We have been fortunate to visit Orlando many times and in all seasons. From steamy hot humid June, July and August to slightly cooler at times September and October to chiller starts in December, January and February.
We’ve over packed, under packed our Disney packing list and now have our packing game to ‘just right’ for visiting Orlando with kids, and will share with you all the things I am REALLY glad we packed for Disney, Universal and Orlando in general, (and stuff we wouldn’t bring again!)
Do let us know if we have missed your ‘must pack’ things to bring to Disney World, Universal and beyond.
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What to Pack for Disney and Universal Parks – A really useful checklist for Disney and Universal.
Mist fans: These were a lifesaver on hot days and we prefer them over hand held fans. We kept them in our backpacks and would take them out whenever we started to feel hot and sweaty. They are USB rechargeable, it can be charged by a power bank, laptop, or other devices with USB ports. These were also great for cooling down at the beach and for non park days by the pool or out and about.
Pouch water bottles: These are small, lightweight bottles that are perfect for carrying around the parks. They are collapsible and foldable, so lightweight and easy to use. Just fill up quick service restaurants.
Waterproof phone cases: These are essential if you want to keep your phone safe from water park rides and rain. We used our phones to take pictures and videos all day long, and the waterproof cases kept them in perfect condition.
Insulated bottles: An alternative to the pouch water bottles.These are great for keeping drinks cold all day long. We filled ours with water and added some Robinsons squeezy juice concentrate. They stayed cold even in the hot Florida sun. Even had ice still left in after 7 hours!
Small First aid kit: This is always a good idea to have when you pack for Disney and Universal, especially if you have young children. There are First Aid Centers at the parks if you need but depending on where you are, it could be quite a walk to reach there. The First Aid Centers do have complimentary band-aids, Tylenol etc and a Walgreens or CVS is never far away outside of the parks.
Portable power bank phone charger: This is essential if you plan on using your phone a lot in the parks. We used our portable charger to keep our phones charged all day long, so we never had to worry about running out of battery power and sourcing the portable phone charging kiosks at the parks.
Ziplock bags: These are always handy to have on hand. We used them to store snacks, sunscreen, wet clothes, and other small items. Can even pop a park map inside so it doesn’t get wet or use it to protect your phone.
Calpol/Tylenol and Band Aids/Plasters if you don’t bring a mini First Aid kit. I’ll also had travel sickness medicine to this as some park rides can result in motion sickness for some.
Compact Picnic blanket: This is a great way to have a comfortable place to sit and relax during parades, especially if the ground is hot. You can also use whilst waiting for the firework show to start, but will need to put it away before the show begins as sitting is not allowed.
Carabiner clips for stroller/ backpack: These are helpful for attaching small items to your stroller, such as souvenirs, water bottles, snacks, or toys.
Robinsons squeezy juice concentrate.: These are a great way to keep your kids hydrated without having to buy expensive drinks in the parks. We simply added water to the juice concentrates and our kids loved them.
Cooling towels: These are a great way to stay cool on hot days. Simply wet the towel and wring it out, then wrap it around your neck or head. The cooling towels will help to lower your body temperature and keep you comfortable.
Lanyards: These are so useful for tickets if you don’t have a Magic Band for Disney, or just want to keep your Universal Express Pass.
Ponchos: We’ve tried the cheap ones and the park ones and in-between. Go for the inbetween ones for both quality and price. The really cheap ones won’t keep you dry and are so flimsy.
Comfy shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you have shoes that are supportive and won’t rub your feet. An added bonus is if they are shoes that dry super quickly after a downpour. Alternatively, pop some flip flops on for water rides or for when it rains and the switch to dry shoe later.
Sun hats, Sunscreen and Sunglasses: That sun can be brutal!
A large plastic drawstring bag: To put over rucksack for water rides or when raining.
Insulated picnic backpack: To keep snacks and drinks cool – we only brought this when we had a stroller so we didn’t have to lug it around the parks – but it proved useful for beach trips and excursions too.
Swim shoes for water parks: The floor can be lava!
Snacks. You’ll save money by bringing your own snacks into the parks and can save queuing at Starbucks like the masses.
Extension power lead: Ideal for the hotel room to charge lots of devices simultaneously.
Tea Bags: For all the tea lovers (not ice tea but hot tea), most hotels have coffee makers and coffee but not tea.
Things We Wouldn’t Bring Again
Lots of Water: Apart from the first one in our insulated bottle or pouch. Free water and ice is easy to find at Disney and Universal – available at any quick service location.
Bulky stroller: We brought a large, bulky stroller with us on our trip, but we quickly realized that it was more of a hindrance than a help. The stroller was difficult to maneuver in the crowded walkways, and it took up a lot of space in our hotel room. If we could do it again, we would bring a smaller, more lightweight stroller.
Hand Held fans: They just push the hot air around – go for a misting fan instead.
Folding chairs. These are not allowed in any of the Disney parks, so they’re just dead weight. If you need a place to sit, there are plenty of benches and tables throughout the parks.
Clothes that are too heavy or bulky. The weather in Orlando can be hot and humid, so you’ll want to pack light, breathable clothing. Avoid anything that will make you sweat too much.
When you pack for Disney and Universal, a lightweight long sleeve option is good to have stashed in your bag in case the A/C is too cold inside or if you get drenched and need to warm up a little.
Valuables. Don’t bring anything to Disney that you’re not willing to lose. The parks are crowded and hectic, and there’s always a chance that something could get lost.
We hope these Universal and Disney park bag essentials help you on your next trip.
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