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Packing for a Disney vacation can seem just as daunting as planning your actual vacation. There are so many variables than can come with a trip to a Disney park, from weather to restaurant dress codes to what to pack in your park bag. Don’t worry, while you’re busy planning the fun parts like which rides to check out first, which characters to visit, and where to eat, we’ve rounded up our eight best tips, plus a packing list to help you get ready for the vacation of a lifetime at a Disney park.
Tip one: Pack in outfits
Throwing a bunch of T-shirts and shorts into a suitcase almost never works for a Disney vacation. At some point the wrong shirt is going to be worn with the wrong pair of shorts leading to a fashion disaster, especially when it comes to kids clothes. Packing in outfits where tops and bottoms can be mixed and matched will help to alleviate any issues of what shirt goes with what pair of shorts.
When it comes to shoes, try to bring at least two pairs of good walking shoes and a pair of flip flops. Splash and dash showers happen all the time at Walt Disney World, and the occasional rainy day can make for a wet day at the Disneyland Resort. Bringing two pairs of walking shoes will all but guarantee that you have dry shoes each day of your trip. The flip flops are perfect for a day spent at the pool or enjoying the Walt Disney World water parks.
Tip two: Prepare for unpredictable weather
The weather in both Anaheim and Orlando is usually warm, but in Southern California you may encounter unexpectedly cool evenings that call for layers, while in South Florida you may have to contend with rain showers that call for ponchos and rain boots. Keeping up with the weather while you get ready for your trip will definitely help you pack the necessary outfits and accessories. And even if the weather says it’s going to be warm and sunny, you’re going to still want to pack a sweater, sweatshirt, or light jacket for cooler evenings.
Tip three: Pack two outfits for each day
It gets downright hot in Orlando and Anaheim, especially in the summer months. Packing two outfits per person per day will be a major lifesaver! Changing quickly in a park restroom or taking a break to head back to your hotel to change and recharge will help you to feel refreshed and be able to keep going. No one likes walking around in hot sweaty clothes all day, so even though it’s going to take up a little more room in your suitcase and park backpack, that extra set of clothes is going to be a lifesaver. Pro-tip: Go on Splash Mountain just before changing so you can still enjoy the ride but shortly after get into some clean dry clothes!
Tip four: Bring your own Disney-themed toys and clothing
Collecting fun souvenirs is an age-old part of the travel experience, but let’s be honest: Disney paraphernalia does not come cheap. If you have kids in tow who are inevitably going be beg for a bubble wand or sparkly Minnie Mouse T-shirt in the park’s gift shop, be ready with a few fun new Disney clothing items or toys you bought for much less at your local department store.
Tip five: Prepare to stay cool
Staying comfortable in the parks starts with packing the right clothes, and a few other helpful items like a chilly pad and a rechargeable fan. Chilly pads can be ordered from Amazon and are an easy way to stay cool on hot summer days at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. All you need to do is run the fabric under water, tug it really tight to “activate” it, and place it around your neck to help stay cool. The other way to stay cool while touring the parks is with a rechargeable fan. These handheld fans can also be ordered from Amazon and come in a variety of colors. While the air they spread might not be cold, the breeze they create is better than no breeze in the humid Florida summers. A brimmed hat that will protect you from the sun is always a must, too.
Tip six: Bring your own food and beverages
No matter how many days you plan to spend at the parks, you’ll want to pack a refillable water bottle and at least some of your own food and snacks. In terms of staying hydrated, all Disney quick-service restaurants and Starbucks locations give out free water to guests, so you can easily refill your bottle whenever needed. We love the Life Straw reusable water bottles since they have a filter, a built in straw, and a clip that can easily attach to a backpack or stroller. On the food front, Disney does allow guests to bring in their own food and drinks as long as they are not in glass. Having snacks on hand not only helps prevent major meltdowns with kids, but it can help adults keep their energy up between meals, too. If you want to save room in your suitcase using a grocery delivery service to drop off snacks at your hotel is a great option.
Tip seven: Make a list of last-minute items
The final stretch getting ready for any vacation can be stressful. Making a list of any last-minute items you still need to get from the store or pack into a suitcase is a great way to ensure you don’t forget anything. Last-minute items we always add to our list includes any toiletries that we use at home on a daily basis, sunscreen, sunglasses, and gift cards. Once you place these last-minute items in your suitcase be sure to mark them off your list so you aren’t worrying about them any more.
Tip eight: Pack a carry-on
Whether you’re flying into Orlando or Los Angeles, packing a carry-on is going to be a necessity. Bags can get lost and show up days later at the airport. When you pack a carry-on filled with essentials like medications, one outfit per person, and basic toiletries, the fear of a bag potentially getting lost is put to rest. When you get ready to head home from your vacation, the extra space in your carry-on can also be used for souvenirs and gifts you might have purchased.
The Travelocity theme park essentials packing list
- Two sets of clothes per person per day
- Jacket or sweatshirt
- Two sets of walking shoes
- Flip flops
- Hair ties/accessories
- Swimsuit with cover-up
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shower gel
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Lip balm
- Face wash
- Makeup and makeup remover
- Razor and shaving cream
- Hair brush
- Pain medicine
- Motion sickness medicine
- External batteries and charging cords
- Reusable water bottle
- Rechargeable fan
- Chilly pad
- Disposable ponchos
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