Packing for a day in Disney is an art. I find what you bring for the day can either make or break you during the day. You don’t want to pack too much, but if you don’t pack enough, it will cost you. Pack as much as you can the night before. You know your family best, so make sure to pack what you need for a 12 hour or so day in the park. For a complete itemized packing list, click here. I have a check list for the night before and the morning of, because often you think something is packed and it’s not! Here is our list of must haves for the day that you may not have thought of.
Tickets and Passport!
For the amount of walking you do on a disney day, no matter how comfortable you think your shoes are, trust us, you will need these. I like the blister bandaids a lot because it cushions the blister, and protects it from further irritation. They also stay on well in the heat and water if your feet get wet on rides. I like the mole skin for areas on my feet that are highly susceptible to blisters. I like to put them on the back on my heals in the beginning of the day to help keep my feet blister free. I slip the bandaids in to my wallet so that I know where they are, and I’m basically guaranteed to always have them on me.
Tylenol and Ibuprofen
Including children’s. I like to keep these on hand for anything from throbbing feet to headaches to fevers and everything in between. We sometimes will take a tylenol and an Ibuprofen at dinner just to help with the aches from walking all day. Helps us get through the rest of the night. If you or any of your children are susceptible to motion sickness, I would recommend gravol as well. Ginger gravol is nice because it helps with the nausea without making you sleepy if you take it in the daytime. My husband has allergies, so we always pack some allergy medication. And when I say always, I actually mean we often end up buying it from Target. If you are in the parks and don’t have these on hand, First Aid in both parks have nurses on hand to administer Children’s Tylenol.
Snacks are the secret to life I’m pretty sure. They help pass the time in line ups or if you need to walk to the other side of the park, that’s a great time to hand your kids a snack to eat in the stroller. We try to pack a mix of healthy and fun treats. This is also a great budget saver. Every family has their favourite snacks so make sure to pack your favourites. Here are our top picks for snacks: (click on the titles to find them in-store)
Whether your kids are 2 or 10, these are a great snack to grab. Not to mention, anytime I can get extra veg in my kids, I do. Especially when you’re on vacation and the kids are getting more treats than they might normally. Often Costco sells these or something like them at about a dollar a pack. I like to look with ones with some extra fillers like chia seeds, quinoa, rice, etc. Lovechild is a great brand that often pairs with quinoa. We fed our one year old two a day, but never had to buy him a meal.
This may seem like a weird one, but adults and kids alike are happy to munch on a handful of popcorn while in a ride line up. Yes, it takes up alot of room but it’s light! We eat snacks like this mid morning usually to free up room in our backpack. Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of popcorn. But there is something about smelling it all day, and walking 16 km in a day that makes you want some popcorn. On the health scale, if you avoid the heavy butter options, popcorn is a solid choice that will help fill you. I was once offered $10 cash for a bag of popcorn! Since it was for our kids, I of course turned it down.
Basically we love anything in a to go package. I wouldn’t normally spend the extra on individual packaging but it makes it oh so easy to throw in for the day. We also love Oh Henry mix to go . We’ve also made “MICKEY Mix”… white chocolate covered almonds or raisins, pretzels, m and ms (the Canada mix is white and red!).
I loooooooooooove peanut butter to go. With apple slices (which you can buy pre cut or bring an apple and spread it on after each bite with a plastic knife) or pretzels or even celery sticks. I’ve even packed my apple slicer, that’s how much I love this snack. If you have a stroller it’s an easy addition. It also comes in handy if you buy caramel apples in the park. They will cut the caramel apples for you but not de-core them. Not a necessity but definitely a luxury.
My kids are 7 and 10 and I still don’t go anywhere without the wipes. I would have both the regular baby wipes and Lysol disinfecting. We often have a big pack and throw them into zip locks and restock as needed. It seems that there’s always a sticky face, dirty fingers, messy stroller tray (when traveling with smaller children) and the list goes on. As a general rule Disneyland is very clean and well looked after, but sometimes you just need to give the table a little wipe down. Especially if your child has allergies.
You will most certainly want at LEAST one. We pack 2 for our family of 4 and refill throughout the day. You can spend a pretty penny staying hydrated in the parks. One of the things we also pack are Crystal Lights. We find that they are a yummy way to keep the kids from getting dehydrated. We also like powerade water enhancers. My rule is one bottle with no flavor, and then unlimited amounts of flavored water after that. Works like a charm! We have also found that the water in California is VERY chlorinated. A BRITA filter water bottle is another great option for filtered water in the Park. I then squeeze the newly filtered water into the other water bottles (quick tip, if you are adding flavor enhancers, do not add to the Brita bottle, as it will clog the filter).
I find my system (body) to be very sensitive to the water. To avoid spending money on bottled water in the park (usually around $4 per bottle!) I buy Litres of filtered water ( $1 for 1L) at Target and fill water bottles in the hotel room. There are several places in the park that have filtered water. All of the restaurants have filtered water and will give you ice water upon request (even if you aren’t buying anything) which we then we pour it into our swell water bottle. Yes S’well water bottles are expensive but on a hot day having water that stays cold is a MUST. You can also get filtered ice water at Starbucks (located near the entrance of both parks and downtown disney). I recently was in Anaheim in a heat wave, so we also packed Hydro light. The rule for our family on hot Park Days is they can drink as much as they want, I don’t even worry about the flavor enhancers on these days.
Make sure to pack sunscreen to touch up throughout the day. A bad sunburn can most certainly ruin your day. We try and do touch-ups when we are sitting down for meals. I’m super pasty and can’t tan to save my life, so sunscreen is applied often. SPF 100. If you’re like me, believe me, you WANT sunscreen. Also bring Aloe Vera or some kind of after-sun lotion so if you do burn, you can soothe it.
Depending on how much room you have (I will have a stroller until my kid is 6 in Disney!), pack a cooler with lunch and snacks that need to stay cold (our favs are cheese sticks, carrot sticks and yogurt tubes). If you have a picky eater, or someone who is content to eat “normal” food, you can make up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the hotel for lunch.
Strategically pack your stroller. The mommy hook is great for clipping purchases as well as water bottles. We’ve added to the amount of storage the stroller has by clipping a back pack to it. Our cooler is slung over the bars of the stroller.
Note the lightweight blanket to give your babe some shade. We’ve packed a change of shoes in the bottom compartment (runners for me, flip flops for my husband). I use a hiking back pack to clip on to the stroller frame for extra storage. We usually use this for sweaters and pants. This keeps the undercarriage free for everything else.
If you have babes in a stroller, bring their pjs. We changed our son around his bedtime, that way we were able to quickly get him in to bed once we got to the hotel. This is a great tip. A day in disney is exhausting and more often than not your kids will fall asleep in the stroller on the walk back to the hotel. Depending on your babies age, we have put them to “bed” in the stroller and then stayed in the park while they are sleeping.
And just like that, you’re ready to open and close the park!
Have a magical day,
Heidi, Erica, Elisia and Danielle