Packing for any trip with kids is a daunting task. But packing for a trip to Disney World? That’s another beast entirely. While Disney World may be The Happiest Place on Earth, visiting there involves a deceptively large amount of planning. After all, when you’re traversing a resort that’s well over 25,000 acres, you need to be prepared for anything. One way to make your trip a little less stressful is knowing what to pack. I’ve made dozens of trips to Disney World over the past few years and cultivated the ultimate Disney World packing list — with or without the kids.
Disney World Packing List for Parents
A good backpack is a must. Invest in a sturdy, comfortable backpack like this one, where you can fit everything you’ll need for the day. Most visitors tend to spend the entirety of their day in the parks, so think of your backpack as your lifeline to anything you’ll need throughout the day.
You will be walking a lot no matter which park you visit. You’ll likely get your recommended 12,000 steps within the first few hours of the day. One of the most common mistakes people make is packing the wrong shoes, which you will immediately regret. Bring a pair that is comfortable and durable.
Buying a bottle of water in the park will cost you more than $3 per person. Instead, bring a water bottle or two and take advantage of the refillable water stations you can find around the parks.
Portable Phone Charger
It’s nearly impossible to get around Disney World without using your phone. On the My Disney Experience app (get it here), you can use Genie+ to skip lines, make a mobile order, and even reserve a table for dining. This means your phone battery will drain quickly, so bring a portable charger to make it last all day.
Florida weather is unpredictable, but you should always plan for rain at some point during the day. Instead of paying at least $12 each for ponchos inside the parks, you can stock up ahead of time on a multi-pack for less.
Portable Fan and Cooling Towels
Florida can be hot at any point of the year, but the heat during the summer can be unbearable. Along with keeping yourself hydrated, cool down with a portable fan or cooling towels. This will be especially key for your kids to avoid any overheated meltdowns.
Resealable Plastic Bags
Whether it’s from the rain, a water ride, or something spilling in your backpack, it’s never a bad idea to have a few resealable plastic baggies to protect any valuable essentials or to carry a few snacks.
Just like you will regret packing uncomfortable shoes, you will regret not bringing plenty of sunscreen to reapply throughout the day. Here’s a great one to have in your bag! The Florida sun is intense, so protect your skin with plenty of SPF.
Disney World Packing List for Kids
Depending on how old your children are, you’ll want to bring a few other essentials. If you have a child who is too young to walk, bringing a baby carrier is key. You can’t bring strollers into ride lines or smaller shops, so bringing a baby carrier will ensure you aren’t leaving your arms exhausted from carrying a baby around all day.
While you can rent a stroller from Disney, bringing your own guarantees you’ll have familiarity with navigating it in a crowded area and ensures it’s an environment your kid is comfortable with.
Glow Sticks and Small, Portable Games
Nothing will test your kid’s patience faster than the first hour-long line they need to wait in for a ride. There are ways to make this go by more quickly, though. Bring glow sticks, small portable games, or other little ways to entertain them for short periods. Trust me; this will save your sanity more than anything else.
Whether it’s dripping ice cream or touching something they’re not supposed to, keep a pack of sanitizer wipes handy to clean up your child quickly.
Something to remember is that food is expensive at Disney parks. Instead of paying a premium for all your snacks, bring a few easy bites when the kids (or you!) need them.
What You DON’T Need on Your Disney World Packing List
There are some things you won’t need to add to your packing list for Disney World but can easily get once you’re at the resort. For example, instead of making a grocery stop on your way to your hotel, you can take advantage of Instacart and have your food delivered to you. Also, when bringing a little one, you can save the cost of an extra piece of luggage by using the hotel-provided Pack ‘n Play instead of toting your own on the trip.
Of course, every family is different, so your packing list may look different depending on your kids’ ages or the time of year you visit. But I’ve found that including these essentials in my Disney World packing list helps take some of the stress out of planning and allows my family and I to enjoy our time. Have fun!