There’s so much to do before your Walt Disney World vacation, but don’t forget the shopping. While the shops on property do offer a variety of merchandise, I definitely recommend that you bring along some essentials. If you don’t have a car, you may find the offerings at the Disney shops to be fairly limited. Here’s an overview of what to bring to Disney World for your family vacation.
If you don’t have these items, it’s a good idea to buy them in advance and pack them in your suitcase. In most cases, you’ll be able to reuse them for future trips.
Remember that most Disney hotel rooms are a standard size, so you don’t want to stuff them with too many things. It’s a delicate balance of having everything you need within reason.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
What to Bring to Disney World for Your Family Vacation
The Obvious Things to Bring to Disney World
Of course, you’ll want to bring the usual items that you bring on vacation, like clothing, toiletries, bathing suits, etc. In our packing lists, we have one for theme parks that will definitely help.
Find our packing lists here. If you are planning to spend some time at the pools or go to the water parks, you’ll want to bring along more than one swimsuit so that you don’t have to wear a wet swimsuit.
Again, you’ll have access to some standard over-the-counter medications at the Walt Disney World gift shops. These are usually travel-sized packets and you won’t have your choice of brand. I recommend bringing a few basic medications that you may need on your trip, just in case.
On our very first trip to Walt Disney World, my ear popped on the airplane and I was in pain for days. I appreciated having a few essentials that helped just a bit with the pain.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Having sore and tired feet on vacation can really put a damper on your stay. Everyone has a different comfort level with shoes, so I recommend that you bring along whatever works for you. My personal favorite brands are Dansko, FitFlop, and Josef Seibel.
Others love and prefer to wear sneakers to Walt Disney World. Again, it really depends on what you prefer. Don’t buy brand new shoes to wear, because you’ll want to have shoes that are already broken in.
You can see our favorite walking shoes for travel here.
When my kids were younger, they loved walking around the parks and getting autographs. You can purchase books in the parks, or bring them along with you. You can find the official Disney ones online, and there are lots of options on Etsy.
It’s also a nice idea to bring your own large pen so the characters can easily autograph your book. When my kids were younger, they each had their own autograph book.
If you’ve got a young child who wants to dress up as their favorite princess, you may want to bring those clothes along with you. You can definitely buy costumes in the park, but you can usually save money by purchasing them in advance. Here are some at the Disney Store.
I always bring along snacks from home, including granola bars for breakfast. Again, there are some options in the parks, but I always like to have them in advance.
If you have kids who like to snack constantly, it’s also a good idea to have some snacks packed for the lines. That way, you don’t have to leave a line just because your child is starving.
Kids don’t love waiting in lines, so it’s a good idea to bring along some cheap activities and toys to entertain them in line. I recommend visiting your local dollar store to stock up before your Disney trip.
If you are going to the night parades and fireworks, you may also consider bringing light up toys and/or glow sticks.
A Portable Charger
Portable Charger: Taking pictures and using the My Disney Experience app all day will definitely drain your cell phone battery. Bring along a fully charged portable charger to make sure that you always have battery power.
A Lightweight Bag
You’ll need something to carry around, and I recommend a lightweight backpack. I like those backpacks with a side pocket for a water bottle, so you won’t have to keep reaching into the bag for it. Here are two options:
Lightweight Backpack: Carrying everything you need at the parks will definitely require a good bag. I typically like to bring a lightweight backpack, which can hold everything our family needs for the day.
Drawstring Backpack: Your kids may also want to carry some things in their own bag – either at the parks (which I don’t really recommend unless they are older), or on the airplane. These are lightweight and easy to carry.
When my kids were little, I had them wear safety tattoos with our phone number on them.
Sunscreen and Sun Hats
The sun in Florida can get HOT, so be sure to bring along the sunscreen. You can find sunscreen in the park shops, but I always bring my own. Remember to reapply regularly. The time when you are waiting in line is a good time to re-apply so you don’t have to waste any time.
You may also bringing along sun hats for everyone in the family. Little ones especially need something with a wide brim that can protect their head and face.
When my kids were little, I used to ship a box of baby food and diapers down to WDW before our stay (some resorts may charge for this). While those products are sold on property, they usually only have one or two brands to choose from.
Other Things to Bring to Disney World
Waterproof Swim Pouch Planning on going on water rides like Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids? If you don’t have a designated bag holder, then you may want this type of pouch to keep your phone from getting wet. It could also be helpful if you are going to the water parks.
Misting Fan: Are you going to Walt Disney World during the hotter months? You may want a misting fan. They are sold in the parks, but you can buy them online for less money.
MagicBands and MagicBand Accessories: MagicBands are no longer complimentary if you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. They can be purchased online or in the gift shops once you arrive, but they are completely optional.
Rain Ponchos: Florida weather is definitely unpredictable, and there’s always the chance of a rain shower. You can buy ponchos in the parks, but they aren’t cheap.
If you think you may need a poncho, it may be a good idea to bring them with you. There are also nicer versions, which are better if you are sure you’ll need them at least once.
Collapsible Water Bottles: I can never get enough water, especially in the Florida sun. I love this style of water bottle because they can fold flat in your bags, and fill up easily. This way, you won’t have to buy bottles of water constantly during your vacation. You can even use these in the airport, filling them up once you go through security.
Have you been to Walt Disney World? What items should I add to this list?
If you are going to Walt Disney World, I recommend the following hotels. Note that I have stayed in some of these resorts as part of press trips, but all opinions are my own.