Be Prepared: What to Bring to Disney World

If you’ve made the decision to visit Disney World or another amusement park (Universal is another favorite of ours) then you’re likely excited and nervous. I hope I can help you focus on just the excitement with my Disney World Planning Tips, Disney Gluten-Free Dining Guide, and now – you can be prepared with What to Bring to Disney World!

NOTE: we fully paid for our trip and are in no way affiliated with Walt Disney World. 

Comfort Items for Disney World

Disney is an experience and if you don’t want to be paying for overpriced everything while there, bring your own.

I had so much fun shopping for us, here’s what I brought:

  1. Snag Tights – their Chub Rub line allows you to breathe while avoiding the dreaded chafing that can come from walking 100,000 steps in sweltering humidity
  2. Bombas – we swear by these socks. I know you’re wondering how socks can make that much of a difference – but they do. One of our kids didn’t wear theirs the first day, had multiple blisters, then borrowed ours and managed fine the rest of the trip. (code WHOLEVIEW will save you 20%)
  3. Sustainable Sneakers – we made sure everyone had shoes that fit well before we left. Ecoalf and On Running were the ones that worked best for long days of walking. I think bringing two pair of shoes, even if one is a supportive sandal, is immensely helpful because if you get sore in one spot from the same shoe, changing it up can make a world of difference.
  4. I bought myself a Virsa backpack for the trip so that my usual messenger bag wouldn’t make one shoulder tired. This was HUGE for reducing my back pain, since I walked more evenly. It was the perfect size for a water bottle, sunscreen, my wallet, sunglasses, and whatever the kids handed me that they wanted me to hold.
  5. Therabody Massage Gun – I brought this for myself to loosen up tight muscles but the whole family ended up using it every night! I wish I’d thought to take a photo, but it was one of those moments where we’re all giggling and having fun creating memories and just forgot my phone.
  6. Heads-Up – even if it’s not free when you try to add it, it’s worth grabbing a few Disney-themed heads-up categories for when you’re waiting. We had Villains, Marvel, Disney, and more. Each time we were in line, on a bus, waiting for food we often played – and families around us often joined in. It’s a super simple family-friendly way to pass the time!

Don’t forget

  1. Sunscreen – this is the only brand we use, tested safe and effective.
  2. Sunglasses! Matt has and loves these, but any that have UV protection will work.
  3. CBD, Ibuprofen, or whatever pain management you use – someone will hurt or get a headache and you’ll avoid a trip to the very far away first-aid clinic this way.
  4. Band-aids, (i.e. adhesive bandages) see above. We love the Welly brand for its versatility and variety.
  5. Hand Sanitizer, we brought the Honest Free & Clear but my kids all asked to use my Hand Savior.
  6. Water bottles, we really liked this one – not too heavy and collapsable when not in use. The other one that is our family favorite is this one with a straw.
  7. Ponchos – I know you don’t want rain when you go, but if you plan ahead that makes it less likely, right? We paid WAY too much for these on location!

this mist is eco-friendly and non-nano zinc oxide for a safer sunscreen that doesn’t stink or burn

Kiddo’s Coping Tools for Disney World Crowds and Noise

In addition to what everyone brought, we prepared for Kiddo’s needs a little more. They have a hard time with crowds, noises, and eating in public. We worked with their therapy team to develop a plan that included:

  1. Bringing music and noise-blocking earbuds to use when things felt overwhelming.
  2. A backpack that had a stuffed animal to help give comfort when needed.
  3. We registered our dogs as Emotional Support Therapy Animals so that kiddo could bring one into the park if needed for support, turns out it wasn’t needed. Gus (our Frenchie) got a backpack made for us to carry his thick build, anticipating the need and knowing that comfort would help kiddo.
  4. We planned phrases they could say to let us know their needs in a way that didn’t make them worried about our reaction. For example: “I’m just not feeling this right now” meant we needed to not push and give space.

that’s my Virsa backpack on the right and the Leather Workhorse (Matt’s bag) on the left

For the Road Trip Down to Disney World

Free Activities:

  1. We had about 15 hours together in a car on the way down and back. At first we listened to Disney Hits Essentials through our iTunes family account, and then listened to all of the Hamilton Soundtrack.
  2. We like to play the License Plate Game, the whole family tries to find each state. We found everything except Wyoming this time (including hard to find states like Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota)!
  3. Then on the way home we listened to audio books and had a bit of “alone” time after feeling quite stimulated for the week.

What we Bought

  1. This Dog Water Bottle was perfect for in the car.
  2. Both dogs loved this car seat we installed so they each had a safe place to sit (one in back, one in front).
  3. Our Thule rooftop cargo box with duffle bags remains the most important road trip tool in our arsenal. See our full Amazon favorites here.
  4. We only have one iPad for the two kids without a phone, which they shared by setting a one hour timer and passing it back and forth. Between sessions they each read books and drew, their favorite activities.

For our Cabin

  1. As soon as we arrived, one of us went to a nearby Target to get some items we didn’t want to make room for in the car on the way down. We bought a LOT of beverages – we found that we were perpetually thirsty from the heat and sweating. If you have your favorites around, you’ll save money on buying it all in the park. Other popular items were cereal, berries and mylk as well as microwavable breakfasts – my kids love the egg sandwiches and bowls.
  2. While the resort did include body care products, my teens immediately said “I don’t trust this stuff, can I use your shampoo” before I’d unpacked. Because we drove (no TSA limits), I had brought enough to share! This is what we use, including the hand soap.

By skipping bringing all the snacks and foods we usually do in the car, it gave my kids – now with much longer legs – more room in the car. All our clothes were on the roof. In the trunk we packed a dog crate (our pups shared since they were rarely in it), and fragile stuff like the hat I didn’t want crushed plus electronics like charging cords and laptops, one snack bag for in the car itself, and my spillover bag with toiletries. It worked perfectly!

Fun Money Savers

The best way to save money at Disney is to not get sucked into buying everything you see. I planned ahead by grabbing us buttons, ears, and t-shirts before we went. Then, the kids received a budget on their Magic Bands to use as they wanted. It was amazing how effective it being their own money was for being smart with their choices. And, I didn’t have to hear “can I have this” 5 bajillion times because they got the same answer each time, “sure, you have your own money.”

I brought all of the following swag from Etsy, and unlike some of the other things the kids were begging for, I know we’ll wear these outside the park, too. OK, well maybe not the ears…

In order shown on my Etsy Favorites List:


Checkout my Disney World Planning Tips Guide for what else to plan for!

Checkout my Gluten-Free Walt Disney World Dining Guide here for our thoughts on each restaurant, what we recommend, and more.

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