The hotel is booked. The park passes have been bought. You are debating which restaurants you want to eat at and which fast passes to book. Spending your free time planning and making lists. Like a pack list? But where do you start when you don’t have any idea what to bring to Disney World!
Start here, with this list! No matter whether you are a minimalist or a “3 outfit options for each day” kind of gal, there are some things you need to bring with you on your Disney vacation.
Here are the 9 must-haves that you need to make sure you have packed before you head to Disney World.
Not quite ready to book that vacation? Here are the glorious reasons why you should start planning your trip to Disney World.
What to Bring to Disney World: 9 Park Essentials
Without any further ado, here are the 9 things that I STRONGLY recommend you bring to Disney World. Your vacation will be immeasurably improved if you do!
1. Walking Shoes
Comfortable and supportive walking shoes are a MUST at Disney. You are going to be putting a lot of miles on those babies. And don’t plan on wearing a brand new pair of shoes! That’s a fast pass to blisters. Break them in before you go.
You can go with sandals or sneakers, as long as they are supportive and comfortable! And you should bring at least 2 different pairs so that you can switch them out from day to day and give your poor feet a break.
So many people SWEAR by these Sanuk sandals for a day on your feet. They may not look like much, but they are super comfortable and your feet won’t be drowning in sweat.
Keen makes another very popular and comfortable sandal that has a more sporty look and that will provide a bit more support.
If you’re more of a sneakers kind of person, these shoes are slip-on, breathable, and designed to be used if you’re going to be on your feet and moving around.
2. Day Bag
Ideally, all you would need in the park would be your magic band and maybe your phone. In reality, you’re probably gonna need to haul some extras along. And if you want more than what will fit in your pockets, you are going to need some sort of bag.
If you’re just bringing in some extra sunscreen and snacks, you don’t need anything bigger than a regular-sized purse. Your best bet is a crossbody bag that will leave your hands free and still be comfortable after hours and hours. This crossbody bag has multiple zipper compartments, a small water bottle holder, and is water-resistant.
If you need to bring anything bulkier, like say a toddler-sized change of clothes and some diapers, you’ll need a bigger bag. This backpack is super lightweight, comfortable, water-resistant, AND folds up into a little storage bag that will take up virtually no space in your luggage. Also, it comes in a ton of different colors!
Pro-tip for you parents out there: get your kids fanny packs and each morning before you head to the parks let them fill it with snacks to munch on during the day. It keeps them from bothering you every 5 minutes for something to eat. At least for a few hours, until they eat through it all.
3. Portable Charger
You are going to eat up your phone battery. SO FAST! Between checking for fast passes, looking at wait times, and taking so so many magical pictures, your battery is going to drain quickly.
Now, there are FuelRod kiosks in the parks, where you pay $30 for a portable battery and unlimited swaps, or you can bring your own.
This portable charger from Anker is wildly popular and holds enough juice to fully charge an iPhone almost 7 times.
4. Water Bottle
You need to bring a water bottle to the parks. Yes, you can get free cups of water at any quick-service restaurant on property and yes there are water fountains. HOWEVER, you are going to get very thirsty and those options just won’t cut it. You are going to want something that you can carry around with you, that won’t leak, and that isn’t too heavy.
I recommend this collapsible water bottle because it won’t take up precious space while empty or leak in your bag, and it holds a respectable 22oz. I know that’s not a TON of water, but I personally don’t want to be lugging around a giant, heavy water bottle.
Just a quick warning: the tap water in the Orlando area is TERRIBLE. It’s perfectly safe, but if you are sensitive to mineral-y water, then you should consider a filtered water bottle. This one from Life Straw has a 2-stage activated carbon filter. If you need them, you can buy replacement filters here.
Even if you aren’t normally the picture-taking type, you will want to get lots of pictures at Disney World! More than you think you could possibly want! And you could certainly rely on your phone for pictures if it takes decent quality ones. But it’s worth the money to have an ACTUAL camera and use it to take a billion pictures.
You don’t need anything fancy! I know nothing about photography and I don’t want to deal with all sorts of settings; I just want to pick my camera up and snap up all of the wonderful magical moments.
And for that, you don’t need a fancy camera. A basic point and shoot will do just fine. But I would recommend bringing along an actual camera and taking a billion pictures. It doesn’t have to be fancy! I recommend the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190. It’s cheap, compact, and very simple to use.
And if you are going to take lots and lots of pictures (which you should) you’re going to want a memory card as well.
Sometimes it rains at Disney (shocking, right) and when it rains, it really goes for it. If you are not prepared, one good downpour can mess up the whole rest of your day. But if you have ponchos, you just throw em on and continue on doing whatever your happy Disney heart desires.
No need to get fancy! These ones are cheap, lightweight, take up very little space, and will keep you happy and dry.
When it’s not raining, the sun is going to be out. Sunscreen is a must at Disney World! You are going to be outside walking around all day. And it’s not enough to put on in the morning and call it good. You have to reapply throughout the day, which means you either have to get back to your room or you need to bring sunscreen with you.
Now I HATE the greasy feel of sunscreen on my skin. I truly hate it. Unfortunately, I burn very easily so going without sunscreen is never an option. My absolutely favorite sunscreen for everyday use is Banana Boat Dry Balance. It’s high SPF, soaks in quickly, and doesn’t leave a greasy residue on my skin.
If you prefer a spray sunscreen, which makes reapplication easier, try Coppertone Sport.
8. Chapstick with SPF
Don’t forget about your poor lips! They will be out in the sun all day and need sunscreen just as desperately as the rest of your body. This Banana Boat Sport is my personal favorite for outdoor activities.
If you prefer something more natural, try this one from COOLA (which is also water-resistant!).
And if you want to dress up a little, Neutrogena makes a great tinted lip balm with SPF.
Are you sensing a theme here? Weather is going to play a big factor in your trip. You have to protect your eyes from the bright sun. If you don’t have sunglasses you are going to spend the day squinting and probably end up with a massive headache. I would recommend not bringing an expensive pair, just because if you lose them by accident or if they fall off on a ride, you don’t want to be out a couple hundred bucks.
These sunglasses are a classic shape, come in a ton of different colors and patterns and lense options, and cost less than $15. And most importantly they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
I also really enjoy this retro-looking Polarspex option.
Well, there you have it! The 9 essential items you absolutely must pack for your Disney vacation!
Veteran Disney fan: did I miss anything? Do you vehemently disagree with anything on the list?
What goes on your must-have list of what to bring to Disney World?
My family loves Disney World so much we’re moving there. Read about our journey here.