Packing for a vacation is always something of a production. While I can’t promise you a stress-free experience getting your things together, I can offer some smart tips for lightening your load. There are plenty of things you’ll want to include in your bag for your next theme park trip, but here are a few inclusions that you can probably leave out.

1. New shoes

Bright white sneakers are one of the most obvious signs of a first time visitor at Walt Disney World. If your sneakers are so worn you can’t possible walk comfortably in them on vacation, buy a new pair several months before you leave so they’re good and scuffed by the time you get here. You do not want to be breaking in new shoes when you’re walking for hours on end in what will probably be hot, wet weather. Save yourself the blisters and choose your most beloved pair of well-worn shoes instead.

2. Walkie talkies

With the prominence of cell phones you would think these would be extinct, but you’ll still see them around the parks. And the people attached to them are usually shouting, straining to hear, and looking distinctly frustrated. You’re as likely to pick up on another radio frequency as you are to communicate efficiently with the rest of your party with most walkie talkies.

If you’re worried about using too many minutes on your cell phone plan, it’s worth it to consider the alternatives before you commit to walkie talkies. Texting is often more efficient than calling since you don’t have to worry about finding a quiet spot to talk, so if you have unlimited texting you should be fine. If you’re outside your coverage area, many providers will let you extend your coverage for just the month, offering another option to consider.

3. Expensive Disney apps

Image: Disney

There are plenty of apps out there that will ask you to spend money for Disney park guides, but none have the usability and features of the real Disney apps. The official My Disney Experience app is completely free and it will give you everything you need to plan your vacation. Sync it with your account and you’ll even be able to manage your FastPass+ and dining reservations. Wait times and other information is more accurate here than on any other app, so stick with what’s free and save your money.

4. Huge bags (if you don't have children)

Sure, children require a whole different level of packing to get through a theme park vacation. If you’re travelling with adults, however, there’s no need to lug around a huge backpack all day. Take sunscreen, your wallet, and maybe a few snacks if you have the willpower to resist the Dole Whips, cream cheese pretzels, and Mickey bars that will be calling to you in the parks, but don’t weigh yourself down with supplies for every possible contingency. There’s a first aid in every park that will supply you with single doses of medication should you need something unpredictable. Even water is readily available for free. Stop by any food and beverage location with a soda fountain and get an ice cold cup if you’re not a fan of the water fountains.



We always take phone charges but leave them in the room. It's better to take portable USB batteries with you so you aren't tied down at one place while your phone is charging. We've also found that many times the charging location is already pack with people.

Currently we each carry one of these....


My husband and I have done Disney several times as adults. We usually just take a drawstring backpack. We might take a couple of bottles of water, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and maybe a small snack. We try to pay attention to weather about whether we should throw in rain gear, but all of it usually fits in those little bags. With Magic Bands, we don't even have to take our wallets if we don't want. The less stuff you have with you, the more free you are to move around. Oh, you may want to throw a phone charger in your bag in case you need it!

As sad as it sounds, it needs to be said that weapons of any kinds are also not permitted in the parks. Yes, everyday guests attempt to bring weapons into the park assuming that it's a public space. It is not, it is private property and this will create at best a nuisance, at worst, can get you banned from property...

Adding to the water thing, if you are gonna get it free from a restaurant, for the love of the Disney Gods, make sure it's filtered. Florida residents know what I'm talking about. (Florida tap water it pretty gross. Let's just leave it at that.)

The people from Florida probably think the tap water from wherever you're from is pretty gross too. It's water, get over it.

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