“On your trip you’ll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.” – Rick Steves
Words I try to live by and often fail to. Over the years I’ve whittled down my Walt Disney World packing list to what I believe are the bare essentials. Keep in mind, you can purchase anything you want at Walt Disney World or nearby. That said, it’s expensive and takes up valuable vacation time. So, what to pack and what to leave behind? Here’s what works for me and my family for a weeklong stay.
Clothes for Adults
- Comfortable Shoes (2 Pairs) – Whatever shoes you like walking in, and you pack two so your feet can “breathe”. Wearing the same shoe over and over isn’t actually all that good for you and with all the walking you’ll be doing, you’ll need to be good to your feet.
- Dress Shoes (1 Pair) – Flats pack smaller so I always go with thin ballerina flats. For men, a pair of leather walking shoes does double duty so no need for these for you gents.
- Flip Flops (only in warmer months) – You will want these for the pool, it gets insanely hot and the asphalt burns
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of pants/jeans
- 1 “nice” dress/outfit
- 7 t-shirts (if going in winter swap out for sweaters)
- 8 pairs of socks
- 8 pair of underwear
- 1 bathing suit – It will dry in the Florida heat
- 4 bras (I wash these in the shower with me, it takes moments)
- 1 light coat (if going in winter months)
I do not pack shampoo, conditioner or soap. Disney provides these and I see no reason to pack things which are provided for me as part of my room rate. That said, when I have fancy keratin treatments, I do pack the special shampoos as those can’t be found on property.
- Sunscreen – This is painfully expensive on property, you will want to bring lots of it, the sun in Florida is no joke.
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Floss
- Mole Skin (You will thank me)
- Small First Aid Kit with Bandages (these are ridiculously priced on property)
- Face-wash (I have sensitive skin and so I can’t use Disney’s Provided soap on my face)
- Hair brush
- Hair bands
- Flat iron
- Hair products
- Nail Kit (I hate hangnails)
Wait? Food? I have to pack food? No, no you don’t. Actually, in the years I’ve been going I find that the thing that sucks to pack the most is food. I know a million blogs suggest you pack food with you for breakfast or bottled water. I call BS. Here’s what we pack that I don’t regret.
- Britta Water Filtration Pitcher
- Refillable water bottles
- A SMALL amount of any snack your child will freak out if they don’t have. In our case, it was cheddar bunnies.
Yes, that’s it. There are food staples at every hotel lobby shop and quick service restaurants will sell you a muffin or bagel you can grab on your way back to your hotel at night for the next morning. If you are staying on property at a DVC resort and are planning on cooking there is a separate blog I will write about what to pack for those “self catering” trips. However, for the OVERWHELMING majority of people, the more you pack the more miserable you are. From experience, this is all the food stuff you will need to pack.
Kids go through A LOT of clothes at Walt Disney World. I can’t quite understand how that happens. Ok, I can, I’ve seen my daughter eat and play. They are having a blast and eating ketchup and ice cream and all manner of fun, colorful food. So, here’s what I pack for kids so I won’t have to do laundry.
- 70+ diapers (if still necessary)- I can’t begin to describe the blow outs we have had and Walt Disney World. I packed so many diapers I was sure I couldn’t possibly run out. I did, and I paid for it. DEARLY! If your kids use diapers and you’re flying, ship them to your hotel room ahead of time.
- 14 pairs of Underwear (if no longer in diapers)
- 14 COMPLETE outfits + 4 extra tops – My suggestions is to go to Target or Old Navy and buy their Disney branded clothes. It is a fraction of what it will cost in the theme park and your kids will be excited to be wearing it. It really helps cut down on buying cool shirts and dresses on property for them to wear the next day.
- Small bag of toys – This should be no more than 5-7 smaller toys which will keep the kidos occupied during travel and down time at the hotel.
- 2 Pairs of walking shoes
- 1 pair of nicer shoes for dinners out
- 2 Reusable Swim Diapers or 1 package of little swimmers and a nylon cover
- 1 bathing suit – it will dry in the Florida heat
- Umbrella Stroller – You can rent this if you’d like as well, I just hate paying a ton for a rental stroller when I have a perfectly good Stroller at home which cost less than the one week rental.
- Baby Carrier (if they are still in that age/weight range)
A lot of this will vary depending on whether you breastfeed or not. Sadly, I wasn’t able to produce enough milk and we had to combo feed. While this was hell for me (and a whole other blog post on a different blog) I do know what to pack for these situations, which, is very good for you!
- 10 – 12 bottles
- Twice as much formula as you need (Disney charges a TON for formula and better safe than sorry here as changing formula = a horrible vacation for everyone)
- Bottle Brush and soap
- Small Cooler w/icepacks
- Cover-up for nursing in public – We used her muslin swaddle blankets we had on us anyway.
This is a deeply personal list I find (she says after talking about breast feeding). So, all I’m going to do is tell you what we pack.
- DSLR Camera – With 2+ memory cards (I lost one once and it was so expensive replacing it)
- Laptop – Handy for unloading your memory card full of photos from the day
- iPad – Super useful for watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the drive/flight down.
- Phones – With the Disney app, gotta make those fastpass+ and ADRs!
- Kindle – For that poolside reading I’m doing so much of since we had our daughter… HA!
That’s it. Seriously. We do not pack pool toys, we do not pack breakfast foods, we do not pack several changes of clothing a day and we certainly don’t pack 12 pairs of shoes. We did at one time pack all this, we are now more experienced (I dare not say wiser).