Disney / Amazon / Public Rec
Whether you’re a first timer or a Disney devotee, a trip to the parks is all the more fun if you fully prepare—from making advanced dining reservations to packing for maximum comfort and endurance.
Yes, you can buy many forgotten items in the park on the day of your visit—and Disney will be more than happy to take your cash on site—but you can save the markup and the hassle if you bring everything you need to hit the ground running at rope drop.
Use this guide to prepare for a truly magical trip to Disney, from packing the right clothing and shoes to knowing which accessories and tech tools are essential to have on hand.
Packing Checklist for Disney
Here’s everything you need to pack for Disney with our top pick for each item. Use this as a checklist, and read more about each of our specific recommendations below.
Clothing and Accessories
Best Hat: Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket Hat at REIBest Lightweight Jacket: Alo Contour Jacket at AloBest Sunglasses: Ray-ban Original Wayfarer Classic at Ray-ban
Best Sneakers: Veja Campo at Veja Best Sandals: Naot Santa Barbara at AmazonBest Water Shoes: Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary Shoes by Native Shoes at Shop Disney
Best Backpack: State Kane large backpack at State Best Waist Pack: Adapt Belt Bag at Public RecBest Insulated Bag: Lifewit Insulated Cooling Bag at Amazon
Best Portable Fan: Jisulife Handheld Mini Fan at AmazonBest Cooling Towels: Sukeen 4-pack Cooling Towels at AmazonBest Water Bottle: Hydro Flask straw-lid water bottle at AmazonBest Waterproof Ponchos: Sanxinht Disposable Rain Ponchos at Amazon
Best Phone Charger: Novobit Fast Lightning Cable at AmazonBest Backup Battery: Miady 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger at Amazon Best GPS Tracker: Apple Airtag at Amazon
Best SPF: EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen at AmazonBest sanitizer: Touchland Glow Mist Rejuvenating Hand Sanitizer at AmazonBest Clothing and Accessories
When it comes to clothing for a day at Disney, the goal should be to prioritize comfort above all else. That means weather-appropriate apparel, sun protection, and general freedom of movement. Sure, you can still plan to look cute for snapshots—but start with comfort and work backward from there when choosing what to wear.
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Storm Bucket Hat
Much of the park area is unshaded and you will need a hat to protect against that sometimes oppressive full-sun environment. This one has UPF 50+ sun protection plus a moisture-wicking mesh liner and a packable, crushable design. It features a waterproof and breathable membrane, as well as a downsloping brim to help rain roll off should you encounter a sudden shower. Importantly, it also has an adjustable chin strap, because they really mean it when they say, “Hold onto your hats and glasses!”
Price at time of publish: $54
Best Lightweight Jacket
Alo Contour Jacket
Even if it’s warm during the day, you will want to plan for layers in case it cools off in the evening or you get chilled after a water ride. To that end, bring along a lightweight jacket that can provide extra coverage when you need it but won’t bulk up your backpack. This one is both lightweight and warm with zippered sleeve and side pockets for added functionality.
Price at time of publish: $128
Ray-Ban RB2140 Original Wayfarer Classic Sunglasses
You’ll definitely want eye protection on a sunny day at the park, so don’t forget a pair of sunglasses (and don’t forget to stow them securely on rides with big action or drops). This iconic Ray-ban style goes back 70 years—so you hardly have to worry about making an investment that will go out of style. Choose from a range of lens treatments including gradient and polarized.
Price at time of publish: $163
You might very well log 25,000 steps in a Disney day—so wear uncomfortable footwear at your own peril. You’ll need a seriously cushioned footbed at the very least, whether you wear sneakers (preferred) or sandals for warmer weather. For Disney water parks, water shoes protect feet from hot pavement and injury, and metal-free versions are permitted on slides.
Veja Campo Sneaker
More than likely, sneakers are going to be your best bet for a day at the park in all seasons. Made using an environmentally friendlier tanning process, these leather shoes give you the support you need with a well-cushioned footbed (while still managing to look chic enough for that Disney snapshot bound for your annual holiday card).
Price at time of publish: $165
Naot Footwear Women’s Santa Barbara Sandal
For warmer days, this pair of sandals is cute, versatile — and most importantly, comfortable (the brand earns the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of approval). The serious comfort comes from the shock-absorbing insoles made of natural cork and latex and lined with suede. They literally mold to your feet as you walk… and walk… and walk.
Price at time of publish: $140
Best Water Shoes
Native Shoes Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary Shoes
Water shoes are a must for Disney’s water parks, but be aware that shoes with any metal details are not allowed on the slides as these features could damage surfaces. To that end, pick an on-theme and metal-free water shoe like these, which were designed especially for Disney World’s 50th anniversary by Native Shoes. The perforated uppers let water flow right out, and a molded EVA upper is cloudlike and comfy.
Price at time of publish: $45
No wagons are permitted within the parks, so you should make an efficient plan to carry your gear on your body. We recommend a backpack to distribute the weight more comfortably than a shoulder bag and allow hands-free agility, as well as a waist pack for keeping essentials close, secure, and at the ready.
Outside food is permitted within the park, so you may choose to BYO with an assist from an insulated bag. Bringing your own food also allows you to be more nimble when it comes to meal and snack breaks. Whatever you choose, use the app to plan your schedule around ride and attraction wait times.
State Kane Large Backpack
For carrying your gear throughout the park, a backpack is a no-brainer to distribute weight for enduring comfort. This is a classic, versatile option, with two large main zip-around compartments, a zippered front stash pocket, and side pockets that fit water bottles. Straps are soft, padded, and easily adjustable. A luggage slip sleeve in back makes it streamlined for traveling through the airport, too.
Price at time of publish: $175
Best Waist Pack
Public Rec Adapt Belt Bag
While a backpack will likely haul the bulk of your cargo, you will also want a compact belt bag for essentials—ideal for bringing valuables along on rides even when the bigger bag stays behind on the stroller or with a friend. This one easily fits a wallet, sunglasses, and lip balm plus a hand sanitizer. It has three zipper compartments and expandable sides.
Price at time of publish: $58
Best Insulated Bag
Lifewit Insulated Thermal Cooling Bag
There are many advantages to bringing your own snacks to Disney—even beyond just the massive cost savings. You’ll always have something on hand when you get hungry—even if you’re in the middle of a long line—and that’s an excellent tool against hanger. This lunch bag is made of insulated material that can keep foods and drinks cool or warm for more than five hours. A large, 15-liter capacity is enough to store the equivalent of 24 cans of coke. This pouch is affordable, durable, and has a high-quality zipper.
Price at time of publish: $16
Best Weather Prep
Nothing ruins a Disney day like failure to prepare for the weather—whether that’s extreme heat or cold, or precipitation. A handheld fan and cooling towels provide quick and portable heat relief, and waterproof ponchos protect against both rain and discomfort after water rides. A water bottle is a must for hydration in all seasons and is especially critical in the summer heat. Bonus: When you’re all set for inclement weather, you stand to benefit from a relatively crowd-free park after others bail.
Best Portable Fan
Jisulife Handheld Fan
When temps soar, you could buy an officially licensed portable fan at the park—but those are bulky and not very packable for the trip home. This version is much budget-friendlier, and it’s easy to pack away and recharge again and again for future trips. The mini handheld fan is compact, rechargable with a USB, and has up to 21 hours cooling time in one full charge. (Bonus: It doubles as an external backup power bank for your phone and has a flashlight, too.)
Price at time of publish: $14
Best Cooling Towels
Sukeen Cooling Towels
When it’s a really hot day, you’re going to want to bring out the big guns to keep you cool during a park outing. You’ll be grateful if you bring along a chilling towel made of super-evaporative breathable mesh. These come as a four-pack, and each has its own carabiner clip and carrying pouch. They stay chilled for up to three hours—without chemicals.
Price at time of publish: $16
Best Water Bottle
Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Water Bottle with Straw Lid 2.0
Staying hydrated is a must for a day at Disney, especially in the heat. Bring your own bottle and refill it at water fountains as well as personal bottle-filling stations; ice lasts all day inside this Hydro Flask (insulation keeps drinks cold up to 24 hours), so your water will always be refreshing after every refill. This 32-ounce water bottle is a powerhouse, with a seriously durable construction and a carry loop. Choose from nine colors.
Price at time of publish: $45
Best Waterproof Ponchos
Sanxinht Disposable Rain Ponchos
Sitting in the very front seat on Splash Mountain seems like a great idea — until you’re walking around in wet jeans. Prepare by bringing along a pack of waterproof ponchos; this budget-friendly pack of five comes in a tiny, light package so it’s easy to carry all day without extra bulk. And it serves an array of purposes: put it down before sitting on a wet ride seat, or use it to protect a stroller or smartphone.
Price at time of purchase: $7
You will certainly need your smartphone in the park—not just for photos and video but for practical reasons such as various functions in the Disney app. So make a plan (and ideally also a backup plan) for keeping your smartphone charged. A personal GPS tracker is also useful for keeping tabs on your belongings (and even your kids).
Best Phone Charger
Novobit Fast Lightning Cable
No matter how powered up your phone is when you enter the park, you’ll always find yourself depleted too quickly. Do not come without a charger for your smartphone. With this set, you get two six-foot cables as well as two USB wall chargers so you and a buddy both stay powered up.
Price at time of publish: $24
Best Backup Battery
Miady 2-Pack Dual USB Portable Charger
Wall chargers only work when you’re sitting still with an outlet nearby. Build in some helpful redundancy to your power plan with a portable charger that can also juice up your phone while you’re on the go (or inching along in line). With this budget-friendly set, you get two 10000-mAh battery packs, each with two USB output ports.
Price at publish: $22
Best GPS Tracker
Apple AirTag 4-Pack
These days, it’s always a smart move to travel with personal GPS devices, which can help you locate lost luggage in a chaotic travel era. It’s also a great idea to bring them with you in your bags on park day so that you can track any item from which you become separated—this goes for children too. (You can even get Mickey Mouse keychains to attach your AirTags securely to bags or to kids’ clothing,)
Price at publish: $95
In addition to being dangerous, sunburn after too much sun exposure can be uncomfortable enough to ruin your trip, too. Same goes for germ transmission. SPF and sanitizer are compact and essential tools that protect against both.
EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
Even on overcast days, you’ll be exposed to plenty of UV while you make your way around the park. This fan-favorite sport sunscreen with SPF 50 and zinc oxide protects against UVA and UVB rays. It’s also water resistant, so you’ll still be protected even after serious sweating (or a thorough soaking in a water park or on Splash Mountain).
Price at time of publish: $27
Touchland Glow Mist Rejuvenating Hand Sanitizer
Hugging characters, gripping safety bars, gliding along rope lines…that’s a lot of touching. Bring along sanitizer to keep your hands clean as you go. This one doubles as a moisturizing, anti-aging product with collagen-boosting properties. One container gets you about 500 sprays of the good stuff that kills 99.9 percent of germs.
Price at time of publish: $16
Frequently Asked QuestionsCan I bring food into Disney parks?
When you visit Disney parks, you are permitted to bring outside food and nonalcoholic drinks inside for your own consumption. Just make sure they’re not in glass containers and “do not require heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration, or temperature control and do not have pungent odors,” according to Disney’s guidelines.
When Is the best time to go to Disney world?
The best time to visit Disney World is when the crowds are diminished, if possible. January is quieter after the holiday season rush. For milder weather, plan a visit in the spring or fall seasons, which are also often less crowded when they do not correspond with school breaks. You can save money by visiting at off-peak times such as January, February, August, September, and early November.
What can’t I bring into Disney parks?
The list of prohibitions is long.
Guns, ammunition, knives, and weapons of all kinds (and even toys that resemble them) are prohibited at Disney, as are self-defense devices like pepper spray and mace. Illegal substances and marijuana are also prohibited, along with alcohol.Fireworks and explosives are not allowed. Leave whistles, horns, and artificial noisemakers at home, along with devices like drones, remote-control toys, skateboards, scooters, bikes, and shoes with built-in wheels.Glass containers are prohibited (with the exception of small containers, like baby food jars).No strollers over 31 inches wide and 52 inches high are permitted, and all wagons are banned. Don’t bring any suitcases or bags larger than 24 inches long by 15 inches wide by 18 inches high, and leave all folding chairs and selfie sticks at home.
For a more detailed list of what you can’t bring to Disney, read the official guidelines here.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Alesandra Dubin is a career travel and lifestyle writer and a frequent traveler. She’s also a twin mom based in Southern California, with significant hard-earned experience from many Disneyland trips.
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