The Ultimate Guide to Packing For Your Disney Vacation

in Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Disney packing

All Images Credit Disney

Planning a trip to Disney World is an incredibly exciting experience. From picking your hotel to planning your meals and days in the theme parks, there is a lot that goes into a Disney vacation.

One of the more daunting tasks that are usually put off until the last minute is packing for your Disney trip. There are a lot of questions that can affect how you pack. What will the weather be like? Are we going to a water park? Should we bring Disney shirts or buy them there? Do we need to have a park backpack?

Luggage
Credit: Stevie Buzbee

All of these questions can seem overwhelming and can make packing for your Disney vacation something you are not looking forward to. Hopefully, you will find this ultimate Disney vacation packing list helpful for all of your future Disney trips.

Recommended Items For Your Ultimate Disney Vacation

Comfortable Shoes

The most important thing you should know about your Disney vacation is that there will be a lot of walking. I mean A LOT. It would not be unusual to take 15,000 to 20,000 steps per day — and maybe even more if you are park hopping — which means you are visiting more than one theme park in a day. To break down 20,000 steps, that is about ten miles.

Disney Sneakers
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Taking that many steps in a day can do a number on your feet. Now think about how your feet will feel doing that multiple days in a row. Packing the right shoes can make a world of difference when it comes to Disney. Be practical when it comes to the shoes that you decide to bring with you to Disney. We would all love to wear adorable shoes that match perfectly with our outfits, but your feet will not thank you for that decision.

Run Disney Sneakers
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Wearing shoes that have been broken in is a key to being comfortable. While you may want to buy a new pair of sneakers for your trip, make sure you wear them a little before packing them. New shoes can be a tight fit at first and possibly give you heel blisters. You don’t want to have those throughout your Disney trip. Breaking in your sneakers can save you from the pain of new shoes.

Disney Sandals
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

If you are going on a Disney Cruise, going to a Disney water park, or don’t plan on walking around the theme parks all day every day, a pair of sandals or flip-flops will be a great addition to your suitcase. Both Disneyland and Disney World are in hot climates and your feet will appreciate you giving them some time to breathe.

Sandals and flip-flops will also come in handy when walking around your hotel. Make sure the sandals have plenty of padding, so your feet are not slamming onto the ground. As with your sneakers, make sure your sandals have been broken in before packing them. You can even stay on theme and get yourself a pair of Disney flip-flops for your pool days!

Bathing Suits

When packing for a Disney Cruise or a Disney World vacation that will include a water park, make sure to include comfortable bathing suits that fit well. Disney also has rules when it comes to what type of swimwear you can wear while in their water parks. The Disney World website states:

  • Swim attire must be appropriate for a family environment.
  • Inappropriate swim attire, swim attire with buckles, rivets, zippers or exposed metal, and other sharp objects are not allowed on any of the attractions.
  • Jeans (denim) and wetsuits (neoprene) are not permitted on Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.
  • For safety, diaper-age children must wear plastic pants or swim diapers in pool areas.
blizzard beach
Credit: D23

Clothes For Special Events

Are you planning on traveling to Disney for Halloween? Maybe attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Dapper Day? Make sure to pack some special clothes for those occasions! Guests of all ages who attend a Halloween party at a Disney theme park are allowed to wear costumes in the park for the day of the party. On Dapper Day, Guests love to dress up in dresses and suits common in the 1950s and 60s.

Disneyland Dapper Day Fall 2020
Credit: Oh My Disney

Clothes Appropriate For the Time of Year

When traveling to any Disney park, it is important to pack clothes appropriate for what time of year you are traveling. For Guests traveling in the summer months, pack light and airy clothes.

For those Guests traveling in the fall and winter months, it is important to pack layers. Disney World and Disneyland are both in warm climates, but can still get cold at night — and even have cold days — during the fall and winter.

Ultimate Disney Christmas Package
Credit: Disney

The Disneyland website offers the following advice when thinking about what to pack:

During the summer months, be sure to pack light clothing. Bring shorts, T-shirts and a thin jacket. During the winter months, be ready to dress in layers. Pack jeans, T-shirts or long-sleeved shirts for daytime and a sweatshirt and heavy jacket for mornings and evenings.

Remember to check the weather forecast before you leave home, but also come prepared for the unexpected. Pack appropriate clothing in case the weather suddenly turns wet or unseasonably warm or cool.

Guests at Food and Wine
Credit: Disney

Backpack

There will always be things that you cannot leave your house without. The same goes when leaving your hotel room to head to the theme parks. Throwing a backpack into your suitcase will give you the perfect way to carry your needed items around.

There are a ton of fun Disney-themed bags to choose from as well. Disney has created its own backpacks, as well as partnered with companies like Loungefly to create different backpacks to fit every Disney fan’s style.

wall-e
Credit: Loungefly/Pixar

Toiletries

While Disney hotels do supply Guests with hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash, some Guests like to use their own. Many stores like CVS, Walgreens, and Target sell a wide variety of travel-sized toiletries, perfect to pack for your Disney trip.

The Little Mermaid skincare
Credit: H2O+ / Allure

It is also important to note that Disney hotels do not supply their Guests with toothpaste or toothbrushes, so remember to pack those in your luggage. Being outside all day at the theme parks can wreak havoc on your skin, so if you have a skincare routine that works for you, make sure to pack those essentials as well.

Also, if you use certain hair-styling products, throw those into your suitcase, as the only hair tool Disney hotel rooms supply is a hairdryer.

Disney-Themed Ears and Clothing

Disney has no shortage of merchandise for Guests to purchase. If you want it, there is a high chance that Disney has a themed version of it. However, merchandise can quickly get expensive, and why buy something if you already have it at home?

When packing for your Disney trip, pack some fun Disney-themed items like t-shirts and maybe your favorite Disney hat or a couple of pairs of Mickey ears.

Ice Cream Bar Ears
Caption: Inside The Magic

Rain Gear

Rain gear is one of those, you might need it, you might not, items when it comes to packing. Florida’s hurricane season runs from early June to late November. During hurricane season, it is more than likely that there will be rain every day. The rain will not last long, but it will still come. Therefore, if you are traveling to Disney World during that time, packing an umbrella and a poncho is a very good idea.

disney dog raincoat matching outfits
Credit: shopDisney

On the other hand, if you are traveling to a place like Disneyland in California, you can probably leave the umbrella and rain poncho at home. Southern California is a desert climate, so there can be months of no rain. No need to fill up your suitcase will rain gear if there is almost no chance of rain!

Electronics and Accessories

It seems that everyone has their cellphone glued to their hand nowadays. Many of us now use our phones as an alarm instead of an actual clock. Technology has become a huge part of our lives and we can’t go without it, even when at Disney.

Some nights you might find yourself in your hotel room early. Or maybe you like to read a book on your tablet before bed. Whatever your technological item of choice, make sure you pack it, along with any chargers or cables you may need to go with it.

magicmobile
Credit: Disney

Stroller and Accessories

Yes, Disney offers strollers for rent. However, they are really only meant for toddlers who are too young to walk around the theme parks all day. Bringing your own stroller may be a pain, but it will be worth it.

Disney strollers have no padding to make your little ones comfortable and they don’t fold up — Plus, why spend the extra money on something that you already own? It is important to note, however, that Disney does not allow wagons into the theme park unless you receive a disability exception.

Stroller
Credit: Bed, Bath & Beyond

One thing you do not need to pack for your small child, however, is a crib. Most Disney hotels will supply you with a Pack ‘n Play© upon request, and some hotels will even supply you with a full-size crib.

What to Wear to Disney Parks

Comfortable Clothes

Wearing the right clothes on your Disney vacation is just as important as wearing the right shoes. And again, comfort is key. You will be walking around all day, and you want to wear clothes that fit you well. Each person has their own style that makes them feel comfortable, so wear what you will feel okay wearing from 8 a.m. until late into the evening.

rundisney princess logo merchandise
Credit: Disney

Disney theme parks will also have rides on which it is stated that you can — and probably will — get wet. When riding these water rides — like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids — it is important to know that odds are you will get wet from the top down. It is important to wear clothes that you are okay walking around in while wet, or bring a change of clothes and throw your wet ones in a locker and grab them at the end of the day.

Kali River Rapids
Credit: Disney

Comfortable Shoes

You wouldn’t throw something in your suitcase that you didn’t intend to use, right? Those comfortable shoes that you packed in your suitcase can be your best friend. As stated before, it is not uncommon to walk upwards of ten miles per day while in the theme parks. Comfortable shoes that have been broken in can help your feet and legs at the end of the day. Without the proper support, your whole body can take a beating if you are pounding the pavement all day.

Run Disney shoes
Credit: New Balance

Disney Gear

One of the fun things about going to the parks — and there’s a ton of fun things about going to the theme parks — is to show off how much you love Disney. There are also a ton of ways to show your Disney love! Since wearing comfortable clothes to the theme park is one of the keys to a great day, wear a Disney one! You can show your love for your favorite Disney character, or maybe even your favorite ride of fandom.

new summer shirts world of disney
Credit: ITM

You can also show your Disney love by wearing your favorite Disney hat or pair of Mickey ears. Maybe you can go all out! Disney pants, a Disney shirt, and ears or a hat and pair it with a Disney backpack. There is no shortage of ways to show your Disney spirit while in the parks.

Clothes That Can Get Wet 

Guests who ride attractions like Splash Mountain in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park or Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom will get wet — maybe even soaked. So, if you choose to ride those attractions, make sure that you are wearing clothes that you will feel comfortable in if they get wet. Denim can cause some serious chafing when it is wet, so beware of that.

grizzly river run
Credit: Disney

If walking around in wet clothes for hours does not sound like something you want to do, but you still want to go on the water rides, bring a change of clothes with you to the theme parks. You don’t even have to worry about carrying them around all day! Disney has lockers for rent at all of their theme parks for a low fee and you can store your dry clothes there and then swap them out with your wet clothes after you get your fill of the water rides.

Disney Lockers
Credit: Disney

Sunscreen

Vacationing at Disney Parks, or on a Disney Cruise, means that you will be outside for long periods of time. And while sunburns are more common in the spring and summer months, you can get sunburned at any time of the year when you are outdoors for prolonged periods of time, so sunscreen is important. You don’t want to spend your whole Disney trip in pain because you got a bad sunburn on day one! Apply the sunscreen before you head out of your room for your Disney day.

Sunblock
Credit: Walmart

Mind the Dress Code

While Disney may seem like a magical world where everything is possible, there still are rules that must be followed when it comes to dressing for the theme parks. Guests visiting Disney Parks must adhere to the following guidelines that can be found on multiple Disney websites:

Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests. Attire that is not appropriate for the parks—and which may result in refusal of admittance—includes but is not limited to:

  • Costumes and masks, which may not be worn by Guests 14 years of age or older.
    • Exceptions:
      • Specific Halloween and Christmas events. See below.
      • Some outfits inspired by Star Wars. Learn more
  • Clothing with objectionable material, including obscene language or graphics
  • Excessively torn clothing
  • Clothing which, by nature, exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment
  • Clothing that touches or drags on the ground
  • Clothing with multiple layers is subject to search upon entry
  • Objectionable tattoos
Starbucks Disney Drink
Credit: ITM Jenny P.

What to Keep With You at Disney Parks

Bringing a backpack to the theme park with you is what should be considered essential. Days are long and a lot can happen, so it is always good to be prepared. Plus, pockets are either not big enough to carry everything you need, or you don’t want them to be weighed down with what you need. Below you will find the items that you should include on your backpack packing list.

Up Backpack
Credit: Danielle Nicole

Wallet

This one should go without saying, but it never hurts to include it! Even when going to the water parks, it is important to bring your wallet with you. You never know when you will want to make a food or merchandise purchase, plus, if you have a physical park ticket, your wallet is the perfect place to keep it.

External Charger

You will be using your phone a lot while at the theme parks. Disney is constantly creating new ways to make your Disney trip more touchless and you can do almost anything Disney-related on your cell phone. Disney encourages things like making dining reservations, ordering food, and even making FastPass reservations (currently temporarily suspended due to the ongoing pandemic) with your phone. There is almost nothing you can’t do at Disney with your cell phone.

disney magicmobile service
Credit: Disney

Disney World has also released a new feature where Guests can use their cell phones to enter the theme parks. This feature is called Magic Mobile and can be used in place of Disney’s MagicBands. With all of this cell phone usage, your phone battery can die faster than you want it to. An external charger will give your phone that extra charge to get you through the day.

fuel rod disney
Credit: FuelRod

If you do not have — or did not bring — your own external cell phone charger to Disney with you, Disney does have another option for you. Disney Parks partnered with a company called FuelRod. Throughout the theme parks, you can find FuelRod stations where you can get a ready-to-go phone charger that will work with both Apple and Android phones. But beware — FuelRods are not free. You pay an initial cost of $30 and then you can exchange that charger as many times as you would like.

Toiletry Bag

There are a ton of small things that could come in handy during your day at the theme park, but you don’t want them all just floating around your bag — that will just create a mess. A toiletry bag is a perfect addition to your Disney backpack to keep everything in one place.

Toiletry Bag
Credit: shopDisney

What to Put in Your Toiletry Bag

While everyone is different there are some staples that should be in your bag. This list includes some form of pain reliever — whether it be Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve. Your body will be put to the test walking around the Disney theme parks, so pain relievers can come in very handy. You may also want to throw in some heartburn medicine. Eating all that delicious Disney can upset even the strongest of stomachs.

Loungefly
Credit: Disney

You may want to include several more items in your toiletry bag, including a travel-size sunscreen. Even though you put sunscreen on before you left for the day, it is recommended that sunscreen be reapplied every two hours. Also, add some chapstick — preferably with an SPF — and hand sanitizer to your toiletry bag. You will be touching a lot of surfaces with a lot of other people, so killing those germs won’t be a bad thing.

Disney Hand Sanitizer
Credit: Amazon

Water Bottle

Water is one of the things you never have to pay for at Disney Parks if you don’t want to. Yes, Disney offers bottles of water for sale throughout the theme parks, but it also offers free ice water. All you have to do is go to any quick-service location and ask for a cup of ice water — or no ice for those with sensitive teeth. Disney will give you the cup and then you can just fill up your own water bottle and be on your way!

Another thing that you can find in Disney theme parks is free water refill stations. The water will not be super cold, but any water is refreshing on a hot day. Disney World has a number of water refill stations at all four of its theme parks and Disneyland has a water refill station available for Guests in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Water Refill station
Credit: Bioreconstruct

Autograph Book

This one is entirely dependent on who is in your party. If you are a party of all adults, getting character’s autographs may not be that important to you. However, if you have young kids in your group, it can make a great souvenir and something they can cherish for years.

Each character they meet in the park has their own special signature. Plus, you can get a special pen to go with your autograph book — some books even come with a pen when you purchase them!

Disney Autograph Book
Credit: shopDisney

Small Plastic Bags

This may seem like a random thing to carry around with you, but plastic Ziploc bags can come in extremely handy, especially if you are going on water rides. Rides like Kali River Rapids in Disney World and Grizzly River Run in Disney California Adventure Park will provide an area in the middle of each barge where you can put your bag, but Splash Moutain offers your stuff no protection.

Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

If you carry a Ziploc bag with you, you can put your phone, or anything else you want to keep safe, into the bag and then seal it shut. That way, even if your backpack gets wet, your valuables will be safe and dry.

Lanyard and Pins

Again, this will depend entirely on the people in your party. Pins and pin trading are huge throughout all Disney theme parks and Guests are able to purchase pins that they want and also trade with Cast Members. If you or anyone in your party participate in pin trading, then make sure you don’t forget to bring your lanyard and pins with you when you go to the parks.

kids pin trading with cast membr
Credit: Disney

Sweatshirt

This will depend entirely on what the weather will be like during your day in the theme park. At Disneyland in California, it can be warm during the day, but the temperature can drop by 20 degrees once the sun goes down. Also, during the winter months, being in the sun may feel warm, but night will definitely require a sweater.

Make sure you check the weather and temperature before you head out, so you don’t have to carry a sweatshirt around if you don’t need it.

new retro Mickey sweatshirts
Credit: Bailee Abell / ITM

Be Aware of What is Not Allowed in Disney Parks

There are a number of items that Disney does not allow in their theme parks. Guests who try to bring these items in will be turned away at the gate and told to return the items to their car or hotel room, or hand them over to security or throw them away.

Disney selfie stick
Credit: The Daily Universe

Some items not allowed in Disney Parks are listed below.

  • Weapons of any kind — including self-defense devices like Pepper Spray
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Glass Containers
  • Wagons — including stroller wagons (unless given a medical exemption by Disney)
  • Suitcases
  • Folding Chairs
  • Selfie Sticks

For a complete list, click here to be taken directly to the Disney World website.

Downloading Disney Packing Lists

If you are still concerned about what to pack and what you can bring with you on your Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, or Walt Disney World vacation, Disney offers packing lists that you can take a look at while you are preparing for your trip. While Disney World does not offer a specific list, both Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line do.

Disneyland Packing List
Credit: Disneyland Website

To take a deeper look at what Disneyland has to say about how you can pack to visit their Southern California theme parks, click here.

When it comes to packing for a Disney Cruise, it all depends on where you are traveling to and when you are traveling. Disney Cruise Line offers several comprehensive packing lists that you can take a look at by clicking here.

captain mickey disney cruise line
Credit: Disney

Packing For a Magical Experience

We hope that you have found this ultimate Disney vacation packing list helpful and hopefully, it answers your Disney packing questions. Oh! And don’t forget to pack the most important things of all. High spirits and your imagination! We hope you have the time of your life on your Disney vacation!

CLICK HERE to book your ultimate Disney vacation with our friends at Academy Travel today!

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