Things a Disney Trip Planner Packs in a Suitcase + What Not to Bring

  • I’m a travel planner who’s been to Disney World over 40 times, so I’m a bit of an expert now.
  • When I pack for a trip, I always bring rain gear, comfortable shoes, and my Minnie Mouse ears.
  • But I don’t think you’ll need to make room in your suitcase for extra snacks or pool towels.

After going to Disney World over 40 times, I have become a true packing professional.

As a travel planner at Wonderful Mouse Journeya Disney destination specialist, I’m often asked what are the most important things to pack for a trip to the parks.

Read on for the essentials I always bring and the things you can leave at home.

It’s going to rain, so you’ll be happier if you bring a sturdy poncho

If you’ve spent any time in the Orlando area, you know it will likely rain during your trip to Disney.

But don’t let that stop your fun. Put on a poncho and hit the parks.

You can also wear a poncho if you don’t want to get wet on rides like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.

You’re going to want a small but roomy bag for the parks

Kari Becker and her family meet Jack Sparrow at Disney World

I like to use small backpacks.

Kari Becker

I’ve tried every type of bag you can imagine while visiting the parks. My biggest tip is to bring something small that matches your main essentials.

My husband’s favorite is a shoulder bag, and I love a small backpack, handbag or fanny pack.

You want something that’s easy to put on and take off quickly, small enough to take on walks, and roomy enough not to crowd your phone and necessities.

Travel-sized sunscreen and hand sanitizer are easier to carry in parks

When you go to the parks, you want to travel light. I search the travel section of my local store before every trip to make sure I have the basics: sunscreen, hand sanitizer, aloe vera gel, disinfectant wipes, mini first aid kit, painkillers and tissues.

I use all of these items on every trip, but the full size versions are too big and heavy to lug around the parks.

Disney gear and Minnie ears are non-negotiable items

kari becker holding an orange drink in the paris pavilion at epcot disney world

I love my rose gold ears.

Kari Becker

It’s not a Disney trip without the quintessential Mickey or Minnie ears.

At this point, I’m spoiled for choice based on different seasons, holidays, and moods. My favorites are the rose gold Minnie ears, but I’ve been looking at the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World ones for a while.

I also pack one of my many Disney t-shirts for each day at the parks. We also always receive a special matching family shirt for each trip.

I also make sure my Disney jewelry, including my Pandora bracelet and Mickey earrings, is stored properly.

You’ll have to use your phone a lot at Disney World, so portable chargers will save your life

Much of my planning throughout the day involves using the My Disney Experience app and Disney Genie mobile services. By mid-morning, I often realize that my battery is running low.

A sturdy yet compact battery is a must, especially for those who like to open and close parks.

You don’t want to miss that next flash booking or the opportunity to take that perfect shot.

I can’t do a day at the park without super comfortable, waterproof shoes.

photo of disney world yacht club pool

Days at the park can be tiring, so rest time is crucial.

Kari Becker

Going to Disney involves a ton of walking – many days I hike over 10 miles. Also, due to the rain and frequent walks in the water, my shoes can often get wet.

I bring comfortable, quick-drying shoes to make sure my experience isn’t marred by blisters or sore feet.

My husband always wears his Keen sandals, and I alternate between my Sanuks and Tevas.

I always pack stamps so we can send postcards from Magic Kingdom

My family has a tradition of sending a letter or postcard to someone back home from inside the parks.

You can always bring souvenir postcards to your resort reception. But it’s more fun to put it in one of the four Main Street USA mailboxes in the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Gift Cards Make Budgeting at the Parks Easier

Disney World Yacht Club Resort Refillable Mug

We buy souvenirs with gift cards.

Kari Becker

You can pay for almost anything at Disney World with Disney Gift Cards, including meals, merchandise, and resort fees.

Many outside retailers offer small discounts when you buy them, so it’s a great way to save some cash on your vacation.

To limit overspending, we give each of our children a gift card at the start of the trip for souvenirs.

On the other hand, I never pack dress clothes for a Disney vacation.

Outside of Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian Resort, none of the Disney restaurants expect more than casual attire.

I love this aspect of Disney World as it means there are wonderful dining options with high end dishes that are still family friendly.

My husband and I usually throw a nicer casual outfit in our suitcase if we decide we want to get a little fancy. But, usually, our dress clothes are left in the closet at home.

You do not need to bring your own pool towels or life jackets if you are staying on the property

view of the back of the yacht club resort disney world from the back of the swimming pool

The swimming pool of the Yacht Club Resort.

Kari Becker

My clients often ask me if they should bring life jackets or towels so that their children can enjoy the hotel pools.

Luckily, all Disney resorts provide these items, so you can save space in your suitcase and leave them at home.

It’s tempting to pack all your snacks, but it’s easier to stock up when you arrive

It’s good to have a few quick snacks on hand in the hotel room or in your park bag, but don’t waste space in your suitcase. You can have your groceries delivered to your Disney resort.

Most national delivery services are available, or Garden Grocer is a local option. These deliveries can be picked up free of charge in the lobby from Bell Services or Baggage Assistance.

But if you want them delivered directly to your room, you will be charged a $6 fee.

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