Must-Have Items When You're Going to Disney World
With more than 20 million visitors every year, Walt Disney World is one of the most visited destinations in the world. In fact, its Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park on the planet. For most of those visitors, a trip to Walt Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, planning for a trip here can be overwhelming. It’s much more than a theme park, after all. It’s an entire destination on its own. There are maps to memorize, bucket lists to write and, most importantly, bags to pack. It's important to note that Orlando, Florida, is a tropical destination and as such, is subject to tropical weather. You’ll also be walking more than 5 miles a day, on average. And if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to plan far ahead of time because picking things up in the park can become expensive very quickly.
So before you set off for the Happiest Place on Earth, make sure you arrive as happy as can possibly be with this list of must-have items on your Disney packing list.
A Disney MagicBand is your ultimate Disney utility belt. It makes a visit to Walt Disney World as seamless as possible, keeping everything you’ll need in one convenient place — right on your wrist.
These adjustable, waterproof wristbands are equipped with a chip that can be used as a hotel room key (when staying at a Disney hotel), your mobile ticket, a way to charge purchases and dining back to your resort hotel, a place to redeem Disney Dining credits and add PhotoPass pictures to your account, and so much more. For guests of Disney resorts, this really is the magic wand of must-haves.
Disney Discount Cards
For all the magic of Disney World, one thing is for certain — it doesn't come cheaply. Any money-saving hack goes a long way when planning a trip to Disney. Stocking up on these can save you big bucks in the end.
Gift cards can be used to pay for Disney vacation packages, resort hotel stays, theme park tickets, food and beverage. You can buy them online or in stores like Sam's Club, BJ's Wholesale, or Target (when purchased with a Target Red Card).
It may go without saying, but let’s say it anyway. Walking shoes will really be the magic slippers necessary to carry you on your feet for sometimes up to eight hours a day. There is so much to see and do at all the Disney theme parks, and walking is simply part of the experience.
Standing in line is also a big part of it, too, so if you’re in it to win it, you’re going to want to be as comfortable on your feet as you possibly can. Leave the flip-flops and wedges for the beach or a night out.
Costumes for the kids (and, let’s face it, the adults, too) is a really fun idea when visiting Disney.
Whether your family wants to go all-out with a favorite Disney theme, or simply throwing on a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, it certainly livens up the photo opportunities when everyone gets in on the costumes.
Orlando sees more than 230 sunny days per year. Not only that, the tropical sun is very strong. Protect your family’s skin, especially if you are going to be out on your feet all day wandering around the parks.
While there are plenty of opportunities to sit down under covering, the majority of your time will be spent soaking up the rays. Nothing is worse than returning to the hotel at night with a wicked sunburn.
Basic First Aid
We don’t have to tell you this, but kids do fall down! Hey, so do adults, for that matter. Carrying basic First Aid items like band-aids, neosporin and alcohol wipes can help everyone back up on their feet fast.
That leaves more time for smiles, rides and entertainment without having to go find a medical station.
It may be a theme park, but you have to approach it as if you’re going out on an adventure. In many ways, you truly are. Preparing for the day requires quite a bit of equipment, from weather changes to hunger pangs, tired feet and sweaty faces.
You’ll need a place to carry it all. Backpacks for parents are essential, and you can even find some cute, smaller ones for the kids, should they find they’ve picked up a favorite character stuffed animal or two.
Disney World does not allow selfie sticks in any of its parks. But rather than let those selfies go un-snapped, invest in a PopSocket for the back of your phone.
This handy holder allows for easier selfie-taking as well as allows you to pick up your phone really quickly when you’re in a rush.
Speaking of phones, you’ll want a portable charger, too. Trust us. After six hours in the park, whether taking and sending photos and videos or simply looking up which way to go next, your phone’s battery will take a beating.
Having a lightweight charger that you can throw in your backpack or pocket will ensure that you never miss a memory.
On the chance that you do forget the sunscreen back at the hotel (and do not want to pay the exorbitant prices in the park for a replacement), be sure you’ve remembered the aloe vera in your toiletry back. Nothing soothes sunburn skin better and helps it heal faster.
You’ll have much happier campers at bedtime if they’ve slathered on the cool aloe.
Umbrella or Rain Jacket
We've mentioned that Orlando is a tropical destination, and the tropics see their fair share of rain. Orlando sees more than 110 rainy days per year, and when it rains, it can rain hard.
But that does not stop the parks from staying open, and if you’ve waited all year for this adventure, you’re going to want to go rain or shine. It's best to be prepared for it all.
Yes, Walt Disney World has restaurants, but more often than not, you'll find that the cost of an average meal or snack is much higher than outside the park. A $ symbol at a restaurant translates to $14.99 and under per adult, while $$$$ means $60 and over per adult.
And that's not to mention that waiting in line for hours in the sun can make anyone a little cranky. In the interest of saving some serious dollars, it's wise to pack your own snacks.
If we haven’t made it clear yet, it can be really hot at Walt Disney World. The temperatures can go up into the 90s through the summer and can be as high as the mid-80s by April.
While theaters and indoor attractions are almost always air-conditioned, it’s the waiting in line and walking between attractions that are not. Having a personal fan is another insider hack to staying cool and comfortable when you’re on your feet all day.
To-Go Stain Pen
What to do when a ketchup packet explodes right before the picture with Cinderella? First of all, don’t panic. The family photo ops are far from ruined.
A travel stain pen, like a Tide Stick, is a fast and easy way to keep clothes looking clean for the magic photo.
With so many rides and attractions to get to, you don’t want to waste valuable time searching through the sea of parked strollers to get to yours. Worse than that, you don’t want someone snapping yours up by mistake.
Unique stroller tags make it easy to recognize yours from a distance, so you can save valuable time when picking up your things after a ride or a show.
There's no disputing that we are still living with a pandemic, and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place with people, which is exactly what Disney World is.
While face masks are optional for guests now, the park still takes COVID-19 guidelines seriously and recommends face masks in all indoor locations, especially for those individuals who are unvaccinated.
Selfie sticks may be banned, but mini tripod stands are still very much permitted at Walt Disney World. These short stabilizers are perfect for taking family snaps on the go.
They're easy to pack and store and take no time to set up. You'll appreciate having more than just selfies in your camera roll.
A purse can be a lot to deal with when running through the park. And while Disney may be the Happiest Place on Earth, it’s not immune to pickpockets, so wallets in the back pocket beware.
A body wallet, like a neck wallet or one for under the shirt, is far less cumbersome than a purse and far more secure than a loose wallet.
Rather than made with toxic chemicals in a cumbersome-to-carry spray, mosquito repellent bracelets use essential oils to keep mosquitos at bay. Many are waterproof, too, which is great if you're going to be going on any of the water rides.
You'll want protection from these nasty nippers when you're down in tropical Florida.
The good news about packing cubes is that they are incredibly useful no matter where you are going. These suitcase organizers are easily packed and stacked, keeping your items neat and easy to find.
When packing for a trip like Disney World, saving space and time is important. You’re going to need to know where everything is.
Disney Autograph Book
Meeting the characters at Disney World is just as important as enjoying the performances and the attractions. The characters, after all, are what the fairytales and legends were built around.
Interacting with them on the streets of Disney is one of the highlights, and securing their autographs in an autograph book ensures the memories will last for many, many years.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to stay hydrated in the parks.
Rather than spending money on bottled water, save a little money (and a lot of plastic) by bringing your own water bottle.
Efficiency is key at Disney World. Stroller clips can help to carry heavy backpacks or souvenir purchases, leaving everyone far less weighed down than if they had to carry everything.
The clips, like carabiners, fasten to the stroller and can be attached to other items to make moving around the park easier.
The average Walt Disney World guest walks 7 to 10 miles per day, and it could be much more depending on how much fun you’re having. With that much movement, foot blisters are bound to happen.
But there’s no reason to waste a day tending to your sore feet. Blister balm can help to soothe uncomfortable blisters and get you back up in action much faster.
There is no such thing as too much sun protection when walking around Disney World.
Keeping the sun off of your face will not only help to keep your energy going but will also save your skin from powerful sun damage.
A crowded park street may not seem like the spot for an impromptu picnic, but if you’re staking out space to get a good seat for an impending parade, you’ll be happy to have one.
Crowds can build up quickly before a character parade pulls through, so you’ll want to get to a good spot early on if it’s vitally important to have the best seat.
A refreshing face wipe can be an easy solution to get a second wind. After hours in the hot sun, you may welcome a cool, clean wipe of the face, arms or chest.
Plus, if you have kids and they tend to be messy eaters, a face wipe is one of the most important tools in your arsenal.
Waterproof Cellphone Case
If you’re sitting in the first rows on Splash Mountain, you are going to be very, very happy that your phone is in a waterproof case. Another time it comes in handy is during one of Orlando’s many famous rainstorms.
Save the stress and pack that waterproof case.
While you’re at it, if you plan to go on any rides where your feet will get wet, having a pair of comfortable water shoes can make all the difference. Nothing can slow a day down more (or cause blisters) like walking around in soggy sneakers.
Having water shoes ensures everyone’s feet stay dry and everyone’s moods stay lifted.
When the sun sets at Disney World, you’ll find the streets come alive with glow sticks. Everyone from visitors to employees to characters can often be found waving their glow sticks in the air.
The neon colors swirling against the black silhouettes of the crowds and rides add a whole other level to the Disney experience. You can buy glow sticks in the park, but bringing your own will save you a bundle.