20 Essential Items to Pack for Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Restaurants
Photographed by Michael of Countdown to Magic

When it comes to planning a Walt Disney World Vacation, there is a lot to consider. Figuring out what to pack for Disney World is one of the final hurdles before you can head off on the trip of a lifetime.

And sometimes, a little extra help in terms of preparation is needed.  And so, I’ve put together a list of 20 items that I think are absolutely essential things you must pack for your upcoming Disney World vacation.

1) Comfortable Shoes or Sneakers

Since you will be walking around the parks and standing in queues for rides all day, comfortable shoes are so important. The last thing you need is your feet hurting or getting blisters, so make sure whatever shoes you are packing, they are comfortable and you can wear them for long periods of time. If you’ve bought new shoes, maybe test them out around your home in the run up to your trip.

2) Backpack

Backpacks are brilliant for walking around within the parks. You can keep everything that you would possibly need for a day in the parks in your backpack. If you prefer having your valuables such as money, credit cards and phones nearby, additionally you could take a bum bag. Just be mindful that on arrival to each park, you will have to remove and unzip all your bags for them to be searched.

3) Sunglasses & Sunhat

Florida’s known as the Sunshine State, and temperatures can soar into the hundreds, especially in the Summer. It is likely that you will be exposed to the sunshine whilst walking around the parks or waiting in line for rides. Epcot especially is very open with little shade, so sunglasses and a sun hat will be your new best friend and protect your head and eyes.

4) Poncho

The weather at Disney World can be very sporadic all year round. Although there are usually very high temperatures, before you know it you can be caught in a heavy rain shower.

Bring a poncho in your backpack every day to keep you dry in the parks during rainfall and on water rides, such as the Kali River Rapids and Splash Mountain. Poncho’s are quite expensive in the Disney Parks, so bring a couple from home to save costs or even visit a local Wal-Mart when you arrive in Orlando. If you are wanting a souvenir Walt Disney World poncho, expect to pay premium prices.

5) Swimsuit

If you are paying a visit to one of the Disney waterparks—Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach—you’ll need to remember your swimsuit. Spending the day at one of the waterparks is a great break from the parks and enormous fun.

6) Smartphone

The My Disney Experience App is so helpful for planning your trip to Walt Disney World. With free Wi-Fi throughout the Disney Parks and hotels, you can manage your reservations and keep on top of your itinerary. The App is available on Android and Apple Smartphones and can be used to view and manage things such as:

  • Fast Pass+
  • Dining Reservations
  • Opening Times
  • PhotoPass
  • Entertainment Showtimes
  • Character Meet Information
  • Ride Wait Times
  • Park Maps

7) External Battery Pack

Just in case your phone dies, an external battery pack can be a total lifesaver. These battery packs can charge your devices in your bags as you walk around the parks. If you buy a good quality battery pack, you’ll be able to charge your phone several times.

8) Camera

Whilst there are many PhotoPass opportunities around the parks, bring your digital camera to capture your own magical memories. Don’t forget spare batteries and extra memory cards for your digital camera. If you were considering bringing a

Selfie Stick, don’t bother. Selfie Sticks are banned from all Disney Parks, so that’s something to leave at home!

9) Water Bottle

Water is the ultimate essential—it’s so important to stay hydrated especially in the Florida heat. Bring your own water bottle to the parks and you can get free ice cold water from all Counter Service Restaurants. There are also many water foundations located around the parks.

10) Antibacterial Gel & Wipes

Whilst Walt Disney World is a very clean place, millions of visitors pass through the gates each year. It’s best to keep your hands clean with antibacterial gel.  The last thing you’d want to happen to you in Disney is to get ill. Wipes always come in handy, especially if you have kids with you.

11) Sunscreen

Again, Florida is known for the beautiful sunshine and with high temperatures, it’s important to stay protected with sunscreen. A sunburn wouldn’t be fun, especially in Disney World. Make sure you bring your own sunscreen with you as you’ll end up paying premium prices inside the Disney Resort.

12) Fan/Bottle Mister

When your waiting in long lines or wandering through the parks in the humidity, buying a water mister can be so refreshing and cool you down. These are available in Walt Disney World but are most likely to be cheaper from somewhere like Wal-Mart.

13) First Aid Kit

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so pack a First Aid Kit in your backpack with Band-Aids, bandages and painkillers. There are designated First Aid areas across all the parks but it’s always good to have these things on hand in case you start to feel unwell or injure yourself.

14) Entertainment

Waiting times for rides can get very long, especially in peak times for popular rides. If you are traveling with little ones, they might get restless, so it’s a good idea to bring a couple of items to keep them preoccupied and entertained. iPads or tablets with games and videos on will keep them quiet for a while.

15) An Autograph Book

An Autograph Book isn’t just for the kids, but they sure do love collecting signatures from their favorite characters and princesses’. Don’t forget your book and a big pen or sharpie when you are going to character meet. Big pens are ideal for characters as they struggle with smaller ones. There are also many different ways make your autograph book unique. You could design it yourself or just leave a page in between each autograph to stick in a photo you took with each character.

16) Disney Pins for Trading

A popular activity around the Disney parks and resorts is to pin trade. Many collectors keep their pin collection on a lanyard where they will swap with other cast members or guests in designated areas of each park or in hotels.

If you are into pin trading, don’t forget to bring your collection, as there are quite a few meet ups in Walt Disney World and many merchandise stores where you can add to your collection.

17) Snacks

Food and snacks can be expensive in the parks, especially if you are not on the Disney Dining Plan. Bring your own snacks into the parks to save money and small packs of crisps, biscuits or fruit are great to give to children while waiting for rides or shows.

18) Guidebooks

One of the great things about Walt Disney World is that you can return year after year and still discover new sights and attractions. The parks are ever-changing and huge, so it’s good to be organized and read up on Disney World. It’s impossible that you are going to be able to do everything on your vacation, so bring along a guidebook to help you prioritize attractions and shows.

19) Disney Magic Bands

Since the introduction of the Disney Magic Bands several years ago, the Disney World experience has been enhanced and made easier. If you are staying on-site at a Disney Resort hotel, the magic bands are complimentary and will be shipped to you if you live in the US. If you are an international guest, they will be waiting for you at check-in on arrival. 

Alternatively, if you are staying off-site, they can be purchased in a variety of colors and designs throughout Walt Disney World from $12.95. Magic Bands definitely make your vacation simple and can be used to do the following:

  • Admission into the parks
  • Fast Pass+
  • Unlock your hotel room (if you are staying on-site)
  • Pay for food and merchandise
  • Link it to the My Disney Experience App
  • PhotoPass (Character meets & on-ride opportunities)

The magic bands are also waterproof, so you can wear them in your hotel’s pool, the waterparks or showering. Accessories can be bought in merchandise stores around Walt Disney World to make the bands stand out and be unique.

20) Fancy Dress Costume

If you are visiting Walt Disney World in the fall, the parks will be celebrating Halloween. Each year on selected evenings in September and October, Magic Kingdom plays host to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The Party is a private event and is an additional cost on top of your park admission.

Although a costume isn’t required for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, it is always great fun dressing up.


It goes without saying that you’ll also need essentials such as passports (if you live outside the United States), money, toiletries and more, but hopefully this list of 20 helpful items get you mentally prepared for how to pack for your upcoming WDW vacation.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:

  1. Disney Hollywood Studios Attractions
  2. Epcot Attractions
  3. Magic Kingdom Attractions

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