Wondering what to pack for your Disneyland vacation? There are a few essential items I add to our Disneyland packing list that make our trip better. They may be helpful at other parks too, but there are a few items that you only need at Disneyland.
Here are 11 must-have items for your Disneyland packing list.
Good walking shoes for every member of the family are the most important item on any Disneyland packing list. We walk 5-7 miles per day on a typical Disneyland trip.
Pack two pair of comfortable walking shoes if you'll be at Disneyland longer than 2-3 days. A fresh pair of shoes often feels better on sore or blistered feet. Sometimes shoes get wet and need a day to dry out. I once twisted my ankle on Day 2 of a four-day Disneyland trip. I planned to wear sandals for most of the trip, but had to switch to athletic shoes with more support.
Consider compression socks too. You can find them in varying lengths and strengths, and they can really help with circulation when you spend all day on your feet.
Related: The Best Rides at Disneyland
I recommend packing a lanyard for Disneyland. Disneyland still operates on paper tickets and you may want to keep them handy all day for FASTPASS machines.
A lanyard is the easiest and safest way for me to carry tickets, FASTPASSes, shuttle passes, room key and credit card. A lanyard will keep them dry, secure and always at your fingertips.
With the MaxPass upgrade, you won't need your paper ticket as often, but you'll have unlimited access to PhotoPass downloads. A Disneyland PhotoPass photographer usually gives you a card with a scannable code on it. Tuck this into your lanyard to keep it handy for PhotoPass photographers to scan and link your photos to your Disneyland account.
Pin trading is another reason that some Disneyland visitors wear lanyards. Pick a sturdy lanyard with a wide strap to hold pins.
Get Away Today will likely include free lanyards if you book your Disneyland hotel and tickets through them. You can also buy good souvenir lanyards at Disneyland. A third option is this inexpensive lanyard at Amazon.com, which has strong customer ratings for theme parks and cruises.
Disneyland allows you to carry day packs onto every ride. Bring at least one small pack for your family to carry snacks, water bottles, portable phone chargers, sunscreen, first aid basics and whatever else you need to get through the day.
The lightweight and packable 20L New Outlander pack from Amazon.com is just the right size for Disneyland. Every member of my family has a different color and we take these backpacks on every trip. I toss them in the washer when we get home and they still look like new.
All bags will be searched before you enter Disneyland. Food and drinks are OK. Weapons are not.
Don't overpack. Some rides (like roller coasters) have little space for your personal items. It will be a long day, so don't haul anything you don't really need.
Related: 30+ Ways to Save Money at Disneyland
Portable Phone Charger
The official Disneyland app is an essential tool at Disneyland these days. We use it to check wait times, use FASTPASSES, find the nearest bathroom, make mobile food orders, make restaurant reservations and access Play Disney Parks games in line. These apps and services are free.
You'll probably also use your phone to take photos and video, keep in touch with your family and everything else you usually use your phone for. Park days can be long, so your battery may need to last 12-16 hours.
I used the official app a lot more when we bought the MaxPass upgrade. MaxPass allows you to reserve FASTPASSes through the app and I found myself on my phone often to check availability and reserve FASTPASS times. I used up my battery faster on the days we had MaxPass.
Amazon.com has lots of portable phone chargers to choose from, starting at around $20. They will usually give your phone at least one full charge and can be re-charged overnight to use the next day.
Disneyland sells portable chargers at kiosks in the parks. The current price is $30.
Sandwich size Ziploc bags serve a variety of purposes at Disneyland. They can keep your phone dry on Splash Mountain. They can hold sandwiches or snacks. They can hold your first aid kit, or organize other small items in your day pack.
Disneyland no longer allows loose ice to be brought into the Parks, but you can fill Ziploc bags with hotel ice and keep your snacks and drinks cool for the day.
First Aid Kit
These are items you hope you won't need, but they can save the day when you do. I don't have an official “kit.” I just keep a few items in a Ziploc bag or pocket of the day pack. Here are a few items you might consider.
- Hand sanitizer/wipes – for before meals
- Band-Aids – for covering blisters and any other boo-boos
- Ibuprofen – for headaches, pain relief or fevers
- Dramamine – for motion sickness
- Moleskin – for preventing blisters
There are First Aid stations in the parks if you need them, and you can purchase some of these items too. Disneyland Park first aid station is located at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. by the Baby Care Center. In Disney California Adventure Park, you’ll find the first aid station next to Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street.
Disneyland is full of kids – especially little girls – in costume. Not everybody does it, but it can make a day in the park (and your vacation photos) extra fun!
You can buy beautiful princess dresses and other costumes at Disneyland. When my kids were younger, I preferred to pack less expensive, washable costumes from Little Dress Up Shop or Amazon.com. For little boys, think pirates, Star Wars or Marvel superheroes!
Teens and adults are not allowed to wear costumes at Disneyland, except during the Oogie Boogie Bash in September and October. However, that doesn't stop some adults from dressing up in creative t-shirts, dresses, hats and other non-costumes at Disneyland. Disneyland gift shops are filled with these types of things.
It's also common to see families in matching custom t-shirts at Disneyland.
My 15-year-old daughter still has the autograph book she took to Disneyland at age 6. It's fun to collect character signatures, and then add the photos to the book later.
Be sure to pack a Sharpie marker or pen too! Some Disney characters have large costume hands, so a fat marker or pen makes it easier for them to sign your book.
You can purchase autograph books and pens at Disneyland, but a basic book is a lot less expensive at Amazon.com.
Southern California is sunny year-round. You'll be outside most of the day, so be sure to protect your family with sunscreen. Consider sunglasses and sun hats as well.
Ball caps, mouse ears and other hats may blow off on fast-moving rides so make sure that they are secure.
If you’re flying to Southern California, buy TSA-sized sunscreen (under 3 oz) if you're not checking your bags. Find small bottles and pouches at Amazon.com.
A parade blanket, sheet or towel is essential if getting a good seat at parades is your priority. Parade routes are long, but benches and curbs will begin to fill 1-2 hours before the parade.
The easiest way to save enough space for your whole family is to pack a parade blanket in your day pack. Assign one adult to hold the space while the other continues to explore the park with the kids.
One of my favorite places to watch parades is near It's a Small World in Fantasyland. This is always the very beginning or very end of the parade route, and we can usually find a seat on the pavement at the last minute.
A stroller is a must for families with kids under age 5 – or maybe even older. Disneyland is often overwhelming and exhausting for little kids.
My 3-year-old napped in our stroller every day at Disneyland, even though he had stopped napping at home. My sister took a stroller for her 7-year-old (who has joint pain) and it made those long days a lot more fun.
A stroller is nice for storage. You can keep snacks, drinks, parade blankets, changes of clothing and souvenirs in a stroller basket. This is the one feature that makes me miss my stroller now that I have older kids.
You cannot take your stroller into shows or ride lines. If you park your stroller where you shouldn't, park employees may move it to a nearby stroller “lot.” Theft is unlikely, but don't leave anything valuable in your stroller. Consider tying a scarf or ribbon on the handle to make your stroller easier to spot.
Disneyland limits the size of stroller you can bring to the parks. Wagons are not allowed. Your stroller must be no bigger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long. Be sure to measure from the outermost parts of the stroller to ensure you’re within those measurements.
Disneyland rents single and double strollers. You can also rent a stroller from an outside agency. These rentals may be less expensive and more convenient, because you can use the stroller outside the park. Disneyland's official recommendation for outside stroller, wheelchair and ECV rentals is ScooterBug.
Related: Tips for Picking a Travel Stroller
Disneyland is a special vacation in so many ways, and what you pack can make it even more special and more fun. I hope that my Disneyland packing list will help your family plan a fantastic Disneyland vacation.
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