As an Orlando theme park blogger and season pass holder who visits Disney World multiple times every year, I feel like I’ve become a bit of a Disney packing pro.
And if you’re wondering what to pack for Disney World – you’ve come to the right place.
Disney is unique in the theme park world. Their policies regarding what you are and are not allowed to bring into the parks vary quite a bit from even that of their area rival, Universal Studios.
In some ways, they are more lenient (i.e. bringing your own snacks). In other ways, they are more strict (i.e. the portable chair ban).
Disney World is also systemically different from other area parks.
When I visit Disney, I know I’ll probably be spending less time in the shade and more time on my feet.
There’s also the matter of The My Disney Experience app – which, at least in my opinion, isn’t an optional component of your park experience, at least not if you want to have an enjoyable time. Keeping your phone charged at all times is a must.
But this isn’t an article about how Disney is different than other theme parks, this is an article about what to pack – and why.
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My Disney World packing list
Without further ado, below you will find my personal Disney World pack list for a day at the parks.
Editor’s Note: Pricing and availability are as of the time of this writing and subject to change.
First things first, you’re going to need a bag to store all your Disney World vacation essentials. I recommend some sort of backpack for your in-park bag because it offers more storage than a belt bag or handbag and it keeps you hands-free throughout the day.
Both bags, surprisingly, fit most of the non-wearable items on this list with ease.
Pro-tip: If you’re bringing young children and need extra space for baby essentials like diapers and baby food, be sure to check out our list of 13 Best Mickey Mouse Diaper Bags.
Admittedly, this one one of those things I keep on my person at all times, not just while at Disney. I’m not a huge fan of letting my bags touch the dirty floors/ground at theme parks.
The Clipa looks like a bracelet or a nice keychain, but it’s actually a versatile bag holder. This little clip works like a hanger and can hold up to 33 lbs. It works on tables, chairs, bathroom stall doors and more.
I was originally quite dubious of the whole MagicBand thing, but since caving in and buying my own, I never visit the parks without it.
MagicBands can be used for park tickets, virtual queues, Genie+, Lightning Lanes, park photos and other surprises throughout the resort. For instance, I occasionally notice my MagicBand interacting with attractions. While I’m in line for Star Tours, I always get a kick out of seeing my name and city of origin pop up on a screen behind one of the animatronics.
If staying at a Disney resort, you can even treat your MagicBand like a credit card and charge food, drink and gift shop souvenirs directly to your hotel room.
MagicBand+ offers even more perks, but I’m old school and prefer the original version that you don’t have to charge.
MagicBands are usually $26-$65 depending on the style.
Disney is brutal on the feet. And after years of leaving the park with blisters and bruises, I finally invested in a pair of Hokas.
Admittedly, I was dubious about this one too as I had never before in my life spent more than $150 on a pair of shoes. But reader, they are the only brand that I can wear in these parks, walk 20,000 steps a day and never feel even an ounce of pain.
And I’m not alone. Every time I visit the parks I see hundreds of people wearing this brand. Disney should really consider a Disney X Hoka collab.
Pro-tip: Pair your Hokas with a pair of waterproof socks like these and you’re good to go on those water rides too!
This is important because while Disney World snacks are tasty, they are also expensive.
There are only a few exceptions to this rule:
- Beverages must be non-alcoholic
- Food and drink cannot be stored in a glass container
- Food and drink must not require heating, refrigeration or temperature control
- All items must be free of pungent odors
Speaking of comfort, the only thing that hurts more at the end of a long day at Disney than blistered feet is a blistered back.
Look, the sun is harsh in South Florida. And full-time residents know a little secret that visitors do not – that you can supplement sunscreen with UV coverups and clothes that naturally protect your skin from the majority of harmful rays.
One of my favorite brands (pictured above) is AmberNoon, whose selections feature a wide variety of items ranging from everyday dresses to pullovers to swimwear with textiles (not added chemicals) that naturally block 98% of UV rays and last up to 40 washes. Their garments are also soft and have a high-quality look and feel.
Again on the heat/sun thing – because it’s unbelievably harsh in Orlando – you’ll also want to take some sort of hat or baseball cap.
My personal favorite is the PonyBack hat as it’s not only soft with a brim clearly designed to flatter a woman’s face, but it also features a clever magnetic opening in the back for your ponytail.
Sure, there are lots of ponytail-enabled baseball caps on the market, but this is the only cap that actually lets me adjust my ponytail and wear it as high or as low as I please. I’m a girl who likes options.
Of course, none of the above-mentioned sun hacks are a complete replacement for good old-fashioned sunscreen. I usually carry a travel-sized bottle of Neutrogena. I prefer the smell/texture of Neutrogena as it smells more like a subtle cologne (instead of a banana) and seems considerably less greasy than other brands.
Some may say it’s weird to have a favorite sunscreen. Those people do not live in South Florida.
Here’s a real trick for those times when you need to put on more sunscreen but don’t want to mess up your makeup.
Sure, most makeup provides some level of UV protection. But most are not enough to battle the all-day Disney sun. And, let’s be honest, you’re going to sweat off a ton of that makeup during the day. That’s where this Colorescience Brush-On Mineral Powder ($65) comes in.
With a built-in retractable brush and applicator, I can quickly and simultaneously touch up my makeup while adding SPF 50 protection to my face. Plus it’s just easy to use and never messy.
Bonus tip: You can also brush a bit of this powder onto the top of your head or in your hair part if you forgot your hat for non-greasy SPF protection.
I love aviator sunglasses, but I don’t like how they get tangled up in my hair and leave marks on the bridge of my nose. Enter, Shwae Tangle-Free Aviators ($35).
This clever design uses a solid nose piece that won’t get tangled in your hair or leave marks on your face while giving the wearer the classic aviator look. Plus, they are fairly affordable at just $35 on Amazon.
My husband loves my neck fan ($31.99) so much that he often “borrows it” from me while at the park. It’s basically like walking around with your own mini air conditioner.
It doesn’t get stuck in my hair, but it does blow toward my face (which can be a bit annoying). If you have long hair, you may want to consider putting your hair up when wearing this device.
If you have kids (and a stroller) in tow, you may also want to bring along a clip-on or wrap-around stroller fan ($16.99), like this one.
I’m all about being as hands-free as I can be while at Disney … usually because I’ve got a Dole Whip in one hand and a DSLR in the other.
If you’re planning for a long day at the park with multiple devices that will require charging, you’ll want to bring along a portable battery bank with a multi-port cable (to charge all your devices).
Again, I live by the My Disney Experience app while in the park. I use it to make dining reservations, book Lightning Lines and manage Virtual Queues. When my phone runs out of juice, so do I.
I usually carry one of three water bottles while at Disney.
The first, pictured above, is my collapsible Mayim bottle ($19.99). It comes with a clip that I can easily attach to my Loungefly backpack. It’s also super lightweight and, when not in use, it collapses down to the size of a small camera lens.
The second is my 17oz Filtered LARQ Bottle ($55). This little bad boy comes with a replaceable dual-layer activated carbon filter that’s good for up to 40 gallons (or 2 months) of use. It removes lead, heavy metals, chlorine and other particles from your water as you sip.
Throw some free cups of Disney tap water in your LARQ water bottle and experience a new kind of magic at the parks – making Orlando tap water taste good. Plus, the 17oz size is small enough to fit in most backpack water bottle compartments.
The third is my good ol’ trusty 18oz Yeti Rambler bottle ($30+) with a chug cap. It stores a lot more than my Filtered LARQ or my Muvi and keeps my drinks cool all day long. Sure, it doesn’t offer filtration like my LARQ, but that means I can also use it for non-water drinks like sodas, lemonade and tea.
The 18oz Rambler, like the LARQ, also fits in most standard water bottle pockets. And yes, Disney, unlike other parks, allows stainless steel thermoses.
You’ll also want to pack some hand sanitizer and/or wipe so you can clean up while on the go.
My favorite brand of hand sanitizer is Touchland ($30 for a 3-pack). Unlike other hand sanitizers, this Touchland never leaks in my backpack due to its clever package design and lasts forever as the spray mechanism ensures you’ll never lose a drop.
But I admit, wet wipes are more effective for sticky fingers. Consider carrying both, especially if you have kids.
17. Picaridin insect repellent
If you’re a mosquito magnet like I am, you may also want to pack a small travel-sized insect repellent. I prefer Sawyer Picaridin – it seems to be a bit more effective, at least for me, than the OFF brand.
I carry this handy-dandy little thing around with me every time I leave the house. Mosquitos are brutal in South Florida. And anytime one gets past my bug spray defenses, I use this little Bug Bite Thing ($9.99) to create a suction around the bite and extract the saliva (saliva causes the swelling and itch).
Pro-tip: The earlier you catch the bite, the more effective this device is.
Trust me on this one, no deodorant is truly strong enough to endure an entire day in the hot Florida sun. You will need to reapply. You (and everyone around you) will thank me later.
Speaking of needing to wash up a bit throughout the day – and/or wipe off excess sweat – you may also want to throw a small washcloth or hand towel in your bag.
And you’ll definitely want to take a towel if headed to one of the waterparks on your next Disney trip. Last time we were at Typhoon Lagoon, we were told that all non-Disney Resort guests had to pay $2 per towel rental.
And last but not least, if the weather forecast calls for showers, you may also want to pack an extra packable poncho or rain jacket.
Sure, umbrellas are allowed too – but who wants to carry those around all day?
Are you currently planning a Disney vacation? What do you pack when planning for a day at Disney parks? What would you add to this Disney packing list? Let me know in the comments below.