Planning a Disney vacation can be an overwhelming, expensive task. Getting to the packing part can seem last minute and overwhelming. That’s why I put this ultimate Disney packing list together.
With planning your mode of travel, choosing accommodations, creating schedules and itineraries, and purchasing tickets, packing for the vacation may be at risk of becoming an after-thought. After all, it seems pretty simple to throw some clothes in a suitcase and fill a carry-on with snacks for the trip. What more could you need to do?
Don’t let yourself fall into that trap! Let this ultimate Disney packing list help you decide exactly what you need to make your Disney vacation feel like your home away from home!
Your vacation doesn’t start when you get to your destination. When you are packing, you need to plan for what you will need to get there as well. That includes everything you need to travel, activities and amenities to stay comfortable on the journey, and any necessities you’ll need to maintain your health and wellness.
The two most popular ways to get to Disney are by car and by airplane, so those are the two we will focus on. If you are traveling another way, don’t worry. You will probably be able to apply these packing suggestions to your mode of transportation as well!
First I want to talk to the roadtrippers. The ones that will load up the car and enjoy a nice stretch of highway, watching the landscape change as they go. All of you who are taking an airplane, sit tight! I will get to you next!
There’s one traveling rule we all need to learn, if you haven’t already, know that the easiest way to ruin a vacation is with complaining, boredom, and fighting. You’ll want to make sure you have what you need to keep everyone occupied on the journey. You’ll also want to keep bellies full and happy. Last, but certainly not least, you will want everything you need to be able to drive your car legally and safely.
Necessities. The first and most important items you want to make sure you have is insurance cards and registration for the vehicle as well as driver’s licenses for everyone on the trip. If there are people in your party that are able to drive but probably won’t, it’s best to have them bring their licenses too. It’s good practice to have identification handy anyway and you never know if someone is going to have to drive unexpectedly.
It’s also important to have cash for tolls handy for the drive. Most toll booths only take cash and forgetting to have cash on you can result in steep fines. Debit and credit cards as well as cash are also necessary for gas and stops along the way. If you are taking your vacation on a strict budget, you may want to consider the envelope system-having a certain amount of money put aside in an envelope for each type of expense that you’ll have. Finally, you’ll want a charger for your phone. When you get to your hotel after a long drive, the first thing you will want to do is get into your room and relax. Make it easier for yourself by printing or taking a screenshot of your reservation confirmation.
Amenities. These items are things that are helpful and will make the trip more comfortable. What is included in this section will depend on your family’s preferences. Extra car chargers, especially those that allow multiple charging cords are almost a necessity on long car trips. Fully charged gaming systems and tablets will keep everyone entertained on the road. Travel games and activities will also make the drive more interesting, especially if you are travelling with children who get bored quickly or aren’t used to long road trips. For comfort, consider bringing travel pillows and blankets. If you are travelling with a baby, ensure that you have a fully stocked diaper bag easily accessible so that baby’s needs can be quickly attended to on the journey.
Food and Drink. Packing snacks for the road trip will save you time and money. One way to keep everyone happy is to let each person choose a snack and then let everyone share what each person has chosen. Fill a cooler with different types of drinks and even chilled snacks and meals for further savings.
Prepare for Flight
Okay flyers, I’m talking to you now. Even though you are sitting back and letting someone else handle your travel, you will still need to be prepared for your journey.
Important Documents. You will want identification and/or driver’s licenses for everyone in your party that is not a minor. Check the rules for the airline you are using to see who needs identification to travel. Some airlines expect even teenagers to have some type of indefiticatin when travelling. Of course, you will also want your plane tickets and boarding passes readily available to save time at the airport. Car rental and hotel reservation confirmations should either be printed out or saved on your phone to save time.
Your Carry-on. Whether your flight is an hour long or half a day long, you will want to be comfortable and entertained during your trip. Fill your carry-on bag with your favorite activities and devices. Very few airplanes have charging ports so make sure everything is fully charged before you pack them. A blanket and travel pillow might not be necessary if your flight is very short but you may appreciate them if your flight is longer. Finally, make sure to pack an extra layer in case you encounter an airport or airplane that is cooler than your liking. Of course, no respectable carry-on is complete without some snacks and drinks.
The Medicine Cabinet
Just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean you can take a break from your health and wellness.
Medications. If you are taking prescription medication, it is a good idea to make sure that they are all filled before your trip and that you will have enough doses to get you through vacation. A medication list might be helpful for medical emergencies, as well medical insurance cards for each person in your family.
Over the counter medicine is also a good idea to pack. Take your favorite pain reliever, digestive relief, and motion sickness medication. If anyone in your family is prone to allergies, allergy medications and epi-pens are also advisable. Methods of contraception will keep you protected while you have adult fun on your vacation. Also, don’t forget daily vitamins and probiotics that everyone takes regularly.
First Aid. A small first aid kit that contains basic wound care items and bandages will save you money in the event of minor injury or blisters. Sunscreen and insect repellent are also advisable since buying them at the park can be quite expensive. Aloe might also be helpful for when you’ve had too much fun in the sun.
Toiletries. Many hotels provide amenities such as soap and shampoo for guests but let’s be honest-they aren’t really that good. If you want to feel comfortable, bring along everyone’s favorite toiletries. This will include shampoo, conditioner, body wash or soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair brushes, and any hair products and make-up that you will use. If you are traveling with a baby, make sure you have soap for the baby as well as diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream to last you through the vacation. What you bring in this category will vary, depending on your hygiene routine. While things such as soap and toothpaste are necessary, leave the night-time eye serum and moisturizer mask at home if you can bare to do so. Hauling the materials necessary for a complicated routine will only result in overpacking.
Here’s where it gets tricky. You don’t want to pack too many clothes and have a bunch of suitcases to drag around but you don’t want to pack too little and not be prepared. The key is to just bring the clothes that you need, that are practical for the activities you will be doing.
Shoes. Bring one pair of shoes that is comfortable for long periods of walking. These will be your favorite broken-in sneakers, not a new pair of shoes you bought especially for the trip. (Check out this article for more information on the best type of shoes to wear!)
You are going to be doing some major walking so your feet need to be comfortable. Sandals, water shoes, or flip flops might also be helpful if you are planning to spend time at the beach or pool. A pair of formal shoes is only necessary if you are planning an activity that requires formal dress. Take a look at the dress codes for some of the more upscale restaurants, if you have reservations, to help you determine if formal shoes are necessary.
Undergarments. 1-2 pairs of underwear per day, per person will be needed, as well as a bra for each day. The same rule can be applied to socks. If you are planning on multiple showers per day, 2 of each per day might be necessary. Otherwise, you could get by comfortably with 1 pair of underwear and socks per day. Also remember to pack a bathing suit for each person.
Clothing. An outfit per day, or two if you plan on changing, will be sufficient for clothing. If you are traveling with children, you may want to consider packing an extra outfit or two for accidents or spills. Pajamas are also necessary, though you can probably get away with wearing them for more than one night. Formalwear will only be necessary if you are partaking in activities that require it. Again, check the dress codes if you are planning on making reservations for the more upscale restaurants. If you are going for over a week, doing laundry midway through would be an excellent alternative to bringing enough clothes for each day of vacation.
Accessories. This is where you pack all of the hats, jewelry, watches, and sunglasses that you love to use to compliment your fashion. While you don’t want to overpack, you still want to feel like yourself on vacation and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your favorite pieces for the sake of not packing too much. So go ahead and throw those into the suitcase! Also, make sure to pack your favorite Disney swag. If you have ears, pins, or magic bands, don’t forget to bring them! If your kids want to go to the park dressed like their favorite character, throw those costumes into the suitcase as well!
Off to the Park!
It might be difficult to decide what you want to take to the park before you’ve even left for your vacation but to save time and money, you’ll want to have all those things with you when you leave for your trip. Let’s take a look at the things that you’ll want to bring with you for a day at the park.
Important Items. Having your identification on you, as well as money in various forms (cash, credit and/or debits cards) is a given. You should have these things on you at all times while you are traveling. However, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t forget your admission tickets for any and all venues you’ll be attending each day.
Medicine Cabinet. Remember how we packed the whole pharmacy on our trip, from pain relievers to motion sickness medication? You’ll want to make sure you bring a little of each of the medications (motion sickness, pain reliever, antacids/digestive) with you when you visit the park. You don’t want a sudden headache or bout of nausea to ruin your day but you’ll be even sicker when you see the prices for those things in the park. Remember to bring the sunscreen as well, along with band-aids for potential blisters.
Beat the Heat. Even if you are planning a trip in the middle of December, you must remember that Florida is HOT. You’ll want to do your best to keep cool with sun hats, mini fans, and bottles of water. Pack your favorite ways to stay cool to help avoid the unpleasant side effects of too much sun. Take into consideration other types of weather too. Florida is also famous for random rain storms so if there is any sign of rain in the forecast, save yourself some money and from soggy clothes and pack a poncho or umbrella. A light sweatshirt is also advisable for cooler nights.
Food. One of the cool things about Disney is they actually allow you to bring personal food into the parks. Save a bit of money and bring your own drinks and snacks.
Swag. If your kids are planning on representing Elsa while strolling through the Magic Kingdom or you have a great pair of mouse ears that you look forward to wearing every vacation, go ahead of bring whatever you need with you! You are visiting the most magical place on Earth after all, and you are encouraged to dress the part if you so choose! Just remember that you have to carry or wear everything you bring so if your princess doesn’t feel like staying a princess all day, you might want to have a backpack or bag to store discarded swag in.
Portable Charger. A must! Even if you don’t usually use your phone that much, you will at Disney World. Between tracking wait times on the Disney App, FastPasses and taking photos…your battery will eventually die. On Amazon
Everyone’s packing list is going to be a little different depending on their itineraries, preferences, and family composition so this list will not be all-inclusive or relevant to every Disney guest. For even more packing ideas, check out this checklist. The important thing to remember is to be prepared, consider all possible scenarios, and have fun!