Ok, so you know how to pack for a holiday. You might even know what you need at a theme park - many of us have spent days at Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland etc. But we've got some tips of those little extra items that might just make your time at Disney World a little more enjoyable.
What to pack for Disney World: Clothing
You think of Orlando, and you think hot, right? For the vast majority of the time, you'd be correct. March through to mid-November, you'll mainly be wearing your summer stuff. Even then, we suggest you take something to keep you warm too - the air conditioning is fierce, especially in restaurants.
Orlando does have the concept of winter though. Between November and February, you are going to need warmer clothes. It can be tricky though - there will be times when you need jeans, jumpers and maybe even (shock horror) a coat - and other times you might be back in shorts, within the same holiday. Which means you need twice the amount of stuff you would normally take. We've found layers are the key.
And no matter when you go, you can almost guarantee that at one point, you'll get caught in the rain. It comes down hard and fast and drenches you to the skin. Make sure you take a light weight, rain coat - the pac-a-mac style are best, or the disposable ponchos (not great for the environment though!) Otherwise you'll end up having to buy one of the very expensive Mickey disposable ponchos that magically appear on all the merchandise stands when it starts to rain. The good news is that it often passes fairly quickly.
What to pack for Disney World: Keeping Cool
Most of the year in Disney it is HOT. Even when it is not, you're doing a lot of walking. So either way it is important that you stay hydrated. You can ask for filtered water at any quicker service spot, or buy bottled water - but you should be drinking more regularly than you'll be visiting dining spots. Luckily there are water fountains everywhere. Unfortunately the water in Orlando sucks. It just tastes terrible. We really recommend taking a water filter bottle - the kind that filter as you drink. We personally like the Bobble as it is just like drinking out of any sports bottle (caused instant panic when one of ours got left on Big Thunder Mountain!) but the Brita version is also popular.
Cooling Towels are the bees knees in the Orlando heat. You basically wet it, give it a quick swing around and they go ice cold - drape them around your neck and it is better than any mini-fan could ever be. It sounds a bit too good to be true, but trust me, of you only buy one thing in this page, make it one of these!
What to pack for Disney World: Autographs
What to pack for Disney World: Hygiene
In short - take hand sanitiser. People can be pretty gross and you'll be touching lots of things that lots of other people have touched - every ride for one thing. But the biggie is when you enter the park, you have to scan your fingerprint as it is associated with your park ticket/magic band. Think of the thousands of people that have touched that finger scanner just that day and the germs they've left behind. They do have Purell points at the other side of the entry points, but we strongly suggest you have some hand sanitiser with you too, so you have it after rides etc. (I got super sick on our last day of our last trip, and my husband entirely blames me getting lazy with the Purell!)
And on a similar note - anti-bac wipes! I read an article once about how plane tray tables are rarely cleaned and now wiping our family's trays down is the first thing I do when I get on the plane. I swear I'm not as neurotic as this particular part of this article is making me sound.
What to pack for Disney World: Tech
Our top tip for making sure you keep your electronic devices charged is to take a couple of cheap travel adaptors, plus a really decent cube adaptor that has multiple slots for USB charging, as well as the standard plug. There never seems to be enough electrical points, so charging multiple things at once is a must.
Here's another tip - it's not worth taking your hairdryer - the electric points over there run on a much lower voltage to here so anything that uses a lot of power, such as your hairdryer, barely functions. Better using the one in the room.
We also strongly suggest taking a portable phone charger with you. Even if you aim to keep phone use to a minimum to get the most of that family time, you almost HAVE to use your phone a lot in the parks. The My Disney Experience app is the centre of everything - it has park maps, parade and show times, dining reservations, FastPass+ (both the one's you've booked and if you want to book others), PhotoPass and lots more. Not to mention using it for your own photos and videos. We like the Ankers ones, as we've always found them pretty reliable.
What to pack for Disney World: Water Parks
Swimsuits, obviously. Ladies, if you plan on going on anything more than the lazy river, consider how 'secure' you'll be on water rides - a one-piece or tankini might work better than a bikini.
Towels are provided at the swimming areas of the Disney hotels, but NOT at the water parks. If you are short on luggage space, you can hire beach towels at the water parks. However, we personally prefer to take our own - it saves a little bit of money and makes finding your sun lounger again much easier. They take a little bit of getting used to as they are not fluffy, but microfibre towels are fantastic for this - they are very light and pack away much smaller than a standard beach towel, and also dry much faster. Our favourites are from Dock and Bay - they have some fab designs and are also 'sand-proof' - the sand just shakes right off. Not as useful in Disney, although there are beaches in both water parks, but if you're purchasing beach towels, these will work for other holidays too!
But our biggest tip for what to pack for the water parks is water shoes. Not just sandals, but shoes that you can actually wear on the rides. In the summer, the ground gets HOT. I'm talking, burn your feet, hop around, unbearably hot. Without water shoes, you have to wear your sandals to the ride entrance, stand on the hot ground in bare feet while queuing for you turn and then make your way back to the entrance, from the ride exit to the safety of your shoes again. With water shoes, you can just keep them on the whole time. We really like the sock-style - they have just enough sole to provide protection from the heat and a bit of grip, but are very light and squidge right down for packing purposes.
What to pack for Disney World: Little kids
Having travelled to Disney World with young children ourselves, we know that both the long flight and the long days can prove to be a little challenging. We've devoted a post to the items that can make that challenge just a little easier.
And finally - I always take PG Tips with me. The tea situation in Disney World is so much better than it used to be, now that they have partnered with Twinings. You should be able to get an English Breakfast tea bag in your hotel. But sometimes they're not available and quite frankly, it is not worth the risk! 🙂