It’s intimidating to plan for a Walt Disney World trip. Packing for the Disney parks can also be difficult because you’ll want to have everything you may need with you. If you are staying on property, and don’t have a car, you probably won’t want to have to leave to shop for things you are missing.
While all of the Walt Disney World resort hotels have gift shops, you may not find the exact brands you are used to. So, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and pack everything you may need (keeping in mind airline baggage limits). Here are our suggestions and tips for how to pack for Disney World.
Below, you’ll find two downloadable theme park packing lists. These are general lists and should be used as a starting point for your packing. We don’t guarantee that they will include everything you need.
The master list is for whoever is packing for the family and includes items that everyone will need plus personal items. I recommend giving the other lists to your kids (if they are old enough) to let them start the process, and then you can check everything before it goes into the suitcase.
Before starting to pack for Disney World, take a look at the list of prohibited items on their website. You’ll want to make sure you don’t pack these items because you won’t be able to take them into the parks. Prohibited items include strollers of a certain size, glass containers (except for baby food) selfie sticks, wagons, rolling coolers, folding chairs, toys that look like weapons, and more. The ESPN Wide World of Sports also has a separate list of prohibited items.
You’ll also want to have a general idea of what your plans are. For example, if you are planning to visit the Disney water parks – Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, you’ll also want to make sure you pack enough bathing suits and sunscreen. The signature restaurants also have their own dress code, so you may need to pack some nicer clothes.
Disclosure: I’ve received complimentary/discounted admission to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as complimentary products (some listed below) over the years. This post contains affiliate links. A click-through/purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
Need tickets for Walt Disney World? Save money on your tickets by booking through Get Away Today.
How to Pack for Disney World
What to Wear to Walt Disney World
Clothes are going to be the most important thing you pack. Walt Disney World is very casual, but certain restaurants have slightly more upscale dress codes. I typically find that I change my clothes for dinner in the evening, especially if it’s hot outside. While there are laundry facilities at the Disney resorts, you probably won’t want to spent too much time washing clothes on your vacation.
We have an overview of what to wear to Walt Disney World by month here. It looks at the average weather patterns to recommend some things to wear. But I also highly recommend looking at the weather forecast right before you pack to make sure you know what to expect in terms of temperature.
If you have a child with a special character, you may want to buy Disney-themed clothes before you go. There are some great options on the shopDisney website that you can have sent to your house in time to pack for your trip.
It’s also important to remember that you will be doing a lot of walking – probably much more than you are used to. So, you’ll want comfortable walking shoes. I recommend packing several pairs of comfortable shoes so you can switch them out if one pair becomes too uncomfortable.
Whether you are planning a full pool/water park day, or just want to cool down in the afternoon, I’d recommend packing at least two swimsuits. There are so many opportunities to swim, and you won’t want to wear a wet bathing suit.
For a standard trip to Disney World (no water park), I’ll usually pack two swimsuits. That way, you can let one dry when you use the other one. You’ll also want shoes to wear down to the pool/waterpark (flip flops work great for this). For water slides, make sure the swimsuits you pack are nice and secure.
For those inevitable wet items that somehow have to get home in your luggage, I’d recommend bringing along these pouches from Aloha Collection. They will keep the other items in your bag from getting wet as well. You may also want to pack a bag that you can use to bring your stuff to and from the pool/waterpark.
Central Florida is prone to heavy, quick-moving rain storms. So while you may go to the theme parks in nice, sunny weather, you still may experience one of these storms.
Most of the Disney World gift shops sell rain ponchos that work well in a pinch. We also have some recommendations for higher-quality rain ponchos that can be packed in your suitcase and used whenever you need them.
The Best Types of Bags for Disney World
You’ll be carrying a lot of things around with you for your entire Walt Disney World trip. From your carry-on bag on the flight to your standard day bag at the parks, you’ll need to make sure you have the right carrier for your belongings.
Depending on what you are carrying, you’ll have different bag options. For instance, if you need to carry diapers and baby food, you’ll need a larger bag. But, you’ll also have a stroller that you can use for storage.
My three recommendations are either a tote bag (for the least amount of items), a sling bag (for a medium amount of items), and a backpack (for the most amount of items). Regardless of which type of bag you choose, you’ll want something that closes on the top. That way, if you go on a rollercoaster, you won’t have to worry about things falling out.
I’d also suggest finding a nice, lightweight bag. It can be heavy to carry a bag all day, and it’s good to start with something that is light. I really like my Aloha tote – it’s light, water-resistant, and has a zip-top. It’s also very packable, so I can just stuff it in my larger luggage.
Lockers are available in the theme parks. But keep in mind that you’ll need to go back to that location to retrieve your items. So, they aren’t practical for things you’ll want to have throughout the day.
Don’t forget important items like your ID, credit cards, and cash.
Refillable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is so important when you are in the heat and are active. Disney offers refillable water stations that you can use throughout the day using your own water bottle. Bring along a refillable reusable water bottle for every member of the family, and you’ll always have drinking water. If it gets too warm, you can get ice from the quick service locations.
Lip Balm and Sunscreen
That Florida sun is hot, and so you’ll want to have plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF. The gift shops do sell it, but you may not find your preferred brand, and you’ll pay a premium.
When you pack for Disney World, be sure to bring along smaller, trial-size sunscreen as well. These are perfect to tuck into your Disney day bag so that you can reapply throughout the day. Apply your first round of sunscreen before you leave for the day from the larger size bottle that you can keep in your hotel room.
We all use our smartphones so much now, and you are likely to face a low/dead battery at some point during the day. Pack a portable phone charger in your park bag and fully charge it overnight so that you’ll be able to charge whenever you need to.
Rules regarding masks/face coverings are constantly changing, so check the latest news before leaving for vacation. Face coverings are still required indoors at Walt Disney World as of the writing of this post. There are specific rules around the types of masks allowed, and you can find them here.
Bring along the type of mask that you are most comfortable in. I prefer disposable face masks but everyone is different. Make sure you pack enough for each day of your trip and everyone in your group and remember that you’ll also need face coverings on your flights.
Hand sanitizer is another essential these days. I like to pack small ones that I can keep in my purse/day bag.
Mickey ears have been so popular, and you’ll find lots of styles and designs in the gift shops. If you’ve purchased Mickey ears in the past, and want to wear them on your family vacation, don’t forget to pack them.
Water Ride Products
Planning to go on Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids? You may want to bring along something to keep your belongings dry while you are on the water rides. This could be as simple as some ziplock bags. Or, you may choose to get a plastic case for your cell phone to keep it dry. These will also be helpful if you are faced with a heavy rainstorm during the day.
There are plenty of bugs in Central Florida, especially in the evenings. Pack a bottle of bug spray to make sure you are covered during your trip. Place it in a zip lock bag in your suitcase so it doesn’t leak all over your belongings.
General Packing Tips
Here are some general packing tips that we recommend:
- Consider using your park bag as your underseat luggage on your flight, to save space.
- Packing cubes can be a great way to keep your clothes organized and unwrinkled.
- Walt Disney World doesn’t offer luggage service anymore, so you’ll need to get your luggage at the baggage claim. Add a bright colored scarf or tag so that it’s easy to identify.
- Character autographs aren’t currently offered, so you can leave the autograph books at home for now. Pin trading has also been temporarily suspended.
- Magic Bands aren’t given out anymore, but you can still use any you have at home. Pack them in your carry-on bag so that you can use them right away.
- Make sure you have the My Disney Experience app loaded on your phone. It will have all of your reservations and can even be used as your resort room key. I also like using it for mobile ordering at the quick service restaurants.
- If you want to collect pressed pennies as an affordable Disney souvenir, bring nice clean pennies and some quarters.