When planning for your trip to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend that you sit down weeks or months before your trip and make a list of everything you might need. This list will make your Disney vacation shopping and packing even easier. Take your time and add to the list as you remember something else you don’t want to forget. You can break your list into subjects, like clothing, medicines, electronic items, snacks, shoes, etc. The following is a list of 20 things we always bring when we visit Walt Disney World.
1. Shoes — It is very important to bring shoes that are broken in and comfortable. You will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure there is a lot of rubber between your feet and the concrete. Also, if you get caught in one of those sudden afternoon rain showers, having an extra pair of “dry” shoes will save the day.
2. Hats — Florida is known as “the Sunshine State”, and in the summer months it can get quite hot and humid, and to keep your head from becoming a fireball, it’s best to keep your “brain cover” and face cool and protected from those hot rays. If you forgot to bring a hat, there are shops in all the parks that offer a variety of Disney themed hats and ball caps.
3. Rain gear — Florida is well known for its surprise afternoon rain showers, so make sure you pack ponchos and maybe even those small fold-up umbrellas. Disney ponchos and umbrellas can be purchased at many of the shopes in and around the theme parks, but it would be much cheaper to bring your own; the smaller the better, so they will fit in your bag or backpack. When it rains at Walt Disney World, very few people leave; the ponchos and umbrellas come out, and the day goes on. I would also recommend bringing some ziplock bags for those wet ponchos and umbrellas after the rain subsides. Rain does not overrule the “Magic” of Walt Disney World.
4. Sunglasses — It is a very good idea to bring more than one pair of sunglasses. The sun always seems brighter in Florida, and sunglasses are a basic necessity. At Disney World, as you visit the theme parks, you will be going in and out of attractions, and those sunglasses will be taken on and off multiple times during the day. Sometimes they are left behind, fall off during a “fast and furious” roller coaster ride, or get cracked or broken. There are many shops at Disney World where you can purchase sunglasses, some of which have Disney accents, but they will cost a little more than those from your local retail store. My advice is to bring several pairs for those unexpected accidents.
5. Sunblock — Again, those Florida sunshine rays can be very warming after a dip in the pool, but for an all-day trek through the Disney World theme parks, protection from those ultra-violet rays is essential. It’s a good idea to pack several bottles or tubes of sunscreen and use them liberally throughout the day. Nothing puts a damper on a vacation like a bad, painful sunburn, so take precautions and use your sunblock.
6. Hair accessories — For those guests who have long hair, it is a good idea to bring ponytail holders or headbands to keep your hair from flying in your face on fast rides or windy days.
7. Contacts, contact solution, eye glasses — Believe it or not, some guests have left their extra pair of eye glasses or contacts at home. Also, sometimes the contact solution could not clear airport restrictions. Again, bring those spare pairs, and you can put your contact solution in smaller bottles for air travel.
8. Laundry Supplies — If you will be visiting Walt Disney World for more than a few days, you may have to take advantage of your Resort’s laundry facilities. Speaking from experience, it is best to bring your own detergent, stain remover and fabric softner sheets. Most resorts have vending machines with these supplies, but they can be a bit pricey, and occasionally are out of order. You can purchase small packets of laundry detergent and softner sheets from most retail stores, usually available in the sample section. These are perfect for packing purposes, and also saves money.
9. Zip-Lock Bags (several sizes) — These plastic bags are perfect for soiled clothing that you didn’t get washed, laundry supplies, damp swimsuits (only those which are not quite dry; not dripping wet), treats or snacks for your day at a theme park, all those important id’s and cash just in case your bag or backpack gets waterlogged, wet socks after a rain shower, and any other items you want to keep dry.
10. Currency and Coins — One of the best perks about the Disney Magic Bands is the fact that you can reserve your Fast Pass+ rides or attractions, open the door to your Disney Resort, and purchase food, gifts, souvenirs, etc. from all of the Parks and Disney Springs, just by scanning your Magic Band, along with your special pin, and you are done. However, it is a good idea to bring cash with you on your day at a theme park, for incidental items, such as quarters, dimes, and pennies for the pressed penny, dime, or quarter machines, tips for housekeepers, luggage handlers, or a cast member who has gone above and beyond their usual duties to assist you or your family in a special way. Also, if you stay at a Disney or other Resort Hotel, be sure to bring some Thank You cards for the housekeeping staff, with a cash tip for their hard work keeping your room clean and refreshed.
11. For the theme parks – Be sure to bring pins for trading, autograph book and sharpie, change for the penny press machines, bottled water, juice boxes, light snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.), and wipeups for messy situations (those Mickey ice cream bars melt fast), a small spritzer fan.
12. For your resort room – You might want to bring your own special pillows. Sometimes the Resort pillows are too firm or too soft. Drinks and snacks brought from home are much cheaper than what you will find at a Resort Hotel. We usually bring our favorite snacks, beverages, paper plates, plastic ware, napkins, etc. We also bring trash bags so our housekeepers will not have to deal with our messes. If you happen to be a light sleeper like me, you might consider bringing some sort of oxcillating fan ( it helps drown out any outside noise or snoring sounds inside the room).
13. Traveling with an infant – Infants require extra accessories that you don’t want to forget. Most of the essential items, such as a stroller, bottles, pacifier, diapers, car seat, etc, are the easiest to remember. Some of the other accessories that might be forgotten are: outlet covers, swimsuit diaper, sippy cups, etc.
14. Extra luggage – We can never leave Walt Disney World without several bags of souvenirs and gifts for family and friends back home. What we finally started doing a few years ago was bringing along an extra piece of luggage specifically for our souvenirs. When you arrive home and begin unpacking, this is the one piece of luggage that gets everyone’s attention.
15. Extra hangers — Most resort hotels have hangers, but never enough for bigger families. I know I usually travel with my two daughters, and we all have certain items of clothing that need to be hung up. We get our extra hangers from a dollar store, and usually leave them at the resort. It’s a one way trip for our hangers.
16. Cool wraps — The weather in Florida can be tricky, but the average temperature during the Spring and Summer months can rise considerably, and one way to “beat the heat” is to purchase some sort of cool wrap, cool tie, or other cooling product. Another way to keep cool is bring a small personal fan than comes with a spritzer that releases a fine mist of water while the fan is running. This is so refreshing in the very hot summer months.
17. Personal Journal — Every time we have visited Walt Disney World, I have kept journals on our trips and all the experiences we enjoyed. It is so much fun to go back to those years when we first started vacationing at Disney World and describe how we enjoyed the rides and attractions that do not exist today. A personal journal is also historical; it gives you dates and names of family or friends that shared your vacation, and so many memories that are now recorded in your journal.
18. Miscellaneous Items — Here are a few items you really need to bring along: needle & thread, scissors, pen flashlight, surge protector, ear plugs, eyeglass repair kit, first aid kid, prescription medications, and all other medications that are used on a regular basis, and don’t forget to bring some snacks and beverages.
19. Paperwork, Id’s — Don’t leave any important paperwork at home: driver’s license, personal ID, Hotel confirmation, insurance cards, addresses for your postcards, stamps, and most importantly, your MagicBands, or your pre-purchased theme park tickets. I would highly recommend keeping all of your important paperwork in a zip lock bag, especially any id’s or driver’s license, and be sure you keep your Magic Bands and Id’s with you at all times.
20. Electronic devices – No one wants to visit the most magical place on earth without creating a special photographic memory, so put all of the following on your list of electronic necessities: smart phone, camera/camcorder, I pad or I pad mini, laptop for those important nightly Facebook or email notifications, battery and phone chargers, and don’t forget the surge protector for all those plug-ins.
Making a list of what to bring on a Disney vacation makes your visit much easier and more organized. For every minor emergency, you will have the solution, whether its a bandaid or a battery or phone charger. It is much better to safe than sorry, and also many of the simple items on your list can be purchased at Disney World, but will cost more than what you can buy at your local retail store. If you’ll just take your time, and begin compiling your list ahead of time, adding to it as you remember important items you wish to bring, you will be so glad you did if a minor event occurs.
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