Disclaimer: I recently attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. I paid my own way to attend the celebration. All opinions and text are my own.
Packing for a family of 5 to spend a few days at Walt Disney World and aboard a Disney Cruise can be a little overwhelming. Here are my tips and printable packing list on how to pack for Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise.
This post contains affiliate links which mean I make a little something if you purchase through the link with no additional cost to you.
The first time I ever went to Disney World was for my honeymoon. My husband knew that I loved Disney and Disneyland but had never been to Walt Disney World. He surprised me with a 7 day trip to Florida and Walt Disney World. We had so much fun! Luckily we’ve had the opportunity to take our kids to Walt Disney World and see the magic through their eyes. Although the kids love the parks, once we went on our first Disney Cruise, the kids can’t stop talking about going on the “Mickey” Boat. Since that cruise 5 years ago, my husband and I have talked about how fun it would be to do a trip that involved both Walt Disney World, and a Disney Cruise. We knew that when this opportunity to attend Disney Social Media Moms Celebration came around, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do this dream family vacation with our kids.
How to Pack for Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise
As I started making lists of things to include in our luggage, it just kept getting longer and longer and longer, you get the idea. We would be gone for 10 days!! Thinking of packing my family of 5 for that long was a little overwhelming. Especially since we were going to be adding in a few things for this cruise that we didn’t include in our last cruise, like magnets for our stateroom door and we were going to participate in the Fish Extenders. Here is how I packed and what worked best for our family.
To save space, I decided to not pack items that I could buy or rent while at the parks. When we go to any Disney Park, we like to bring some snacks and water bottles. We will keep them in the bottom compartment of a stroller, or in a backpack that we carry with us at all times. We like having snacks available for the kids while we wait in line for rides and if you keep them with the stroller, you won’t be able to access them while in line. About a month before we left on our trip, I ordered snacks, water bottles, milk, fruit, cereal and other items (ziploc bags/spoons/etc.) from a place called Garden Grocer. I used them on our last trip and although things were a little pricey, I liked that I could order ahead of time and it was waiting for me at the resort when we arrived. Amazon Prime Now I believe would work for food and other items, but I did not use it on this trip. If you’re traveling with kids, I’ve got more tips for planning a Walt Disney World vacation.
My youngest is 4 and I knew that we would need a stroller for her while we were in the parks. We wouldn’t need a stroller on the cruise and we wouldn’t need one at the airport. She is big enough to walk to the terminal on her own. I didn’t want to bring our big stroller and figure out where to store it while on board the ship, so I decided that renting a stroller would be the best way to go. Kingdom Strollers has a great variety of stroller options and decent prices. They drop off your stroller to your resort and will pick it up for you. Even if you switch resorts like we did, just make sure you enter in the correct drop off and pick up location. The strollers are light weight, easy to maneuver and easy to close up to get on the transportation buses around the parks.
Disney World Packing List
Some of the necessities for us when it comes to Disney parks travel are things like Minnie Ears, hats, backpacks, glow sticks, snacks, matching shirts, shiny pennies and quarters for the penny press machines, autograph books and our pin trading lanyards. Those things alone take up a whole suitcase! Each of my kids have their own cute carry on. They each were in charge of their own suitcase and we fit all the clothes and shoes they would need on the trip in their suitcase. My husband and I each had our own suitcase with our clothes and shoes as well. Even though we all had our own, we still needed more suitcases for our “stuff”. All of our Disney Parks and Cruise neccessities.
As I mentioned, 10 days is a long time to be away. Instead of packing 10 pairs of underwear and socks for everyone, we each packed 5 or 6. I planned to do a load or two of laundry half way through our trip to help get us through so we didn’t have to pack our whole wardrobe. I would’ve packed less shirts for the kids, but they had too many cute Disney shirts I wanted them to wear. 🙂 I found individual laundry soap packs and a small box of dryer sheets at the dollar store. They were easy to slip into our suitcase and took up less space than all that extra underwear and socks. Each resort and even the cruise ship have laundry rooms for guests to use. And within an hour, you can have clean clothes for the 2nd half of your trip.
I want to just mention how easy it is to stay on Disney property. There are so many Disney resorts to choose from. There are value, moderate and deluxe resorts to choose from. You could even camp at Walt Disney World! Staying on property is just so easy. If you stay on property, you don’t have to pick up your luggage from the airport, you don’t have to worry about parking, driving around all those crazy Disney World roads, and paying for a rental car. If you sign up for the Magical Express, you attach the yellow luggage tags to your checked luggage and when you arrive in Orlando, follow the signs to the Magical Express and the bus will take you to your resort. A few hours later your luggage will be delivered to your room. Just make sure that you pack your magic bands, hotel confirmation information and even your swim suits in your carry on. You’ll want those when you get to the resort.
Disney Cruise Packing List
Another reason to stay on property, especially if you are doing both Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise, the Disney Cruise line bus will pick you up from the resort and take you right to the Cruise ship terminal! It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the cruise terminal from the resorts, but goes by fast while you’re watching all those Disney cartoons. Anytime I am traveling with the family, I follow these 5 tips for traveling with kids and they were a lifesaver for travel on the plan, and on these buses. Also, you don’t have to worry about your luggage when using the cruise line transportation. You tag your luggage with the cruise line tags, leave them in your resort room or wherever the designated area is, and they will show up at your state room onboard a few hours later. Just make sure you have at least one bag with all your important information, birth certificates, passports, ID, confirmation numbers and again swim suits. Once you’re onboard, check out the buffet and go swimming while you wait for your luggage to arrive. Also, get the kids registered and checked into the Oceaneer Club or teen clubs.
When it came to packing for our cruise, I decided I would have one specific bag that would be dedicated to cruise “stuff”. Some of the cruise specific items that we put in our bag, were, cruise themed Minnie ears, fish extender and fish extender gifts, door magnets, pirate night attire, Marvel or Star Wars attire if your ship has a themed day, sand toys for Castaway Cay, and a dressier outfit for formal night would be included if you were wanting to dress up or eat at one of the fine dining locations onboard the ship.
Yes, I did pack sand toys in my luggage for the beach. My kids love the beach and digging in the sand. If you’re Disney cruise involves at stop at Castaway Cay, I suggest thinking about throwing some dollar store sand toys into your luggage. You can purchase sand toys on the island, but they are not super cheap. They are super cute though. However, once the day was over and we were headed back to the ship, we just tossed these into the trash so we wouldn’t have to worry about sandy beach toys in our luggage. I sure hope your cruise involves a stop at Castaway Cay, it really is such an amazing island.
What are some of your go to items when packing for a Disney vacation? I’ve got even more Disney cruise tips to check out when you start planning your Disney cruise. And if you have any Disney trip packing questions, email me and I’d be happy to help!
Printable Packing List for Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise
I created a packing list that was so helpful for me when packing and getting organized for this trip, I thought it might be useful for others as well. Hopefully the tips in this post will help clarify why some things are on the list. This packing list is for personal use only.
You can download the printable packing list using the link below. Once the link opens, right click to save to your computer and then print.
Tips for Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise
I wanted to add a few more tips when planning a Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise vacation.
Plan to watch a fireworks show. We waited for over an hour to see Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom and it was so worth it! We had an amazing view and the show was spectacular. Bring stuff for the kids to do in your park backpack while you wait. We had a water bottle and glow bracelets and played ring toss while we waited. We also sent daddy to go get dinner while we waited which worked out great.
Planning for Pirate Night on the ship, you can dress up as much or as little as you prefer. We had matching pirate themed shirts and they give you a Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean bandana for everyone in your stateroom. We kept it low key. I’m not much of a dresser upper. But some were in full on awesome pirate gear. Also, don’t forget to stop by the special pirate dinner at the buffet.
I will leave you with this last tip, plan your cruise for after your time at the park. It was sure nice to relax Disney style for a few days after all the walking in the parks. 🙂
If you need help planning your vacation or are looking for the best prices on tickets and vacation packages, check out Get Away Today. And mention Liz on Call sent you for even more discounts.