If you want something higher quality, more versatile, and that will keep you totally dry, this rain is great. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and breathable. It’s made by the same company as the Chilly Pads, so you won’t get too hot. It looks silly, but after a dry afternoon with it, you’ll be asking: “why didn’t I think of this sooner?!” Maybe.
Crocs Classic Sandal – If you don’t care about style, Crocs are your best option for staying comfortable when walking around the parks.
SPF Sun Hat – Sarah has several different colors of this cheap and fashionable sun hat, and wears them in the parks to keep the sun off of her face, and to stay cool. They are breathable and lightweight. The only downside is their large size, which makes them difficult to pack (we recommend carrying them on).
Crocs LiteRide Sandal or OluKai Ohana Sandal – Sarah several types sandals (the Crocs listed first are her most recent addition) that perfectly combine comfort and cuteness, and provide enough comfort so your feet won’t hurt after logging miles in the parks.
Aqua Socks for Water Parks & Pools – If you’re planning on visiting Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, or spending time at your hotel’s pool, these are essential. The pavement gets hot–so hot it’s uncomfortable to walk on it without these.
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.
Although not packing per se, we’d strongly recommend making a grocery run upon arrival or having food delivered to your hotel at Walt Disney World. At a minimum, get breakfast items so you’re not wasting precious time in the morning. Read our Guide to Grocery Delivery at Walt Disney Worldfor our tips on that, and why breakfast is (mostly) a waste of money at Walt Disney World restaurants.
If you opt against grocery delivery for whatever reason–or want to supplement it with items from Amazon–here’s what we recommending order to fuel you during a day in the parks…
Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee– One of the most embarrassing experiences (for our friends who travel with us!) is when we bust out these packets to make our own coffee. In our defense, Starbucks is not that good, the line is always long, and we each “need” 3-4 servings of caffeine per day to function. Buying coffee in the parks would add up quickly and cost us a lot of time. Cutting coffee from our travel budget saves us a ton of money, and is worth it even if we look like cheapskates making coffee in the parks.
Caffeine Mints– Each one of these mints has about as much caffeine as coffee or an energy drink, so they will give you the energy to get through evening Extra Magic Hours, but won’t give you coffee breath or make you have to run to the restroom while in line for Toy Story Mania. Win-win!
Clif Bar Energy Bars – An excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamins, Clif Bars are a nice, healthy snack for between trips to Aloha Isle. Feel a little less guilty about having 3 Dole Whips per day by balancing with these.
Lenny & Larry’s Complete Protein Cookie– Want something even healthy? These cookies have a ton of protein and fiber, but have no high fructose corn syrup, no sugar alcohols, no artificial sweeteners. Plus, they’re vegan.
Chomps Beef Sticks – If left to my own devices, I’d probably bring a stockpile of Slim Jims. Apparently, those aren’t as “healthy” as Chomps, which boast a laundry list of “clean” selling points. These are now our go-to beef jerky for the parks–they’re also available at Trader Joe’s and a variety of other grocery stores. (We like every flavor except the cranberry one.)
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 any other supplies for your vacation, we would greatly appreciate it if you use the links to Amazon 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.
Alright, as promised, here’s our Disney packing checklist…
This Walt Disney World packing checklist includes a bunch of the above unique items that we recommend to improve your Disney trip, plus more common things that you won’t want to forget, too. Note that you don’t need to pack everything on this list–it covers all of the important stuff but might be more than you, personally need.
With this list, we tried to skip things that are unnecessary (like shampoo, conditioner, a first aid kit, etc.) because you can find them in your hotel room or in the parks, or because they aren’t realistically necessary for most people. There’s the temptation to over-pack (especially with all the clever ideas on this list), and that should be resisted. There’s no need for 3 suitcases per person on a weeklong trip to Walt Disney World! 😉
What unique items do you recommend packing for a Disney trip? What clever items do you pack to improve your experience? Any ‘smart’ items you’d add to this list? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!