Planning a Disney vacation with kids can be overwhelming. There is so much to see, do, eat…and pack!
I’ve been to Disneyland hundreds of times. I’ve visited in every sort of weather, from torrential downpours to 100 degree heat. Sometimes we are at Disneyland for less than an hour… and sometimes we do 16 hour days.
Our family has also visited Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
I’m pretty experienced at packing for just about any type of Disney trip. My Disney Packing List is a list of items you need to take into the park.
My Disney Day Bag Packing List covers all the basics of what to pack for Disney with kids so you can relax and have fun knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
If you have a child under five, you’ll want to take a stroller to Disney.
Park stroller rentals are expensive and awkward to deal with.
A long day at Disney will leave even my 10 year old begging for a stroller turn, so you will definitely want one with younger kids.
We have a sturdy lightweight stroller that’s perfect for a day at Disney or other amusement parks.
If we’re taking the kids late at night for a special event, we use a double stroller – the City Mini Double Baby Jogger – so multiple kids can sleep or rest. Wagons are not allowed.
A stroller is worth adding to your Disney packing list even if it’s just to hold your backpack and other stuff.
A carrier at Disney is a must if you have a baby.
Use the carrier to contain a toddler in line where a stroller is not allowed, let baby nap on rides without disturbing, and keep your hands free for eating churros!
The baby sling is also helpful if an older child wants a turn in the stroller.
Many rides such as Mad Tea Party, King Arthur’s Carousel, it’s a small world, and Casey Jr. Circus Train let you wear the baby while riding. Perfect for naps!
Use a backpack or tote bag as your Disney Day Bag to carry the packing list items I mention below.
Stuff it full, and leave it on the stroller while you wait in line for rides and watch shows, so you don’t have to haul it around.
We are currently using reusable Disney character totes instead of a backpack. They’re fun, and easy to hook onto the stroller handles.
To allow you to leave your Disney Day Bag on the stroller, you’ll need a separate bag with your valuables.
Use the separate bag for your wallet, keys, tickets, camera, phone, and anything else you need immediately handy.
I use a small cross-body purse that has also room for an in-line snack chosen from the backpack, and some baby wipes, just in case.
One of my friends uses a tiny cross-body cell phone purse just big enough for her cards, tickets, and phone.
In addition to your backpack, you may want to pack cold items in a small insulated bag. Hard ice chests of any size are not allowed in Disney parks.
I have several sizes – a bag that fits into a backpack, and a bigger tote if we are bringing lunch for the whole family. I like to use frozen Capri Sun as ice packs and let the kids drink them on the way home to cool off.
I have never had an issue with a stroller at Disneyland (out of hundreds of visits), but it does happen. If you’re worried about it, look into a simple stroller lock to keep your stroller in place.
You may not lock your stroller to Disney property, but you can use a lock to secure the wheels, or your bag to the stroller, which may deter theft.
Stroller hooks come in handy to hang bags or water bottles. Use this type of hook if your stroller has two separate handles, or this carabiner type hook if your stroller has a bar handle.
A blanket may seem like an odd packing list item for Disney, but it’s invaluable.
You can use it for stroller shade, a nursing cover, to snuggle up tired kids at the end of the night, or to help save seats for parade. I usually bring an Aden and Anais muslin blanket for the first three uses, and a heavier fleece blanket if we plan to see a parade or outdoor show.
Disney offers an amazing variety of world-famous snacks, but they are expensive! If you’re bringing kids, you don’t want to pay $4.50 every time someone says “I’m hungry!”
Pack your own favorite snacks in your backpack instead. Some of our favorites are baggies of pretzel sticks, containers of fresh vegetables or cut up fruit, fruit snacks, applesauce squeezes and bags of chips.
I’ve found that waiting in line gives a container of vegetables a captive audience of hungry kids; it almost always gets all eaten.
Bear with me here. Lollipops are a parent’s best friend at Disney. They’re easy to stash in your valuables bag and instantly quell tantrums, miraculously perk up tired legs, and keep kids holding out that last five minutes in line.
The best place to purchase the Mickey pops at the park is at the Candy Palace on Main Street. They are a much better deal than the bunches of Mickey lollipops also sold there, or the enormous round lollipops.
If you have a little one on baby food, bring your own. It is available for sale at the Disney parks’ Baby Care Centers, but it isn’t cheap and they may not have your preferred flavors.
My 18 month old is still addicted to squeezes and I always bring plenty.
Don’t forget to hydrate! You can get free cups of ice water at any counter service restaurant in Disney parks, but I suggest bringing your own reusable bottle and refilling it.
You can refill from any drinking fountain, or from refill stations around the park.
When most people think of visiting a Disney park, they think of sunny skies. I see a lot of sunburns around Disneyland.
Don’t make your vacation uncomfortable by being one of those people. Add sunscreen to your Disney Packing List….and use it!
Whether your hat has Mickey ears on it, or not, you’ll appreciate having the sun out of your eyes.
But even more so, project your kids’ faces and eyes from the Southern California or Florida sun.
Purchase a Disney hat before you go, or wait to get one at the park. A hat makes a great – and useful – souvenir.
Another must for Disney in the heat is a mini fan with a water mister. We bought these for our first trip to Disney World, and they were lifesavers.
Not only does a mini fan cool you off, they also entertain the kids!
I definitely recommend adding a mini fan with water mister to your Disney Packing List.
On the flip side of the weather, eventually the sun will go down and even in the summer, it cools off.
Add sweatshirts and jackets to your Disney Packing List. Have one for everyone stashed in the bottom of the stroller.
Disney Outfits for the family are a fun way to capture the vacation. Our friends at Maune Legacy have compiled outfit ideas that include comfortable clothing items and shoes in full Disney style!
Or Seven. If there’s a chance of rain during your Disney vacation, stock up on inexpensive plastic rain ponchos.
You’ll want these for yourself, your kids, your backpack, your stroller, the legs of the kid in the stroller… you get the idea.
January and February at Disneyland, and June-September at Disney World are the rainiest times.
Even if it’s not rainy weather, you may want to stash a couple ponchos in your backpack to use on water rides.
A rain poncho is one of those items you will be happy you added to your Disney Packing List.
As with baby food, the Disney Baby Care Centers do sell diapers, but they’ll cost you.
Pack plenty of diapers and wipes and stash the extras at the bottom of the stroller.
You’ll need baby wipes not just for diaper changes, but for wiping off churro fingers and Dole Whip faces.
Diapers and wipes are a essential Disney Packing List items!
If you intend to play in any of the Disney splash play areas, pack a change of clothes for after.
Add a pair of flipflops to your Disney Packing List. Shoes are required in the splash play areas.
Magic Kingdom has a Casey Jr. play area and Disney California has one in A Bug’s Land, but there are others.
Depending on the ages of your kids, an all day Disney trip may require a change of clothes any way – because of accidents, food spills, water rides, and more.
If you want to collect character autographs with your kids, consider ordering an autograph book before your trip.
Adding the autograph book to your Disney Packing List is a great way to save money.
VALUABLE TIP: Pack a fat marker for the characters to write with, and remove the cap for them. It’s hard to sign with paws.
Add glow bracelets, wands and other glow items to your Disney Packing List. You’ll save $10+ over buying these items at the Disney parks.
If you can hide these from your kids until time to use them, you get parenting bonus points.
Besides autograph books and glow sticks, you may wish to purchase other souvenirs outside the parks to surprise your kids. This will save you both time and money inside the park.
Of course shopping in the park can be part of the Disney experience. But consider items like water bottles, jewelry, or hats that could be used during your Disney trip.
It’s amazing what a small jar of bubbles will do for your children’s spirits, and everyone nearby.
Add those items to your Disney Packing List that cover the basics so you can relax and have fun knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
Read the review about the Howard Johnson by Wyndham in Anaheim, CA. Enchanted Serendipity shares this review in their article about Best Value Accommodations in the US.
We use Airbnb (here’s a $40 coupon) | Hotels.com | HotelsCombined to rent accommodations that have a kitchen. Cooking our meals saves us quite a bit of money compared to eating out, and it’s much healthier!
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