Disney Magic: A look into my suitcase

Packing for Disney

Let’s face it, planning a trip to Disney World is a fun and exciting time.  Whether it’s your very first time visiting the happiest place on Earth or if you’re a Disney veteran, the excitement and anticipation of the trip can cloud your judgement when it comes to packing and planning.  It’s very easy to spend a small fortune on the little things you find out you need after you’ve already arrived at your Disney Resort, and that can cause a painful strain on your wallet and fun.

{Disclaimer: We do not have kids so this list may or may not be what you’re looking for.  Most of these things can be adapted and used for kid-friendly trips, but I do not claim to know how to pack for a Disney vacation with children.}


The first few trips Chris and I made to Disney were full of learning experiences.  I had to learn how to pack for a fun and stress-free vacation, and it took some time and practice to figure out what we did and did not need.

Below is a list of a few items I always bring with us, no matter the time of year that we go.  We find that we spend less time worrying if we have everything we’ll need and more time enjoying the rides and shows in the parks.

  • Ponchos from Target (they’re around $1.50 each, and much more budget friendly than the $8 one’s you can buy at the Disney Parks!).
  • 2 or 3 packs of Tide detergent (and a bit of fabric softener) just in case you run out of clothes and need to do laundry at your resort (just make sure you bring extra change for the machines!).
  • Small backpack to carry around wallets, phones, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottles, and anything else you may need while at the parks.
  • Light jackets for both Chris and I because it can get chilly at night if you go during the Spring or Fall months.
  • A small handheld fan and batteries to cool us off during those unbearably hot summer months.
  • Multiple pairs of shoes.  Always opt for comfy instead of stylish because your feet will be sore after a long day of walking around!  We’ve found that switching our footwear each day helps keep the achy feet at bay.
  • Lots and lots of sunscreen, no matter what time of year it is.
  • Aloe Vera, you’ll be glad you brought it if someone gets a very uncomfortable sunburn.

Until last April, Chris and I always flew down to Florida.  Since we fly Jetblue and the first checked bag is free, I always made sure we each had our own checked bag.  That guaranteed that we had enough room for all of our clothes and toiletries and whatever souvenirs we picked up while at the parks.  However, we don’t fly anymore since they stopped the direct flight from Dulles Airport to Orlando.

Instead we drive.

It’s cheaper because of our Hybrid and we’re able to bring more items with us.  Below you’ll find the list of items that we always carry in our car:

  • A separate Toiletries Bag:  It’s easy to pull out of the car in case I want to brush my teeth or wash my face at a rest stop along the way.
  • One large suitcase and one carry-on sized suitcase.  If we take two days to drive down to Orlando, the carry-on sized suitcase will hold our overnight items.  The bigger suitcase is usually left in the car until we get to our Disney Resort.
  • A cooler:  Disney provides a refrigerator in every room so we always bring drinks (water, soda, etc) with us in the car.  We usually bring water bottles into the parks with us and are able to refill them at water fountains throughout the day.
  • A large Disney tote (similar to this one):  A few trips ago we bought a large tote at one of the gift shops and we now use it to bring snacks along in the car.  I usually pack chips, chex mix, breakfast food, gushers (my weakness!), and any other little snack items you can find at the grocery store.  It saves us a bit of money because we’re not eating out every single time our tummies start to rumble!  We don’t pack anything that needs to be reheated though, because Disney does not provide a microwave in their rooms!  (some of these things would be easy to pack in a suitcase too!)
  • A pillow and a blanket.  I’m not a huge fan of the pillows Disney provides in the room so I always bring my own.  And since Chris tried to freeze me out of the room during our anniversary visit, I have now learned that I need to bring an extra blanket with me (and sweatpants, socks, and lots of sweatshirts).

And that’s it!  It definitely took a few trips to perfect the packing situation but now it’s so easy and stress-free to do.  I’ll probably update this list from time to time (and I’ll let you know when I do), but if you’re a Disney junkie like us let me know if there are items you bring that aren’t on the list in the comment section below!

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