Once you’ve booked your Disney travel arrangements with Just Add Magic Travel®, it’s time to prepare and pack. Whether packing is a source of excitement or stress, as Tiana would say, you’re “Almost There!” By spending time thinking about what to pack for your Walt Disney World trip, you’ll be able to save money and time at the theme parks. While there could be an endless amount of items you could bring, we wanted to narrow it down to a few things you may not think about. Here are our top tips for what to pack for your Disney trip.
There’s no doubt that you will do a lot of walking at Disney. We’re talking upwards of ten miles per day. Doing that much walking without the proper footwear will lead to achy feet and cranky family members by the end of the day. Treat your feet well and invest in a good pair of cooling, sweat-reducing walking shoes for everyone in the family. Your feet will thank you!
A note on dressing children in costumes: choose practicality over theming and let them wear sneakers underneath. Keep the princess shoes for playtime at home.
I recommend bringing two pairs of shoes per person and rotating daily to decrease the risk of blisters.
Attractive rain gear
Even though Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it can be pretty rainy, especially if your Disney travel plans have you visiting during the summer. Pack rain gear accordingly so you don’t have to purchase ponchos during your trip. Another tip: bring attractive rain gear. If you visit during the summer, you will likely be using this gear at least once a day, and a Photopass photographer may capture the perfect family mantle photo just after a storm. Opt for a uniquely patterned or Disney-inspired poncho for family photos that are fun and functional! If you’d prefer to pack more lightly, you can purchase ponchos at the theme parks once rain rolls in. These even come with a replacement guarantee in the event that they tear.
Strollers & car seats
Here are some tips for Disney travel with strollers and car seats:
First, Disney has limitations to stroller sizes in the parks. Strollers must be less than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long (many double joggings strollers fit into this category). Stroller wagons are not permitted. Since strollers can go through a lot of wear and tear while traveling (especially if you gate-check it), we recommend arranging to rent a stroller during your trip. Just Add Magic Travel partners with several stroller rental companies in the Orlando area and will arrange reservations for you. Contact us to learn more about this option!
In addition to the actual stroller, there are a few accessories you’ll want to bring to make it more enjoyable. The first is a stroller tag. There are large stroller parking areas throughout various areas in the parks. After leaving your stroller for a few minutes, you may lose your stroller in a sea of similar-looking ones. In addition, a Cast Member may move your stroller to accommodate more guests. Bring a bright marker that will make your stroller stand out from others. You can DIY your own or have one custom-made from small businesses that offer Disney-themed stroller tags. You’ll want a stroller fan, especially for Florida’s hot and humid days.
If you stay at a Disney Resort and plan to take advantage of Disney’s complimentary transportation system, you will not need a car seat. Car seats are not permitted on Disney’s transportation systems, such as buses, monorails, and ferryboats. Typically a shuttle company will not allow car seats, while a private transfer company (which is Just Add Magic Travel’s recommendation) has car seats available that can be reserved prior to your trip. Before deciding whether to bring your car seat, feel free to reach out! We’ll discuss the various options and help arrange the best travel option for your family.
Food & drinks
Disney lets you bring outside food and drinks into the parks, as long as they aren’t in glass containers (except for jarred baby food) and don’t require refrigeration or heating (there are no public microwaves or refrigerators). We suggest keeping some simple snacks like granola bars on hand to act as a quick meal replacement to give you a boost of energy throughout the day. You will also want to bring refillable cups/water bottles and straws, as adult-sized fountain drinks do not come with lids or straws (kid-sized beverages and coffee do have lids).
Here are a few other items we recommend packing for when planning for Disney travel:
Disney travel with less stress with Just Add Magic Travel
With over 25 resorts available as a part of the Walt Disney World Disney Resort Collection, choosing where to stay during your Walt Disney World vacation is a challenge! Just Add Magic Travel is here to help you pick and reserve the hotel best suited for you and your family's needs. Disney Resorts fall into four categories: Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Villa. Each resort category has similarly priced rooms and various amenities. We break down everything you need to know about the different Disney Resort categories below.
Perks of staying at a Disney Resort
First, let's discuss the perks of staying at a Disney Resort. Each resort comes with free transportation to and from the Disney parks, plus Disney Springs. Buses are available at all Disney Resorts. Other transportation options vary depending on the resort and location, such as the Disney Skyliner, Monorail, and ferryboats. Some even have walking paths to select theme parks!
One of the greatest advantages of staying at a Disney Resort is gaining early access to select experiences. When you stay at a Disney Resort, you can enter the theme parks 30 minutes early every day. In addition, Disney resort guests can reserve Lightning Lane pass starting at 7 am, nearly two hours earlier than other guests (non-resort guests must wait until the theme park opens to make their first reservation).
One of the best things about staying at a Disney Resort is extending the quality service and theming you experienced at the theme parks to your resort stay. Some people may refer to this as "The Disney Bubble." We can attest that this bubble is quite real! When you stay at a Disney Resort, you are immersed in the Disney magic throughout your entire vacation, from listening to Disney music on the bus back to your resort to riding your favorite ride at Magic Kingdom 30 minutes earlier than anyone else. Disney Resorts also offer a wide range of activities, from outdoor movies to campfire sing-alongs.
Value Resorts are Disney's lowest-priced resort tier. These resorts offer budget-friendly options for small families with big, bright, and bold theming. Young children will enjoy strolling by larger-than-life Disney character facades and items such as jukeboxes and bowling pins throughout these resorts. Standard Value Resort rooms sleep four people and typically include two double beds. Disney's Art of Animation Resort and All-Star Music Resorts also offer family suites that can sleep up to six adults and have a small kitchenette and two bathrooms. All Value resorts include at least two pools, a food-court style eatery, and a pool bar.
Value Resorts are great for families looking for a budget-friendly resort option on Disney property. Value Resorts are perfect for families who will spend most of their time at the theme parks and don't mind the smaller size. They are also popular with sport and performing groups like marching bands and competitive dance squads who may be competing or performing at Disney.
Disney Value Resorts:
Moderate Resorts offer a sweet spot for many guests at the mid-level pricing tier. They offer beautiful, toned-down theming that will transport you to locations like the American Southwest or New Orleans. Resort rooms are arranged in building clusters scattered throughout the resort property, offering the feeling of privacy while being close to the resort's amenities. Moderate Resorts have slightly more square footage than Value resorts and can sleep up to five guests. Each moderate resort includes a large pool with a water slide and at least one "quiet pool." They also include quick-service restaurants as well as a bar or lounge. Most also offer table-service dining.
Moderate Resorts are excellent options for guests who want to split their time between the parks and their resort. You could quickly fill up a day of strolling around a walking trail, lounging by the pool, and watching a family Disney movie under the stars. Moderate Resorts are also fantastic if you bring your own vehicle, as you may be able to park in a lot relatively close to your building instead of having to walk to your room from the resort's main parking lot.
One Moderate Resort in particular is a hidden gem for guests who are looking for something more refined than a standard resort room. The new Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs has more upscale guest rooms comparable to some Deluxe category rooms. Some rooms even give you Club Level access. If you’ve followed Just Add Magic Travel’s Facebook page or blog, you’ll know how much we love staying Club Level!
Disney Moderate Resorts:
Disney's Deluxe Resorts offer the best amenities and accommodations on Disney property. Deluxe resorts offer high-quality theming that will take you to places like the African savanna or the Hawaiian islands. Deluxe Resort guests also have the added perk of attending Extended Evening Hours on select nights at select parks, allowing guests to stay at the theme park for two to three hours after the park closes to other guests. These resorts offer various free transportation options, such as the monorail and ferryboats. Several Deluxe Resorts are within walking distance to EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, or Magic Kingdom. In addition to quick-service and table-service dining options, Deluxe Resorts offer some of the most popular restaurants on property, like ‘Ohana at the Polynesian and California Grill at the Contemporary.
Deluxe Resorts are best for guests who want the very best Disney has to offer. To take full advantage of what Deluxe Resorts offers, plan to spend a significant amount of time exploring everything. Staying at a Deluxe Resort within walking distance to one of the theme parks is also beneficial for families with small children who can quickly return to their resort for a midday break. The high-quality amenities are also great for couples celebrating a milestone anniversary or honeymoon. Simply put—Deluxe Resorts are great for everyone!
Disney Deluxe Resorts:
Villa Resorts offer more room than other Disney Resorts and include homey touches like kitchenettes or full kitchens, washers, dryers, and multiple bedrooms. Villa resorts offer accommodations with one, two, and three-bedroom options that can sleep up to 12 people. One of the biggest benefits of a Villa Resort is the ability to cook meals in your room and extra fridge space for snacks and drinks. They offer many of the same amenities as Deluxe Resorts. They are an excellent option for large families who want to stay close together, not in separate rooms.
Three of these properties offer extra-special accommodations for guests looking for something a little different. The Cascade Cabins at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas are stand-alone waterfront properties with their own enclosed private hot tub area. Guests can also find free-standing over-the-water bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas. Saratoga Springs Resort offers Tree House villas perched ten feet in the air in a secluded location for an extra relaxing, peaceful stay (you’ll want to make sure you have a rental car for this option).
Disney Villa Resorts:
Other resorts on Disney property
In addition to the resorts listed above, which are a part of the "Disney Resort Collection," several hotels are located on Walt Disney World property that are not operated by Disney. These include:
Book your Disney Resort with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Disney Resorts have operated under a phased reopening since the pandemic shutdowns of 2020. Once All-Star Sports reopens at the end of March, all Disney Resorts will be operational! Experience the magic of Disney throughout your vacation when you book a room at a Disney Resort. Let Just Add Magic plan your trip for you: Get a quote today!
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