Packing for vacation can be a lot of fun, getting to think about your trip and plan what you’ll be doing, but it can also obviously be stressful, especially if you’re a last minute person. It’s easy to forget something, and if you’re trying to save money on a Disney trip you don’t want to have to waste money buying something in your resort’s shop to replace something you forgot.
I’m going to share what to pack for Disney World in May. This list is specifically geared toward trips in the Spring, but most of these items are things you’ll want to bring all Spring or Summer, and many of them are good things to bring to Walt Disney World any time of the year.
I’ve divided this list into categories from what I think is the most important of all, the must-haves, to items you may want in order to have more fun on your trip.
Now, what I’m considering Disney must-haves are basically items that I don’t think anyone would want to leave home without, especially for a Disney trip. There may be some additional items you’ll want to add to your personal must-have list, but these are what I think is essential for everyone. I do think it’s important to have a list, whether you write it down on paper or keep a note on your phone. Hopefully these items I’ve complied will help you to create your list.
First of all you’ll want to think about what your own essential items are. These are things like clothes and undergarments, but don’t forget items you need like any medications or toiletries. There are some items standard in the resort rooms if you are staying on Disney property, like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap, but if you like your own items, or if there are other products you use, don’t forget these!
‘Must Have’ Items to Pack for Disney World
Comfortable Shoes: This is probably the most important thing to have at Disney. Most people are going to be spending hours in the parks each day and you’ll spend the majority of the time on your feet.
People also tend to think about Disney Springs as a place to relax without realizing you’ll have to do a lot of walking around there too. I would recommend bringing at least two pairs of shoes per person on the trip, as I’ve seen a pair shoes get worn out from being worn the entire trip. You may even opt for bringing comfort inserts to help protect your feet even more. I know this may sound excessive but I don’t really think people realize the toll that all of the walking will take on your feet.
Make sure you test your shoes out and break them in if needed before the trip; blisters are no fun! Because it’s going to be getting to the hottest point of the year, you may want to opt for sandals. Again, make sure these are shoes you can walk around in all day and are not going to be the type you slip in or walk out of.
Sun Protection: This is really always important, but as we are heading into summer, these are things you would not want to forget. Remember essential items like:
- Sunscreen (At least SPF 30)
- Hats, especially if they’ll cover ears
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Lip balm with SPF (lips burn super easily)
- Loose light colored coloring- also good for keeping cool
You’ll be spending a great deal of time outside and a lot of the parks are not well shaded. There’s nothing worse than a sunburn in the middle of a vacation. Plus no one wants to end up with skin cancer one day. Make sure you and the rest of your group have these essentials.
Chargers: First of all, I’m sure no one would want to be without their phone charger on vacation, but you may want to think about bringing a portable charger as well. With all of the pictures you’ll probably taking, and the ability to use the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone to find park directions, ride wait times, and to book extra Fastpasses, you could be on your phone a lot.
I have gotten my phone battery very low by the time I was heading back to my resort. Make sure if you need to bring other electronics with you, you have chargers for them as well.
Money: This may seem like a no-brainer, but I could still see someone forgetting this. Even if you’re on a Disney Dining Plan you may still need some extra cash for items not covered by the plan, if you want something extra, or if you’re on the two-meal-a-day plan and want a third. Also,
it’s hard to go on a Disney trip and not leave with any kind of souvenir, so you’ll want to have cash or a card for that. If you want an idea of how much to bring, you can check out this forum to see how much money other guests have brought.
Other Important Items
Rain Gear: This is Florida, and Florida is basically a tropical climate, which means it rains a lot. Typically the rain doesn’t last too long, but there’s always a chance for it. Bring a poncho or light raincoat with you; it’s much cheaper that having to break down and buy them in the parks. Also, some people like to wear rain gear on rides like Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids to keep from getting too wet, so this is also something to keep in mind.
A Park bag that is comfortable for you: The key here is that this is something YOU are comfortable with. Many people suggest bringing a backpack, but I don’t carry backpacks. I’ve been out of school for several years now and it’s not something I’m comfortable with or used to. Plus I find getting my money or other items I need out of a backpack to be a pain.
During my last trip I tried to use a backpack as a park bag and hated it after the first night I was there. The only other bag I brought was a very small one that I planned to use just for Disney Springs, so it was no where near big enough to fit everything I wanted to bring with me into the parks.
So, I had to buy a bag at Disney Springs.
Figure out what kind of bag you want for the parks. Maybe you are a backpack person, maybe you need a diaper bag, maybe a old school fannie pack will work just fine, or maybe a mid sized purse is important for you. Think about how much space you need and bring that bag with you instead of making my mistake and having to buy something extra while at Disney.
Extra room for souvenirs: This one my seem kind of weird because leaving extra space isn’t really “bringing” something, but I have heard of many people having to buy an extra bag while they are at Disney because of having so much extra stuff to bring home.
Even the most frugal traveler will probably want to buy something, or at least your kids might. So make sure to leave some extra room in a suitcase or bring a small empty bag with you that you can easily check or use as a carry-on to bring all of your Disney World souvenirs home in.
Your Own Water and Snacks: I’m including these to the list because it’s a great money saver. If you are driving to Walt Disney World it’s a good idea to bring some of you own snacks and beverages for while you are at the parks.
These items are expensive at Walt Disney World (water and sodas run around $3 each!), so even just bringing a case of bottled water to have while in the theme parks, can actually save you quite a lot of money.
Don’t worry if you aren’t driving; if you have Amazon Prime you can actually have these type of items sent directly to your room on the same day with Amazon’s grocery delivery service.
Band-aids or other first aid gear: – Maybe your comfortable shoes ended up not being so comfortable after several hours on your feet or maybe you end up with a cut on your finger. Disney has medical areas but for a small cut or blister you might as well take care of this yourself. No point in wasting precious vacation time when all you really need is a band-aid.
Bringing pain reliever, like Tylenol, may also be a wise choice.
Hand sanitizer: You, and your kids if you have them, are going to be touching all kind of things. Keep in mind that hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people ride each of the rides each day and will be touching the same lap bars and handles as you. No one wants to get sick while they are on vacation and the easiest way to avoid this is by cleaning your hands.
Even though there are restrooms all around the parks where you can wash your hands, there may not always be a restroom near snack carts or quick service restaurants. For this reason as well, it’s a good idea to have hand sanitizer on hand so you can use it before you eat.
Disney Themed Clothing: – I’ve previously mentioned buying souvenirs, but I would actually recommend not buying T-shirts from Disney, unless it’s a design you absolutely can’t live without.
Clothing on Disney property is very much overpriced and you can a lot of times find cuter and more unique designs from local department stores or Etsy. I wore a Little Mermaid shirt from Kohl’s during my last trip and a cast member complimented me on it and said they had never seen that design before. T-shirts outside of the parks typically can run anywhere from 10-20 dollars cheaper than the clothes on Disney property so bring these with you.
Disney pins: If you’re new to visiting Disney, you may not know about pin trading. Pin trading is a long tradition at the Disney Parks where guests can trade Disney enamel pins with cast members. This can be a fun activity for kids and adults alike and could land you a unique souvenir.
You can buy some pins ahead of time from Shop Disney, including the booster packs many people start trading with. Avoid finding pins on eBay. Though they can be very cheap, most of the time they are fake pins that pin traders do not want.
Swimming gear: You may think you’ll be too busy to swim with all of the attractions and restaurants around Disney World, but after hot day nothing will seem more appealing than jumping into your resort’s pool. This can also me a nice midday break activity if you aren’t planning to be in the parks all day.
The Disney World resorts all have amazing pools and if you have kids they’ll probably be begging to jump in. Plus the Walt Disney World waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) are in full swing now so if you’ve added these to your park itinerary you especially don’t want to be bathing suit-less.
When packing for Disney, the most important thing is to try not to stress too much about packing. Vacations are supposed to be fun and when you’re stressed and rushed, you’re more likely to forget something. Try to start packing early, take your time, and follow a list you make to remember everything you need.
Happy packing and happy travels to the most magical place on earth!
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