Our ‘what to pack for Disney World guide’ includes a checklist of what to bring, items you’ll want in your park backpack, plus new & unique items we use! Everything in this packing guide will save you money or improve your experience at Walt Disney World…and potentially wherever else you travel. (Last updated April 2, 2019.)
The first part of this Disney packing list highlights the less-obvious items–things you never knew you needed–that we pack when traveling to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the international parks in Tokyo, Paris, etc. These clever items have really improved our Disney vacations, and we’d suggest you consider adding them to your bags.
The second half is our comprehensive Disney packing checklist that you can download. We use this Disney packing checklist to make sure we’ve packed all the basics, plus unique-trip improving essentials in our luggage. We update our packing list regularly based upon feedback and suggestions we receive in the comments from readers (thanks!). We love these reader ideas, as we like to try new and useful travel products that will improve our trips…
Note that this what to pack for Disney guide is not tailored towards any specific season. If you’re visiting between November and February, check out our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more specific insight on what to take on your trip. Orlando weather can be like a roller coaster, and unlike the Walt Disney World variety, it’s not always fun.
Similarly, those planning trips basically any time between March and October should read our Summer Packing Tips for Disneypost for suggestions on beating the heat and handling humidity. (Basically, there are about 3 weeks per year when Central Florida weather is predictably temperate and mild.)
Now that we’ve offered a seasonal caveat, let’s take a look at what all-season items you should pack for traveling to Walt Disney World and beyond, and how to take practical items without having to pay a ton in checked bag fees…
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.
With all of that said, let’s get to the unique item Disney packing list, and then the packing checklist. Hopefully this ‘Unique Disney Packing List’ helps you prepare for your vacation, and makes your trips even better!
Gear & Stuff
Autograph Book Substitute – One of our friends with kids used this Junior Character Encyclopedia of Disney Characters (pictured above), and we thought it was the most brilliant thing ever. Instead of having characters sign a blank page, have them sign this actual book that includes info about 150+ Disney characters. They’ll read and re-read this after the trip, making it a treasured keepsake. Since we added this book to the list, we’ve heard tons of feedback on Facebook from people who have tried–and loved–this!
10-Pack of Ponchos – The #2 item, also for good reason, 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 (one is actually “hidden” in the photo above!) and easy to throw in a backpack. There’s also a 4-pack if you think you won’t need 10. Chances are, there will be afternoon showers during your trip. These ponchos are also great for water-based attractions.
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. This is the #1 item on this list for good reason, as they 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. We use 3 different external batteries, depending upon how much juice we will need. All are pictured below, lying on a Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad, so you can get an idea as to sizes…
Anker “Candy Bar Sized” Battery – This is commonly known as a candy bar-sized charger and is approximately 2 full phone charges. This is best if you want something light and compact for your pocket.
KMASHI “King Sized” Battery – For about the same cost as the Anker, this is double the capacity, giving you around 4 full phone charges. It’s about the size of an iPhone, but heavier and bulkier.
Aukey “Brady Bunch Sized” Battery – This is slightly larger than an iPhone X. With a whopping 8 full charges, this will get an entire family (or one teenager) through a day at WDW. This charger offers the best bang for your buck.
USB Wall Charger– One of our top recommendations used to be the travel power strip, but we have found more and more that we charge devices via USB. Whether it’s our phones, external batteries, or even cameras, many devices charge via USB nowadays. This is great because it’s very compact, with a space-saving design that makes it easy to pack.
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!
Parade Blanket – We’re calling this a “parade blanket” because it’s a great alternative to sitting on the ground while you wait for parades at Disney, but we actually learned about this thanks to living by the beach and needing something better than towels. 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, so you’ll be using it in lots of places outside of Disney.
Moleskin Padding Roll – After a couple days in the parks, your “dogs will be barking” as the kids say (what, the kids don’t say that anymore?!). Seriously, this stuff works miracles, and can save your feet significant discomfort and pain.
Brita Filter Water Bottles – If you don’t want to spend as much money or don’t care about the space-saving design of the collapsible bottle, this is the best option, hands down. It’s inexpensive and durable (we’ve had ours for a few years!) Plus, it makes fountain water taste great, is BPA-free, and dishwasher safe!
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, and made of a really lightweight, breathable material, so you don’t get too hot (it’s made by the same company as the Chilly Pads, but out of different material). Seriously, you might think it looks silly, but after a dry afternoon with it, you’ll be asking: “why didn’t I think of this sooner?!” I love mine!
Sun Bum Oil-Free Face Stick Sunscreen– My face sunburns really easily (hence why I always seem to have a ‘lovely’ red glow in photos) and I’ve tried numerous sunscreens to combat this over the years to no avail. During our recent trip for the opening of Pandora – World of Avatar, I tried this Sun Bum stick, which was recommended by a local surf shop. While a bit pricey, it worked fantastically. As an added bonus, it smells delicious! 😉
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 travel-sized alternative.
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 Bags– Instead of packing cubes, Sarah prefers space-saving compression bags as she thinks packing cubes are inefficient and take up extra space (I disagree–they’re so thin that you don’t notice them). Which works better for you will be a matter of personal preference, so we thought we’d present both options.
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 Hand Sanitizer– Yes, the Disney parks are magical, but they are not magically germ-free. In reality, every surface has been touched by countless other hands (and if it’s a stop kids can reach–mouthes!). We like these because they are ‘summer scented’ travel sanitizer that we only use at Walt Disney World, so now the scent of “Ocean Kiss” is mentally associated with Walt Disney World!
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.
Body Glide – Since making the original list, many others have recommended this product to us as the best way to combat chaffing. I started using it when I began runDisney events, and now it’s a staple on my runDisney Marathon Packing List!
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!
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.
Over-the-Door Organizer– If you hate a cluttered hotel room, this is perfect for hanging up over a door or in the closet to organize. Throw in everything from Pop Tarts to park maps to toiletries so everything is in one easy-to-find location.
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. It also contains an RFID blocker. 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. (That is, unless you buy this rad “space kittens” fanny pack!)
Yankee Candle Room Spray – It may sound hokey, but if we have space in our suitcase, we bring a new Yankee Candle spray to give a “scent” to the trip. When we return home, we forever associate that scent with our Disney trip.
UltraSlim Travel Umbrella – Not only is this travel umbrella “UltraSlim,” but it is 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 (Epcot under Spaceship Earth always seems to be their downfall), so this actually is important.
SPF Sun Hat – Sarah has 4 (no joke!) different colors of this same 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).
OluKai Ohana Sandal – Sarah has a few pairs of these fashionable sandals that perfectly combine comfort and cuteness, and provide enough comfort so your feet won’t hurt after logging miles in the parks.
OOFOS Shock-Absorbing Sandal– Sarah needed to get a new pair of sandals last week, and bought these at the recommendation of a friend who loves the added support. She’s had these since summer, and she loves them. The sole is a bit thick, but it should be good for long days in the parks. (We’ll report back on that!)
RYKA Hydro Sport Shoe – Definitely not the coolest looking shoes, but these are great for summer and fall, when afternoon rain showers are quite common. They dry quickly and are very breathable, but with the support and comfort of “regular” tennis shoes. Men should try the Teva EVO Water Shoes.
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.
Moisture Wicking Socks – In order to get the most out of hydro shoes, you need quick drying 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 – The RYKA’s above are great for this, but if you want a cheaper option for the water parks, dedicated 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.
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.’
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!
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.
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.
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.
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? Any questions about any of the items on this list? We love hearing from readers, so please share some of your favorite items for travel, or any other thoughts or questions you have, in the comments!