Home » 4 Things You Might Think You Need (But Really Don’t) When You Visit Walt Disney World

    4 Things You Might Think You Need (But Really Don’t) When You Visit Walt Disney World

    People in Ponchos

    No matter whether it’s your first time or one-thousandth time going to a Disney park, you can never get enough useful tips on making your vacation as smooth sailing as possible. Where some may swear by their methods, others may dismiss them. From someone who has extensively visited Disney parks (and been behind-the-scenes), here are some things you just may reconsider bringing on your next trip to Disney parks.

    1. Poncho/Umbrella

    People in Ponchos

    Image: Andrea McKinney

    I know, blasphemy, right? Every Disney World packing list is going to include the beloved poncho – a known staple in the Disney-goers guidebook, but just hear me out. I have been to Disney more times than I can count and have made it without a poncho. My secret? Bring a light, hooded jacket. In fact, it works so well, I have a dedicated “Disney jacket” that I bought off Amazon just for going to the parks.

    The reason a jacket is your best option is that it’s generally wearable. With a poncho, you’re going to need something to carry it in, which means going through the bag check line and hauling it around with you all day. Yuck. With a jacket, you can tie the arms around your waist and go. If you get cold in a line or end up stuck in a spot where water drips on you (a la Splash Mountain), you have something to cover up with. And, as you never know when rain will fall in central Florida, a hood is going to cover your head just as much as any poncho or umbrella will. Trust me, your hair is going to look ridiculous either way. Plus, if you can find one with zippered pockets it can double as a wallet. Win, win!

    2. Purse

    Bag Checkpoint

    This brings me to my next Disney no-no: bringing a purse into the park. This could really pertain to any bag, though I know some are adamant about bringing extra suncreen/bandaids/etc., but purses are definitely not a necessity. To get into Disney, the absolute basic necessities are going to be a magic band, ticket card, ID, cash, gift cards (we’ll talk about that in a second), and probably your cell phone. All together, these things add up to be about the equivalent size of a piece of toast and can easily be carried on your person.

    Bringing a purse into the park is just an added inconvenience. You will have to spend more time keeping track of it, figuring out how to get it into the rides’ storage compartments, or deciding who will sit out to guard it while you have a grand ol’ time. In addition, you get to lug around the extra weight. It’s simply not worth it. Take out only what you need and put it in a zippered, Velcro, or button-fastened pocket. Leave the purse at home and free Grandma from the oppression of being the bag guard.

    3. Credit Cards

    Disney Gift Cards

    Image: Disney

    Alright, let’s talk about money. Disney parks aren’t cheap (and you’re definitely going to need to bring some cold hard cash with you as a backup) but think again before you whip out that credit card. If you have the option, always invest in Disney gift cards before you go on vacation.

    Why? Oh, so many reasons. The first reason is the most glaringly obvious: identity theft. We don’t like to talk about it because it’s definitely not magical, but it does happen and using a gift card frees you of the fear of losing your credit card and putting you at risk for identity theft. From a purely safety standpoint, bringing a credit card into a Disney park just isn’t the best idea.  A second reason is to curb excessive spending. Making a budget beforehand and getting the right amount on gift cards will keep you from thinking about how much you will owe once the vacation is over and give you the relaxation you really need. Plus, you can give each person in your group their own gift card for souveniers, ensuring a level of fairness and equality and taking the pressure off you. The third is that is it a simple, low-risk solution. Disney gift cards can easily be purchased online with free standard shipping and are accepted at U.S. parks; this includes tickets, food, and merchandise at Disney World and Disneyland as well as in person and online with Disney’s Photopass System. Plus, if you happen to lose a gift card, you can simply take the receipt to guest relations and the amount can be frozen and transferred onto a new card. Easy peasy.

    4. New shoes

    Epcot Walking Path

    If you were looking for the number one rookie mistake, here it is: new shoes. It’s okay; we’ve all done it. You think about going to Disney and suddenly you realize, you’re going to need a great pair of walking shoes. So you go to the store, pick out a pair and go put them into your luggage right away, right? Wrong! Those shoes need to be broken in before you go traipsing across 40 square miles of pavement.

    Too many feet have fallen prey to the new shoe fallacy. The next time you’re tempted to get new shoes for your trip, remember to wear them down a bit before packing them. Or, if possible, bring an older pair of shoes. If you want them to be Disney-fied you can still spruce them up with some Disney-themed shoelaces or sneaker charms. Trust me, your feet will thank you.

    Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below.