Packing for Disney World in November: Avoid These Mistakes
You’ve booked your Disney World trip, crossed off the days on your trusty calendar, and now the big day is almost here! Except…aren’t we forgetting something? Oh yeah, packing! The final stretch before you’re on your way to the Happiest Place on Earth.
But what to bring? How can you ensure you’re prepared? And how do you avoid crucial packing mistakes that will cost you time and money during your vacation?
If you’ve never traveled to Disney World before or just haven’t ventured there in November, have no fear! This guide will outline exactly what to pack for Disney World in November, including the essentials you shouldn’t forget, what to bring for children, and overall insight to make your vacation as stress-free as possible.
November is a wonderful time to visit the Disney parks in Orlando so kudos to you for picking it! Depending on which part of the month you’ve chosen, you’ll probably catch one of Disney’s annual special events. The Food & Wine Festival in Epcot continues into the first two weeks of November.
Tons of additional food stalls are added to the regular samplings at Epcot’s World Showcase, featuring a greater selection of options than the usual eleven. Future World, the other half of Epcot (which is currently being rebranded as Worlds Celebration, Discovery, and Nature), features stalls celebrating modern innovations in food and drinks.
Then, if you’re visiting Disney World from about the middle of the month onward, you will be absolutely dazzled by Disney at Christmas! They really pull out all the stops to celebrate the holidays so you’re in for a treat.
What to Keep in Mind While You Pack
Besides all the exciting events going on at this time of year, the crowds are pretty slim and the heat and humidity Florida is known for have mellowed out to some extent. When looking at what to pack for Disney World in November, weather is of course one of your primary concerns. The problem is November weather in Florida can be all over the place.
Temperatures range from a sunny 85 in the middle of the day to somewhere in the 50s in the morning and at night. I’ve even experienced a mild frost! Since weather can be so unpredictable, I suggest checking the weather in the upcoming weeks before you leave to get an idea of what exactly it’s up to. The best thing to do is be prepared, hence this handy guide.
It’s a no-brainer to pack your essentials like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, and so forth but I would definitely suggest packing any and all speciality things you might need. These items include medicines like Advil, Tums, Pepto Bismol or Imodium; basically be prepared for whatever’s in the realm of possibility for you and your family/group.
Sometimes the change of environment, sampling different (and possibly richer) foods than we’re used to, and all the physical exertion Disney World vacations can bring is not as welcome to our bodies. And while there is no shortage in the parks of Disney-themed merchandise in every variety the human brain could imagine, the stock of drug store items is quite limited.
Next up is to consider the length of time you’re staying in Disney World. Naturally you’ll need more options if you’re staying longer, whereas a quick trip could allow you to pack extra light on clothes.
Disney World doesn’t have much of a “dress code.” They do prohibit any guests over the age of 14 from wearing costumes (with exceptions for their Halloween events) and ask for all attire to be generally family-friendly. Typically, Disney World park guests dress very casually so you won’t feel out of place if you wear a t-shirt and sneakers everyday!
Later, I will expand on what items are best to pack for children on a Disney World vacation but my general rule applies: pack extra essentials! Diapers, formula, bottles, little snacks to keep them satisfied between meals. Disney World is a naturally kid-friendly place and most long lines for rides have something to engage them.
There are also plenty of toys around to catch their eye so other than a favorite, can’t-sleep-without-it stuffed animal or doll don’t bother bringing tons of toys! Still, it’s a smart idea to travel with some supplies for moments when they absolutely need to be distracted or entertained. Check out the “What to Pack for Children” section below as there will be more in-depth info on what to pack for kids when you’re visiting Disney World in November.
Before I go in I would also suggest making a list, whether it be a physical paper copy or a digital one on your phone, of every single item you need to pack. Even include the basic stuff; you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget the essentials when the rush of preparing to leave on your trip begins.
Best Clothes to Pack
1) Sneakers (one or two pairs) and plenty of socks. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll be on your feet! Disney World is jam packed with wonderful and special things to do and see; you wouldn’t want a simple but crucial thing like footwear to hold you back. Go for reliable, supportive pairs. Buying new sneakers for the trip can be part of the fun of planning. However, you should definitely test them out before you pack them up
2) Flip-flops or sandals if you plan on visiting the pool at your hotel or water park. It’s also nice to have variety when it comes to dressing for the parks. There are tons of great closed-toe or cushioned sandal options out there that make for excellent, durable walking shoes. But with all shoes you pack, make sure to give them a test run before you pack!
3) A slightly more upscale shoe (could even be a sneaker that masks as a loafer or a sandal with extra cushioning) if you book a dinner reservation at one of the fine dining restaurants. The recommended dress code is “business casual” with the understanding that guests are most likely coming to and from the parks in whatever they are wearing.
4) Sunglasses. This is an obvious one but no one wants to be squinting in the sun all day, and definitely not in all the photos you’ll be taking.
5) Hats and other hair accessories. No matter what time of year you visit Disney World, there’s a good chance you’ll see the sun out and in its glory frequently. Packing a wide brimmed hat, a baseball cap, or a visor will keep rays out of your eyes. Similarly, anyone with longer hair should pack a reasonable amount of hair bands, clips, or whatever else you might need to keep your hair out of your face in the heat and on wild rides.
6) One or two pairs of longer pants like jeans or capri pants. If you’re traveling from a colder climate to the warmer one at Disney, I would suggest wearing one of these longer pairs on your flight or drive to Orlando along with light layers on top.
7) Two to three light outerwear pieces depending on the level of comfort/style you’re looking to achieve for your daily adventures. Again if you are traveling from a place where it is a bit chillier in November, it would be best to incorporate these into your travel outfit. This also helps to avoid over-packing. For example, a t-shirt with a sweatshirt and then a light jacket.
8) As mentioned earlier, the majority of guests in Disney parks are dressed for comfort, not necessarily style. But if your definition of comfort includes skirts and dresses, go for it! An outfit featuring a skirt or dress just has to be modified for a theme park. Some rides (like Space Mountain) feature low and tight seating so definitely wear bike shorts or something similar underneath to avoid feeling too exposed.
9) Bathing suits. If you’re traveling in November, it might be too cold to tempt you for a dip in your hotel’s pool. However, Disney World’s hotel pools are heated and wonderfully themed along with the rest of the hotel. I like to structure my Disney World days with an afternoon break at the hotel pool, weather permitting. Bring one or two just in case! You don’t want to miss out on a fun experience Disney has to offer, especially considering the cost of those hotels.
10) A scarf, a pair of gloves, and a winter hat—just in case! This is a total 180 turn from the previous packing item but that’s packing for Disney in November for you! Luckily these winter accessories are small and won’t take up much room in your suitcase. Hopefully you won’t need them but just in case you do, you’ll thank me then.
11) A light rain jacket and/or a pack of rain ponchos. Since the weather can be unpredictable and even downright chilly after a water ride, it’s a good idea to stay dry!
12) Try to “underpack” (i.e, don’t pack too many clothes/accessories) if you can! There is a lot of wonderful merchandise in Disney World and you’ll want to make sure you have room in your suitcase for souvenirs. At the same time, you don’t want to be stuck and forced by the weather to spend souvenir funds on Mickey-covered clothing you wouldn’t otherwise wear.
What to Bring to the Parks Each Day
1) A small, easy-to-carry, you’ll-barely-notice-it’s-there bag. This could be a fanny pack, a purse, a backpack—whatever works for you and your comfort and personal style. The ideal bag situation is a balance between carrying all the essentials and not getting in the way. Who wants to lug around a heavy, big pack filled to the brim with things you might not need?
2) Your magic band. This is quite literally your key to the kingdom so don’t go anywhere without it. These nifty watch-like accessories act as your room key, theme park entry pass, and can even be linked to a debit or credit card for easy purchases.
3) A smart phone. Sure you can enjoy Disney World without one, but there are lots of bonuses to toting one around with you. Everything’s gone virtual on “My Disney Experience,” Disney’s official travel app. Here you can access your park reservations, maps of the parks, schedules for parades and shows, where to find character meet-and-greets, and more!
Disney has also recently introduced the Genie Service and the controversial Genie+ to the app. You will also be able to use Disney’s new MagicMobile service to tap into parks by adding your park pass to your mobile wallet. This somewhat negates the need for a Magic Band, which could be a welcome option if you want to avoid the new Magic Band price tags ranging from $10-$25. (Keep in mind when these were introduced to the Disney Parks they were free.)
4) Your wallet. If you opt to use the Magic Band or contactless payment on your phone for purchases you won’t necessarily have to worry about bringing a wallet around but I think it’s smart to keep it on you in case. Guests over 21 who would like to have an alcoholic beverage might need to show their IDs.
5) A refillable water bottle. This is definitely optional but I’ve found it makes my days in Disney World much easier. Without one, bottled water becomes just another thing to spend money on. Since the parks can be overall pretty expensive, if you’re at all concerned about budgeting it’s smart to cut costs whenever you can.
Contactless water fountains can be found throughout the parks and are usually located near restroom stations. Note that quick service restaurants, which are easy to find especially in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot’s World Showcase, can also provide you with free cups of water (ice included!) if you just ask.
6) Hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes. Disney World is not requiring guests to be vaccinated and/or tested in order to visit the parks. There is a social distancing policy that is generally enforced and the masks policy as stated above. To add on a personal precaution, bring gel or spray hand sanitizer to apply to your hands after touching any surfaces. Or maybe the idea of wiping down a ride vehicle’s handrails before you touch them makes you feel safer. It’s up to you!
7) Sunscreen. This might be an obvious one for the skincare-obsessed but it needs to be mentioned. Even with the weather fluctuations during November, at Disney World you’re guaranteed to be exposed to the sun for most of the day so don’t leave without it. Like I mentioned before with your other toiletries, Disney has a limited and more expensive selection of these items so pack your own
8) Lip balm, preferably one with SPF.
9) Hand cream. This is one of the more optional suggestions I have for you but I think it’s a nice addition to your bag. If you don’t want it to take up unnecessary room in your everyday kit, then leave it at the hotel to use in the morning and at night. Using a lot of hand sanitizer can dry out your hands which can be unpleasant.
10) A camera. Cameras are even more optional in the age of smartphones but if you’re into using DSLRS or good-old-fashioned film cameras, you’re more than allowed to bring them along. Do keep in mind that a large camera will add extra weight to your adventures around the parks and is another valuable to keep track of.
11) A portable charger. The days in the parks can be long and you wouldn’t want your smartphone to die right before a Kodak moment!
12) Bringing a snack or two is totally allowed if you’re the type to get hungry (or hangry!) on the go. Another thing Disney is never short on is fun treats like Mickey-shaped…everything! Ice cream, cookies, pretzels, you name it. But a satisfying protein-packed healthy option?
Not so much!
Pack a box of your favorite on-the-go snacks in your suitcase (e. g. granola bars or mixed nuts or fruit leather). The parks don’t allow any outside food beyond that. This is even more necessary if you or anyone in your party has dietary restrictions or allergies. The restaurants in Disney World are usually very accommodating but the snack stands offer less variety.
I’ve actually written about some of the best snacks you can eat at the theme parks here:
- Best Snacks at Hollywood Studios
- Best Snacks at Animal Kingdom
- Best Snacks at Magic Kingdom
- Best Snacks at Epoct
What to Pack for Children
As far as clothing is concerned, follow the same “comfort guidelines” for your child as you would for yourself and then some. You want to make sure all the changes in the environment aren’t too intense for the little ones.
1) A stroller! Yes, the parks have multi-seater strollers available to rent but bringing your own allows you and your child/children the comfort of another familiar element. It’s much easier to bring around a foldable stroller with a few more features than to spend the money and time renting one every day when you arrive at the parks. Toddlers are easier to keep track of and less likely to get over tired if they’re hanging out in their comfy stroller from home.
2) Extra clothes and underwear or diapers. Bring a change of clothes, underwear/diapers, and socks with you to the parks.
3) A portable changing mat
4) Sunglasses, hats, and warm weather accessories for the drastic changes in November weather.
5) As far as shoes go, sneakers are a universally safe option. Closed-toe sandals or “jellies” are another good alternative since there are a lot of little “water playgrounds” throughout Disney World and can be worn with socks on chiller days. Bring an extra pair of socks to switch into if their feet get wet!
6) Adults can’t wear costumes but kids certainly can! If your little one has a favorite Disney character outfit, or a couple, feel free to bring them along for special moments. Not only do they make for magical photo opportunities with characters and in different lands, they also will make your child feel extra special.
7) Snacks! Adult guests might be able to go without them, but kids, especially toddlers and babies, definitely get hungry at random times or might not want any of the offerings available. If food allergies and dietary restrictions are of concern, Disney World is very accommodating. Some guests also like to have groceries delivered to their resort.
8) A comforting stuffed animal or other favorite toy. They might not need it during the day at the parks but bedtime in an unfamiliar location can be made easier if Teddy is there.
9) Little activities for them to engage with on longer lines like coloring and activity books or a durable kid’s camera for age-appropriate travelers to document the trip from their perspective.
10) Wipes, either simple baby wipes or both the gentle and sanitizing kind. It’s no secret that kids touch everything so you’ll want to make sure they’re not picking up too many germs from public surfaces.
Best Days to Pack
As previously mentioned, making a list of everything you plan on bringing with you to Disney World is a crucial step in this process.
Finding the best day to pack is very personal to your schedule but definitely give yourself ample time to do so. Block out a lot of time in case you have to do laundry, buy anything new like travel-sized toiletries, find any camera equipment you’ve been meaning to look for, and any other expected hiccups that could occur.
Even though packing for a trip to Disney World, especially in November, can seem like a daunting challenge, my final suggestion is that you lean into this stage of vacation. After all, packing your suitcase means you’re one step closer to experiencing genuine Disney magic , especially now that you have a better idea of what to pack for Disney World in November. You’re going to have so much fun!
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