What better way could there possibly be to escape the dreadful end of summer than by going to the Happiest Place on Earth? In my experience, September is one of the best times of year to go because while temperatures are at their highest during late summer, there’s less people in the parks as schools begin to return to session. Without further ado, here is our recommendation of what to pack for Disneyland in September!
What to Pack for Disneyland in September
Let’s first begin with the essentials.
Just as with any trip away from the comfort of your home, you always want to make sure that you include all of your basic and most essential items. If you happen to arrive at your destination and realize you forgot an important item such as sunscreen or toothpaste, you can always purchase a replacement at one of the several grocery stores near the park, however this will be a rather inconvenient expense that’s totally avoidable.
Necessities should include toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant etc.), any medications that members of your family use on a regular basis, charging cords for cell phones and other devices, flight and other travel information, and of course you can’t forget to pack your park tickets if they are not already linked to your Disneyland companion app.
You’ll also want to make sure you include at least a small amount of cash (between $50-100 USD) to use in the event of a travel emergency, as well as your debit, credit and identification cards.
Sunscreen and SPF Chapstick
This is a year-round suggestion, and I would almost consider it a necessity the second you walk out the door for your trip. The sun exposure in Anaheim during the late summer is absolutely unforgiving, and it’s incredibly important to make sure that you are properly protected from the harmful rays during the entirety of your trip! It can feel like you are well protected if there’s clouds and moisture in the air, however don’t let it fool you!
Enduring a nasty sunburn can make your park experience absolutely miserable, and the best way to prevent this is to make sure you are covering all exposed skin with copious amounts of sunscreen every 90 minutes or so. Do not forget your lips, as they are one of the first parts of your body to sunburn!
As a general rule, you should not use any sunscreen that has a less than 50 SPF rating in the parks regardless of what time of year you are visiting, and the sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours maximum regardless of the amount of physical exertion. If you are pushing small children in strollers, make sure they have adequate shade and sunscreen available also, and everyone should be wearing Chapstick with an SPF shield to protect lips!
You may find it helpful to bring a bottle of after sun care to keep on hand in your hotel room for the duration of your park visit, as the soothing aloe will help provide comfort in the event of an accidental sunburn!
Pack Extra Clothes
It may not seem like it when you first arrive in the parks, but by the end of the day you will be sweaty and fully drenched in sweat regardless of whether or not you participated in the water rides. If temperatures are above 80°F, you will want to bring an extra shirt especially if you have a fancy event such as a dinner reservation! It’s also smart to have an extra change of clothes on hand at all times, because you never know when you’ll accidentally bump into someone and spill your drink or get soaked at one of the mini water rides and shows!
If you’re worried about your shoes and other clothing items being carried around in your bags all day, plan to participate in all of the water attractions in one afternoon and be sure to make use of those awesome Disney lockers! At the very least, however, I would advise leaving a spare shirt in your park bag at all times in the event of a spill, sweat or another accident.
Layers and Sunhats
It should come as no surprise that the temperatures in the parks during September can reach upwards of 80 or 90°F which can make layering long sleeve shirts miserable. Even if temperatures dip lower than they typically are, you’ll want to make sure you have the ability to shed extra layers to prevent overheating.
Chances are you will not have to worry about rain in September, so truthfully I wouldn’t worry about bringing a rain jacket. Evenings and mornings in the park can be chilly as they are any time of year, so my best recommendation is to start with a tank top or athletic shirt and add a lightweight sweater on top of that until the sun hits the peak. When you start to get warm, you can take off the sweater and find yourself to be far more comfortable in the heat of the day! Breathable shoes and lightweight shorts or pants will also help keep the temperature down, however wearing shorts will expose more skin to the sun.
Based off of personal experience, I would recommend being prepared for temperatures ranging from the lower 60s-70s in the mornings and evenings up to 80s or 90s in the peak temperatures of the day, although every season and every year is drastically different, so make sure you check the weather a few days before your trip to get the best idea of temperatures!
You Will Need Water
While you might not love drinking water, the fact is that it’s vitally important. Water is such an significant part of your daily park bag, and trust me when I say you will be miserable without it. With temperatures that can range upwards of 80 and 90°, you will want to make sure that you are taking great care to keep yourself hydrated throughout your entire visit!
As a general rule, you should try to drink one large water bottle every 2 to 3 hours that you spend in the park, and I would even recommend more water if you are exerting yourself more than you typically would. The sun is absolutely brutal during this time of year, and you will be feeling it if you end up dehydrated.
If you struggle with the flavor of the water in Anaheim like myself, I would highly recommend going to the nearby target or Walmart and grabbing a case of water. Alternatively, if you do not have room to store a large item like that, you can purchase a variety of water flavorings that mask the flavor of the water and make it far easier to drink!
Battery powered misting fans are a great way to keep yourself cool and the mist adds another layer of hydration to your skin after a long day of baking in the sun! If you’re waiting for a show or parade and you need to cool off, this is a great way to do it without taking up too much space in your park bag or stroller!
In the hotter months (typically June-September), I always keep a clip-on fan next to my umbrella on the back of my wheelchair because they take up so little space and can be so helpful! I have found that the clips are not always the most reliable, so make sure that they are properly secured or you’ll end up like me without a fan and overheating in the middle of your vacation!
Wear Comfortable Sneakers
As a general rule, when you are visiting the parks you should always bring at least two pairs of shoes. One pair should be sandals or water shoes that can get wet in case you decide to participate in rides such as Grizzly River Run, and the other pair should be a comfortable pair of jogging or tennis shoes that have been broken in prior to entering the parks. For those warm September temperatures, I like to wear my water shoes all day long as they allow proper airflow to your feet and I find them to be far more comfortable when the temperatures are above 80°.
As park goers, we spend nearly all day walking and putting pressure on our feet, so of course not being able to walk around and truly experience the park ends up being a huge downer on the trip! Always bring footwear that you know fits you and your body properly. We all know that while a pair of new shoes can surely look great, they are not the best choice for safety and comfort! Take time before you leave to make sure shoes are properly fitting and comfortable for everyone!
Candy and Fun Treats Bag
This suggestion is more of a just for fun scenario, but September typically marks the beginning of the Oogie Boogie Bash in DCA which means if you have tickets for this after hours event, you’ll more than likely be getting more candy than you know what to do with!
While some guests choose to bring Loungefly bags or other smaller carrying options, I have found that a bag of that size simply does not offer enough space. At minimum, I would recommend a tote bag around 15” by 15” as these can be rolled up and stored in your suitcase when they are not being used.
You Know Your Family Best
At the end of the day, only you know exactly what your family will and will not use when on vacation, and the best advice I can offer is to listen to your gut when it comes to packing for your September trip. You will need to be prepared for high temperatures that will make it feel as if you are baking from the inside out, but as long as you’re prepared properly you’ll be able to navigate the heat and still be comfortable!
If you have a toddler in a stroller who, for example, is extremely sensitive to warm temperatures, you will want to make sure that you bring an umbrella or sunshade to provide some sort of relief from those miserable temperatures. If you just know you’ll end up with blisters on your feet regardless of how broken in your shoes are, make sure to pack some extra Band-Aids in your backpack to help protect those sore spots when they pop up.
Packing lists can and most definitely will vary tremendously from family to family, so getting out there and experiencing the parks is the best way to learn exactly what you need to bring for your family during the tricky late summer trips!
It may be a lot to plan and pack for a vacation at the beginning of the school year, but we think it’s totally worth it! As long as you are properly prepared for the warm temperatures and lack of shade, you’ll have a great time enjoying the happiest place on earth and basking in the sun! We hope you enjoyed this list of what to pack for Disneyland in September!
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