Disney and Universal are their own monster when it comes to packing. Here’s my BEST tips to help you out so that you are prepared and can make it the most magical time ever!
At Disney, you are able to take a bag with you on almost any ride. At Universal, you can take bags on almost none of the rides, but they provide lockers near each ride at no charge. The no charge lockers are quite small, though, so you may want to try to take a smaller bag with you into these parks. They do have larger lockers available for a fee.
Packing Tip #1 – SHOES
I cannot stress the importance of bringing the right shoes enough.
On a Disney and/or Universal trip, I pack for each family member:
👟 Newer Tennis Shoes (already broken-in)
👟 Older Tennis Shoes (still comfortable)
👟 Comfortable Sandals like Tevas or Chacos
👟 Slides or Flip-flops (for the pool only)
You’ll also want plenty of nice quality socks. Compression socks are good to prevent swelling. (Also be sure to drink lots of water, and try to limit salt intake if you have swelling in your feet, ankles, or legs.) We average 20,000 steps per day at the parks, so we take our footwear seriously!
During the trip, I rotate the shoes we wear each day. If we happen to be back at our resort sometime during the day, I have everyone switch shoes before heading back out. We also elevate our feet for a few minutes in the evenings when we get back to our room. And we never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row!
These tricks really make a big difference in our trip experience. Cranky kids (and husbands!) are the last thing you want, and spending a little extra time planning out our shoes has always paid off for me.
Packing Tip #2- Speaking of Shoes….
When you’re walking all over Disney or Universal all day every day, even the most fit person will suffer from foot pain, in spite of the shoe precautions previously mentioned. Here’s another foot pain combatant:
Moleskin! I had never even heard of it before going to Disney. Pack it in your bag, along with some bandaids, and some medical scissors (yes, you can take this type of scissors into the parks). As soon as you feel a little hot spot starting, BEFORE it becomes a blister, cut whatever size moleskin you need and stick it on! It is a literal lifesaver.
Packing Tip #3- Cooling Towels and Fans
Florida is close to the equator. That means hot hot hot! Particularly in the summer, but it can have hot spells even in winter months.
Cooling towels feel amazing. They are magical. You just get them wet at any time, with any temperature water, and they get cold. They will feel SO good on your neck, face, or on top of your head.
A neck fan can also be a life saver. Most charge with USB. They hang around your neck and can point right at your face. This always feels good, but ESPECIALLY now if you choose to wear masks. Helping your face cool down can help your whole body cool.
Packing tip #4-Disposable Moist Face Wipes
Your face will get sweaty, especially under the masks, It’s really nice to have these with you to clean your face throughout the day. It seems like something so small, but it helps me feel so refreshed mid day in the heat.
Packing Tip #5- Ponchos or Umbrellas
Being prepared for rain is a must. It rains every day in Florida, even if a short burst in the afternoon on a sunny day.
Umbrellas are an option. I prefer ponchos, as they take up less room in your bag, and keep your hands free. They are expensive in the parks. Keep in mind though, the cheaper ones do tend to tear easily, so bring more than one per person for the week. You can get them in adult or children’s sizes. There’s a multi size pack as well.
Packing Tip #6- Friction Stick
Gold Bond Friction Defense stick – This is kind of like deodorant. It is for between your thighs and any other areas that rub to prevent heat rash. Works like a charm.
Packing Tip #7- Sunblock
I know everyone has their favorites, but we really like Sun Bum. It was highly recommended by some vloggers that go to Disney regularly. It really lasts all day, and has less chemicals in it than most brands. I’ve only ever reapplied on my forehead where I sweat it off real bad, and I’ve never once been sunburned on a trip there.
Packing Tip #8- Portable Phone Charger
This is a MUST, especially for Disney. You will need your phone all day long. You use the My Disney Experience app to look at the map, check wait times, find the location of something you need like a restroom, and to mobile order quick service meals. With the Disney Genie service now offered, you’ll only need it that much more. I like this portable phone charger in particular. It’s thin and lightweight, holds a lot of juice, and can charge two phones at once.
Another option is Fuel Rods. these are tiny and convenient for Disney and Universal particularly. You can trade them in at kiosks you find everywhere, most of the time for free. Read more about them here.
Packing Tip #9 – Medication
For me, this is like #1 on the list! Don’t forget medicine like ibuprofen for aching bodies and feet and Tylenol, Excedrin, or whatever you take for headaches. This is useful for adults and children.
Packing Tip #10- Ziploc Bags
The gallon size is good, but quart can be useful too. I mentioned these in packing list 1, but I really can’t tell you enough how useful they are. They are great for storing leftovers when you eat to save for a snack later, putting wet ponchos or socks in, or storing electronics in during a water ride.
Packing Tip #11- Water Bottles
These ones that will keep the water cold are our favorites. We usually take one bottle for every two people to share so that it cuts down on weight in your park bag. Or on some occassions, I make my kids carry their own when they have a bag of their own. You can refill them as needed. Cold water in the parks is free at any quick service location. Some people are bothered by the taste of the water. If you think that may be the case for you, I recommend these bottles with a filter.
Packing Tip #12- Reusable Straws
Disney does not have plastic straws anywhere on property. For the most part, you will be given a paper straw. These are problematic, as you can imagine, especially for something like a thick milkshake. Taking your own reusable straws really comes in handy. I like these straws. They are color coded for each family member. They are glass, but unbreakable…trust me, I tested it out. I tried metal ones at first but my kids didn’t care for the way they made things taste. They also come with their own carrying bag and cleaning brush.
If you are going to Disney World, don’t also forget your Magic Bands and trading pins/lanyards if you have them! I hope these tips help make your trip more enjoyable and feel more prepared.