List of Disney Must-Haves: With a review on each item from our trip!
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Now that we've returned from our trip, I have some updates to the list below.
*This post contains links to actual items we used in Disney, or bought to use while there. All items can be found on Amazon. I receive nothing for you purchasing from these links.
Here is everything on my list (with a review of how it worked out while there):
1. Ear Plugs-This set that would work for our son was perfect. It comes with 3 pair and a carrying case. They were reusable as well. So once we used them we could wash them and put them in the carrying bag and throw them right in the backpack and keep going. I kept all three pair in the carrying bag, just in case, but you could certainly leave the extras at the hotel. I loved the cord that was attached to the ear plugs. I expected to use them more than we did, but our little guy did well with the fireworks, so we only used them on the Aerosmith ride. We offered them to him often, but he said he was good.
2. Disney lanyards for pin trading (find cool ones your kids love)...here are the two I ordered for my boys... Star Wars and Black Panther. The original Black Panther lanyard I ordered didn't come in time, so I had to switch to a different one (the one we received in time is the one in the link). Both of these lanyards did the job fine and when not in use, we stowed them in backpack. They were great for filling the time between rides or when we needed a break from the heat or the crowds. It was a great way to take a break from the busy park, without actually leaving the park.
3. Disney trading pins The reviews on these pins aren't great, but let me tell you that the ones we received were great. We split them between the two boys and loaded their lanyards and traded away. We didn't receive any duds at all and every pin was tradeable in the parks. This is a great conversation starter with the cast members, and like I mentioned before, a great way to take a break and kill some time between rides, shows, or lunch/dinner plans. The fun was trying to complete the sets. I do recommend you try to research the pins you receive and find out if they are sets, rare pins, etc. Then you know if you need to collect 2-3 more of certain ones to complete your collection. My boys were able to complete a set or two that they wanted and they had so much fun. One of the cast members shared a joke/pun with my son about one of the pins and he enjoyed repeating it all over the parks every day we were there.
4. Compact Travel Umbrella In my opinion, this is a must have! Not only will this help with any pop-up shower, but provides shade whenever and wherever you need it. When we stopped to watch the parades, we used it for shade. Believe me, there wasn't a shady spot to be found when you wanted one, especially ones with seats. It always seemed the places to sit were in the sun. So, this provided shade whenever we wanted it. Because it was compact and had an auto open/close it was convenient and easy to transport. It fit perfectly in our backpack.
5. Backpack This backpack is everything! It held every single item on this list and more! This was something we used daily...all day! We had this thing packed full and it didn't break and it wasn't unbearable to carry. Perfect for our 4 water bottles and everything else on this list...and so much more! What's better is that this backpack went on every single ride with us without any issues. This thing has tons of pockets leaving so much space for everything. The pockets kept everything organized and neat. Even my husband and boys were able to find things when they needed it. This is one item you shouldn't skimp on!
6. Dual-Port USB Car Charger If you are driving, like we did, this is a must have for the car. We plugged this in for the kids to be able to plug their devices in without fighting over the plug. Over 12 hours in the car, even more with traffic both ways, this came in handy for all their devices (phone, iPad, tablet, portable DVD player) to be plugged in at various times to avoid issues in the car.
7. Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes So...I forgot to take these with us. UGH! We totally needed them both in the car and in the park and I was so mad that they were left behind. Don't forget to pick them up and PACK them!
8. UV Neon Face & Body Paint Glow Kit (we opted not to do this, but so cool for Pandora at night...please let me know if you do this.)
9. Mosquito Repellent These came in individual packs and were perfect for travel. They fit nicely in the backpack pockets. One packet covers one person, so take enough for the family in the backpack each day. We thought we didn't need them and would be fine because we didn't notice the bugs. We were wrong. The bugs are out and biting from dusk-on. I highly recommend you apply this if you plan to stay in the park for the fireworks. UPDATE: We have used these since returning and they work wonderfully! They truly last a long time and they don't stink like other bug wipes. I recently ordered the spray as well because this works better than any other mosquito product I've used. I love that it is deet free too.
10. Bitbelts Nobody wants to lose their Disney bands and deal with having to go get them replaced when there is fun to be had. These are perfect for the bands. They fit a little tight and are hard to manage, but you'll be glad you did it once you figure it out. I'm positive my son would have lost his band at least 3-4 times without it. The bands don't have anything to keep them from falling off. With kids they are rough on things in general and my son tends to fidget with anything on his wrist. Think of a watch band; they have the holes that the one pin slides into and then you put the excess end of the band into a clip to keep it from flapping around. The Disney bands have two little knobs that pop into the holes and you should hear a snap sound. That's it. The excess band rests under the band instead of on top, like a watch, so you don't have the flapping. However, there is nothing holding the band in place and keeping it from popping back off. During a ride, if it gets bumped or caught, you could lose it. If you're walking and someone bumps you, it could come right off. I actually saw this happen when we were standing in a crowded space. I saw someone bend down and pick up a band that was laying on the street and ask if it belonged to the woman standing there. She said no, but thought it was the gentlemen in front of her who was holding his son. He had lifted his son up to see the street show and, POP, the band fell off and was on the street without him even knowing. Good thing someone noticed. Since we need the bands for everything...Fast Passes, hotel key, reservations for food, dining plan, etc., the band is essential to your trip. This is something that Disney will likely fix in the future, but for now, these Bitbelts do the trick. Do yourself a favor and grab a pack! There are a ton in the pack, so we took the extras with us in case we needed them and left them in the suitcase.
11. Wet Brush I have long hair, so I bought one of these. I carried it in the backpack in case I needed it, but never did need it in the park. I did find this handy for after my showers at the hotel. It combed my hair really well without ripping it out, like a lot of brushes do. We didn't get caught in any rain storms, luckily. The one day it stormed, we had just made it back to the hotel, so we were good.
12. Wide Brim Sun Hat This hat was essential for me. I highly recommend you get one for you, and the family! The string under the neck was perfect for keeping it on my head during the windy days (there was a really windy day while we were there prior to a storm that came through) and it came in handy for the rides. If you have a hat with a string, you can tighten it around your neck and they don't make you remove it. It hung on my back with the string tight and I didn't have any problems. I did put it in the backpack for Aerosmith though. I would recommend finding one for the whole family too!
13. RFID Neck wallet This pouch was perfect for our phone, ID, credit card, cash...everything we normally would have carried in our wallets. I kept it tucked inside my shirt all day and never had any issues or worries about my things. I even tucked my sunglasses in it a time or two at the last minute when I forgot to throw it in the backpack for a ride.
14. Water Bottles (take your favorite reusable ones--we used this one because it has a lock, pop up drinking spout--no germs on the drink that way, and the handle has a clip so you can unlock it to attach to bags or the clip below #28 in this list) The park has places that will refill your water bottles with ice and water for free, but you need to know where they are ahead of time so you don't have to search for them. Also, if you are staying at a Disney resort, you can do this there before you leave and enter the park with a cup full of ice or ice water. We did both and I think filling with ice water is the way to go.
15. Dramamine I get severe motion sickness, so this is a must have! I took this daily!
16. Travel Toilet Tissue How often have you stopped at a rest stop or used a restroom in a park and there's no toilet paper. Annoying, to say the least. This seems to be a bigger issue for women than men. The bathrooms were so crowded and toilet paper was definitely an issue. Be prepared...my husband was carrying the backpack through the park, so I often didn't have the travel paper with me and had to wait for a stall with paper. I could have avoided that if I had remembered to grab the paper from the backpack before going in.
17. Meds-Travel Pain Reliever & Children's Tylenol; Pepto Bismol travel (nobody wants their vacation ruined with any of this); Immodium AD (I swear by this stuff when I travel.) We did end up needing some of this, but not the full amount that it comes with. Pack some in the backpack and leave the rest at home.
18. Tide To Go So glad I packed this! My son dropped his entire ketchup covered hot dog on his khaki covered shorts. He was covered in ketchup and was so upset because he thought he had ruined his shorts and outfit for the day. Tide to the rescue!
19. Anti-Chafe Balm I bought two of these...one to keep with us and one to keep at the hotel. Nothing worse than getting chafed after a water ride...so uncomfortable and hard to walk around the rest of the day. Ironically, we never used these. It wasn't too hot on the days of our visit and the ponchos (see below) worked great for the water rides.
20. Hand Sanitizer These travel sized bottles are perfect for the parks! We clipped one to the backpack, one in the car, and one in the hotel for use wherever we were. Tons come in this set, but they can be used before, during, and after the vacation.
21. Autograph Book This is great! Order early because it takes a while to ship. Star Wars characters aren't in the book, but they don't do autographs anyway. This book fit in the backpack and we carried our own pen in our neck wallet for quick access. It was great because it provides information about the characters and the characters interacted with the book in funny ways. Pick this up!
22. Moleskin Plus Padding Roll I actually bought this and used this and after using this...I don't recommend it if you already have blisters. This is great for sore spots from pressure points on your feet, but don't put it where you think you have a blister. I made this mistake, not realizing I had a blister, and it ripped the blister wide open. Talk about pain! The product worked great for extra padding on the pressure points otherwise and to prevent rubbing that occurs, like on your heel, but don't use it if it is a possible blister.
23. Sunscreen Face Stick This stick is unbelievable! LOVE IT! They actually sell this in the park for an extremely high price. This stick was great for quick, easy application on my face, neck, and ears. I was able to put it on while waiting in line, on the bus, or on the monorail. I used it on the kids too...and they could do it themselves as well, which was nice!
24. Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Mini Cooling Towels- 4 pack or 2 pack these were great! We only needed them one day because the other days weren't too hot. But the one day we used them, they worked well. They will protect you from UV as well, which is an added bonus. I was surprised at how well they cooled. We usually carry the misting fan, but went with this instead to avoid carrying one more thing and we were pleased.
25. 5-Port USB Wall Charger and Portable Charger Out of everything, I will say the portable charger is something you will use A LOT! We used the solar powered one and were so glad we did. Just don't forget your phone cord in your backpack. While you are eating lunch/dinner or waiting in line, plug your phone in for a quick power up. The Disney app is hard on the battery, but essential to your visit. The 5-port USB charger we didn't use as much because our Disney resort was remodeled so the rooms had USB chargers in the room. However, we did use it on our overnight stay on our drive there. We took two days to get there. On the first night of the two day drive, we used it in the hotel to recharge all of the devices for day 2 in the car. Otherwise it stayed pack the rest of the trip.
26. Ponchos Perfect for those afternoon pop-up showers, or for water rides! We used it for water rides only as we didn't get caught in the rain. And these were perfect because it came with so many, we just threw it away after the ride.
27. Pop-Up Mesh Hampers This was probably my favorite purchase and something I'll do every time I travel now...even non Disney! I bought two sets of them. They are small, which is perfect for traveling, but not for daily use. Two sets gave us 4 and that was barely enough for the 4 of us for a week long trip. I would recommend getting more for long travel or more people. Because they are small, you can't overfill them or they'll break, which is what happened to two of mine. So I'll order more next time. We used these to sort our dirty clothes. BEST THING I EVER DID! We set these up in the hotel room and sorted our laundry as we changed every day. Then when we left, we loaded the car with 4 dirty clothes hampers and one suitcase that was empty. This suitcase nestles inside the other, so that saved room. The other option was to put our Disney purchases in the empty suitcase to save room in the car. What is the purpose? When we walked in the door after being on the road for over 12 hours, the laundry was ready to be started because it was already sorted. I was able to start two loads to wash (one wash and dry and one to wash) before I even went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I was able to quickly finish the other two loads. I used the empty hampers (after they were dumped in the washer) to put the clean clothes from the dryer in to transfer them to the bedrooms to fold them and put them away. Then the hampers fold up and will store in my luggage for the next trip! PERFECTION! I don't think I've ever been able to sort and complete laundry so fast after a trip.
28. Carabiner Clip with Water bottle holder-these worked perfectly with our Contigo Water bottles (#14) and backpack. It comes with 5 in the set.
29. Wifi for Car We paid for one month through On-Star of unlimited Wifi. Totally worth it!
30. Good shoes
I will be posting again regarding our shirts, as well as tips and other things I learned while at Disney. I hope this update helps you plan!
Edited to add: I learned at the end of our trip about the Disney Parks Disability Access Service Cards. You can click here to read more about them. I am in no way affiliated with Disney or gain anything from that link, but feel everyone should know about the cards that can benefit from them.