As Central Florida locals, we visit the Walt Disney World theme parks about once a week, and have got the art of what to pack for Disney down to a pretty fine art. There are so many fantastic Disney World checklists and packing lists out there, but what I wanted to share were some things that you might never think to bring to the parks with you – but I promise that you should! These are things that we’ve thrown into our bags over the years on a whim, or seen other people carrying around with them, and they’ve turned out to be indispensable! So here are 15 things that you didn’t know you needed for your Disney World packing list that you will never travel without ever again!
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15 unusual items for your Disney World packing list:
1. Storage bags
This is my number one recommendation for everyone’s Disney World packing list! Some sort of storage bag such as a Ziploc bag with a seal is something we always throw into our Disney parks bag, and we almost always get use out of them. There’s no need to take a whole box of them that will take up a lot of space; just a few folded up or rolled up and stuffed in a pocket will work, and we usually take a few different sizes. We use these for a whole host of different things including:
– keeping my cell phone or camera dry on the water rides, or if we get caught in heavy rain.
– holding leftover snacks (like when the kids beg for a rice krispie treat and then announce after two bites that they’re all done…).
– holding individual snacks for smaller portions; instead of buying individually portioned snacks, which can be more expensive, we buy the larger bags and portion them out individually. See below for my list of go to snacks to bring to Disney.
– portioning out the kids money or gift cards so that everything stays in one place and we can keep it all separate.
– using them as make shift place mats if we sit down at an outdoor table and need to place food on the table for the kids.
– holding smaller items such as pressed pennies or Sharpies for signing autographs.
Also, on a significantly less appetizing note, these bags have come in handy when a kid has suddenly announced that they feel like they’re going to throw up, and we were nowhere near a bathroom. Yep, that’s happened.
If you want something a bit more durable and environmentally conscious, then we own silicon reusable storage bags in a variety of sizes, which are super durable and can be washed in the dishwasher to keep them clean.
2. Plastic bags
Along with the smaller reusable bags, I would recommend throwing in a handful of plastic bags such as leftover grocery bags. We use these for a variety of different things too; storing wet umbrellas or wet clothes after a water ride or rainstorm, protecting the kids legs if they’re sat on hot or wet ground waiting for a parade, storing a backpack on a water ride, etc.
Walt Disney World just announced that they will now be offering reusable bags in their merchandise locations for a small fee, and while they will continue to have plastic bags on offer right now, I would expect that to go away eventually as they try to reduce their plastic waste and become more environmentally friendly. If that does happen and you don’t want to purchase a reusable shopping tote (although I think they’re adorable!) then taking a couple of plastic bags is going to be even more important.
If you want to take something with you that will last past your Disney trip, then you can buy reusable bags, reusable totes, and even Disney themed bags outside the parks.
3. Baby wipes
I plan to keep buying baby wipes well past the age that my little ones need them, because we use them for everything! They’re perfect for wiping little hands and faces after meal or snack times, but they’re also great for hot and sweaty Disney park days when you feel like you could really use a shower and you’ve only been outdoors 30 minutes; a baby wipe on the face or neck works wonders to cool you down and make you feel a little more human. They’re also great for general cleaning up. I travel with a large pack since I still have a toddler in diapers, but once he’s older we’ll probably just bring a travel pack with us.
4. Anti chafing balm
Walt Disney World often requires an awful lot of walking in very hot and humid temperatures and this can lead to a multitude of issues. One of the most painful of these can be chafing, when everything that doesn’t usually rub together now does so pretty much all day. We seldom spend a whole day at the parks, especially during the summer, but when we do, something to prevent this is one of the first things that gets packed into the Disney parks bag! The most commonly recommended product out there is Body Glide, which I actually use when I go on long runs during the summer, and it works wonders. You can buy a tube of it, or I just throw in a stick to take up less space.
This is something else I basically only use at the Disney parks or when I’m out running, and it is so useful. Moleskin is very durable and tends to stay in place very well, making it the perfect antidote to blisters when your feet are hot and sweaty and have absolutely had enough. Whether you’re wearing new shoes to the parks or just walking way more than you’re used to, the heat and humidity can easily lead to blisters and if you’re having trouble walking, your Disney day will go downhill fast. Moleskin takes up very little space in your bag but could potentially save the day.
6. An identifying bracelet, sticker or tattoo for the kids
This is something I hadn’t given much thought to until I had kids, but now it’s high up on my Disney World packing list! I have a whole post on what to do if your child gets lost at Walt Disney World but the big thing for me is putting some kind of identifying information on them so that if we get separated, a Cast Member would be able to contact us. My boys are 6 and 2 so too young to remember my cell phone number, so we use something like a bracelet or temporary tattoo with our cell phone numbers on in a place that a Cast Member would easily notice like their wrist or ankle.
7. First Aid kit
Most moms will probably be used to traveling with a few basic first aid supplies, but if you’re not, then this is definitely something for your Disney World packing list! The Disney parks all have First Aid stations, but sometimes you’re on the other side of the park or sitting down to eat a meal when you realize that you need something, and it’s easier to have it in your bag. We just bring the basics:
– some form of pain relief for adults and kids like Tylenol or Motrin
– bandaids for blisters and any other cuts or scrapes
– sunscreen and solar relief gel
– motion sickness tablets for those days when I’m being forced to ride rollercoasters that my stomach is not happy about! Definitely stick with the non-drowsy variety here!
You can buy miniature first aid kits online or from grocery stores or drug stores, but we find it easier to just throw the separate things in a bag. If we’re at the parks in the summer, we throw these things in a small cooler bag so they don’t get too hot.
8. Travel games and activities
The Walt Disney World parks are often a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ scenarios, rushing from place to place to then have some time to stand or sit around where you might need to keep entertained; lines for rides, waiting for fireworks, or sitting down waiting for food in restaurants. Cell phones are great for this, but you might want a break from screen time or want to conserve the battery, so it might be worth throwing a couple of small travel games into your bag. The best activities will be ones that are small, quiet, and don’t intrude on those around you. We have card games like the Disney Eye Found It game, Magic Water Wow books, and even just a notepad and a small pack of crayons where we can play games like pictionary or let the kids draw or color.
Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World in the summer or winter, whether there’s zero chance of rain or if you’re there during a hurricane, you should always bring a poncho to the parks with you. You honestly never know if it might rain, and no one wants to be stuck having to buy an expensive Disney poncho that you might only need for 15 minutes. Disposable ponchos are so lightweight and take up practically no space in a bag, so you may as well throw one in. You can read more on what to do at Walt Disney World during the rain here.
10. Glow sticks
Packs of glow sticks are always a lifesaver when it comes to parade or fireworks. My kids always ask for the expensive light up necklaces, even though I know they’ll only really play with them once or twice, so I always take packs of glow sticks to give the kids instead. Not only does it distract them, but they can hand them out to the other kids around them and they can make some new friends while waiting. This is one of my items on my list of Dollar Store items for travel with kids.
11. Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes
I don’t usually carry sanitizer and I’m definitely not a germaphobe, but with little kids, sometimes hand washing is not enough. My Disney parks bag always contains a small hand sanitizer and a pack of sanitizing wipes to wipe down tables before the kids touch them or put food on them. We still wash our hands whenever possible but this is just an extra level of protection against germs.
This is something I always suggest that people add to their Disney parks packing list, even if you think you’re not going to need them. There is certainly no shortage of food at Walt Disney World, and some amazing snacks out there, but there are multiple reasons to bring snacks with you. Food at the Disney parks is expensive, you might need or want a snack while in line for a ride or somewhere else that’s not convenient, it’s not always easy to find healthy options or familiar products that your kids might like, you might have allergies or have a picky eater, or you just might not want to take the time to stop and buy food. We always bring a handful of snacks both for the kids and for the adults in the party, choosing things that will keep well in the heat or bringing a small cooler to keep things chilled. Some of our go to snacks for Disney include:
– applesauce pouches
– dried fruit, nuts, or trail mix
– granola or breakfast bars
– crackers or chips
– packets of popcorn
13. Refillable water bottle
Again, this is something I think it’s easy to assume you might get at the Disney parks, and you certainly can, but I always bring water bottles for the whole family anyway. I’m not a fan of bottled water (and definitely not a fan of the price of Disney bottled water!) and although you can pick up cups of water for free at quick service locations, I like having the water on me at all times. We’ll fill the water bottles up at water fountains, or using those cups of water from quick service locations, and then we have water to drink throughout the day. It also means I can keep track of how much the kids are drinking to make sure no one is getting dehydrated.
14. Portable phone charger
I don’t carry my phone charger with me during day to day life, but at the Disney parks, I bring a portable charger. It’s almost impossible to not be on your phone at the parks, and with WiFi that can sometimes be a little spotty, my battery never lasts very long. There aren’t many places to charge your phone in the parks with a regular phone charger, so I carry a portable charger that I charge before I leave for the day. If you own a Fuel Rod, Disney offers these in the parks so you can change yours out (you can also buy them in the parks but it’s cheaper to buy them elsewhere and bring them with you).
15. Photocopies of important documents and reservation numbers
When we are actually vacationing at the parks and not just visiting for the day, I bring photocopies of things like my drivers license, insurance cards, etc, so that if anything were to happen to my wallet, I’d have back ups. I also make a note of things like reservation times and numbers for dining reservations, just in case the My Disney Experience app crashes and a reservation is lost. I fold everything up and put it in a waterproof bag at the bottom of my parks bag just in case I need it.