Wandering through the streets of Disney Springs on a sunny April evening is one of my favorite pastimes. There is usually a gentle breeze blowing, simply to remind me that it’s still springtime. Without that breeze, I might mistake this April heat for the heart of summer. But thankfully the wind is at my back and I am able to cruise through the Disney Springs marketplace with very few cares in the world. 

As most vacationers are aware, Disney Springs is a massive showplace featuring high-quality restaurants, fun and fantastical Disney-inspired shops, a dine-in AMC movie theater, and many other entertaining stops that are sure to keep you and your travel party busy for hours. As I waltz through the Landing area, I am reminded of the first time I made a trip to Disney Springs. It was a necessity. 

We had been in the parks for one day and my husband’s tennis shoes, which were previously in pretty good shape, had completely broken down on him. The front portion of the rubber was peeling away from the toe and the rubberized piece at the heel had come off altogether. We desperately needed to find him a new pair of kicks before we could spend another day logging anywhere from 15,000-25,000 steps. 

So, we took the complimentary transportation bus to Disney Springs. While the shopping complex met all of our needs and even fulfilled some we didn’t realize we had, like how my son really, really needed to own the new Jurassic World Lego set, a quick trip over to Disney Springs isn’t always the most convenient thing. Most of the time your Walt Disney World vacation has been planned down to the minute and taking a trip over to the shopping district might not be on your itinerary right away. 

I’ve found that when preparing my Walt Disney World packing list for April, it is always best to expect the worst and plan for all eventual needs. With that in mind, here are my go-to items for visiting the resort during the month of April.

Walt Disney World Packing List Essentials for the Month of April

Tennis Shoes: I feel I should start with this item, since it is at the heart of my anecdote. While you may be tempted to pack a pair of trendy shoes, those are just too impractical to wear around the parks. You must purchase a pair of comfortable sneakers and stow them in your luggage. Preferably you are able to do this before you arrive at the parks.

Flip-Flops or Sandals: I don’t think it’s necessary to have both, but generally these types of footwear do not take up a large amount of space, so if you feel compelled to pack both, do it. I like to have a pair of flip-flops for my times at the hotel pool or when I go over to the water parks. I tend to feel comfortable wearing my flip-flops to other places as well, but if you like to dress up an outfit with fancy footwear, I won’t begrudge you that fashion choice.

When evaluating your shoe selection realize that the more straps you have on your sandals the more opportunities you have for the leather or other material to start to agitate your skin as things heat up and you begin to sweat. I recommend a simple sandal with a bit of cushion that can easily be worn both day and night. 

Socks: So easy to pack and stow, grab a pair of supportive athletic socks for each member of your party. My youngest son doesn’t particularly like to wear socks, especially when it is hot outside, but I always pack one pair for him because I want to protect his feet from getting blisters.

White cotton socks usually do the best work when your foot starts to sweat, but you can also make wearing a pair of socks part of the experience by purchasing quirky, Disney-themed socks for every member of your pack. 

T-shirts: During the month of April it is going to be quite warm. The temperature will settle somewhere between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular day. Since April is not part of the summer season, the humidity won’t be in overdrive yet, but it may feel like it, especially after those afternoon rain storms. I would recommend packing enough t-shirts that you could slip one on each day.

I know a ton of people prefer to wear tank tops or more fashionable blouses that may have holes cut in them, but I try to avoid wearing those to the parks in the month of April.

The sun is going to be blazing and while those shirts will definitely offer some built-in air conditioning, they will not adequately protect your arms and neck from the sun’s rays. By packing a t-shirt for each day, you are certain to cover all your sensitive bits, but still feel light and fresh in the warming sun.

Let’s talk about matching shirts for a second. I adore them! They are so pragmatic for several reasons. Should someone in your party, heaven forbid, become lost, having matching t-shirts for your entire crew will make the missing party easier to locate.

Another reason I love matching t-shirts is because they make for the best pictures. Nothing beats that shot of your family, all dressed alike, standing in front of the gorgeous topiaries over at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.

Be smart when purchasing your matching t-shirts. Do not go for the cheapest option available online or through Etsy. Some of those sources are using Disney images without observing copyright laws and those companies may be shut down before they have a chance to send you your purchases.

Or, and this can sometimes feel worse, when those agencies infringe on Disney’s trademarked products they may feature some design online, but it will look completely different once you receive it. That can cause a bit of frustration that is unnecessary. My matching t-shirt tip for you is to order directly from the Disney Store.

While this might cost more than other online retailers, it also guarantees that you will receive a professionally made product that looks like the real thing—because it is! Recently, the Disney Store has expanded their size chart, so there will be more options for outfitting your entire gang. My final thought on matching shirts: Don’t go with a red shirt. Unless it is someone’s birthday and red just happens to be their favorite color, stay away from the matching red t-shirt.

Red always seems like the best option because it is so vibrant, but red is by far the most popular group t-shirt color. Your red will be lost in a sea of red as soon as you reach the Magic Kingdom. 

Comfortable walking shorts: Since the month of April is hot, but it’s not blazing yet, you can pretty much pack any kind of shorts you desire. For April, I usually go with jean, khaki, or athletic shorts. My husband and I both like to sport our cargo shorts. Together we can fit just about anything we need for the parks into our pockets. This is helpful when we head out for the day.

Anytime I can avoid taking a day bag into the parks, I do. If I can fit a couple of gift cards and some sunscreen in my pockets, I’m set and ready. If cargo shorts just aren’t your thing, have no fear: April is a good time to wear just about any kind of short. Just make sure your legs are covered and you feel comfortable in your gear. If you plan to get on and off the rides, your vacation clothing should be able to stand up to that challenge. 

Rain Gear: With all this talk about the warm weather, you may have been thinking that Florida was devoid of rain during the month of April. I’m sorry to say that is just not the case. It is going to rain during your vacation, if you visit in the month of April. Some days, it will only be a warm drizzle. Other days, the entire afternoon will be washed away by the pounding rain showers.

Unfortunately, even when you check the most powerful weather radars and you watch the local forecast every hour, you still cannot predict a rain shower. This is no joke. You can be having a great time at your hotel, even playing in the pool, and then go over to one of the parks and find it is raining.

It feels bizarre, I know! Just because it is raining at Animal Kingdom does not mean there are any showers at Hollywood Studios. That is just the way the weather works in Central Florida.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. You should anticipate the rain showers and pack something that will keep you covered when the rain descends. For April, I like a rain jacket because I always feel as if I get a little better coverage out of my rain jacket than my poncho or umbrella. But, if you feel like a rain jacket might be too warm for you, then toss in your umbrella or your poncho.

A word of caution about the umbrellas: even if you have an umbrella, it may not protect you from the rain. I know how that sounds. It feels unbelievable, but it is true. The rain, when it comes, will likely be accompanied by high winds. This translates into a rain shower that can blow in from every direction all at once. So, even if you and your golf-sized umbrella are ready for battle, you may not come away feeling completely dry. Do what is best for you and your travel party but think through your packing choices first.

Sunscreen, Aloe Vera, Sunglasses, and a Hat: I like to lump all these items together because bundling them as one is really the most prudent thing to do. Act as if they go together and you won’t accidentally leave something behind. When selecting a sunscreen, be certain to get a variety that offers at least the SPF 50 protection level. There are many kinds of Aloe Vera, but I like to get the travel size one from my local pharmacy.

For sunglasses, pick a pair that blocks the sun and will temper some of the sun’s UV rays. As for a hat, I think finding a comfortable one will always be your best option. Don’t waste packing room on something you never intend to wear. If you are going to pack a hat, be sure it provides the coverage you need, and it will be something you can easily smoosh back into your travel suitcase when you are ready to return home. 

Those items should cover all your basic needs for the month of April. Here are a few suggestions for you that vary depending upon the people in your immediate travel party. 

If you are traveling with small children:

Pack their costumes: The month of April tends to be a popular time to dress in character. Don’t plan on having your little one wear their costume all day but bring a costume so they can dress up during the morning hours. The weather should be nice each morning, so this will allow your little one the chance to experience the park dressed as their favorite character. As long as you bring a comfortable change of clothes for your kid, that beautiful costume won’t be destroyed when the rain starts cascading down during the afternoon.

Many young ladies and gentlemen like to visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the morning hours to experience their royal transformation. These costumes you have packed ahead of time will save you a chunk of change when you go to this venue. If your party decides to stay in or around your hotel during the morning hours, costumes can still be worn at night. Since the air will not really become chilly during the month of April, those costumes can work all day.

I especially like to see kids who dress up as the Star Wars characters parading through Disney’s Hollywood Studios, swinging their light sabers, once the sun goes down for the evening. 

I especially like to see kids who dress up as the Star Wars characters parading through Disney’s Hollywood Studios, swinging their light sabers, once the sun goes down for the evening. 

Think plastic bags: You may think you can pick up a grocery bag or a Ziploc bag at any old location, but that is not necessarily true. These handy little items are a must if you are traveling with small children, and you may not be able to locate one without having to spend a chunk of change. Since bags are so slim, I recommend tossing a few in your luggage—stuff them and tuck them anywhere—so that you have them when you need them.

I use plastic bags all the time while in the parks. If we go out to lunch and my son doesn’t eat his cookie because he is just too full, I stick it in a Ziploc bag and save it for later. In the month of April, that cookie probably won’t melt, so it is safe to stick it in a bag and pull it out later when little tummies are ready for more food. Plastic bags also come in handy when you are preparing to go on a water ride.

Tuck your cell phones and other valuables inside the small Ziploc bags and you can feel reassured that your electronics will make it through the ride safely. If you are traveling with a little one who has an accident, you may not want to return to the hotel to take care of the situation. And, you may not be willing to throw the soiled clothing straight into the garbage can. The only other option is to rinse the clothes the best you can and put them into a plastic bag so that those items do not contaminate everything else in your day bag. 

Always bring a change of clothes for every child in your party: If your precious cargo is under the age of 10, they are still considered a child at the Walt Disney World Resort. To avoid making unnecessary purchases from the emporiums and shops, tuck an extra pair of socks, some undergarments, and a t-shirt, with shorts into a day bag for each child.

When you combine all the rich foods your child is certain to consume with the excitement of being on a thrill ride for the first time, almost any child may experience an accident. 

Band-aids and other first aid style equipment: Clearly, if you are a parent who has a child with special needs, you know to bring his/her medication with you anywhere you go, but you may not always consider what your child might need when they are hanging around for the day in the parks. A small packet of Kleenex tissues are an absolute necessity and a handful of Band-aids will always be useful.

But think about your child’s personal needs, as well. A few years ago, my group and I were in line for Splash Mountain on Christmas Day. We were okay with spending two hours in line to ride this group favorite because we considered ourselves lucky for getting to spend the Christmas holiday in the Magic Kingdom.

But, two hours is a long time for anyone to have to wait in line. My kids were handling the queue line well, but from time to time, they would climb up and down the railings and stone structures. The railings for this ride are made out of wood and sometimes that can be slippery or a splinter can come out of nowhere and find its way into a little finger.

On this day, my family was able to make it through this long wait without any injuries, but the group ahead of us was not so lucky. One of the little boys was climbing on the railing and lost his footing. He landed safely, but he twisted his ankle a tad. Without blinking her eyes, the mother in the group rummaged through her backpack and produced a roll of elastic bandaging with clips.

She had that thing wrapped around her son’s ankle in no time and he was walking, limp-free, throughout the rest of the line. If you have a little one in your party who is ungainly or likes to climb, but sometimes takes a tumble, come prepared for such an event. Taking on Walt Disney World with kids is an adventure, for sure, but you can make the journey easier when you come prepared with practical tools.

If you are traveling with adults

Since April is the perfect time to head to the parks to enjoy the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, I have no doubt that some of you are coming in with an adults-only travel party. The essential packing items do not alter, but there may be a few extra pieces you wish to have with you:

Clothing for “Dress-up” Occasions: Almost every restaurant in and around the Walt Disney World Resort will grant you admission if you are wearing shirts and shoes, but there may be some instances when you want to feel glamorous.

When dining at resort hotels, I tend to wear a sundress or a blouse, instead of my standard vacation gear. My husband likes to put on a collared shirt, as well. This is not a requirement for most of these establishments, but when you are wearing a nice outfit, you may feel more relaxed in these classy environments.

Sweaters or wraps: If you are taking the tip I listed above, you may have to don a sweater over that sundress. While the weather outside is perfectly delightful, the temperatures inside can become downright chilly because most restaurants keep the air-conditioning fully operational morning, noon, and night. If you know you get cold easily, and you are also planning to enjoy a dinner inside at a nice restaurant, bring a wrap or sweater so your evening isn’t ruined by the cool air.

During the month of April, the most logical tip I can give you is to dress and pack for success. The weather will be warm, but you may not need the spaghetti-strapped top. The weather won’t be cool enough to warrant heavy sweatshirts or jackets, unless they are also waterproof and can protect you from the rain. Pack clothing you love wearing and get ready to have the trip of a lifetime!

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