The Ultimate Disney Packing List – What to Bring and What NOT to Bring

Lauren Bruce Avatar

two girls at Disney World with matching shirts
Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

We’ve got the Disney packing list you need! It’s filled with all of the things you’ll want to bring to the parks with you and what items you can leave behind.

And, yes, you can buy just about anything you forget once you get to Disney, but that’s the expensive way to go. I prefer to spend my money on Disney souvenirs, not deodorant.

Disney Packing List: Must-Haves for Magic

As Walt Disney himself said, “Adults are just kids grown up, anyway.” That includes how we accessorize while we’re on vacation. When my family is at the Disney parks, we wear the pin trading lanyards and we rock our mouse ears!

Don’t forget to pack these favorite Disney must-haves:

Read More: Buy these 22 Disney essentials BEFORE your Disney vacation to save a boatload of money!

Disney Pins for Trading

Pin trading is a great way to entertain kids while you’re waiting for rides. We started my boys pin trading when our youngest was about 3.  In the months leading up to our trip, I often stop at our Disney outlet store to search for heavily discounted pins that we can use for trading purposes.

Before our last trip, I bought six of the same Star Wars pin because they were only $1.99! You can also choose to buy packets of 25, 50 or 100 pins from Amazon. Just be sure you’re buying official Disney pins with the Mickey-shaped backing. Pins that don’t have Mickey backing cannot be traded in the parks.

What to Pack for Disney Princesses

If you have a princess fan in your traveling party, I highly recommend buying and bringing a princess dress (or five) with you. For that, Disney Store is a lifesaver! You can often find costumes on sale at far cheaper prices than you’ll find in the parks.

If you have kids who prefer to dress up like their favorite superheroes, shopDisney also has Marvel and Avengers costumes such as the Black Panther, Captain America and Black Widow.

Read More: 27 Things to Pack for Disney with a Baby

When It’s Time for Autographs…

Meeting characters is a Disney World vacation ritual for my family. We make sure our Disney packing list includes a mat for a picture frame, like this one. Plus, we bring a Ziploc bag full of retractable sharpies in a variety of colors (but plain black works just fine too). These markers are easier for most characters to use  — they aren’t able to pull off the caps of regular markers and pens.

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We have the characters sign the mat around the edges. When we get home, we add one of the family photos we shot in the park and frame the whole thing for an instant memory of another fabulous Disney vacation.

two young boys wearing mouse ears in Epcot - travelingmom
Mickey Mouse Ears look good on the youngest travelers or the oldest. Here, my kids are rocking their official Mickey Mouse Ears before a ride on Spaceship Earth! Photo credit: Disney PhotoPass

The No. 1 Disney Must-Have!

Whether you choose the iconic Mickey ears or the Minnie headband ears, don’t forget to pack those!

Again, I like to swing into my local Disney outlet to hunt for official Mickey ears and Minnie headband ears on clearance or check shopDisney for a variety of cute options.

Portable Phone Charger

OK, a portable cell phone battery charger may not feel like it belongs on the same Disney packing list with Mickey ears and princess dresses, but having plenty of phone juice is a definite Disney must-have. Why? Because walking around Disney parks quickly sucks the life out of your phone.

Between taking lots of photos and videos of everyone having fun and constantly consulting the My Disney Experience app to check ride wait lines, order quick service dining and more, my phone is in constant use in the parks. Having an extra power pack ensures I will still have enough battery life to shoot video of the gorgeous Disney fireworks at the end of a long, wonderful day in the parks.

Scanning a Disney Magicband - SheBuysTravel
It’s easy to scan your Disney MagicBands as you enter the parks. Photo credit: Breeze Leonard

Disney Packing List: Nice-to-Haves

You certainly can do Disney World just fine without a MagicBand or a Disney gift card. But they make a Disney vacation that much more magical for visitors who are staying at a Disney World hotel.

Disney MagicBands

MagicBands literally can be used for everything — to unlock our hotel room, to buy souvenirs without pulling out our credit cards, to redeem Dining plan entitlements and to get into the parks!

Until recently, MagicBands were sent free to people who booked rooms at Disney World resorts. They are no longer an included perk, but I think they’re still worth the price. You can also reuse a MagicBand from a past trip. And Disney Store offers so many cute ones, including character-themed MagicBands my kids love.

Disney Gift Cards

Since Disney is a pricey vacation, we like to pre-pay as much as possible. In the months leading up to our trip, we buy lots of Disney gift cards. Make sure to check that those have made it into your bag. There is nothing worse than buying Disney gift cards in advance and then realizing that you’ve left them at home on your dresser.

SheBuysTravel TipIf you shop at Target with a Red Card, you can get 5% off Disney gift cards! We also like to ask the grandparents for Disney gift cards for holiday and birthday gifts in the months leading up to our vacation.

You’ll Be Happy to Have…

Tide Load Liquid Detergent, 3-Count
$6.89 ($2.30 / load)
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Rain Ponchos Family Pack
Buy Now
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mickey mouse and two little girls disney
We love buying matching Disney character shirts for the kiddos. If you start stocking up early you can watch for sales. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Because Spills Happen…

I don’t always do laundry during a Walt Disney World trip, but when someone (who shall not be named) dropped an entire ice cream cone on his shirt, I was thankful for the option.

I usually pack a few travel things of Tide and a couple of dryer sheets. Even if I don’t use them, they don’t take up much space.

Tide pens and Shout wipes go in the day bag I take with me into the park. That way, if it’s just an ice cream drip — vs. the whole cone! — I can fix it on the spot.

Wet wipes are another important clean-up tool to carry into the parks with you. These can be used to wipe off a table and are generally handy when your whole family is hot and sweaty!

Don’t Do Disney without Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags are so handy to have on hand! I have used them on water rides to keep my phone dry. I have used them to save cookies and treats that no one could finish that otherwise would have been thrown away.

And I have used them AFTER my sunscreen leaked in my park bag to prevent it from happening again. (Note to self: Next time put the sunscreen in the bag BEFORE it leaks!)

Tips for saving money at Disney - buy rain ponchos elsewhere.
Our family walking through Animal Kingdom in our dollar store rain ponchos. Photo credit: Breeze Leonard

When it Rains at Disney: Pack These Items

Yes, sometimes it rains on your Disney parade. While this is a less common occurrence at Disneyland in Anaheim, expect at least a brief rain shower most afternoons in Orlando. It pays to be prepared.

Ponchos at Walt Disney World are expensive. Save money by hitting up your local dollar store to stock up on throw-away ponchos instead of doling out big bucks when you’re already soaked.

Another benefit of buying these before you get to Disney: you already have them so you can protect yourself faster. While everyone else is running for shelter or waiting in very looooong lines to buy ponchos in the park, your family can head to the next ride!

If you’re not “poncho people” you can also pack a rain jacket or an umbrella. I like to have a combination of rain protection gear. Ponchos are much easier for my kids, but if the rain is light, I prefer an umbrella.

The Right Disney Day Bag

I have found myself in Disney parks staring at people who casually walk around with nothing more than a phone in their pocket, and wonder how they do it?

But I wasn’t built like that; I need a day bag. I like this Vera Bradley option because the straps are padded and there are outside pockets handy for a refillable water bottle. (Ask for free ice water from any Disney quick service restaurant.) My husband also carries a park bag. He loves his North Face backpack for Disney. This model has been very durable through multiple trips and barely looks worn.

You’ll want a day bag that is comfortable while walking for hours in the park. I have tried multiple different bags and now warn people against drawstring options. After walking miles in the parks with a fully stuffed drawstring bag, the strings cut into my shoulders.

Choose a day bag that isn’t too big but can still carry everything from a phone charger to granola bars. You’ll also want one that is washable. For convenience, choose one that has an outside pocket for a water bottle — you’ll be reaching for that regularly throughout the day.

Shoes for Disney

There’s a reason I list shoes before clothes: Comfortable walking shoes are the key to a happy day in the parks. You’ll log 20,000 or more steps during a day at Disney. Blisters and sore feet are a recipe for disaster.

For more than two park days, I always like to have at least two shoe choices: comfortable sneakers and walking sandals. On a recent summer trip to Walt Disney World, I wore these Vionic slip-ons all day. They go with every summer outfit and I was happy with the arch support. For sneakers, we love Adidas Cloudfoam. So comfortable for walking but also light and easy to clean!

Also, I have had great luck with these Keen sandals. I’ve worn them all over the Disney parks. They dry quickly when wet and, even at the end of a long day, my feet aren’t aching.

Toss in some moleskin pads in case someone’s shoes start rubbing a blister. They’re much easier to pack than another pair of shoes!

SheBuysTravel Tip: These are our favorite theme park walking shoes.

suitcase packed for a Disney World vacation - travelingmom
I like to start packing for a longer trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth a week in advance. That way if I’m missing an essential or need to do another load of laundry, I have extra time. Photo credit: Lauren Bruce

Best Clothing for Disney (Because You Need More than Mickey Ears!)

Pack one of these clothing items per person per day of your Disney vacation.

  • Shorts and/or pants
  • Socks
  • Shirts (+ 2 extra)
  • Underwear

Pack at least one of each of these per person:

  • Nice outfit
  • Sweatshirt/sweater
  • Swimsuit (more if you plan to visit the Disney water parks)
  • Pool cover-up
  • Water shoes
  • Swim goggles
  • Sunglasses for kids and grownups
  • Hat
  • Pajamas

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you are checking your suitcase, ALWAYS pack at least one clean pair of underwear, one clean shirt, and a bathing suit for everyone in your carry-on bags. On one trip to WDW, my suitcase didn’t make it to my hotel room on that first night. I was very thankful to have a change of clothes!

Dress for Comfort

My typical dress style for a Disney vacation is casual and comfortable. However, if you are planning on any Signature Dining experiences, particularly those in the resorts, check the dress code and pack accordingly. One of my favorite restaurants, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, does not allow diners to wear tank tops or flip-flops.

We also like to buy some Disney-themed shirts in advance for the whole family. While we don’t often have matching shirts, we do pick outfits that fit the park we’re visiting that day. My go-to for affordable Disney shirts is ShopDisney.

SheBuysTravel TipWhen packing for children, I like to roll shirts, shorts and undies all in one, secured by a rubber band. It helps younger ones dress faster in the morning so you can get to the Magic Kingdom before rope drop!

Summer Extras to Pack

Orlando gets HOT in the summertime. But that’s no reason to stay home from Disney World! Instead, we beat the heat with misting fans that keep everyone cool while we’re waiting in ride lines.

We also like cooling towels. Just rinse them in cool water and lay them across the back of your neck. It’s amazing how quickly that cools down even the crankiest overheated kid.

And, of course, anti-chafing cream. This is one of those secrets Disney regulars know and don’t like to share. Chafing happens in the heat! But friends don’t let friends chafe! These are our favorite anti-chafing products:

Stick: Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Cream: Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream

Powder: Anti Monkey Butt

Winter Extras to Pack

  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Scarf
  • Jacket

It can get chilly in the evenings. And winter can bring some surprisingly cool days. Always check the weather forecast (not just the calendar) the day before you leave for Disney to make sure you’ll have the right clothes for the trip.

A winter visit to Disney World might require shorts one day and a winter jacket the next. Florida weather is notoriously fickle in the wintertime!

Fun Extras to Pack for Disney

In the past when we have visited Disney over Halloween or Christmas, we all dressed the part. So, if you’re traveling in the fall or over Christmas, don’t forget these:

SheBuysTravel TipThink about the weather before you pack your costumes. Halloween at Walt Disney World starts in August. A hot and heavy costume in the Florida summer sun would not be comfortable. I would encourage lightweight costumes or costume t-shirts!

family in front of Disney castle - travelingmom
The packing was all worth it to enjoy the day at Magic Kingdom! Photo credit: Disney PhotoPass

Toiletries for Disney

When my family and I are at Disney, I still like to have most (not all) of my toiletries on hand. For instance, I use waterproof mascara every day in the parks, but don’t use much else in the way of makeup. If you do full makeup plan to pack and use a setting spray. It will help keep you looking fresh all day, through the humidity.

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Waterproof mascara
  • Lip balm
  • Make-up
  • Tampons/pads
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair product
  • Accessories for hair
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Razor(s)
  • Contacts/glasses

Medicines/First Aid Kit

  • Prescriptions
  • Pain relievers
  • Motion sickness meds
  • Allergy tabs
  • Band-Aids
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Aloe vera gel to treat sunburn
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Visine/eye drops

If you are walking through the parks and not quite feeling yourself, it’s helpful to at least have the basics on hand. Keep in mind that there are First Aid Stations located at each of the four Disney World theme parks. But if you already have a blister, you won’t want to limp to the nearest station. It’s much better to have a Band-Aid in your Disney day bag.

Packing Tips for Baby at Disney

  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Bottles/pacifiers
  • Baby food
  • Baby carrier/ sling
  • Sleep machine

Both of my kids went to Walt Disney World before they turned 2. We loved every second. The key is to have your essential items for littles on your Disney World packing list.

One item that we found to be the most helpful was having their sleep machine at nighttime. This was and continues to be our go-to for getting the kids to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings.

Need help planning your Disney trip? Get all your questions answered from our Disney Planning & Fun Facebook Group!

Just for Fun

Packing Checklist for Your Day Bag

  • Wallet/ID
  • Phone
  • Portable power bank
  • Wet wipes
  • Small first aid kit (pack ibuprofen, Dramamine, Band-Aids and antibiotic cream)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Water bottle
  • Tide Stick
  • Poncho(s)
  • Ziploc bags
  • Light sweatshirt
  • Pennies
  • Activity books
  • Autograph mat & sharpies

9 Things That Don’t Need to Be on Your Disney Packing List

  • Stroller
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Basic first aid products
  • Insect repellent
  • Shampoo, conditioner and soap
  • Snacks
  • DSLR camera equipment

OK, I know some of these things are already on our Disney packing list. But if you’re a committed light packer, skip these things because:

  • You can get them for free from a Disney First Aid Station (hand sanitizer and basic first aid products such as Band-Aids and ibuprofen) or from bottles throughout the park (insect repellent)
  • Your hotel will have these in the room (shampoo, conditioner and soap)
  • They are easier to rent than bring (strollers) unless you have a really little one and will need the stroller for your travel to Disney
  • You can order them from Amazon or Walmart and have them delivered to your hotel (snacks)
  • You simply won’t need it (camera equipment) because you can order Disney Memory Maker or take perfectly fine photos with your phone!

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Lauren Bruce Avatar
Lauren Bruce spends most of her days surrounded by kids. At home with her own two rowdy boys and at school with the 400 kids she serves as an Elementary School Counselor, she is constantly on the go! She survives that many little ones on a daily basis with a lot of coffee and a little bit of sarcasm. She takes every free moment (and lunch break) to plan her family’s next vacation. Lauren loves chronicling her family’s quest to visit every Major League Ballpark in the country (Go Phillies!) – so far they have checked off eight stadiums and always have one on deck. Her other travel obsession is visiting the Disney Parks which became easier when she convinced her husband to become Disney Vacation Club members. She finds the planning process oddly soothing and is always excited to talk to anyone and everyone about their trips.
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