My kids are four and seven but have been to Disneyland three times. Some think that is crazy – and maybe it is a bit. But we absolutely love it.
And after taking a Disney vacation with the fam through every stage (from nursing in Frontier Land to figuring out what to do when one kid is tall enough for a ride but the other isn’t), I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make it go as smooth as possible.
HINT: It starts with the packing. Here’s what you need to make sure you bring for a successful Disney trip.
1. Backpack/Day Bag – Here are my criteria:
- Zipper closure (you don’t want things flying out on rides!)
- Not too big (don’t be that person hitting small children with a giant backpack every time you turn around)
- Not too small (the whole point is to be able to fit things in it!)
- Easy maneuvering so you can get on and off rides easily
- Note – Disneyland’s policies say suitcases, coolers or backpacks larger than 18″ by 25″ by 37″ are prohibited. So are bags with wheels of any size.
2. Sunscreen – Check the weather ahead of time but remember you will be outside ALL day. I apply before getting into the park and I love the sunscreen sticks to bring into the park.
3. Waterproof mascara/makeup – You are likely going to have lots of pictures taken. I’m less likely to be “that” mom asking for a re-take when I remember to wear waterproof makeup that keeps me looking halfway decent all day.
4. Extra shoes – I don’t lug an extra pair with me into the park but I learned the hard way to pack more than one in my suitcase. I recommend two pairs of comfy shoes for each person and to switch them off each day. Before I was a Disney pro, one year I wanted to throw my converse through the enchanted castle because my feet hurt so badly after wearing them for three days straight.
5. Extra socks – I don’t lug extra shoes into the park but I do stick an extra pair of socks for each kid into my backpack. It’s amazing how good that can feel on their little feet halfway through a day of so much walking. Put lots of socks into those suitcases. They don’t take up much room!
6. Re-useable water bottles – Bring these on the airplane (empty but fill up with water once through security). It will save you so much money to have your own bottles to fill up. There are filtered water stations in Disneyland!
7. Dollar Store Goods – Confession, I hit up the Dollar Store prior to our trip and buy things like glow sticks/bracelets. Once the sun goes down, the parks are swimming with glow gear. This will save you money so you won’t have to buy any on-site!
8. Quick Easy Snacks – I pack granola bars and fruit leather to have some easy options to bring into the parks. We still end up purchasing meals but when you are in line for an hour and your kid gets cranky, having a quick snack to hand them is a lifesaver.
- Pro Tip- Amazon Fresh delivers to Anaheim. If you are staying at a condo or hotel with a kitchen, you can have food delivered! We did this and saved money by being able to bring in things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! We also order frozen pizza because my husband and I like to eat late at night once the kids go to bed.
9. Costumes – Obviously optional but another money saver is to purchase a costume for your little prince or princess and bring it instead of buying one in the park. I am a kid at heart so I also bring these which I love to have on in pictures. Don’t judge me.
10. Lanyard for tickets – You don’t want to be fumbling for your tickets or GASP misplace them. There are lots of options but I would recommend having some designated place for them.
11. Sweatshirts (BONUS TIP) – Especially when going in months other than summer, prepare for it to get a bit chilly once the sun goes down. Be prepared by packing some sweatshirts.
Are you a Disney packing pro? What else would you add to this list?