An invaluable resource for your next Disney vacation, this Disney Packing Guide is everything you need to plan a smooth and carefree Disneyland vacation – without overpacking or being underprepared! We also have a Disney Packing Printable Checklist at the bottom that you can use to help double check while packing.
What to Pack for Disney
We just came back from a whirlwind week in Anaheim, Florida where of course we had to spend a few days at Disneyland!
My friend who we were travelling with was shocked that Ella and I were able to travel for a week using just a single carry-on, yet I still had everything Ella needed, whenever she needed it. (In contrast, she had 1-2 suitcases per family member and had to take two Ubers to track down items that she didn’t pack and ended up needing.)
No, it wasn’t a magical Mary Poppins bag – I’ve just been to the parks enough times to know what to pack, and what to leave behind – and to avoid you having the headache that my friend experienced, I thought I’d share our Disneyland Packing List so you can spend your time having fun in the parks (and save yourself unplanned purchases).
Our last trip to Disneyland we actually met up with the CEO from Selectflex and he gave us insoles to try during our vacation. It may seem like an unusual partnership, but keeping your feet comfortable and well-supported throughout your day (or week) at the parks is essential to having a great vacation.
By the way, during our first Disney trip, I thought I’d wear cute sandals and really Disney-bound for the day… and by the end of the day, my feet were tired, my back was in pain, and I was doing my best not to be a total grump and to stick it out until after the park closing fireworks. I learned my lesson and will never make a mistake like that again! Make sure to wear shoes with great support or add some orthopaedic insole into cute shoes. On our last trip, I used SelectFlex which are on-par (technology-wise) with expensive prescription orthotics and have three adjustable levels of arch support. I have a $15 SelectFlex discount code (Sugar20) if you decide to give them a try!
Also, before we get to the list – I wanted to share an awesome resource with you that I use when booking my Disneyland vacation.
Get Away Today is a family-oriented travel agency that offers the ONLY refundable Disneyland tickets and they are often having amazing sales or deals.
You can book your park tickets, hotels (Disney and off-property), transportation and more activities to fill up your vacation through them – and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. (You actually usually end up saving a ton more than if you were to try to book all of these things on your own.) They are fully accredited by Disney and often offer cheaper park tickets than you can purchase directly from Disney.
Now – on to the packing list!
What to Bring to the Parks
Good quality bag – it doesn’t need to be a backpack, but make sure that the bag you plan to carry at the parks can fit everything you plan to bring comfortably – and has a bit of extra room for things that you pick up throughout the day.
Cute shoes with SelectFlex insoles – wear these to the park!
Reusable Water bottle – as a bonus, I like to also bring water flavorings. We also usually bring a misting water bottle which will mist your face with the cold water when you press a lever. (Obviously, don’t mist your face with water with flavors in it unless you want to be a sticky mess)
Wet wipes/hand sanitizer – I don’t use these at home, but I use it while travelling and especially in a place like Disney where you have so many kids and also different cultures with bacteria/germs you may not have been exposed to yet. The wet wipes are also great for melted food messes (like melted Mickey bars)
Ponchos – I tend to stock up on the disposable ones but if you can invest in one that folds up well, that would be much more eco-friendly and stylish!
Plastic Zip Top Bags – Disney portion sizes are huge, so these are great for storing snacks to finish later. They are also great for popping your phone in during a sudden downpour (or on Splash Mountain)
Cell phone – download the Park App and use the camera as needed. Turn off notifications on social media so you can stay in the moment
Portable Phone Charger – You don’t want to spend the day playing a game of “when will my phone die?” Between the bad wifi and the constant checking for ride times, etc, even the best phone battery will be tested.
Sunscreen/Sunglasses – you are spending the day outside, protect your skin. Re-apply more often than you think you need to.
Autograph book – or another item to get signed by the characters, like a pillow case or a t-shirt. (Also, I like to keep this and the Sharpie we carry with it in a plastic bag to avoid any issues. Don’t use a small pen as the gloved characters can’t grasp it as easily)
Hats – okay, if you’re going to wear Mickey ears at least ensure you’re reapplying your facial sunscreen. A cute hat is an essential wardrobe investment (no wide brimmed ones because they are going to get swept away by the wind)
M&M Minis Container full of pennies and quarters – for the pressed penny machines, of course!
Mini hair brush – my daughter’s fine hair gets tangly and wild in minutes, so a portable hair brush is perfect for touch-ups before pictures (knowing how to do a nice up-do would be even better, but we all have our faults!)
Missing Child Finder – yes, it’s our worst nightmare but preparing for it can mean the difference between a quick search and a scary one. There are so many ideas out there – popping a Tile in their back pocket, making bracelets with your phone number on them, etc.
Camera – along with an extra battery and SD card
Stroller – honestly, even when we were past the age of using a stroller in any other area of our lives, strollers at Disney were still a necessity.
Disney Pins and Lanyard – if you want to try pin trading, this is the best ongoing souvenir collection (you can see how we display them in our dining room make-over post)
Gorilla Pod-style tripods – selfie-sticks are banned at Disney due to people pulling them out on rides, so only these are allowed. Personally, I just ask someone to take a picture if we need one with both of us in it, but this is a good option if you’re not comfortable doing that
Cash or credit cards – Disneyland doesn’t have the magic band system that WDW does, so you’ll need credit cards or cash to buy food or souvenirs. Have cash on hand for tips at the hotel, as well
Passport or Government ID – sometimes they will require ID to prove ownership of your tickets (or if you want to buy an adult beverage), and only US Driver’s Licenses or Passports are accepted
Stain remover stick – if it’s going to bother you when the kids drop ice cream or food on their clothes before pictures, this needs to be in your bag (personally, I just think that’s what photoshop is for!)
Little surprises – glow sticks, bubbles and small treats can help keep kids happy during long waits and also reduces requests for the various light-up merchandise the park will have on full display
Light change of clothes – We never need this but then, we never need it on road trips or days out at home. Know your kids.
Hand-held fan – I finally bought a cheap one after my daughter begged for the $17 version at Disney. This combined with our misting water bottle helps keep her cool and happy at the parks.
Absorbent cooling towel – this one was a lifesaver on a recent humid trip. It helps you cool down but stay dry – a better option than the fan so you can stay hands-free
Travel blanket – this one is perfect for keeping your clothes clean if you choose to sit on the curb for watching the parade
What to Pack in Your Suitcase
Second pair of shoes – in case your shoes get wet, etc.
Medications – just bring the prescription ones. Disney will give single-dose Tylenol and bandaids, and there is a Walgreens and a CVS within two blocks of the parks so if you need something, you will have no problem picking it up or getting it delivered to the hotel
Costumes or cute park outfits – some kids will be dressed casually, some will be dressed as princesses. I invested in a variety of cotton princess-style dresses to ensure my daughter didn’t overheat but also felt fancy because no one needs an overheated polyester-clad princess at Disney
Sweaters – depending on the length of your trip and time of year, one or two sweaters per person is plenty. We typically only need them in the evenings, so they only get worn for a couple hours a day.
One to two extra outfits per person
Swimsuits and swim cover-ups – if you plan on swimming every day, pack two each so you’re not pulling on a cold, wet bathing suit. Also, bring arm floaties, goggles, ear plugs, as needed.
A couple sets of pyjamas – don’t judge, but we don’t wear fresh pj’s each night, especially on vacations where we are showering/bathing every night.
All travel documents – printed tickets, hotel confirmations, rental car info, etc.
Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, skincare products (while I usually do a regimen, I like having make-up cleansing wipes on super tiring days), deodorant, lip balm, make-up, hair brush and products/stylers, razers, insect repellant, etc.
Activities for the hotel room – these are usually in our carry-on backpack. Books, tablet with headphones, pipe cleaners, journal, markers, etc.
Camera battery charger, cell phone charger, etc.
Snacks or breakfast items – we love bringing instant oatmeal, “hotel cereal” (the mini boxes of sugary cereal she never gets at home), and healthy snacks for bringing to the parks or pool. Bring some disposable spoons and bowls, or easily washable ones along with a small container of dish soap.
Aloe gel or cream – just in case you get too much sun, this is irreplaceable (check out my homemade version here)
Grab your free printable Disneyland Packing List – OR pin this post if you’d prefer!