A trip to Disneyland or Disney World is guaranteed to be memorable for the whole family. Going on a Disney vacation with the kiddos takes a lot of planning, but once you’ve all arrived and are getting ready to head into the park, it’ll all feel oh-so-worth it. Once you’ve booked your tickets and made the necessary reservations for your accommodations, you’ll want to start to get organized around packing.
If you’ve traveled as a whole family before, you likely know that last-minute surprises are bound to happen – but if you make a game plan for packing in advance, you can ensure they’re the good kind of surprises, like bumping into Mickey Mouse in the hotel lobby, rather than realizing your kid forgot to pack their sneakers. Read on for some packing tips for a family Disney vacation that’ll make the packing process, plus the trip itself, a stress-free success.
Once you’ve told your kids the news that you’ll all be heading to Disney together, the excitement level in the house is bound to be at an all-time high. And in all that excitement, getting your kids to focus on packing can be tough. That’s why the first tip on our list is to sit down with your kids and work on packing lists together. This is also a great way to ensure you don’t lose sight of your own packing needs as you help your kids tackle theirs.
First, check the weather in advance so you have a sense of what it’ll be like when you arrive, and then be sure to double-check the amenities where you’ll be staying. Then, break down your packing list by the days you’ll be there and what you’ll need or want for each day.
Of course, you’ll want to bring the right attire for your adventures in the park (more on this below), but don’t forget to include other travel essentials. For example, if the hotel or resort where you’re staying has a swimming pool, include at least two swimsuits on your packing lists. Be sure to also jot down lightweight sleepwear for yourself and kids' pajamas on your packing lists since you’ll want comfy and clean PJs to change into after a long and magical day at the park.
If you’re going to Disney World in Florida, make sure you include the necessary outwear on your lists, as rainstorms can often catch park-goers by surprise. Waterproof packable jackets for the whole family are a must-have since these will keep you covered in the park while also being major space-savers in your suitcase or day bag.
In addition to the necessary outerwear, swimwear, and sleepwear, you’ll want to pack the right clothes and shoes for your adventures in the park. Aim to bring clothes that are cute and photo-op-ready but also practical for all-day wear. A Disney vacation means a lot of walking, so be sure to bring a pair of comfy sneakers for daytime wear and then a pair of strappy sandals that you can rock by the pool and at any planned dinners. Make sure your kids also have a great pair of sneakers packed, plus a pair of kids' sandals for the pool or walking around the hotel or resort at dinnertime.
As far as your clothes go, you’ll want to pack a few pairs of flexible shorts plus some longer pants or leggings. Rather than packing jeans that might take up a lot of room in your bag, opt for comfy yet warm leggings for your kids and for you, a few pairs of stretchy wide-leg cropped pants. These leggings or pants will provide added warmth if it gets chilly or a protective layer if you decide to head to the park in the evening to catch a fireworks show.
Now that you have your packing lists ready and the right attire and footwear picked out, don’t wait until the last minute to pack your bags. Make sure you each have the proper luggage ready to go, that all the zippers work, and that you have enough space in your bags. Checking these types of details in advance can avoid any last-minute travel chaos and will also encourage the entire household to start packing in advance.
In addition to your suitcases or duffel bags that'll function as your primary travel bags, be sure to have a day bag to use while you’re in the actual park. Kids' backpacks with lots of zippered pockets and backpacks or drawstring bags for you and other adults in your household are a must-have for carrying essentials like cell phones, extra sunscreen, wallets, and your packable jackets in case the weather takes a turn while you’re busy riding rides or digging into a tasty Mickey-shaped treat.
Your day bags can also serve as carry-ons if you’re flying to your Disney destination, but make sure you leave some room in these bags or your luggage for any souvenirs you might pick up on your adventure.
Following these packing tips will prepare you and your entire family for your upcoming Disney vacation. We hope you all have a magical time in the happiest place on earth!