What to Pack for Disney World for Every Month

Photographed by Michael of Countdown to Magic

It’s vacation time! You and your family members have saved money for years, done your research about the parks, and even booked your tickets. You are ready to head to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida!

Before you hop on that plane or load up the car, there’s one more step you have to take: you must figure out what to pack. 

No matter how you choose to travel, packing space is always at a premium, so you will have to consider your family’s needs and make the best choices for your trip. Let me help you make those packing decisions. Read on to learn what to pack for Disney World, regardless of the month you are visiting the parks.

What to Pack for Disney World

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

It is always best to begin with the basics, so your Walt Disney World packing essentials are as follows:

Medication: Never leave home without any medications that you are required to take. It may be pragmatic to go ahead and pack a mini-first aid kit, too. I always have Tylenol and Band-Aids available. When going on vacation, it is never a bad idea to keep medications that can help with an upset stomach handy as well.

Putting one or two tablets in your vanity bag now could save a lot of time and money in the long run. No one wants to have to run out to the grocery store in the middle of the night or interrupt a day at the park trying to track down bandages when a blister has popped.

Comfortable shoes: Don’t scoff. This may seem obvious, but there are many people who go to the parks wearing trendy shoes, as opposed to comfortable ones. Whether you are an adult, senior citizen, or a toddler, having a pair of tennis shoes with thick soles and cushiony fabric will help ease the load your tired feet will absorb after a full day in the parks.

Socks: I recommend socks, but some people prefer to go without them. Having at least one pair of socks, per person in your travel party will at least open up options for people. Plus, socks are easy to pack. You can slip them inside shoes, or they can be quickly tucked inside other bags.

Lightweight, cotton, or other breathable material t-shirts: Mix and match this packing essential any way you like but choosing styles that are lightweight will always equal the best results when you are traveling to sunny Florida. Be certain to pack at least one true t-shirt. Even when it is mighty hot, and you are thinking everyone in your party will want to wear a tank top of some sort, having a t-shirt with the sleeves and neckline in tact will be a savior.

Sometimes when applying sunscreen everyone misses a spot. If you happen to miss the same spot all day long, a sunburn can be a nasty result. To prevent the same place from getting irritated day after day, you can pull out your trusty t-shirt and spend a day with a little bit of burnt skin covered.

Shorts: I have lived in Florida for a few years and I can honestly tell you there are only a handful of days throughout the year when I wouldn’t recommend wearing a pair of shorts. With that in mind, packing shorts becomes a necessity. With so many style options to choose from, this should be no problem for you and your family members. My biggest hint here is to think again about your personal comfort.

Is this pair of shorts something you can wear all day? Is it made from a breathable material? Are all your body parts sufficiently covered? Especially if you are planning to ride on roller coasters in the park, you may want to pack a pair of shorts that allow you to easily bend, twist, and squat. (While making this recommendation, I picture myself standing in front of a dressing room mirror, trying on shorts and doing a little dance. This is the best way to determine whether an item is worth taking up precious space in your travel bag.)

Toiletry Items: Everyone has their own beauty regime. When I go to the parks, I like to keep it simple, but other people like to feel glamorous while on vacation. Regardless of your preferences, come prepared with travel size bottles of all your favorite toiletries. Even if you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you may want to have your own favorite products on hand to avoid having to make a trip to the grocery store later.

All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels provide H20+ Beauty Products. Upon arrival, you can expect to find shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and at least two bars of soap waiting for you in your room. If you are staying in a larger suite, perhaps one with two bathrooms, you will find duplicates of the above-mentioned items, plus some body wash.

I adore the H20+ Beauty Products, especially the shampoo and the body wash. The shampoo has a very crisp and clean smell. It almost reminds me of the ocean breeze. The body wash always leaves me feeling refreshed and scrubbed. But, the conditioner is not strong enough to handle the tangles that can find their way into my hair after a long day out in the parks.

I almost always bring my own conditioner to help deal with that issue. Some hotels may provide other complimentary toiletry items like razors, toothbrushes, or cotton swabs, but it is never safe to assume they won’t charge for those materials. I think it’s always best to bring my own in order to ensure my comfort.

This requires even further calculations when traveling with young children. Kids will want toothpaste that has a flavor they are used to experiencing when they are at home. So, even though it may take up a little more packing space than you would like, go ahead and pack your family’s favorite toiletries.

Now that you have the basics ready to go, let’s explore what you might need specifically, depending upon your desired travel month.

Packing for January

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

Visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida during the month of January will feel like a dream come true. In the very beginning of the month, there will still be a great number of people in the parks. Watching the fireworks on New Years Eve is a very popular way to bring in the New Year.

Once the holiday guests have vacated the premises, the avid runners will be there to participate in the annual Walt Disney World Marathon. After that, except for the major influx of visitors who come to the parks for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January is a heavenly time to visit. The weather is very mild and the crowds are lower than normal. 

When packing for the month of January, it is important to recognize that it may be very warm during the day, but the breeze may kick up at night.

With that in mind, I recommend packing:

A lightweight long-sleeved t-shirt or sweatshirt: For the month of January, I still think it is best to keep your garments as light-weight as possible. I feel this way for two reasons. The first reason is because even when the wind starts to blow you around a little, you may not feel truly cold. You may just want a little protection from the breeze.

The second reason is because there is a good possibility that you will be taking this garment off and on throughout the day. That means you will have to find a way to carry it around with you.

If everyone in your party packs a bulky sweatshirt, then someone will have to find something to do with those items throughout the day. But, if everyone sticks to the light-weight concept, those garments can be easily wrapped around waists or tucked into day packs. 

An outfit that makes you feel fancy: During the month of January, as all the holiday parties are coming to a close, there will be few specially themed celebrations throughout the park. This is the perfect time to schedule a fine meal at one of Disney’s specialty dining restaurants.

Whether you book a reservation at one of the excellent restaurants inside a Walt Disney World Resort, or you decide to spend a little time over in Disney Springs going to one of their dining establishments, it will feel nice and relaxing to be able to dress up a bit and sit down to a proper meal.

While you can go to all the Disney Restaurants wearing your comfortable travel clothes, during the month of January it just feels right to celebrate the New Year with a special dinner. My favorite night out dining experience happens over at Boma, featuring the Flavors of Africa. It is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

This extensive all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet features various dishes that rotate nightly. This is the perfect place to take children of all ages because there are a variety of food options available. If you are going over to Disney Springs, try The Boathouse. Sit on the waterfront, sipping a drink, eating an appetizer, and enjoying the fact that you are taking the time to relax while on vacation.

Packing for February

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

In the Orlando area the month of February is called the “secret season.” Locals name it this because this is the time of year when most tourists do not come out to play and the parks mostly belong to Florida-residents. Visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during the secret season is a breath of fresh air.

The parks see their lowest attendance numbers of the year during the month of February. While a great surge of people rush to the parks and the surrounding restaurants around Valentine’s Day, the rest of the month is very calm. So, if you’ve got the vacation time, February can be the month where all of your Disney Wishes come true. 

For the month of February, I would pack:

A pair of pants: Most people would say a pair of jeans, but I wouldn’t restrict your wardrobe choices in such a way. Teenagers are going to want a pair of jeans. Toddlers will be most comfortable in some kind of athletic pant or legging.

But for adults, the matter is really up to you. I would recommend doing the dressing room dance (as previously recommended with shorts) before stowing a pair of pants for each traveler in your suitcase. You must be able to move freely in your pants. Consider your plans. If you are thinking of climbing on and off rides, you need to dress for your comfort.

This time around, now that you are thinking of packing pants, you do not need to worry so much about the material being lightweight or breathable. The nights may be chilly, and you will want something that will protect your legs. When preparing your bags, and packing your pants, don’t go overboard. The weather is still very nice in the month of February, so one pair will most likely be sufficient.

If you are unsure, then pack:

Mid-length trousers: Some people call these capri pants or Bermuda shorts. Having a pair of these stowed in your luggage will help you feel covered up without making you sweat during the day. 

A sweatshirt or hoodie: I’m going to put this on the list because I know a lot of people who like to have their favorite clothing pieces with them while they travel. I also know many people don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices to purchase this sort of attire while they are in the park but let me say this before you go tossing these clothes into your luggage: don’t over-do it.

Only pack one sweatshirt or hoodie. You won’t need both. February is colder than January, but the temperatures will never get to the point where you are “cold”. Having a sweatshirt during the season will simply keep you from shivering while you are waiting for the fireworks show to start at night. As long as you treat your clothing gently, you should be able to recycle your sweatshirt or hoodie for each night of your trip.

The second thing I want to point out is that while purchasing a sweatshirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, or hoodie from one of the many shops at the Walt Disney World Resort may be a costly endeavor, especially if you have a large travel party, it can also be very rewarding. Sweatshirts are the kinds of souvenirs that can last for years.

If you purchase a roomy size, the recipient can take this sweatshirt home and wear it regularly, all the while remembering the super-duper time they had in the parks. Also, Walt Disney World does an outstanding job of releasing new fashions regularly. Whether you like rose gold, poisonous purple, or you are there for the Frozen-inspired Arendelle aqua, there are many styles to choose from when picking out a new garment.

Packing for March

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

During the month of March the air will begin to warm and the flowers will be in bloom. Welcome to the start of springtime in sunny Orlando!

People will begin flocking to the parks again because they may have an early spring break or they may be looking to be on the spot when the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival officially begins.

Make the most of your time at the resorts in March by remembering to pack these vacation extras:

Allergy medication: Even if you and your children do not suffer from allergies wherever you normally live, with all the pollen in the air during this time of year, you may come down here and be in for a big sneezy surprise.

It never hurts to have a few capsules of allergy medicine in your travel bag. Also, pack some of those individual tissue packets. These can fit easily into backpacks and shorts so that when the kids (or the adults) start sniffling, you are ready to go.

Children’s costumes: While it may always be tempting to pack the Disney Princess gear, it isn’t generally very practical. When you buy your child that gorgeous Cinderella-inspired gown, it may seem like the best idea in the world to dress in it when you visit the Magic Kingdom.

But, when the temperatures rise, kids have a hard time dealing with those stuffy costumes. They can get sweaty and overheated dressed in that manner. Luckily for you, this vacation is happening in March, so you are free to pack as many kids costumes as you like. The weather will be temperate enough for all the frills and fluffy ruffles your child would dream into reality.

Please note when packing costumes that Walt Disney World does not allow visitors over the age of 14 to dress up in costume. No face masks are allowed, and of course, no weapons may be brought into the parks, either. (That includes the extra cool Peter Pan sword you bought for your child. The Peter Pan costume is great, but the weapon-like items must stay at home.)

Packing for April

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, and that is even true in Orlando, Florida. While you may feel like it is completely unfair for the clouds to cover the area and the rain to pour during your magical vacation (and hey, I totally agree with you!), it is bound to happen. You should expect a rain shower at least once per day during the month of April.

The rain will not always be torrential, so don’t fret. Just pack the following:

Some light rain gear: Again: Don’t over-do it, as there will be no need. A poncho per person should do the trick. If you have children who don’t like the way the plastic feels against their skin, you may want to opt for a light rain jacket or an umbrella instead.

Since the rain showers are so sporadic during this time of year, packing heavy rain gear will only weigh down your luggage on this journey. If you decide to go without the rain gear, please note that all Walt Disney World parks have ponchos available for purchase at a very reasonable price.

Minnie Mouse ears and Mickey Mouse hats: While you can most certainly wear your ears with pride throughout the year, I always think this is the best time of year to wear them because the humidity is not out of control. The sun will be shining, but it won’t be so brilliant or blinding that you will need a hat or sunglasses.

This leaves your head open for your “fun” wear. Don’t have a pair of Mouse ears? You can always purchase some in the park. Kiosks are lined up everywhere so that you can find the perfect pair.

Packing for May

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

The month of May is a unique time at the Walt Disney World Resort because it always feels like anything could happen. The weather could be intensely hot, or it could rain for hours every day. The parks could be packed with people, or most could be staying home this year. With so many uncertainties during the month of May, it may seem overwhelming to get your family ready for their trip, but you can do it.

Be sure to pack:

A stroller for the kids: While you are always welcome to rent a stroller at any of the Walt Disney World Resorts, and in some cases, I recommend doing so instead of trying to bring your own, I think bringing your own with you during the month of May is an excellent idea. By bringing your own stroller with you in the month of May you now have a place to stash all your extra belongings.

You need an umbrella? You can stow it in the stroller. You want to have extra sunscreen handy? It’s in the bottom of the stroller. You want to carry around an extra long-sleeved t-shirt in case someone in your party feels chilly during those morning hours? That can go in the stroller basin, too.

Because the month of May can be so unpredictable and you want to be prepared for everything, having your own stroller can help you keep it all organized and safe. If you don’t want to bring a stroller with you during your travels, I understand. That is a bulky item that can take up a lot of space. Renting a stroller from a Walt Disney World Resort is always an available option.

A daypack: Almost always, I will tell friends and family to go light on their amusement park packing. No party needs to require every single traveler to carry their own backpack. This is nonsense. This takes up valuable space, and those daypacks may be a burden for little kids or senior citizens.

During the month of May, I think the best plan for any family is to be prepared. At least one daypack should be ready to go. It should be filled with the normal park essentials like phones, sunscreen, wet wipes, Band-Aids, and whatever form of currency you intend to use in the parks. 

In this very special case, I endorse using at least one extra daypack per party. In the second back pack, your group can stow things like rain gear, ponchos, extra long-sleeved t-shirts and of course, plastic bags. Never take your wet items and put them right back into the daypacks. Secure those wet belongings in Ziploc bags before stowing them in your cloth bag.

Packing for June

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

The first question you must ask yourself is: are you ready for the heat? If you live anywhere other than Florida, the answer is probably “no”. This is unfortunate, but it’s also true because unless you live in Florida, nothing will prepare you for the heat plus the humidity that you will experience, indubitably, during the month of June.

I remember the first year my family came down from Ohio to visit the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. We were in the Magic Kingdom, and it was three o’clock. That means it was time for the daily parade to come through Main Street U.S.A.

So, like all the other happy visitors, we lined up on the parade route to wait to see our favorite characters march through the square. This may all seem fine and dandy until you realize that it was the first week of June.

The temperature was 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and that is not including the humidity or the heat index. Plus, we were standing on super hot pavement. I didn’t think it was possible to feel like I was melting, but I did. My kids were miserable, too. Now, even though I’ve shared this experience with you, I don’t mean to chase you away from having your family vacation during the month of June. I just want to prepare you for the possibilities.

For the month of June, be sure to pack:

Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses: I am lumping these altogether here, because they really belong with each other. While I think it is prudent to pack all three of these items year-round, it will not be until the month of June that these products will be absolute necessities.

During some of the early months in the year, you and your travel party may be able to make do with just sunscreen, but in the month of June, having sunscreen, a hat, and a good pair of sunglasses will be vital. First and foremost, it is going to be hot.

Having a hat on hand will create a small amount of shade for each person. The hat will also help wick away sweat and keep it from getting in anyone’s eyes. Some might argue that having a hat and sunglasses doesn’t seem necessary, but I firmly disagree.

The hat will help your head, while the sunglasses will protect your eyes. The sun is going to be so hot that there will be a glare. Both adults and children will benefit from keeping their eyes safe during this scorching time of year. Sunscreen must be packed during the month of June.

If you forget it, you’ve got to buy it. All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels carry bottles of sunscreen, with at least an SPF of 50, but they charge quite a bit for this product and they don’t have as many varieties as you may see at your local drug store. I recommend bringing the sunscreen you use most at home. If you are traveling with kids, try a roll-on stick of sunscreen.

These can be easily slid into your pockets. They are not greasy or sticky. Plus, you are less likely to “miss a spot” when you are rolling it over your child’s sensitive skin.

Aloe Vera: I hate to say it, but even when you have done everything right when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from the sun, there may still be a chance that someone in your party gets a sunburn.

I always pack a travel-size bottle of Aloe Vera in my toiletry bag. Then, once I get to the hotel room, I stow it in the refrigerator. This way, if a sunburn happens, I have some cooling aloe gel on hand to help soothe the sting of the sun.

Packing for July

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

The month of July will be a bit less hot than the month of June simply because there is more rain. In July, your travel party should consider packing ponchos, as well as sunscreen. Keep in mind, when the rain does fall, it will be very warm.

If you can put up with a little rain, you may not even mind the warm summer shower. Here’s a few tips for specialty items you may want to bring with you to the Walt Disney World Resort during the month of July.

Something red, white, and blue: Whether you consider yourself to be a patriotic American or not, if you are going to the Disney Parks during the week of July 4th, you will be treated to the sights and sounds of a proper American holiday celebration. Get in the spirit by packing a red, white, or blue t-shirt. Extra points if you can find something that has an American flag on it.

Magic Bands: If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you will be given a MagicBand. These colorful wristbands will be pre-loaded with all your travel information and they will be specific to each member of your party. Your hotel room key, your theme park tickets, and even your dining plan will be loaded to this band.

For your entire stay, all you have to do is tap the Mickey Mouse figure on your band to the corresponding Mickeys throughout the park and you will be good to go. MagicBands are particularly useful when utilizing some of Disney’s most popular specialty services, like FastPass+ and Disney PhotoPass.

Because the park will most likely be busy during the month of July, you should be using the FastPass+ system to reserve your spot in line for multiple busy park attractions and character meet-and-greets. Likewise, the month of July features many unique Disney PhotoPass opportunities.

Whether you want to purchase the photo that was taken while you and your crew rode Space Mountain or you must have the photo with the whole family in it that was taken in front of the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, you will want to invest in Disney’s PhotoPass by purchasing a memory maker package.

If you are not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you will not be given a MagicBand free of charge, but you most certainly are welcome to purchase one. I highly recommend doing this. MagicBands allow you to travel through the park with your hands free.

You never have to dig through daypacks, sort through wallets for ticket cards, or shuffle those same cards because you can’t find the one you need when it is time to swipe the card for your FastPass.

With the Disney MagicBand, every person in your party has the luxury of walking right up to the line or the kiosk, pressing their Mickey to the corresponding Mickey and moving right along.

If you are interested in saving time and feeling less harassed throughout your vacation, purchasing and packing the Disney MagicBand is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Packing for August

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

Did I mention it was hot in Florida during the summer months? I think, if you read my suggestions for the months of June and July, you will be well aware of the heat, as it is likely to factor into your vacation. August can be the hottest month of the year. But you can beat the heat, by packing a few unique items.

Swim suits: No matter who is traveling with you or where you are staying throughout your vacation you will want to go for a dip in the pool. Some of the most beautiful pools in the world can be found in Orlando, Florida. August is the time to shimmy into your swimsuit and splash around in those luxurious cool waters.

All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, as well as all surrounding Resorts, Hotels, and Spas are guaranteed to have an outdoor swimming pool. Most locations will offer more than one pool. The size of the resort will determine the amenities. At the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels you can usually count on a main pool, followed by a couple of smaller pools.

The main pool will be located near the check-in or registration area, while the smaller pools will be tucked back by the hotel rooms. This makes visiting a pool throughout the day convenient.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous and you want to take your pool excursion to the next level, consider purchasing tickets to a Walt Disney World Resort Water Park. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, during the month of August are both open from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Both parks feature wave pools, lazy rivers, thrilling body slides, and even family rafting adventures. During the month of August, the Disney Water Parks offer a variety of “splash packages.” If you are interested in taking your teenager to the park after dark, investigate the H20 Glow Nights that are held at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

If you would like to stay and play all day, look into the splash package offered over at Blizzard Beach which includes a beach towel, a refillable mug, and a lunch or dinner at one of the many quick-service locations throughout the park.

Click here to find more ideas and tips for ways to stay cool this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Packing for September

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

If you are a Florida resident, have no fear when traveling to the Disney Parks in the month of September. If you are from anywhere else, you are a very brave person. I say this because September is at the end of Hurricane Season and it is the time when Florida is most likely to be hit by hurricane-style weather.

If you are feeling courageous and lucky, you may still want to go ahead and plan your Walt Disney World Resort trip for this month. Since the weather is very unstable, you may notice that the month of September is the best way to do Disney World on a budget. Hotel stays will be discounted. Special ticket prices may be offered.

Sometimes, this is even the time of year when Walt Disney World runs their room + dining plan bargain. The prices and discounts may feel too good to pass up. Don’t worry, friends. I like a good discount myself, so I’ll make a few suggestions for packing that will keep your vacation on its course, even if the weather tries to derail it.

Your Resort Documents: Allow me to say this: You should always bring copies of all resort and ticketing related documents with you on your vacation. Whether you have those items on your phone or you have them tucked in a pocket somewhere, you should always have all necessary travel documents.

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you will be receiving a very special travel documents package. It will include coupons and discounts for various services throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. When you initially plan your trip, you may disregard this pamphlet because it will seem like it has a bunch of unnecessary items inside it.

I mean, will you really have time to go over to Disney Springs and bowl a game at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes? If you plan the action-packed vacation I normally do, you are probably not putting Splitsville on your radar. However, if you are traveling in September those sorts of perks can suddenly become very appealing when you are stuck inside because the rain won’t cease.

So, don’t discard these discount coupon booklets. Rather, pack them in your day bag, and when the rain threatens, pull out the pamphlet and find something else to do. (I recommend using the Buy One Get One Free offer at the Walt Disney World miniature golf courses.

My family and I really like going to the Winterland/Summerland golf course. It isn’t the most challenging putt-putt golf course around, but the decorations are fun and festive. Plus, the kids like hearing the Christmas-inspired music, no matter the time of year.)

Packing for October

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

If you are coming to the Walt Disney World Resort during the month of October, you are probably here for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, and I can’t blame you. I love it. From the unique character meet-and-greet opportunities to the specialty entertainment options, I think the park is at its finest during the month of October. I have a couple of recommendations for you, if you are packing for your vacation this month.

Bring costumes and more: If you are coming for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, most every member of your party will want to wear some kind of costume. Remember: Adults are not permitted to dress up in the same manner as children, but you may wear a festive t-shirt. The mistake I don’t want you to make though, dear traveler, is in only packing party costumes for your kids.

Last year, when I took my family to the event, everyone started out in costume, but even after the sun went down, the temperatures never leveled off. We had a 90-degree evening near the end of October. My sons could only stomach wearing their costumes for a little while.

Luckily, I had brought a day pack and filled it with shorts and t-shirts for my Muppets. The boys were so relieved when they were able to shed their Halloween costumes and put on their nice comfortable clothing. Having that change of clothes was monumental, but I wish someone would have told me to pack extra candy bags. As you enter the park, you will be given candy sacks, one per person.

This will help every member of your party as they begin to trick-or-treat through the Magic Kingdom. But, those bags are going to fill up quickly. If you are like me, and you don’t think to pack extra trick-or-treat sacks, you may be rushing to the nearest gift shop to buy a reusable shopping bag.

Or, you could learn from my mistakes and bring a couple of your own from home. While this does not save you a ton of money, packing a couple of reusable shopping bags will not take up a load of luggage space, either. 

A reusable water bottle: You may want to consider adding this to your list, no matter the month you visit, but I find having a reusable water bottle with me during the month of October to be exceptionally helpful.

Since the Halloween season coincides with the International Food and Wine Festival over in Epcot, there will always be an abundance of tasty treats for you and your party to snack on during your vacation. Having a reusable water bottle with you will not only cut down on dehydration, but it will also save you some cash that you can spend instead on those delicious morsels.

Packing for November

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

November is a very pleasant month in which to visit the Walt Disney World Resorts. This month features Mickey Mouse’s birthday, the beginning of the holiday season, as well as the conclusion of the International Food and Wine Festival.

My recommendation for the month of November is quite simple:

Gift Cards: Whether you are here to participate in Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or you want to wander around the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, having a pocket full of Disney gift cards will certainly be to your advantage. Investing in a Disney gift card is a good idea for many reasons.

The first reason is because you are less likely to lose cash or credit cards when you don’t bring them with you at all. By simply stowing a Disney gift card in your pocket or bag, you have now cut down on the likelihood that you will lose some of your valuables. The second reason is that gift cards help you and your party stay on a budget.

If you pack only $100 in Disney Gift Cards and that is meant to last for an entire evening, then you and your party will have to stick to it. Trust me: If you are going to the International Food and Wine Festival and sampling from delicacies all around the world, those small plate prices can add up quickly.

You can feel like you are only spending a couple of dollars each time, and maybe you are, but after you have been to three or four locations, you may notice that your wallet is considerably lighter. Gift cards help you rein in your spending.

That isn’t just important during the Food and Wine Event. If you are going to the other parks during the Christmas holiday season, you will undoubtedly want to pick up one of every souvenir along the way.

I know: I had to have a light up Mickey Mouse Christmas necklace a few years ago. If I had only been packing gift cards, I wouldn’t have bought the necklace, and the bag, and the t-shirt, and the sweatshirt.

The final reason gift cards are your go-to packing item during the month of November is that you are going to want to keep your hands-free. You may want your hands available so you can hold your plate or your cup while you enjoy your food and holiday snacks, or you may need your hands-free so you can wrangle your little ones. The park is so busy during this season and the crowds may be a bit overwhelming.

Instead of having to stop everything and rifle through your bag to find cash or credit cards, while simultaneously letting of your child’s hand, you can simply reach for your Disney gift card and be able to handle everything that is coming your way.

Cargo shorts: I know all the jokes that exist about cargo shorts today, but there is a reason they are so wildly popular. The cargo short allows the person on the go, or the vacationer, to tuck things into his/her pocket instead of burdening themselves with a heavy pack. I like cargo shorts for November because they work well with my hands-free concept, but they also allow the traveler to wear a comfortable short while in the park.

The month of November may bring warm temperatures, and so vacationers do not want to pack any heavy clothes just yet. Cargo shorts tend to be a little sturdier than an athletic short, so they provide just the right amount of temperature control for month of November.

Packing for December

This photo was taken by Michael for Countdown to Magic

During the month of December the most magical place on Earth will be ready and waiting to embrace you for the most magical time of the year. I know many of my fellow Disney fanatics will want to make the trip to the Walt Disney World Theme Parks because you will want to experience the wonder and joy of the holiday season wrapped inside the glorious decorations, and I’m right there with you.

Even though December is one of the busiest times to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, some things can’t be helped. If you absolutely must see Main Street U.S.A. swathed in Christmas Wreaths, and Cinderella’s Castle draped in bright white twinkle lights, then you are willing to bear with the crowds, I’m sure. 

For the month of December, I have one packing tip that I consider to be for the expert-level traveler.

Here it is:

The bogie-bag: Some like to call this the “bag within the bag” trick. Here’s how it works. You gather all your luggage pieces together at home. If you have purchased a luggage set, this is very easy to accomplish. Select your biggest piece of luggage. In general, that suitcase will be able to hold anywhere from 40-50 pounds comfortably.

The next thing you do is find a suitcase that would fall into the “carry-on category”. Some like to use duffle bags here, but I prefer to have a carry-on with wheels. I have children and anytime I can add wheels to a bag that I will be required to transport through the airport, I feel like I am making a solid choice. Take your carry-on bag and try fitting it inside your larger suitcase.

Zip up the big one to make sure that all wheels and straps will fit safely inside. Now that you have found a suitcase to put within another suitcase, only pack clothing and essentials into the smaller bag. Once it is ready to go, zip it up into the larger bag. Viola! You have a bogie bag. When you are traveling, you will only have to accommodate for the larger bag on your trip to the parks.

Then, when you get to the theme parks, you are free to buy as much merchandise as you like. You have a whole extra 40-50 pound suitcase that is waiting for you to fill it with memorabilia. On your way home, you will be responsible for both suitcases, instead of just the one, but you will have planned for that ahead of time, so no worries.

Some people may want to pack the “bag within a bag” no matter the time of year, but I find it is especially helpful during the month of December because buying merchandise in the parks is almost an unstoppable occurrence. For those who are feeling a little skeptical about the need for an additional bag, let me ask you this: Have you ever been to the Lego Store at Disney Springs?

Whether you have children or not, if you visit this store, you will buy something, and those Lego boxes take up much more room than you would expect. You could always ship your new purchases home, but most of the time it will cost more to package and ship your items than it will be for you to pay an airline for an extra bag. 

I hope that my packing tips for Disney World have been helpful to you. Doing a little preparation before the vacation begins will certainly help you in the long run. Enjoy your packing experience and have the best day ever at the Walt Disney World Resort. Looking for more Walt Disney World Packing Tips?

Click here to read a blog post about the topic. This particular post includes a printable packing list. By clicking here, you will be able to create your own packing list, using a Disney-themed template.

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