Hey guys! I was just thinking about my last trip to Disneyland, and I decided to put together a packing list that I think you will enjoy and will also save you a ton of money.
First off, this list has come to me by trial and error… Some things I have dropped off my most recent list because I did not use them or need them. Why haul something throughout the park when you don’t really need to?
I have also had to buy a couple of new items to add to my bag too!
Let’s start the list off with what you should buy before you leave home to keep the cost down at Disneyland.
Following this list will save you a ton of money in the long run, and believe me your kids will not know the difference if you bought it in the park or not. I’ll tell you how come, and what to do a little further down to make this a magical experience for the kids.
Some places that we personally use to purchase our Disney gear to save money are:
Any Dollar store near you!
Items to buy ahead of time for your daily park bag:
PONCHOS- At home, you can get a cheap poncho at Walmart for $1.00 in the camping department. At Disney, they are roughly $10.00. HUGE difference in price there!
We usually take a big ziplock bag to put our wet ponchos in when we are done with them, then when you get back to the hotel just hang them up to dry out and repack them for
Rides you will want ponchos for are Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Grizzly Run at California Adventure.
Be sure to check the weather a day or two before you leave, this way you can prepare better for when it rains. The worst thing you could possibly do is spend all this money on a trip to Disney old to spend it at the hotel when it’s raining. Disney does not close down most of their rides even in the rain. So keep on truckin and with your ponchos on, do a little dance in the rain!
WATERPROOF CELL PHONE CASE– Just like ponchos protect our clothes, we also need to protect our cell phones and other electronics. You can try putting everything in a big ziplock bag, but I have found that they have a tendency to leak. Here are some cell phone cases that are waterproof. I personally have used my phone protector on many occasions outside of Disney, they are worth every penny!
SUNSCREEN- We all know how important sunscreen is, especially for the little ones and anyone who has a bald head!
At home, you will pay anywhere from $3.99-$10.00 depending on the size and brand you choose. At Disney $12.00, or you can purchase a double pack through Amazon for the same cost!
GLOWSTICKS AND LIGHT UP TOYS- You can get a whole tube of glow sticks from the dollar store before you go. I just stopped into the dollar store today and they are no longer carrying the tubes of 20 glowsticks. They are now charging $1.00 for a pack of 5, which is a total rip-off! (I have found some are going back to carrying the tubes, YAAAY!) If you are not able to get some glow sticks, they do have glow swords and wands.
At Disney $12.00-$17.00 for a light stick/toy.
COSTUMES- We all know Disney costumes are outrageous. To save some extra money, try to grab one from Walmart right after Halloween time on clearance.
Or you can go online to Amazon at any time of the year and get a great price! They are cheaply made, not warm, and will probably only be used one time. At Disney $69.99 and up! If you keep an eye on ShopDisney.com you can grab some for pretty cheap. Right now they are running their extra 40% off deal, it’s a great time to grab a Disney-quality costume for half the price!
AUTOGRAPH BOOKS- You can make your own by purchasing what you need at the dollar store. Not only is this a fun arts and crafts time, but your child will get to tell Cinderella about how she made it all by herself!
DIY books are 100 times more special than purchasing one in the park for $12.00. Or you can purchase one from Amazon before you go for half the price as in the park!
AUTOGRAPH PENS- You can usually buy a 3 pack at the dollar store or at several department stores for $5.00. If you have a group of family or friends that are going with you, it’s easy to share a pack!
At Disney, for one pen $3.00-$12.00.
DISNEY PINS- We purchased a pack of 25 pins for $25.00 for the kids to trade or you can pay anywhere from $5.00-$25.00 per pin at Disney, depending on the size and quality.
My advice on this one is to purchase a pack on Amazon before you go. Then when you get to the park, let them pick out a special pin that they do not trade.
Let them use the cheap Amazon ones to trade. You can also purchase a lanyard on Amazon or at Disney for $12.00-$20.00.
Some people do frown upon this plan because they are not official Disney pins. My answer to that is, tell me how many times your child has lost interest in something after spending a ton of money on them? I can’t even count how many times! Between Guitar Lessons, Ice Skating Lessons, the Nintendo Switch and yes they are now even over pin trading. This is a good way to dip your feet in without spending a ton of money.
SNACKS- A box of granola bars, snack packs, cookies, or goldfish will always be cheaper than purchasing a snack for $6.00 and up per snack. Click here to see how to use Amazon’s delivery services to have your snacks and meals delivered straight to your hotel! This is mainly set up for Disney World but can still be applied to any hotel near Disneyland. Just keep in mind, you will need to be there for the delivery if your hotel does not have a cooler to store cold food at the front desk.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES- Water is free at any quick service location (anywhere that you don’t have to have reservations to eat at). We take a collapsible water bottle in with a couple of different Mio or Kool-aide flavors to choose from. In a ziplock, of course, you do not want those to leak in your bag!
Or you can opt for the powered packets, which we have most recently switched to.
STROLLERS- If you don’t want to haul your large stroller through security, buy a cheap folding stroller at Walmart or Amazon before you leave.
You can leave/donate the stroller there and still be out ahead. At Disney $15.00 a day for a single stroller or $35.00 a day for a double stroller.
RAIN COVERS FOR STROLLERS– As you know, California weather can go from hot and humid to rainy in the blink of an eye. Stroller covers can be a lifesaver when trying to escape the rain and keep your little one dry!
STROLLER ORGANIZERS- I don’t know about you but for me organization is key! To avoid those small freakouts when you cant find a binky or bottle, grab one of these organizers. Everything of importance you can keep right there within reach.
BUBBLES– There is nothing more magical than bubbles! I personally think everyone should get a free bubble wand with their park tickets! Amazon has several different Bubble Wands you can choose from for a whole lot cheaper than Disney.
At Disney, they are $22.00+ and they only have a couple to choose from.
SMALL FIRST AID KIT– The dollar store actually has small ones that usually contain some band-aids and a couple of little alcohol pads. I usually buy one of these once for the container and then add my own stuff to it. The band-aids are super cheap that come with it and don’t stay on.
Disney does have a great First Aid site, you don’t really need this but it’s nice just in case your child gets hurt in line as mine did! I was able to patch her up with a band-aid and have her limp to the front of the park to have her taken care of by Disney’s wonderful staff.
CHILD SAFETY WRISTBANDS– Nothing makes a parent feel safer than having your contact info on a wristband, heaven forbid your child wanders from you. I personally know the pure panic that sets in when you take your eyes off your toddler for 2 seconds and they are gone! These wristbands allow cast members/guests to see your contact information if something is to happen. Peace of mind is well worth the money spent on these wristbands. Something else I’ve seen people do is simply write their contact info on the child’s arm with a safe marker.
MINNIE MOUSE HEADBANDS– Minnie Mouse Headbands can get quite expensive when buying at the parks. Right now ShopDisney.com has their Headbands listed at $29.99 and that is also what to expect when buying in the parks.
Amazon has some great knock-off versions of what Disney has to offer at a fraction of the cost!
BODY GLIDE– Because who actually likes chafing?!!
EXTERNAL BATTERY CHARGER– This is a must! There are multiple portable phone charging kiosks in both Disneyland and at California Adventure for $30.00 for the day!
You will be on the Disney app, taking photos, and just generally checking your social media or emails all day. With this external battery charger, you will be able to charge your phone whenever you need it and even while standing in line for your favorite ride!
So, there’s no need to sit in one spot to wait for your battery to charge anymore.
HAND SANITIZER– Please include hand sanitizer in your day bag! This way, you can have snacks and eat on the go without worrying about the germs you are eating as well!
MOISTER WICKSOCKS– So before we took our vacation to Mexico, my boyfriend had asked if I needed some new socks for all of our daily activities. I initially said no, he purchased these moister-wicking socks for me anyway. I’m sure he knew I had no clue as to how fantastic these socks really are!
Not only do they had extra padding, but they help with sweating and reduce the chance of getting blisters!
On our last Disney trip with the kids, I let my daughter wear a couple of pairs of my socks because her feet were aching so much. It literally changed our trip, I’m telling you these bad boys are a must!
HATS– Hats are actually priced pretty well through ShopDisney.com. I found some for boys for as little as $12.95 and $14.95 for adults, not too terrible!
I really can’t say how much hats will cost in the park because there are so many to choose from and I’m a headband person! Here is a couple from Amazon for those who are looking to save some money or just want to look fab in a sun hat!
MIST COOLING FAN– I can not even begin to say how much these have saved me on numerous occasions!
We have listed two separate options for you. One is a mini handheld misting fan, and the other is a water bottle that also shoots out the mist. I personally use the water bottle mister!
This way I can pour my ice-cold free water in it, to have something cool to drink with nice cold mist as well. California Adventure lacks a lot of shade, this came in handy and was a serious lifesaver! At Disney $21.00.
CHAPSTICK– Pick out your favorite Chapstick from Walmart and don’t forget it! Your lips will thank you!
JACKET– I always recommend taking a light jacket and a pair of leggings for at night. California can be hot during the day and cool at night.
COOLING TOWELS– You can buy these through Walmart in the camping section or Amazon. Some of them are bigger than others, so keep an eye on the size of the towel.
These are pretty neat, I personally have used them several times before. All you do is get them wet, wring them out and then twirl them in the air for a quick cool down. And as long as they are wet, you can twirl them to cool down again and again! So cool!
SUNGLASSES– Sunglasses are surprisingly pretty cheap in the park depending on which ones you get. Mine were super cute black ones with Mickey on the frames for $10.95. So, not too terrible!
If you already have sunglasses you love, don’t forget to pack them. If your son is anything like mine, you will find the dollar store has great sunglasses for those who lose everything!
COLORING PACKS/BOOKS– I would head to the dollar store for this one! They have the cutest coloring packs that really help keep the little ones busy while waiting in lines or on a long flight.
You can also pick up some cute little storybooks for them to read. Or if you have older kids, make sure to grab some playing cards for at the Resort!
GUM– Walt Disney hated gum! You won’t find gum for sale anywhere in the parks!
SMALL BACKPACKS– With these small drawstring backpacks, it’s easy for teens to carry their own stuff! Amazon has so many different styles to choose from! We personally bought these two and they were of great quality for the price.
MEDICATION– Make sure to fill and pack any medications you will need. As I said before, Disney does have a fantastic First Aid center with free Tylenol and Band-aids, but they do not have Zantac so keep that in mind! We had to purchase a travel pack with 4 Zantac pills from a gift shop and it was $6.00!!!
FIGURINES– Cheap figurines from the dollar store can make or break your trip! Either you buy a couple from the dollar store and your child likes it so much, they get upset when they lose them. OR they will play with them while in line, and if they lose them then oh well! It’s up to you on this one!
CLOTHING- Apparel at Target or Khols are good quality and are anywhere between $10.00-$25.00 for Adult T-Shirts. At Disney, you will pay $24.00 and up.
ShopDisney.com has their 40% off sale going on right now, you won’t find them this cheap in the park!
POOL TOYS– Pool toys are available at the dollar store, Walmart, or even Amazon! I would have these just delivered to my room through Amazon prime, keep them cheap, and then leave them at the resort so you don’t have to haul them in your carry-on.
PHONE CHARGER– Don’t forget your phone charger, I don’t know anywhere that actually sells phone chargers at Down Town Disney or in the parks. You may be able to find one at a local convenience store nearby.
ZIP LOCKS- Bring a Ziplock to keep liquids, sandwiches, snacks, and even your phone!
FOOT CARE– You will be walking all day long! Make sure your socks are padded, you have foot powder, and perhaps some Mole Skin. You can get all these products through Amazon or at your local Walmart.
I usually take at least 2 pairs of shoes and alternate between them. Be sure to give your feet a break, see a show or take a day to just rest at the pool.
SWIMSUITS– Don’t forget your suits! You are traveling to some of the hottest areas within the US. You are going to want to take a nice cool dip in the pool or relax in the hot tub after a long day at Disney.
SUNDRESS– Make sure to pack a couple of Dresses with you for the nicer dinners or to just feel pretty!
LAUNDRY SUPPLIES – Check with your hotel, some of them do have laundry mats for you to use. If you are planning to wash your clothes mid-trip, don’t forget detergent, hamper and wrinkle release. You can get some of those in travel sizes at the dollar store and spray wrinkle release at Walmart.
PAPERWORK– You will need the following items, print these out to have them on hand as a backup. I tell you to print these out because I love technology, but let’s face it your phone can die or break at any moment!
Rental car confirmation
Proof of auto insurance
Membership cards (AAA, DVC)
Theme park tickets
BABY/TODDLER STUFF– I’ve included just a simple list of a couple of baby items that I consistently have forgotten in the past!
Bottles and Formula
Portable high chair
Portable potty seat
Diapers and swim diapers
Pack N Play
To Sum It Up:
The items that I will never go on a Disney trip without Ponchos, sunscreen, Pins, Snacks, Misting Water Bottle, Cooling Towels, Minnie Mouse Headbands, External Battery Charger, Wicking Socks, Hand Sanitizer, Chapstick, Jacket, Sunglasses, Glow Sticks, Meds, and First-aid Kit and Ziplocks.
How to still make your Disney trip magical:
So, how can you make this a magical trip without purchasing items in the park? This is so easy and such an amazing fun idea. Purchase everything you need beforehand, and you can do a couple of things to surprise your kids to make this a trip they won’t forget!
1. You can do a scavenger hunt before you go to surprise your kids that they are going on a Disney trip. I have done this in the past and it was so much fun! We did this for my kid’s birthday and it was so exciting and fun, that it upset my niece and nephew who attended the party but couldn’t go with us to Disney. I would not have other kids at your home when you do the scavenger hunt unless everyone is going!
2. Surprise your kids when you get to the hotel with a Disney gift bag with these items in it. They will be so excited that Mickey left them a gift in their room just for them!!!
What are your must-have park bag items? How do you surprise your kids with a Disney vacation?