One thing everyone should pack for a successful Walt Disney World vacation is patience. There will be lines, and the weather could also complicate things, but there are also items you should not leave home without. This list will help you make the best of your time with the Mouse.
1. Poncho/Rain Coat
There's a good chance of an afternoon shower in the summer. A poncho will usually work, but in the fall, a sturdier rain jacket may be necessary as well. What's left of a tropical storm can cause significant downpours.
If you're someone who doesn't want to get wet on rides, but will ride them anyway, a poncho can be helpful. If you're taking the grandkids, who can say no when they ask you to ride with them?
In the winter, a rain coat, with a fleece insert, can also be great to have on chilly mornings and nights. They do sell ponchos in the parks, but you'll save money if you bring your own.
2. Two Pairs of Comfortable Shoes
The first rule for shoes at Walt Disney World is comfort. You will be doing a lot of walking. We're talking several miles a day plus and nothing ruins a vacation faster than sore feet. No matter what time of year you're going, bring an extra pair. They could get wet from a shower or a ride, or your feet may decide to reject one pair a few days into the trip and you need a change.
3. Enough Clothes
You may be sensing a theme. You may get wet and making sure you've packed enough keeps you from having to do laundry, although that is an option at the resorts. Also, if you're planning any nice dinners, you'll want to pack a skirt or a nice dress, and men will need a dinner jacket and slacks.
Two great options for a nice dinner at Walt Disney World:
Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is the only AAA 5-Diamond restaurant on property. The restaurant has a strict dress code, but it will be a dinner you won't forget. For an extra-special evening, try the Chef's Table.
California Grill at the Contemporary Resort has the best view of the Magic Kingdom and the fireworks. It also has a dress code, but it's a little more relaxed.
You will need to make reservations well in advance for both restaurants.
4. Water Bottle
You need to stay hydrated with the heat and all the walking. While you can bring all the non-alcoholic drinks you want into the park, carrying a case of water around doesn't make sense. You can fill up your water bottle for free throughout the grounds.
You can also fill a small cooler or backpack with drinks and snacks and bring it into the park. If you're traveling with someone who requires a stroller, you can easily set the cooler below, so no one has to carry it. All bags get checked by security, so check the online rules about size and prohibited items to prevent any problems.
This can take any number of forms. A cooler or backpack, like we mentioned above, and a smaller purse to carry things like lip balm, your driver's license, cash, credit card, aspirin, etc. You'll want something that's easy to carry and can fit in the pouches in front of you while you're on the rides.
This one is probably the most important. If you have a prescription, make sure you have enough to get through your trip, and then some. If you're flying, DO NOT put it in your checked bags. Lost medicine, on top of lost luggage, does not get your trip off to a good start. If you take your medicine at certain times, even a flight delay can wreak havoc. Bring any over-the-counter medicines, as well, for you and your family members. There are some options at the resort, but it's expensive and you don't want to make a trip to the store while you're on vacation for something you could have easily brought from home.
The Florida sun is HOT. There's no other way to put it. Sunscreen is a must, no matter the time of year, and you're going to want to reapply throughout the day. A hat with a wide brim helps too. It's that extra layer of protection, especially for those of us with fair skin.
One pair of inexpensive sunglasses will do and is necessary for the same reason you need sunscreen. But let's say you happen to be on a ride and you put them on your head and they happen to fly off. A second pair comes in handy. You can try and find them at lost and found, but do you want to look through hundreds of black or brown sunglasses to find your pair?
9. Portable Cell Phone Charger
This is for all the smartphone users out there, and there should be at least one in your group. You'll need your phone to check wait times, book FastPasses and look at your Memory Maker photos. You can burn through a battery pretty quickly and being able to recharge while you eat, wait in line or simply walk through the park is a huge convenience.
10. Beach Towel
The resorts have towels you can use at the pools, but this towel is for the parks. There's a reason you walk past a kiosk that sells beach towels right after you get off Kali River Rapids. Bring your own if you plan on getting on any wet rides.