While there is no need to overpack for a Disney vacation, there are a few things you DON’T want to forget. Here are 20+ things to buy BEFORE you go to Disney (because I guarantee it will be more expensive when you get there!)
Things to Buy Before Disney World and Disneyland
Disneyland is one of my favorite vacation spots – even with the ever-growing crowds.
We have gone several times over the past few years, and I feel like I always learn a few more tips and tricks along the way.
One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to pack well before your trip.
That doesn’t mean bringing everything under the sun – but you DO need some necessities.
A few years ago, I put together this post about what you should buy before you go to Disneyland or Disney World – and every time I come home from my trip, I find another item to add to the list.
So below you’ll find our must-have items that you should buy before you go…because otherwise, it’s going to cost you a lot more in the park!
And we are all about saving money.
I’m sure many of you have already bought your tickets…but if you haven’t, we HIGHLY recommend going through Get Away Today, which is the BEST place for Disneyland tickets and hotel prices and saving money.
We have used them for Disney trips and a cruise, and have always been very happy with them. They offer:
- Peace of Mind Plans – this allows you to change your tickets, hotel, etc. without a penalty
- Layaway Plans – this allows you to make payments toward your trip. It just has to be paid in full two weeks before
- They are the Disney experts! They have the best advice, and I have never met a person there who hasn’t gone above and beyond for their customers.
You can get an additional $10 off any vacation package for three or more nights using the code ClarksCondensed and booking through this link.
Things to Bring to Disneyland
You will be walking A LOT during your time at Disneyland. I personally can’t wait to rack up the steps on my FitBit and finally come out triumphant as the leader of my FitBit challenges. Ha! With that said, if you have the wrong shoes, you will not be happy.
When we went after my senior year of high school, my little brother wore some Crocs. They were comfortable, but his feet got so burned through the holes. It was actually kind of funny. So you may even want to consider putting sunscreen on your feet if they aren’t closed toes.
My sister, Cindy, just told me about these Sanuk Sling Yoga Flip Flops. Her friend wore them in Disneyland, and she raved about them. Cindy just bought some from Disney, so I bought some too!
I really love the Sketchers Go Walk line. I get a new pair every year when they are on sale at Costco, and they are SO comfortable for Disneyland.
I just recommend having one of these for life in general, but they are great for when you aren’t going to be near an outlet for a while.
While you should try and enjoy your trip without your phone as much as possible, I’m sure you’ll want to be to take pictures, use some of these must-have Disney apps, and be able to stay in contact with others in case you get separated.
A portable charger is great for charging on the go (though I think I heard they have charging stations somewhere…but why take time out of your trip to stop and charge it?!)
I have the MyCharge Portable charger (amongst others), and it’s the best one I’ve ever owned. I love that you can charge it directly through an outlet, and it has the charging cables attached.
I heard that Disneyland recently installed these portable phone charger stations. You pay $30, get a charger, and you can swap it out at the station for a new one when it dies. There are stations like this all over the country.
You get to keep your final charger!
One of my friends suggested getting these for firework shoes on the Fourth of July. Since no trip to Disney would be complete without their amazing fireworks show, I think these might be worth investing in. I definitely will be getting a pair for Oliver (tiny baby ears!) and probably for Jack as well, since he doesn’t love loud noises. They are only about $15, and you can use them in the future as well!
I still have my autograph book from when I went to Disneyland as a child. It was one of my most prized possessions for the longest time. If you are going with your children, I recommend buying a Disney autograph book before you go (because of course, anything you buy in the park will be way overpriced.)
I remember LOVING going up to different characters and asking them to sign my book. Amazon has a ton of really cute ones for under $10.
This is more for your children. On our last trip to Disneyland, Oliver had some tummy troubles, which resulted in a necessity to change his outfit.
Guess what? The first time it happened, we had NOTHING extra. We ended up buying $30 swimming trunks (so EXPENSIVE) because we had nothing with us.
So if you have small children, BRING extra clothes!
You can buy a lot of souvenirs before you even get to Disneyland or World if you want!
But I think something that you can definitely get beforehand is t-shirts. They are so expensive, and you can get similar and good quality ones for more reasonable prices.
Amazon has some, but I’m sure you could find them elsewhere, too.
I always make our shirts for Disneyland using my Cricut Maker, which makes it easy to customize!
Phone Number Bracelets
We lost Jack while we were in Disneyland, and it was terrifying. I had no identification on him, and I’m just grateful a kind worker there helped him.
You can buy bracelets to put your phone number on, which can be helpful if your child does get lost.
We have a Bluetooth watch that was called MyKidPod, but they’ve since stopped making them. I’ve been on the lookout for something similar – right now, I’m considering the Relay devices for when we go to places like Disneyland!
This is just a series of books I found that have really great ratings. I think it would be fun to read on the plane ride or drive to Disney. Whenever we went on road trips when I was younger, my mom would often read out loud – sometimes from guidebooks. I think this would be fun for adults and kids alike!
Okay this is something you would buy before you go, but you should definitely download it. Service isn’t great in Disneyland, and they don’t have free WiFi…and the Disneyland App is becoming a bit of a necessity.
You can digitally store your park tickets, get the Disneyland MaxPass, order food, check wait times, make restaurant reservations…So much! Download it before you go!
Disney Trading Pins
I never was one to collect Disney Trading Pins when we went, but I know a lot of people love doing this!
You can buy a bunch of them before you go, and then your kids (or you) can find a cast member with a lanyard with pins on it, and you can trade them for one you don’t have. I know a lot of people love this.
Make sure you get a lanyard to put yours on – you can get a Disney set of two for less than $10!
What trip to Disney is complete without Mouse ears?! I loved mine when I went as a child, and I loved the ones I went when I went as an 18-year-old. They are expensive though!
The last time I went to Disney, I ended up getting some heat stroke. It was kind of scary and not fun to recover from.
Apparently, as a recently graduated high school student, I thought I was too cool for sun protection.
Don’t be like me. Or you’ll end up looking like this as you stand in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride:
This time around, Forrest is insisting we take certain precautions before we go. I’ll definitely have a hat (and the boys will too – Oliver will be wearing one of these sun protection hats!), sunglasses, and sunscreen!
Because it can get pretty toasty out in California, I think it’s a good idea to bring a water misting fan as well. Of course, they sell these there, but do yourself a favor and buy one BEFORE your trip, so you don’t spend unnecessary money on one in desperation.
As much as I’d like to believe everyone is at Disneyland with the best of intentions, it’s probably naive to do so.
There are people that might try and take advantage of you being distracted. Make sure you keep all your valuables out of the park.
However, since you obviously will need your money, credit cards, etc., I recommend getting a hidden travel wallet to make you less of a target for theft.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
Take it from someone whose iPhone was ruined on Grizzly River Run, despite it being in my backpack…you want something to protect your phone on water rides.
A simple Ziploc bag will do, but if you have happen to have a phone wet bag, it can be a good way to add some added protection. Trust me – it’s worth a couple of dollars to avoid a very pricey phone replacement.
Did you ever sell these as a kid in hopes of winning some super lame and cheap prize? Yeah, me too.
They actually are really good though, and if you want to save money on food and other activities in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend picking one up before your trip. There are lots of BOGO coupons!
Get Away Today also has free printable coupons for tons of places in the Anaheim area. While you are booking your vacation there (and using Clarkscondensed to get $10 off your vacation package) you can print them off!
I may be 26, but I still remember being a kid and ALWAYS begging my parents for glow sticks or other contraptions at Disneyland fireworks/parades and on the Fourth of July.
Buy these items beforehand.
The Dollar Tree always has tons, and you can buy a wide variety on Amazon as well. It will make the parades or fireworks even more fun, and you can probably avoid some meltdowns.
I also recommend getting Disneyland Souvenirs at the Dollar Tree before your trip!
If you are going to have a stroller, you might as well make it as useful as possible! Stroller hooks are great for carrying bags, backpacks, etc.
Bring your own snacks!
I’m a huge fan of these for babies. They have resealable lids, which is nice – if you have an insulated lunch box, you can keep them nice and cool throughout the day!
You can bring a small cooler (no larger than one that can carry a six pack of soda) into the park. This is great for snacks, keeping water cool, baby food, etc. If you have a larger one, you can store it in a locker on the premises.
You can bring disposable water bottles, but I think it’s a good idea to bring something a little more durable.
While you can get a free cup of ice water at various locations throughout the park, having your own is a good idea.
I’m a big fan of Simple Modern water bottles. They keep your water cold FOREVER, and it’s a lot cheaper than a HydroFlask. I have the largest size and LOVE it.
This is great for keeping dry during water rides (unless it’s a hot day – then sometimes it’s nice to get a little wet) or if there is a sudden storm!
I updated this post after going to Disneyland three more times, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about!
originally posted in 2016; Updated in 2019.