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What to Pack for Your First Disney Vacation... and every Disney vacation after.

Walt Disney World - touted as the most magical place on earth, but what do you pack for your very first Disney vacation? 

Over 10 years ago we had our very first Walt Disney Vacation. I was in a stable job and my youngest son was about 3, but I didn't want to wait much longer since the other kids were getting older. I had no one to advise me on what I needed to pack, and all I had in my arsenal was what my Walt Disney World travel agent told me. My hotel, ride to and from the airport to our hotel, dining plan and park tickets were all taken care of, so all I had to do was pack for my trip. What do you pack for your first Disney vacation? Well, after visiting almost every year since then, sometimes twice a year, or like we did in 2016, 3 times a year, I think I have a fairly good grip on what you should pack and what you should leave at home.

Casual Clothing
Whether you're heading to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you want to pack casual clothing. Shorts, tees or even skirts. Also pack comfortable shoes! This is NOT the time to break in new shoes, you're going to be on your feet and quite possibly walking for hours. While Florida and California don't necessarily get snow, it can sometimes get cool so pack a light sweater as well. Now be wary of the too torn, cut off shorts, etc. While Disney doesn't have a dress code per se, it's a family park and not everyone wants to see your goodies. 

No matter what time of the year you go to any of the Disney parks, and no matter which Disney park you go to, always walk with sunscreen. Disney, especially in the summer is no laughing matter. The sun can literally burn and peel your skin. You also want your sunglasses to protect your eyes and of course you're going to want to look cool too. 

Hand Sanitizer/Baby Wipes
You're going to need them. Finding somewhere to wash your hands after eating one of those yummy Mickey Bars isn't always easy or convenient. You're also going to be waiting in line, touching the seats, rails etc., of the rides that you are going on. Remember, hundreds of people did that before you, and you have no idea how many of them had a cough/cold/runny nose. Sanitizer and baby wipes are your friends!  

A Mini First Aid Kit
This could be as simple as a ziploc bag filled with essentials such as band-aid, antiseptic wipes and Tylenol, for those pesky headaches. After being in a park for hours, and Disney is no quiet place, sometimes you can end up with a headache and having Tylenol at hand could be your lifesaver.  

Mosquito Spray 
If you are going to Walt Disney World in Florida, then walk with your mosquito spray. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, then one will be provided for you. With the threat of Zika still present in Central Florida, it's a good idea to be prepared. 

Rain Poncho
While you can certainly buy these at the parks, if you prefer to save some money, I would suggest walking with your own. They are super light weight so won't take up much room in your luggage. Our very first visit was met with lots of rain and we ended up buying Disney Parks themed ponchos while at the park. They also come in handy if you don't want to get wet on rides such as Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom, or Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom.   

Camera, Cell Phone & Portable Chargers
You're going to want a way to commemorate all those memories and the easiest and quickest way to do so, is to use your cell phone. It's a great way to keep in touch with the other members of your party as well, if you decide to go separate ways to experience the park on your own. A lightweight camera is also a good idea, and while you may want to walk with your DSLR, think about the weight. However, with your constant photo taking, posting on social media, keeping in touch with the other members of your party, checking to see the wait times for rides and your FastPasses, your battery can die pretty quickly. Finding somewhere to charge your cell phone is almost next to impossible, so I suggest walking with a portable charger. The one I carry is the Under One Sky Pom Pom Charger that I picked up at Nordstrom a few months back. It is super lightweight and doubles as a bag charm, but you can find portable cheap chargers almost anywhere. 

Reusable Water Bottles
Did you know that Disney allows you to bring food into the park? Snacks and items that don't need heating up can be brought into Disney parks. However, I've found having a reusable water bottle invaluable. The price for a bottle of water isn't what you see in your local supermarket, and there are quite a few places for you to refill when you need a drink.

Autograph Book and Pens
Since this is your very first trip, you're going to want to meet all the characters that you can meet. The fun part of meeting them is also getting their autographs. While you can buy specialized Disney themed autograph books at the theme parks, you can also buy them online so you're ready when you get there. Retractable pens or sharpies are best to use, because there's no chance of a cover to lose.

If you're staying at a Disney World Resort hotel then you would have received a MagicBand. Even if you're not staying at a Disney World Resort hotel I would suggest purchasing a MagicBand in advance along with your tickets. You then have the option of selecting your FastPass rides before getting to the park, as soon as 30 days in advance with just your ticket, or 60 days if you have a Disney World Resort hotel reservation. MagicBands are also convenient because you wear them as you would a watch and they are easily accessible, whereas paper tickets can sometimes get lost easily in your bag or fall out of your pocket. You also don't want to spend time waiting in line purchasing tickets when you could have been in the park having fun already.

Backpack/Crossbody Bag
Now where do you keep all those things that I mentioned, that you'll want to have with you in the park? A handy dandy backpack! If you're an adult I suggest a crossbody bag, but if you have children with you, a backpack is a lot easier to carry and a lot more convenient. Take the weight off your shoulders and put them on your back! 

I hope I was able to help you in your planning of your very first Disney vacation. You're going to the most magical place on earth and I want you to be happy in the knowledge that you haven't forgotten anything. Have a stress free vacation!

Annmarie John
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  1. And lots of snacks. You can bring your own into the park and we bring LOTS of them. We save a bundle.

  2. These are all great tips. I'm a big fan of packing reusable water bottles. Any and every theme park in any part of the country will charge you an insane amount just for water.

  3. NEVER forget your phone! I forgot to pack my camera on one trip, and I missed SO many great shots. It was a total bummer.

  4. Well well - we are going next week!! I was just thinking of packing for weather - casual. Four pairs of pants, four pairs of shorts, four short-sleeved, four long-sleeved. For four days and not knowing the weather?! And of course, rain and sun gear. Snacks and more snacks, like Robin said!

  5. These are great tips for packing for your first Disney vacation. I haven't been to Disney in ages so if we go I will need this guide.

  6. It looks like you have all the essentials you would need to go to Disneyland. I think that mosquito spray would definitely be a must!

  7. Everyone seems to be doing to Disney lately. I know a lot of influencers are participating in trips that are hosted by Disney for them. I'd be interested in something like that, but I used to go to Disneyland in LA SO MUCH because we lived close by and I always seemed to win tickets! This is a great compilation of things to take! xx Adaleta Avdic

  8. Great suggestions, especially since it is important to be prepared! We live within driving distance of Disneyland and have really enjoyed visiting the parks over the years.

  9. SO many great tips! When we went to Disney, we didn't pack this well. A rain poncho would have coem in handy!

  10. Great tips! These are going to come in handy next month. Packing hasn't always been my strong-suit and I almost always forget something important. Over the years I've learned how important it is to bring a poncho and plenty of band-aids!

  11. Great to know! I'm not sure we will be heading to Disney or anything Disney related ( I wish I could tackle a cruise! ) but if so this is great to know! - Jeanine

  12. So many good things listed here, especially the mosquito spray and the rain ponchos! Staying dry makes a rainy day at Disney so much better.

  13. SUCH a great packing list! As an Orlando native and fellow Disney lover, I make the trip to the parks a lot (sometimes even staying at the resorts) and casual clothes are crucial. I have seen people make the mistake of trying to dress up and paying for it. Water bottles, also a must! SO expensive in the park!

    I currently have a travel linkup going on and this post would make a great addition! Feel free to join in on the fun :)

  14. Awesome tips and great recommendations. My girl's been wanting to go on a disney vacation and we'd better plan one soon. This is an amazing checklist for us!

  15. These are great tips! We forgot to bring rain poncho when we went last year and it was a great lesson for me. Glad you included it on your list!

  16. What a wonderful tips! This is such an amazing and exciting trip to Disney if ever!

  17. Great list for travel, especially for kids.
    But this list is good all around.

  18. This is SUCH a great packing tip list! We have friends embarking with their littles to Disney at the end of the month and I will be sure to share this post with them!

  19. these are great suggestions and i see how you can totally use this to help you pack for other vacations as well! in fact, my hubby and i are heading out of town this weekend and so this is perfect timing for me!

  20. A backpack or convenient cross-over bag is definitely one of the travel essentials we bring when we go to Disney!

  21. We live in Florida, so going to Disney isn't a vacation for us. But, this is a great list for those who are looking to come here and visit the parks.

  22. I've never been in Disneyland or Disney World, hope one day I visit these parks, and surely will need some tips what essential I need to bring. Great packing list!

  23. I agree with all of these ideas! We went this past summer, and one thing I realized was that I didn't need huge water bottles because there were so many water fountains there. If you need to cut back on one item to make space in your bag, you can skip the water bottles as needed.

  24. Literally just got back from Disneyworld and yes these are great tips. I would also advise checking the weather forecast, especially in winter. Sunday they had a super cold day. Barely above freezing. While the days were ok, the nights were frigid cold!

  25. And your Minnie ears! You can't forget your Minnie ears!! Hahah :)

  26. I wish I had had this list when I was going on my first trip to Disney. Like you, I had no clue what to pack. This would have saved me some trouble and time.

  27. I'm saving this post because I know that a Disney World trip is not too far off for us since the Tiniest Foodie is obsessed with Minnie Mouse, and these tips will come in so handy since I haven't stayed at Disney since I was a child.

    PS. I love the new blog name. :-)

  28. We keep many of these items in what we call the "go bag" ... we can toss it in the car, in a backpack or in a large purse (or baby bag for those with littles). I could see how these items would be exceptionally helpful at Disney!

  29. Great list!!! I always tell people lots of sun screen!!! Even when the sun is met out, in Florida it can come out 5 minutes later so always be prepared

  30. Love that you pack a rain poncho. I do too and my husband always looks at me like I'm crazy.

  31. Great list! We went to Disney this year and also packed a rain poncho. We went once and it rained the whole time and ponchos cost a fortune.

  32. I recently went to Disney and bought a backpack to keep all of my goodies in. It was the best purchase I made. Another item that was worth the money was a Swell bottle from Target. It kept my water ice cold all day, which was definitely needed in the hot FL temps.

  33. I've only been once & this seems about right! Would add in bringing or renting a stroller even for a 6/7 year old...

  34. The only thing I would add is comfortable shoes!! Lots of walking!

  35. How funny, I just wrote a post about this. All of these are great suggestions. Hand sanitizer is a must. Sometimes I shudder thinking about how many germs are crawling all over every surface in the park.


[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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