I could probably write a whole separate blog on how to pack for Disney World or Disney packing tips. Disney is a vacation like no other vacation and I think the best way to have the best time at Disney is to be ultra prepared. Part of that preparedness involves packing right. While Walt Disney World isn't exactly remote and it certainly has it's conveniences, I recommend packing these things that you might not have thought of. Here are some of my must-haves and best advice on how to pack for Disney World – AKA the most magical place on earth.
Pack For Disney World with These Easy to Forget Items
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Do you really need to pack an alarm clock when you pack for Disney World? YES! You DO!
Yes, I know it is 2019 and that everyone uses their phone or their Apple Watch as an alarm clock, but hear me out. I know it sounds like a weird thing to pack but rooms in Disney World resort hotels don't have clocks. There are no wall clocks and not even an alarm clock by the bed. I get that people just use their phones, but even when alarm clocks were a standard room feature, people still had wristwatches.
I don't wear a watch and neither do my kids but they know how to tell time, so I like having something we can all refer to. Here are a few I recommend:
Sealable Sandwich Bags are a MUST when you pack for Disney World
These are an easy item to pack for Disney World and come in very handy for everything from snacks to wet clothes and toiletries. If you're super organized (spoiler alert – I am not) you can you can pack sets of clothes together in bags and arrange them by day to save time getting ready in the morning. Just pull out a neatly labeled baggie, toss it in the direction of your kids and tell them to put on their outfit for the day. In my mind, this is how our Disney trips work. Only in my mind.
But for real, even though I've pretty much stopped using disposable plastic bags at home, they do come in handy when we're traveling.
Since rainy weather is such a common occurrence at Disney World it's really good to have a poncho handy. You can buy a bunch of disposable plastic ponchos online for very cheap. It's better to bring those and have them on hand, rather than get caught in the rain and having to pay the price for the ponchos they sell in the parks. Rain at Disney World can be a very brief occurrence or last all day.
I subscribe to the “if I am carrying a poncho for every member of my family, it will not rain” philosophy. And, if you find yourself without a poncho and it starts raining? My advice is to buy one and keep going. My family got caught in an unexpected storm at Epcot. It started to rain while we were standing in line at a pin trading kiosk where we could have grabbed a poncho and paid a gazillion dollars for it. I didn't buy the poncho because I didn't want to pay a gazillion dollars for it and I told myself the storm would blow past. It didn't and we ended up spending two miserable hours before giving up and going home. If we'd have just bought the dang ponchos, we'd have had fun despite the rain.
When you're going over your list of what to pack for Disney World, make a note to bring the ponchos.
Glow sticks (or other Dollar Store Light-Up Toys)
If you're in the parks after dark – and you SHOULD be because Disney's nighttime entertainment is not to be missed – you're going to see all kinds of vendors peddling light-up toys, necklaces and other fun glow-in-the-dark trinkets that will delight your kids and lighten your wallet.
You can save yourself a ton of money by purchasing these items in advance of your trip and taking them with you. Put them in your daypack or backpack and pull them out at dusk. No standing in line. No spending extra money. Happy kids. Everyone wins.
If you are going to Disney World with a child under 2 years old you will find it very handy to have a lightweight portable baby carrier of some sort. Stroller parking is not very conveniently located in most cases and you can't bring strollers into lines for attractions. Even the Indoor Epcot Pavilions don't allow them and you have to park way outside. If you are carrying your child around, that is not too much fun for anyone. A carrier really helps ease how cumbersome it can be to experience attractions with very little ones.
Here's the ergo I used when Zack was little enough to carry around:
You'll want to have an autograph book for character meet and greets. This is an inexpensive souvenir and it increases interaction with the characters when you have something for them to sign. You can purchase autograph books in the parks, in the resorts or on board Disney Cruise ships but like most things, you'll save money if you purchase off property and bring them with you.
These are SO. MUCH. CHEAPER. virtually anywhere but Disney. Amazon has a ton of options:
The character photos are one of my favorite parts of visiting the Disney parks. Meeting their favorite Disney characters is just magical for the younger kids and these meet and greets make such cute photo opportunities.
Have you ever thought about taking hunny for Pooh, some dog biscuits for Pluto, acorns for Chip and Dale or an apple for Snow White? You can take the real thing or make cardboard cutouts using a pattern, a cricut machine or drawing freehand. Think photo booth style props. This Pinterest pin can give you some ideas.
Not only does this add some depth and uniqueness to your pictures, it also increases character interaction. Of course Pooh is going to engage with you a little bit more if you take him a jar of his beloved Hunny.
My best advice is to do some homework on where the various characters appear and how easy, hard, or time consuming it is to find them. Some characters only appear in certain parks or at certain dining opportunities, so if you're going to go to a lot of effort to make a prop that you pack for Disney World, put that same level of effort into making sure you're able to find that character.
What? But one of the conveniences at Disney World is being able to charge nearly everything you your room with your MagicBand. You can go almost your whole vacation without needing to take out your wallet. However, there are still a few things that require cash. The mobile vendors pushing carts around at parade time only take cash, for instance. Coin presses also require cash. You may need cash for tips. We always like to leave our “mousekeepers” a little something for taking care of us.
Chargers, Cables and Cords…
…oh my! Seriously, make sure you're prepared in terms of power for all the things. When you pack for Disney World, staying connected and plugged in is of the utmost importance. I've found the WiFi and phone reception at Walt Disney World to be pretty good. I have AT&T so your mileage may vary. If you're using your phone to take pictures or using My Disney Experience or Disney Play apps in the park, or check out wait times, guess what? Major battery eaters. You'll need to carry some additional juice in your daypack.
We love this compact external charger,
The Anker Candy Bar Charger (holds two phone charges) or this, the grandaddy of chargers which can charge a phone eight times. This can get your average family through a day in the park, easily. We probably use more juice than the average family, so we load up on these and call it good if we don't use it all…but we are usually down to the existing bars on our phones by the time we leave.
This is an awesome alternative to sitting on the ground while you wait for parades or fireworks at Disney. It has weighted corners, is pocket-size, and puncture-resistant. It’s also water-resistant, so you can use it as a poncho in a pinch. It’s really versatile, so you’ll be using it in lots of places outside of Disney. Get a couple of them.
I hope you've enjoyed my tips on how to pack for Disney World…and I hope your own Disney experience has all the magic.