Going to Disneyland is a very exciting time, it can be a huge event. With excitement running high in anticipation for the magical adventures waiting, it can be difficult to remember everything you need. So what do you bring to Disneyland?
Here are the 24 things that I fully recommend having with you when you take your next vacation to Disney. These can help ensure that you will have a wonderful day(s) at Disney.
And don’t worry, everything that I recommend here is things that I personally have used in the Disney parks. I wouldn’t ever recommend anything that I don’t personally use, so you can be sure to be getting first hand
When it comes to bringing things, there are two different categories for what to pack. Things to bring to Disneyland while you’re in the parks and things to bring that are left at the hotel.
These are the things that I recommend the most when you are inside the parks. I always carry all of these items, sometimes multiple people in my group have all of these items. That is how important these items are for your Disney trip.
Learn from my mistakes of not having some of these items, and take them with you to ensure that all your bases are covered.
Staying hydrated in Disneyland is extremely important. The last thing you want is to experience heat-related issues when at Disney. As it can really turn a trip upside down, trust me been there and don’t recommend it.
Now sure, you could buy water throughout the park at pretty much anywhere food is served (done that a few times too). But if you’re trying to do Disney on a budget, there is a more budget-friendly option.
Disneyland does allow you to bring in your own water bottles. These can be unopened single-use bottles, or an empty reusable water bottle (as long as it isn’t glass!).
Don’t worry, there are plenty of water bottle fill-up stations throughout both parks! This makes it easy to stay hydrated and not pay for water throughout the parks (Most of them are located by the water fountains near the bathrooms). And yes, the water from the fountains is cold, even on those hot southern California days.
Where any reusable water bottle will do, I personally LOVE Nalgene water bottles. They have a variety of different sizes to suit all sorts of needs, and they are pretty much indestructible!
I personally use a 32 oz Nalgene water bottle, with a 16 oz bottle as my second choice. Here you can find the 16 oz bottle, and they have a variety of colors.
Nalgene water bottles are even great for kids. They have a variety of smaller sizes, colors, and bottle top styles. Making them customizable and perfect for any age.
What some people might not know is that Disneyland does allow you to bring a bag into the parks. The bag will have to get inspected by security prior to entering the Disney property, but it is quick and easy.
I highly recommend bringing a backpack. To not only store some of the small purchases you make throughout the day, but to also hold everything that you’re bringing into the parks.
The reason why I recommend a backpack is because it is so much easier to navigate with a backpack than it is a purse or cross-body. Just based on my own personal experience.
Additionally, it makes it so much easier to keep track of, and secure, when you’re on a ride. Because let’s be honest, their little nets on rides to hold loose items are never big enough for anything.
Loungefly backpacks have become extremely popular throughout the Disney community. There are so many different designs, so you can get a backpack with your favorite characters.
Typically I don’t like things that have a lot of hype behind them, but I must admit, these things are fabulous! And with so many different designs, it is hard not to want to collect them all.
Plus, these backpacks are really the perfect size! They are able to hold all the essentials, including a few merchandise purchases when you’re in the parks. Win, win!
Now if you are a Mandalorian fan, then this Baby Yoda Loungefly is perfect. I have this design and it is one of my favorite bags.
Disney is constantly releasing different designs, what seems like every month. There are also some designs that are exclusive to specific parks that you won’t be able to find outside the parks. Which can be a great merchandise purchase for collectors.
I have had some clients take a larger travel backpack when they go to the parks with their children. One client, in particular, took this backpack and said that it was the perfect size for their family of 4 while in the parks.
Definitely one of the most underrated Disney activities! Pin Trading is by far one of my favorite things to do in parks. The crazy thing is, people, see pins in the shops everywhere, but don’t often know about pin trading!
Not going to lie, I say this as a loving warning, pin trading can become very addictive. Especially when Disney releases limited edition pins or special cast member pins. It is crazy to think how much my collection has grown so much in a short amount of time!
But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s rewind a bit.
Why is pin trading so fun? Not only is Disney always releasing new pins, but you can go to the same pinboard 4 times a day and there will be a variety of different pins. There are so many pins within the pin trading world, it is insane.
Check out these Marvel Superhero pin set available on shopDisney.
Collecting full sets can be a lot of fun, and is what makes trading pins so exciting.
If you are just getting started though, and want something basic, Disney does sell starter kits like the one below, at any of the shops (in the park) that sell pins.
It can be a good starter option for little ones, but it isn’t what I would fully recommend.
To get started I would buy a trading pin batch off Amazon like the ones below. Go through them, pick out the ones you want to keep, and then trade the rest when you’re at the parks.
I have never had any issues with any of the pin batches that I have purchased from Amazon. Sure sometimes you get a double (two of the same pins) in a batch when it says no doubles, but that doesn’t really bother me, as the pin is still tradeable.
Not sure where to trade pins? If you go into almost any shop you can ask them if they have a pinboard (most of them do). A cast member will happily show you the board so you can trade.
If they don’t have one, then a cast member will tell you where you can find one. I’ll definitely be diving deeper into pin trading in another post, so stay tuned!
This one is for the pins. If you are going to be pin trading, you need a lanyard to hold all of the pins that you are trading.
Having a lanyard makes it easy to show off your collection to other guests who might be interested in pin trading. I have traded with other guests quite often, and it is always fun.
Additionally, it helps to see if you already have a pin that you might be eyeballing at a pinboard in a store. I also recommend if you have pins at home that you are keeping have a picture of them on your phone so that you don’t grab one that you already have.
There also is usually a clear holder at the bottom of the lanyard which is a great spot to hold the physical tickets while in the park.
5. Portable Phone Charger
Disneyland does nearly everything through the Disneyland app. It is really wonderful and convenient to have everything right there in one spot. Everything from tickets, dining reservations, photos, and mobile ordering.
The downside to it is that it does drain the battery on your phone. Especially if you are already using your phone to take lots of pictures around the parks. And let’s face it, you know you will be taking all of the pictures.
There is one portable phone charger that is available to purchase in Disneyland ( it is about $30), and that cost does cover free exchanges with no exchange cap. The cost covers the portable bank, and 3 different charging cords to go with whichever phone you have. I have personally used this feature, it does come in handy when you forget a portable charger (or when you have used up the portable with multiple people).
There are limited locations where you can purchase/exchange the pack for a new one. This is a limiting factor to consider when thinking about purchasing this charger. Depending on where you are in the parks, going to exchange one could eat up valuable time.
But full disclosure, I do always still bring mine as an emergency backup just in case my other backups run out of juice. It also is helpful that it has all of the charging cords for whatever device you have.
To figure out which portable charger I would be bringing as my primary charger, I reached out to a few other Disney bloggers/influencers to see what type of portable charger they use. There was one that came highly recommended which is another reason why I decided to make it my primary backup charger.
Of course, I have tested it out a few times prior to taking it with me to the parks and it worked perfectly! I seriously couldn’t be happier with a portable charger.
Which portable charge is it you ask? It is the Anker Portable Charger. Reasonably priced, especially compared to a lot of other ones out there. This portable charger works really well. Quickly charging my phone (Galaxy S20+) about 2 times (from 15% or less to full) before the charger needs to be recharged!
6. Autograph Book
I will admit, along with meeting the characters and getting my picture taken, I enjoy getting the character’s autographs. It is a lot of fun to interact with the characters and get their autograph.
Plus, if you want to create a fun long-lasting memory with it, the autographs can be added to a scrapbook making it more personable.
Or, if you wish to have a different type of memory, you can always bring a t-shirt for the characters to sign. As long as the t-shirt isn’t on your body when the characters sign it, they will do it.
Not too many people know about the t-shirt idea, which makes it a lot more fun. I still wear the t-shirt that I got signed by all the characters I saw during one of my first adult trips.
Of course, an autograph book wouldn’t be useful without a pen for the characters to use to sign. If you get autographs from the characters, they expect you to supply a pen. Unfortunately, Mickey doesn’t keep a pen in his back pocket for autographs (which you think he would since he’s so popular).
Some autograph books that you purchase come with a pen, and some do not. There also are a variety of different pens usually sold separately wherever you buy the autograph book.
From my personal experience, almost all of the characters prefer a chisel sharpie over a regular pen. Especially for characters like Mickey, it is easier for them to hold when they wear the gloves.
Because I know you are wondering, yes the autograph looks exactly the same (if not more legible) when they use the big sharpie. Trust me, I have compared my autographs.
I am pretty sure when California got the nickname the Golden State, they were referring to the sunny warm weather of Southern California. If you’ve never been to Anaheim, the weather is (almost) always sunny and beautiful. The summers are usually pretty warm, and the winters are usually warm too.
Because then it doesn’t always feel as warm and sunny as it is, it can be easy to forget the sunscreen.
Regardless of the temperature that it is going to be when visiting the parks, I highly recommend bringing sunscreen and reapplying. The last thing that you want is to get sunburned on day one of a multi-day trip!
Even on cloudy days, it is important to wear and reapply sunscreen. That is a mistake that I have too many times, definitely more than I’d care to admit.
Now I love the Neutrogena Ultra sunscreen because it never feels like I’m wearing sunscreen. It doesn’t leave that greasy feeling that I’ve had with other sunscreens, and it doesn’t have that strong sunscreen smell. I mean let’s face it, who actually enjoys that feeling or that smell?!
8. Hand Sanitizer/Wipes
Even before the pandemic, I always bring hand sanitizer for all of my travels. Most of the time I also bring some sanitizing hand wipes too.
It just makes it easier when you’re moving around the parks to still stay clean. Especially when eating snacks on the move.
Sure there are bathrooms you can go to, to wash your hands, but there is often a lineup that can take a while to get through.
If you are traveling with little ones, it can be a quick and easy way to get them clean after enjoying a mickey bar.
With classic rides like Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run, you are going to get wet. Therefore it is recommended to bring a poncho from outside the park.
You can purchase a poncho in the parks, but they tend to be a bit more pricey than what you would pay to buy one outside the park. In previous trips, we have used these Disney Ponchos, which are fun and Disney-themed. And for kids, these theme Disney ponchos match well with the adult ones.
Additionally, carrying a poncho can be smart for those random rainstorms that come through.
Just on my last trip to Disneyland at the beginning of October, we experienced a huge thunderstorm. While we were walking to our dinner reservation, we saw a bunch of people soaked as they were walking back from the parks. I bet they wish that they had a poncho.
10. Extra Socks
This one goes along with the ponchos up above. If you are planning on going on any of the water rides, having an extra pair of socks can be helpful.
I normally don’t get too soaked when I go on Splash Moutain, even if I don’t wear a poncho (watch I probably just jinxed myself). Regardless, there is always a puddle of water at the bottom of the canoe that you hop into. Which means wet shoes for a few hours.
I don’t know anyone that enjoys having wet socks in general, let alone while at Disneyland. Which is why having an extra pair of socks is ideal.
Another thing that not too many people know is that Disneyland does allow you to bring snacks into the parks! You can purchase some snacks while in the park. Disneyland snacks like churros, popcorn, etc. are always fun, but they can add up quickly.
Packing your own snacks is a great way to save money. Plus it is always nice to have a little something when you aren’t able to get to a snack shack quickly. It also is good if there are any diet restrictions/allergies within your party.
According to Disneyland’s website, it states “Guests are allowed to bring outside food and nonalcoholic beverages into the parks for self-consumption, provided they are not in glass containers, do not require heating, reheating, processing or refrigeration, and do not have pungent odors. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park” in the FAQ section.
For snacks, I always recommend/bringing a few granola bars, trail mix, or those apple squeeze pouches. They are things that are light but filling which is perfect for when you’re walking around the parks.
Utilizing the camera on your phone is nice, quick, and convenient. However, if you are also using your phone for the Disneyland app, it can be tough to balance it all.
If you have a GoPro, I recommend bringing one, as it can be a great way to get footage on the rides (especially those water rides).
Some of my best pictures are actually ones that are caught on my GoPro! This is great because, with the GoPro, you don’t need to worry about water or dropping it.
I love these two accessories for a few different reasons. For starters, Disneyland has banned selfie sticks within parks. It is too much of a safety concern when people are on rides. The shorty extension is the perfect length, and it isn’t long enough to be classified in that ‘selfie’ category.
The travel sleeve is probably the accessory I have on my GoPro the most. For most of the rides within Disneyland (like the Incredicoaster) they won’t let you have your camera out unless it is attached to you. This attachment allows it to be secured to your wrist when needed, or to be hung around your neck like a necklace.
This versatility of the accessory makes it ideal for going on any ride, being able to capture great memories, and not having to worry about if a cast member is going to tell you to put it away for safety.
What To Wear To Disneyland
When it comes to what to wear to Disneyland, it can often vary by season. The weather in Southern California is pretty constant all year round. With slightly warmer temperatures in summer and slightly cooler temps in the winter.
This means adding some more layers in winter and definitely don’t forget the sunscreen in the summer. Here is a general guide to what to wear to Disneyland and be comfortable no matter what time of year you go.
13. Disney T-shirt
Disney trips are always fun with a Disney T-shirt. Whether you bought one from the Disney store directly, from amazon, or supported a small business and got one from Esty.
As a matter of fact, I always try to go with supporting a small business and finding designers from Instagram that have shops that do Disney designs or custom designs shop on Etsy that has adorable designs.
My hat is seriously off to the creative designers that have t-shirts, and other goodies for Disney trips. Their stuff is so cute and I just want to buy it all!
Especially designers that make t-shirts for adults. Even though over the last few years there has been an increase in nice adult Disney t-shirt designs within the parks. I truly believe that it has been from small businesses creating shirts, showing Disney that there is a need for it.
This is great because now you can have adult Disney t-shirts in almost every design, supporting every movie. So you can always be sporting your favorite Disney characters.
ShopDisney also offers Sensory Friendly t-shirts for children and adults! This is an excellent option for you or a loved one that might be in need of sensory-friendly clothing!
Regardless of the time of year, I always recommend wearing shorts or capris. With that being said, I typically don’t recommend jean shorts or capris.
(No joke, it can be in the 90s in November! And that’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit)
There are a few different water rides and during the hot summer days, they are really nice to help cool down. But walking around the park in wet jeans is never fun.
So shorts or capris that are from an athletic or breathable fabric is what I would recommend most. I personally am a fan of wearing athletic leggings.
It allows for breathability so you don’t get too hot, and they dry fairly quickly if you do happen to get a little wet from one of the water rides.
Now everyone has a different taste in leggings, but I personally love the ODODOS Yoga Pant leggings. They fit comfortably, and they have pockets that can fit a phone or a park map!
They have full-length pants as well as capris and shorts, which make them nice for any type of weather.
Having a hat is really important as it helps keep the sun off of your face. You could bring one into the parks with you, or you could always buy a new one when you are there.
It is kind of a fun tradition that my friends and I have to purchase a new hat on every trip. It is a fun way to have a usable collectible and memory after the trip is over.
Plus you would be surprised at how many different hat designs they have in the park, and how often they change them out. It’s kinda cool. My favorite hat store is in Disney’s California Adventure, to the left right as you enter the front gates; in the ‘gas station,’ that is called Oswald’s.
While I don’t always think that you need to wear one, it is always safe to bring one just in case. I typically always bring a little windbreaker with me when I go to the parks just to be on the safe side.
Depending on when you go, it can get a little chilly when the sun goes down. Or it could be a little cooler in the mornings before the sun comes up.
During my most recent trip in October, the temperatures were in the mid to low-70s. Those temperatures mixed with the overcast clouds made it ideal weather to be comfortable in a light jacket.
Personally, I don’t always like to bring a jacket into the park, but will sometimes just buy a new one when I get there. That way I have a nice memory from my trip. But it really depends on how cool it is in the morning.
17. Good Shoes
It is impossible not to get your steps in during a day at Disney! I am pretty sure every day that I am at Disney my steps for the day are double what my goal is!
You can pretty much get prepared to walk around 8 – 10 miles per day that you are in the park! Which is a lot of walking! Especially when you consider that is stretched out throughout the day, most days being about 12 hours in the park.
It is so important to have good, well-broken-in shoes. Without good shoes, the rest of the trip can become painful. I made the mistake once, and NEVER again will it happen again!
Obviously, what you find comfortable is totally a personal preference. But I highly recommend having a good pair of tennis shoes. Even would recommend bringing more than one if you are going to be there for more than 2 days.
Whether that is a pair of Nike sneakers, a pair of toms, or whatever brand you prefer, having a good walking shoe is important. Personally, I love wearing Nike while I am at the park. For me, they provide ultimate comfort and breathability, and I never have sore feet at the end of the day.
What To Have For Disneyland: Outside The Parks
Here are some important things to remember to bring for your trip that you can leave in the hotel room. Things that you would want to have as a backup, or as an option if you are doing multiple days in the parks.
18. Hotel Fridge with Goodies
Most of the hotels in the area (including on resort) have a mini-fridge in the room. One of the best things to do is stock it full of drinks and snacks. This can be used to have a small breakfast before leaving for the parks, or a quick midnight snack after a long day at the parks.
Disney does allow you to exit and reenter the parks during the day when your ticket and reservation are valid. This means if you need to go back and eat at the hotel you totally can. Which gives a way to save some money if you’re doing Disney on a budget.
Additionally, if you enjoy caffeine in the morning like me, I always keep my hotel fridge filled with some energy drinks.
Most hotels have a pool that can be enjoyed. If you are staying on-resort then I would highly recommend checking out the pools.
The pools at the Disney Resort hotels have some of the coolest slides for kids and adults to enjoy. With the pools being open all year round. This can be a fun activity for everyone if you need a break away from the parks for a little bit.
20. Charging Cables
Definitely, something that you don’t want to forget!
It is important to remember all of the charging cables for all of the electronic devices that you are bringing with you.
Setting up a charging station is one of the first things that I like to do when I first get to a hotel. This way I know where all of my charging stuff is with it is all set up and I don’t have to worry about it when I am done with the day.
I use a USB hub so that I can have one centralized location. This Atolla 7-port hub gives me all the ports that I need to ensure my phone, backup portable charger, GoPro, etc.
Most hotel outlets have USB attachments right on the plugs now. However, they usually only have one or two per plug. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely need more USB attachments to charge all of my equipment.
21. Extra Shoes
It is always just good practice to just have an extra pair of shoes at the hotel. This can help in case it rains, you will have extra shoes waiting for you that aren’t wet.
Sometimes I bring an extra pair of tennis shoes, sometimes it is an extra pair of sandals. It really just depends on the weather and what my plans are for the trip.
It is important to remember any and all medication that you might need during the trip.
If it is something that needs to be taken during the day, then you can bring it with you, you will just have to inform them when you go through security, and be prepared that they might ask questions.
I always take an inhaler with me when I go, and I’ve never had any issues going through security. A friend of mine always brings an EpiPen when they go, and again they have never had any issues with bringing them into the parks.
If it isn’t something that needs to be taken during the day, or can be left at the hotel, I would always recommend leaving it at the hotel. For example, I always leave my allergy medication at the hotel and take it first thing in the morning before I leave for the parks.
What To Do Prior To Entering The Parks
Now that everything is all packed, here are the things that I highly recommend getting done prior to leaving for the parks. Ideally, it should be done a few months before your vacation.
Taking care of these things, might not seem like much, but they really do help out in the long run.
23. The Disneyland App
Have the Disneyland app on your phone with everything linked, prior to going to the parks. This will make everything so much easier, and you won’t have to worry about losing tangible tickets. Or needing to print them out ahead of time.
Additionally, having your tickets linked to your Disney account is how Disney is handling park reservations. Which are required prior to going to the parks.
This also seems to be the way that Disneyland is dealing with park reservations, mobile ordering, and contactless payments.
If you need any information on how to link your tickets, or view photos from the PhotoPass, check out my post on the Disneyland App. In that post, I break down all of the features that the app has to offer, and how to get it all set up.
24. Dining Reservations
Disneyland allows you to make dining reservations up to 60 days prior to your trip. (Note that this is a rolling 60 days, so if you go for more than one day you will need to check back every day).
As many places can get booked quickly, it is best to try and get dining reservations for most, if not all of the days that you are in the parks.
If there is a specific restaurant that you want to eat at, and there are no times available for when you are there. Keep checking back at the app, as times can open up as people cancel or change their plans. Additionally, you could also try to make the reservation the day of in person, by swinging by the restaurant when they open (it isn’t a guarantee but it can help sometimes)
I personally try to just get dinner booked, so that I can plan the rest of my day around that reservation. It also makes it helpful in avoiding crowds during those peak dinner time hours. If you can manage to eat dinner a little earlier or a little later, I recommend it as it really will help with wait times.
What To Bring To Disneyland: Frequently Asked Questions
Along with what to bring to Disneyland, here are some of the questions that often get associated with packing for Disneyland. Hopefully answering these questions will help make packing for your trip to Disneyland a bit easier.
What Shouldn’t I Wear To Disneyland?
Deciding what to wear to Disneyland can be a tricky thing to narrow down. Do you dress up in Disney bound? Or wear Disney attire? Or do you just wear regular old clothes?
Personally, I love dressing up in various Disney attire. I always have a different Disney shirt to wear every day that I am there. Plus I usually buy a spirit jersey or two when I am there.
However, there are a few things that I wouldn’t recommend wearing when at Disneyland. Such as flip-flops, heels, uncomfortable shoes, etc.
Basically, anything that you wouldn’t want to walk around in for 8 – 10 miles shouldn’t be something that you bring or wear to the parks.
How Much Money Should I Bring Into Disneyland?
Currently, Disneyland is encouraging contactless payments for basically everything. Which has a lot of positives, but if not careful can hurt the pocketbook.
If you are going to bring your own food into Disneyland, then it will definitely bring down the cost of the trip overall. However, depending on what you are bringing you will need to consider the weight of lugging that around the park. Or consider the time it is going to take away from rides by going back to the hotel to eat.
I would say that the average cost is around $15/per person for breakfast and lunch meals, around $25/per person for most dinners and around $10/per person for snacks. Obviously, what you order and where you order can fluctuate the cost of these.
There are a few nice hacks that you can utilize to do Disney on a budget. Stay tuned for a post dedicated to doing Disneyland on a budget.
What Changes Have Been Made To Disneyland in 2021?
With the grand reopening of Disneyland, there have been quite a few changes that have come along as well. Here are some of the main differences that have been made to keep in mind for your next trip.
For starters, it is always best to check Disneyland’s Know Before You Go website to see the most up-to-date information on the pandemic, restrictions, procedures, etc.
With that being said, the biggest change that they have made (and most important), is the reservation system. No longer are the days of spontaneously going to the parks.
Valid theme park tickets AND a park reservation are needed in order to enter the park. All park reservations can only be made online, and are easy to do. It is recommended to check Disneyland’s reservation calendar site prior to purchasing tickets, to best ensure that you get the dates you want.
What Can I Buy In Disneyland?
The list of things you can buy in Disneyland is almost endless. Some things are more expensive than they are if you were to purchase them outside the park.
But there are some things that you can only purchase within the parks. The best way to optimize this is to check out World of Disney, in Downtown Disney, BEFORE you go into any of the parks.
This will give you an idea of what you can buy outside of the parks so you don’t purchase anything in the parks that you can buy outside the parks.
The last thing you wanna do is purchase something and worry about carrying it around all day when it could have been bought at the end of the day before heading back to the hotel.
Some of the top things that I would recommend buying in Disneyland/ Disney’s California Adventure are;
– Spirit Jerseys
– Limited Edition Pins (Shop off Main St. in DL)
– Mickey Ears
– Disney Artwork (Off The Page in DCA)
The Wrap-Up: What To Bring To Disneyland
Deciding what to bring to Disneyland can be tricky, especially if you haven’t visited the parks before, or if it has been a couple of years.
From my experience, bringing everything listed above will ensure that the trip is enjoyable for everyone.
Where you might need to adjust some of the items on the list based on group size, and the ages of the children going. Be sure to never head to the parks without the minimum essentials (sunscreen, water bottle, autograph book, and camera).
For a full list of everything, I’ve listed above on Amazon ready to buy, check out my Disney Park Essentials list on my Amazon Storefront.