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Every time we leave for vacation, I begin hoping that a little fairy will come down to my kid’s rooms and magically pack all their stuff for me. It hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can hope. What kids should pack for Disney World can be overwhelming.
You’ll find post after post out there telling you everything you “need” to pack your kids for Disney vacations. But if there is one thing I have learned since becoming a parent, when traveling with kids, less is more!
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Prepared not paranoid
Now I tend to be prepared to a fault. I think through every worst case scenario and guard against it. When the kids were babies, I would take like 5 outfits for every day we would be gone. I don’t think we ever went through more than 3, but I was prepared!
And then one day, as I was toting 4 suitcases, a stroller, a blanket, a stuffed animal and my daughter up three flights of hotel stairs, I had a revelation…
Sure I’m prepared, but I’m also tired of carrying all this stuff! There had to be a way to pack everything we needed without me having to visit a chiropractor after every trip.
If this sounds like you, I have great news. We’re going to go over the essestials your kids should pack for Disney World, and with none of the nonsense that just adds weight.
Clothes kids should pack for Disney World
Clothes and shoes are going to take up the majority of your kid’s suitcase. A Disney vacation is going to be made up of travel, park, resort, and shopping days.
Park Day Outfits
The first priority for park days is to be cool and comfortable. Think shorts and Mickey t-shirts. Be sure shorts are long enough that their skin isn’t exposed to a hot chair when they sit down. Bright Colors will help them stand out in a crowd. Costumes are also popular, but more on that later.
Their shoes need to fit well and be easy to walk in. Avoid buying new shoes just for the trip. Broken in is better here.
Finally, choose lightweight materials that will dry fast. Between rain and water rides, there is a good chance they will be wet at some point and getting dry as fast as possible will keep everyone happy.
Resort days usually mean bathing suits. My favorite kids suits are ones that offer full coverage. They will be protected from the sun and won’t have to change to go get lunch in the resort food court.
Sandals are good options for these days. I advise getting ones that actually strap to the foot somehow rather than flip flops. They are just safer for kids to walk in when wet.
If you are headed to Disney Springs for shopping or out to a nice dinner, you may want your kids. I stick with shorts, collared shirts, and sundresses for these days.
The temperature can change drastically between inside and out. Bring a long a light sweater for them to slip on and off.
For all days
Don’t forget the sunglasses and hats. The sun can be intense during the day and you’ll want them to have as much protection as they can get.
If in doubt, choose cool and comfortable. If you want a lot more detail on exactly what kind of outfits are great for each day, check out Packing for Disney World for Adults. For right now I’m going to stick with items that are specific to kids, toddlers, and babies.
Kids under 14 are allowed to wear costumes at Disney, but just because they can wear something does not mean they should. Before you put that kid’s favorite costume in the suitcase, here are a few things to consider:
- How hot is it? Our son has a Kylo Ren costume he absolutely loves! Since we’re doing group Star Wars costumes for the Halloween party, it would be a natural fit and we wouldn’t have to buy him one. Except that it is made of thick, black material. The little guy was going to roast in it! So we bit the bullet and bought a Poe Dameron flight suit. It’s much lighter both in weight and in color!
- Is it easy to walk in? Back to the Kylo Ren costume…I’d never thought about it till getting ready for this party, Kylo Ren wears a full-length black dress. He somehow manages to have epic lightsaber battles in it, but I’m thinking the Disney Dude is just going to trip all over it trying to get on and off rides…for 8 hours! Another fail for Kylo!
- Does it have a mask? Masks are allowed for kids under 14, but they must have full vision so no eye slits or other obstructions. As you can see in the picture, the Disney Dude couldn’t wear the Kylo Ren mask which is half the fun of the costume. The Poe costume, on the other hand, has a mask, but the part covering the eyes is clear so he’ll have full vision! Lightside wins again!
Let’s face it. Kid’s costumes aren’t the best made items. They are often itchy and cumbersome. Here are some costume alternatives your kids could pack for Disney that would be more comfortable for all day wear, but still have them feeling like their favorite Disney character.
Disney and others sells PJs that look like characters. We’ve had Spiderman and Buzz Li. Both were big hits. In fact, the Spiderman ones got worn until there was a huge hole in the leg and we had to go buy another pair!
They also have nightgowns that look like princess dresses! The Pixie Princess has a Rupunzel on that is identical to her dress in the movie. These are usually lighter weight, definitely comfortable, and can be combined with accessories to make a full costume.
- Themed T-shirts and Dresses
The Pixie Princess has a Captain Marvel dress and the Disney Dude has a Buzz Lightyear tshirt that looks just like the character. They are similar to the pajamas, but come in different styles and look more like real clothes.
Who says only adults can Disneybound! Until we found the Poe Costume, our plan was to have the Disney Dude bound as Han Solo. Dark pants, a white shirt, and a black vest and he would have been good to go.
This one is great if you don’t want to spend money on a costume because you can use clothes they already have. Its also a sneaky way to get them out of their costumes for a nice dinner or pictures.
Accessories are especially important for Disneybounds so add in tiaras and other accents as needed!
Many kids have a toy, blankie, or stuffed animal that they can’t leave home without. If you have one of those kids, make sure that item makes the cut when you pack your kids for Disney!
Nothing will derail your vacation faster than a kid who won’t sleep because their blankie got left at home. I check for Pooh and blankie about 10 times before we leave the house!
If it’s something they’re used to carrying around with them, take a stroller leash to hook them to the stroller with so they don’t fall out while walking. I’ve had people run after me more than once trying to return Pooh Bear after he took a tumble out of the stroller, and I was extremely grateful they did!
How your kids should pack for Disney World
I promised you a way to pack your kids for Disney without bringing 20 suitcases! It is possible to be totally prepared and not bring more than one small suitcase per person! Even at Disney World! But we have to be strategic in how it’s all going in the suitcase.
Packing outfits by day
I used to pack all the shirts together, all the pants together, and so on, but what would happen is we’d be digging around the suitcase and things got messy fast. Then we’d forget what went with what and end up with a mismatched outfit at the end of the week! Our hotel room was a disaster, and mama wasn’t a happy camper!
I decided something had to change and started packing outfits together. In one stack, you’ve got the pants, shirt, undies, socks, and accessories you need for one outfit. For kids, put it all a gallon ziplock bag and mark which day it’s to be worn with a permanent marker.
Now when its time to get dressed in the morning, they can go grab the next bag on the stack and get ready by themselves! At the worst, I have to go grab their bag to make sure they have the right one, but it saves me a ton of time trying to find their clothes.
Where do the clothes go at the end of the day? Right back in their ziplock bag and back into the suitcase. At the end of the week, they’re all packed and ready to go!
Packing in their personal item
We tend to fly budget airlines which saves us money, but the downside is we have to pay for each bag we take. The only thing included is our personal item that goes under the seat in front of us on the airplane. If you pack smart, this bag can fit a week’s worth of kids clothes in it.
Make sure all the air is out of the ziplock bags. Take one outfit/day (or activity) plus one extra for the week if your child is over two. Under 2 take 2 outfits/day, but keep them simple. It’s important to minimize the accessories. Get a couple of hairbows or hats that can be used with any outfit to save space.
If you’re worried about what your kids are going to do on the plane, pack activities like coloring, books, and Ipads in your personal item. This will make it easier for you to control what they’re playing with. And you can save those Ipads for the end when everyone is getting restless.
Go Pack Your Kids for Disney!
Don’t let packing intimidate you! Don’t let the voices creep in which tell you that you might need a parka in July in Florida– ya know just in case! No one knows your kids and their needs better than you. Overpacking can make traveling harder than it needs to be.
Now that you know what your kids should pack for Disney World, take a look at the rest of this Disney World packing series to find out what adults should pack and what should go in your day bag.
What’s the one item you think a parent should never leave home without? Let me know down in the comments below! And grab the Disney Packing list above so you don’t forget a thing!