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“What in the world do I need to pack?” and “How do I not spend my entire life savings?!” are the most asked questions when planning a trip to Disney World. It can be extremely overwhelming to decide what to pack in order to have a great time and not overspend at Disney. My family and I just returned from our trip, so I wanted to share what we found is the ultimate Disney World survival kit.
I was traveling with my husband and my five-year-old daughter. I read so many posts before our trip that each time I opened Pinterest I broke into a sweat and felt like I was heading into a battle zone. For example, why would I need to pack a full first aid kit, equip myself with a stroller lock, and wear a full rain suit? Ok, you wouldn’t need a stroller lock in battle, but you get the point. So, I read through the long list of suggestions and packed the the ultimate Disney World Survival Kit:
The Disney World Survival Kit
- A packable daypack. Look for a daypack that is lightweight and waterproof (you never know when it will rain in Florida). I did not carry a purse at all. My whole family just used the daypack so that we had less to carry around the parks. Packable backpacks are pretty inexpensive (we bought ours during a sale for $20). *Disney tip: We bypassed the larger security lines at the Magic Kingdom by emptying our backpack into the bottom of our stroller and then folding up the backpack into its own pocket. That way we did not have a bag that needed to be searched and we could go into the much shorter and faster “no bag” security line.
- Autograph book and pen. One of my daughter’s favorite parts of Disney was meeting princesses and other characters at the parks. Make sure to have an autograph book and pen handy for them to sign as a souvenir. They sell them in the parks, but I imagine they are much cheaper from Amazon. I have also seen people take a pillowcase to sign. I wish I would have done this! That way it’s something they can use and not just store away in a drawer.
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen is much needed in Florida. You will enjoy your trip to Disney much more if you don’t have to deal with having a sunburn. I really like Sun Bum sunscreen for the scent. It also absorbs quickly, is hypoallergenic, is paraben Free, and is gluten-free. I also like Banana Boat Simply Protect. It is tear free, has no added fragrance, and is very lightweight. I usually dread wearing sunscreen and trying to get my daughter to wear it, but these two were actually pleasant to use.
- Snacks. We did buy the occasional mickey mouse sundae, dole whip, and Starbucks iced coffee (okay maybe every day), but overall we ate the snacks that brought with us. I really like RX Bars and DNX bars because they both have great sources of protein. I also packed Kind bars since they are dairy and gluten free..and yummy. Almonds and other nuts would also be a good choice for a quick snack. I wouldn’t try to pack fresh fruit or vegetables unless you take a cooler as well.
- Misting Fan. These are a great way to stay cool in the Florida heat. We used the O2COOL Small Carabiner Keychain Misting Fan. They are only 3 inches, so they fit nicely into our daypack and have a carabiner if you’d rather attach it to the outside. They provide some relief and make the heat a bit more bearable. You have to hold them fairly close to your face but they do produce a good amount of airflow for their size. These are nice because the blades are made of soft foam. The blades are not covered though, so make sure to not get it to close to your hair. Also, make sure to pack AA batteries for your fans too!
- Ponchos. Ponchos came in handy several times during our trip. We purchased a family pack of 10 (5 adult size and 5 child size). We wore them during downpours and on water rides. There’s nothing worse than walking around with soaking wet clothes. With the Florida humidity, they will never dry. This will also save you from having to pack extra clothes. Make sure to pack one to cover your stroller when there is a chance of rain.
- A water bottle with a filter. I purchased a water bottle with a filter before the trip because I heard that the water at Disney tastes gross..and they were right. I was so glad that I had this filtered water. There are a lot of water fountains around the parks to fill up your bottle. Or, you could also use Instacart or Amazon Prime Now to have a case of bottled water delivered to your hotel room and throw the bottles into your stroller. Bottled water at the parks is $3 a bottle!
- Electrolytes: Another option would be to drink the water at the parks in a regular water bottle and add electrolyte powder. Electrolytes are so helpful in the Florida heat.
- Portable power banks. The My Disney Experience app seems to suck the battery life right out of my phone. By 10am each morning I needed to recharge. I used a portable power bank by Anker. I noticed that the fuel rods sold at the Disney parks are $30 and they have bad reviews (they don’t seem to full charge phones, need to be switched out frequently). So, I would recommend taking your own.
- Cooling towels. I wasn’t sure about wearing a wet cooling towel, but I’m glad that I did. We bought a pack of four in a variety of colors from Amazon.com. My daughter wrapped one around her head and one around her neck like a scarf. I will use these when we get back for hot trips to the zoo. They each come with a reusable carrying pouch with a carabiner clip.
Items not pictured for the Disney Survival Kit:
- Phone with the My Disney Experience App loaded. This app is essential for viewing your fast pass selections (and making more once they are used!), viewing your itinerary and show times, viewing a map of the park and getting directions quickly, seeing wait times for attractions, finding characters to meet, ordering food, making dining reservations, and viewing hotel/resort information. You also want to make sure to have your phone to take pictures. We opted out of the Memory Maker and took our own photos. It’s also a good idea to take a ziplock bag for your phone if you plan on going on water rides without a poncho.
- Body Glide. I wore flip flops during our four days at the park, so I used Body Glide daily before putting on flip flops to protect my feet from rubbing that causes hot spots, blisters, raw skin.
- Hat. I purchased a hat at Homegoods before leaving for our trip. This will save you from having to spray your head with sunscreen. will keep you cool, and will hide your crazy hair in the humidity of Florida.
- Stroller. Even if your child thinks they are too big for a stroller I would recommend taking one for them anyway. We walked at least 8 miles a day (yay for 20,000 fitbit steps!). My daughter rode in the stroller for the majority of the walks through the parks and she used the shade cover frequently. There are many places to park your stroller and you can keep your daypack in it when you go on rides.
More Useful Tips to Save Money and Make the Most of Your Trip
- We worked with a Disney Planner through Design My Trip: http://designmytrip.net/ Our agent was Bridget Weckesser and she is amazing! She helped us to make resort reservations, plan our park days, set up dining reservations, and set up our fast passes. She even answered questions while we were at Disney. I would highly recommend her!
check-inyou can opt out of mousekeepingservices to receive a Disney gift card for the amount of $10 per night. After a bit of discussion (my husband wanted the gift card and I wanted a clean room)we chose to forgo mousekeeping. This worked out well for us. I used it to pay for my trentaIced Coffee’s at Starbucks and we were able to call housekeeping whenever we needed anything.
- Stop at front desk/guest services to make sure that your magic band can be used to make purchases. We attempted to buy lunch from one of the Disney resort restaurants when we arrived and our magic bands did not work. We were so excited to use them for the first time and it was not very “magical” to have them declined. My husband’s personal credit card did not work either since we were out of state and the bank was being helpful and not letting us use his card. We stopped by guest services and it was easily fixed. So, I would stop by guest services and make sure your magic band is working for purchases.
- We did not choose to purchase a dining plan. This website provides a great Disney dining calculator to help you determine whether it is worth it for your family to purchase a dining plan: https://www.distripplanner.com/ For example, I checked to see how much we would spend just for breakfast for the five mornings that we would be there and it came to $161! And that is using quick service restaurants. I also didn’t want to be worried about how many dining credits we were using and have some left over. I saw one family that bought a ton of overpriced snacks from the gift shop the last day of there trip just to use up their credits.
- We ordered groceries through Instacart so that we would not have to eat out for breakfast. This saved us time and money since we ordered food that we could pack with us to eat on the bus if needed. They will deliver it to bell services who will refrigerate your items if needed.
That wraps up my ultimate Disney survival kit and tips for your trip to Disney. I hope you have a magical time!! Please share this with your family and friends!