Ultimate Disney Survival Kit
January 22, 2020
Living in South Carolina with a 9-year-old means that frequent trips to Walt Disney World are almost guaranteed. After several trips in all kinds of weather, I’ve figured out the perfect formula for what to bring and what to leave at home for every Disney World trip. Whether you’re a new Disney Parks adventurer or a seasoned expert looking to save a bit of stress before your next trip, this Disney survival kit can help make sure you and your family have the best time in the park as possible.
This list includes my top products and hacks to save money, save time, and keep your family safe and happy throughout what can be a LONG day. Especially if you live farther away than we do, you want to squeeze everything you can out of your Disney day(s), so making sure no one gets overheated, hungry, or grumpy can make sure the fun lasts for longer.
When it comes to packing for Disney World, I tend to be a minimalist and don’t like to carry more than what can fit in my backpack. I’ve learned exactly what I need and what I don’t, so I’m including my essentials as well as other items that could be helpful to you. So let’s sprinkle a little pixie dust in our suitcases; it’s time to get packing!
How to Pack for Disney World
Luckily, Disney does allow you to bring bags into the park, though they do search them thoroughly. Pretty much the only things you can’t bring are weapons, selfie sticks, and alcoholic drinks. That means snacks and water are a go, and so are your homemade autograph books or ears! That being said, don’t pack too much! The bag security check can take several minutes if you’ve got a lot of things, so keep it to a minimum and make sure all the compartments are unzipped and open to make the process go faster.
Leave your big purses and hefty wallets at home and throw it back to your school days with a backpack. There are lots of cute Disney-themed bags to keep all of your Disney World supplies in. My favorite Disney survival tool is this backpack with the genie’s face on it. It’s the perfect size – small, but with still enough room to carry everything I need. To keep all my little things from getting lost in the depths of the backpack, I bring this Disney soft pouch with me.
Instead of a wallet, I prefer one of these cute Mickey wallet pouches. They have space for all of your cards and IDs, but are totally hands-free and stay easily accessible throughout the day.
Charleston Blonde’s Disney Packing Essentials
1. Phone with My Disney Experience App
The My Disney Experience app is a Disney vacation lifesaver! Download it before your trip to start planning out your restaurant reservations, FastPasses+, and even book your hotel. While you’re in the park, you can use the GPS function to keep you from getting lost, check attraction wait times, and keep updating your FastPasses+.
2. Magic Bands
Similar to the My Disney Experience App, the Disney Magic Bands are an absolute essential for any Disney trip. If you’re a Disney resort guest, you get these for free. You can choose your color in advance and the band will be sent to your home address or you can pick it up at reception. If you’re not staying at a Disney resort, you can purchase a Magic Band and link it to your account. The basic band comes in a wide variety of colors, but there are also adorable Disney patterned bands available. The Magic Bands hold all of your necessary information for your whole stay, from room keys and tickets to your linked debit card and FastPasses+.
3. ID and Credit Card
You won’t need all of your loyalty cards and gift cards from your wallet in the park, but definitely make sure you have your ID and a credit card with you! I still get carded if we order an alcoholic drink, so an ID is a must. And if something goes wrong with your Magic Band, having a credit card on hand makes sure you won’t end up stranded cashless in Disney World. This Mickey pouch is my favorite way to keep all my cards together, and it’s only $11!
4. Portable Charger
With all the double (or triple) duty your phone will be doing with taking pictures, posting on Instagram and using the My Disney Experience app, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t die in the middle of your day. Portable chargers are great to have on hand and don’t take up too much space in your bag. I’d recommend the smaller mophie PowerStation or the Anker PowerCore.
5. Swell Water Bottle
Carrying a water bottle in the park is so essential. You can get free ice water from any of the park food vendors, or fill up the bottle at any of a number of water fountains throughout the park. Stainless steel water bottles like ones from Swell will keep your water cold even while standing in the hot Florida sun. Choose one with a wide mouth so it’s easier to get the ice cubes in!
6. Rain Poncho
The last two times we’ve gone to Disney World we’ve gotten caught in rain, so we were super grateful we’d already packed our ponchos. I buy the Disney ponchos on Amazon before we go so we can avoid buying the overpriced ones inside the parks. Ponchos take first place over rain jackets since they can protect more than just your upper body, are super versatile, and pack down smaller than most rain jackets! You can even get matching youth ponchos for your kids. Even when it’s not raining, Harper and I wear these on Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids so we don’t get wet, especially in the winter when it can get kind of chilly if you get wet!
7. Waterproof Phone Pouch
I like to take video and pictures on some of the water rides across the park, so this waterproof phone pouch with clear sides will keep my phone protected while still allowing me to use it when I need to. The strap which you can put over your neck will also make sure it doesn’t go flying away from you on a ride!
8. Handheld Misting Fan
Summer in Florida is brutal! Between the blazing sun (it’s closer to the equator y’all!) and the humidity, the heat in Disney World can be overpowering at times. Though Erik and I might be a little more used to it, we bring a handheld fan for Harper to keep him cool throughout the day, and it doesn’t hurt for us to use it too! This handheld fan is battery-powered and will even mist water through the blades to keep you super cool.
No matter what time of year or day or how cloudy it seems, you need to protect your skin from the sun! Sunscreen in the park is expensive, so we bring at least one sunscreen with us whenever we go to Disney. I prefer Neutrogena sunscreen so we can all use it. It doesn’t have a sticky residue and comes in a variety of application types and SPF levels. The 70 SPF stick is great for both face and body applications and is mess-free for quick applications.
10. Hand Sanitizer
Disney World is definitely the most magical place on earth, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a fair share of germs. Hand sanitizer is great to keep on hand, especially before and after eating when you aren’t near a bathroom or don’t want to wait in the long bathroom lines.
11. Wet Wipes
Just like hand sanitizer, wet wipes are great for staying clean. Wipes are better for cleaning off tables or ride grips (if that’s something you worry about), or cleaning off sticky residue from your enthusiastic kid’s face!
12. Glow Necklaces
After the sun goes down, Disney is a whole different place, and equally fun! Harper loves a glow accessory to take part in all the illuminated fun, so I pack one for each of us that we can pop out before we go. You can find basic glow sticks at Dollar Tree, or more fun and varied glow accessories on Amazon.
It’s no surprise that the food at Disney World is expensive! From the table-service restaurants to the quick food stands, prices can get high and lines get long. Carrying snacks with you through the park will keep you satiated and energized in crunch times. The snacks I like to bring with me to Disney include Pop Chips, Goldfish, and That’s It Fruit Bars.
14. Reusable Straws
Disney World went plastic straw free recently, and although they offer paper straws, the paper disintegrates quickly and can become unusable, especially in the heat. Harper hates the paper straws, so I like to stash a few portable, collapsible stainless steel straws in my bag to use throughout the day. This one has a carrying case and cleaning brush, so it’s a great option for a day in the park.
15. Carabiner Clip
When we go on roller coasters, I’ll take my Mickey ears off and use one of these carabiner clips to attach them to my backpack so they don’t fly off! You can also use the clips to attach your water bottle to your bag or anything else you want to keep handy.
16. Mickey Ears
Speaking of Mickey ears, I love them! There are so many cute and personalized options on Amazon, Etsy, and other stores so you can arrive at the park all decked out without worrying about finding the perfect pair in one of the stores.
17. Disney Autograph Book and Sharpies
Collecting autographs from the Disney characters in the park can be a mission in and of itself, so come prepared with a specially designated book that you can whip out when the opportunity presents itself. This Mickey autograph book is cheaper than the in-park ones and so adorable! I also throw at least two Sharpies in the bag to use with the book, just in case one runs out in the middle of the day.
Sunglasses are a no-brainer, but they’re easy to forget in all the packing hubbub. Leave your designer shades at home and pack one or two cheap pairs in case they get left behind. This will keep your eyes protected and feeling cool. No squinty eye pics!
19. Hair Ties
You never know when you’ll need to put your hair up, and I always keep a ponytail holder or two in my bag. My favorite hairbands are Kitsch spiral hair ties. They hold onto my hair without giving me a headache, so they’re perfect for a long day.
20. Disney Wet Brush
After a ride on Splash Mountain, I like to brush out my hair to keep any tangles or fly-aways to a minimum. I pretty much only use Wet Brushes, so finding these Disney-branded brushes was so amazing! Super cute and functional, plus, the brushes aren’t too bulky for my backpack.
My lips always get dry throughout the day, so chapstick is a must. I love the Fresh Sugar lip treatments for their light wash of color and nourishing formula. The Eos lip spheres are also a classic option, and easy to find in your bag! All these small bits and bobs are essential, but can also get lost. I like to throw them all in a small pouch inside my backpack to keep them together.
22. Disney Pins
Harper loves trading pins with cast members and other kids at Disney, so we always remember to bring our pin lanyards with us. We also buy pins in advance from the Disney Outlet in Orlando to have some trading options while we’re in the park.
More Magical Disney Packing Hacks
Though all of these items aren’t essential for our Disney survival kit, they’re great ideas if you have the extra space. You can check out my Amazon storefront for ALL of my Disney recommendations!
- Blister Bandages – Walking around all-day could lead to some pretty nasty blisters, especially if you’re breaking in new shoes. These bandaids will stop blisters in their tracks and protect your feet so you can keep walking the park for the rest of the day.
- Frogg Toggs – Cooling towels are great options for those super hot days. Just soak them in water and wrap them around your neck or shoulders to keep you cool throughout the day.
- Microfiber Towel – If you don’t want to stay wet from any of the Disney water rides, one of these compact and absorbent towels will get you dry quickly without leaving a damp mess in your bag.
- Drip-free Popsicle Holder – These holders will allow your kids (or you!) to enjoy a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar without worrying about messy drips all over.
- Hidden Mickey Book – Did you know there are hidden Mickey silhouettes all over Disney World? This book is a guided scavenger hunt with clues to find them all. This is great for a Disney pro looking to bring a new aspect to your park experience.
- Coin Purse – Harper loves using the souvenir penny machines, and I love that it’s the cheapest souvenir you can get there! I keep this Dole Whip coin pouch with my Disney supplies so I always have spare change for the machine.