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Packing for Disney - 5 Things to Pack and 5 to Skip

Throughout my life, I have been a notorious over-packer. Whether it is for a week long trip or a quick weekend getaway, our suitcases are always overflowing with things that I just can’t decide if we’ll need or not (usually, we don’t)!

Thankfully, the one place I seem to get it right is Disney. No-one wants to start their vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth, by lugging overweight suitcases through the airport. Below are my top 5 recommended things to pack that are worth the space, and 5 that you can skip.

5 Things to Pack

1. Reusable Face Masks

When the parks reopen on July 11th, Disney will be requiring all cast members and guests ages 2 and older to wear a face mask. This, along with other new protocols have been implemented to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. We say, if you have to wear a face mask, it might as well be a cute one! Shop Disney has released a variety of masks that come in fun themed 4 packs for $19.99. Ranging from Toy Story and Marvel to classic Disney characters and princess, you’ll have many cute styles to choose from. You can also find some adorable and less expensive options online via Etsy. If you are the creative type, you can learn how to make your own here! We would love to see your custom Disney masks!

2. Refillable Water Bottles

Not only is this an eco-friendly option to stay hydrated, it is a cost effective one too! A bottle of water purchased at one of the many snack carts and quick service restaurants in the park ranges from $2.50 – $3.50 a bottle. Buying water throughout the hot Orlando days can get expensive, at least $12.50 every time a family of 5 gets thirsty. Thankfully, Disney has water fountains all throughout the parks, and all quick service locations provide free cups of ice water. Keeping your refillable water bottle handy will keep you hydrated, and keep those dollars in your wallet!

3. Comfortable Shoes

The entire Walt Disney Resort is a whopping 40 square miles, as big as the city of San Francisco! Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park (Disney’s largest) comes in at over 400 acres alone. Needless to say, you and your family will getting plenty of steps in, and you do not want to have sore feet! My last trip to the Magic Kingdom I raked in almost 20k steps. It is tempting to pick a variety of cute shoes for your trip, but stick to what is comfortable for your time in the parks! 

4. Clothes for a Night Out

While in the parks, we always recommend being as comfortable as possible. It can get very hot, and you are doing a lot of walking, so you can never go wrong with air-wick shirts and shorts. However, there are so many fantastic restaurants on property that have a dress code that you do not want to miss out on! Signature Dining restaurants have a dress code which include khakis, slacks or dress shorts with a collared shirt for men, and capri’s, skirts, dress shorts or dresses for women. Jeans may work if they are clean and in good condition and sport coats are optional.

5. Disposable Poncho

With a trip to Florida, you are bound to get lots of Sunshine, but also lots of rain depending on the time of year that you visit. Florida receives up to 70% of its rainfall in the months of May – June. Thankfully, most Florida rainstorms end as quickly as they started, but if you do not come prepared, you will get wet! Instead of buying a poncho in the park, which you can purchase for around $10 per poncho, it’s smart to bring a pack of disposable ponchos with you which you can purchase for about $1 and throw away when you are done (instead of trying to store a wet poncho in your hotel room!).

5 Things to Skip

1. Large Wagon Strollers

While wagons can be tempting to bring as a way to transport snacks and toddlers alike, they have recently been banned from all Disney Parks. Most single and double strollers are permitted and they are much easier to maneuver through the crowds. Strollers and wagons larger than 31” (79 cm) in width and 52” (132cm) in length are not permitted. 

If you do not wish to pack your own stroller, you can rent one from a third party vendor such as Orlando Stroller Rentals to be delivered to your resort, or rent a stroller in the park each morning.


2. Loose Ice and Large Coolers

Just like strollers, Disney has recently put size constraints on coolers as well. Coolers can be no larger than 24x15x18 and cannot be filled with loose ice. Bringing your own snacks and food into the park is allowed, however, you will want to make sure you can keep it in a smaller cooler with ice packs.

For guests who need a larger cooler for things like breast milk or medication, stop by the first aid and baby care stations which are located in each theme park for guidance. 

3. Selfie Sticks

Guests will have to be more creative when it comes to getting the perfect selfie, as selfie sticks are not allowed in the parks.  This is due to the danger they pose to guests trying to use them on high speed rides, and the potential for falls when guests are not paying attention to where they are walking. To get a great group photo, do not hesitate to go to any of the Disney PhotoPass cast members. Cast members can take your picture and link them to your My Disney Experience Account with a quick swipe of your magic band. They are also free to take photos on your personal cameras and phones as well.

4. Shampoo and Body Wash

I have found that the quickest way to put your luggage over the maximum 50 pounds an airline allows is to fill it with bath products! Thankfully, Disney has equipped every resort bathroom with shampoo, conditioner and body wash from their H2O plus hair and body care line. The Sea Salt and Sea Marine (eucalyptus and aloe) scented products have become so popular, that you can purchase the whole extended line online at shopdisney.com

5. First Aid Items

As a mother of a 4 year old boy who might as well be just one scrape and bruise, it is tempting to pack first aid items wherever we go. To my relief, You can get many first aid items over the counter and some times for free at the first aid stations which are located within each park.

24 hour in-room medical care is also available at each Disney Resort all by clicking the “front desk” button on your in room phone.

 Packing for a vacation, especially when you are traveling with children is never an easy task, but hopefully this list will help you pack lighter and more efficiently. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments what your must pack or must skip items are!


About Me
Hi everyone! My name is Kara and I am so excited to help you plan a magical Disney vacation. My love of Disney started during my very first trip there in March of 1994. Disney quickly became my family’s “happy place”. There was never any question, when it was time for a vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the most magical place on Earth. Nowadays, it is extra special for me to experience the Disney magic again through the eyes of my 4 year old son, Liam, and 2 year old daughter, Jennie. Seeing their eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie pass by and seeing their faces all sticky from Mickey ice cream bars make special memories that only Disney can bring. I can’t wait to help you build those memories together as a family!

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