12 Things You Must Buy Before a Disney Vacation

16 Things (1)

In just a few short weeks, we are going to be heading to Disneyland!

To say we’re excited is an understatement.

Not only are we going with my parents and little brother, a few of my sisters and their families are heading out at the same time as well. It’s going to be so fun.

We have that we rented out for a few days while we are there, and not gonna lie – it’s going to be tempting to hang out there a lot of the time!

Of course, Disneyland will win out 😉

Forrest has never been to Disneyland, so I know he’s excited to experience that. And I’m really excited to see how much Jack will enjoy it. Will he remember most of it? Probably not. But I think it will be a fun experience for us all to enjoy now!

Anyways, I wanted to put together a list of things you should buy before you go. I’d love to hear your input, too!

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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. 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.

Comfy shoes

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!

Update: I actually wore these to Disneyland – and they worked great for one of my feet…and I got horrible blisters on the other. It was maddening! I have since gone again, and I much preferred wearing my Skechers GOGA Walk Max shoes. They have them for both men and women, and they are SO comfortable!

I’ve also heard great things about the Sketchers Go Walk line. My mom bought some on clearance awhile ago, and she loves them – they have a memory foam liner which apparently is really comfortable and great for walking. I’d love to get a pair!

Hearing Protection Earmuffs

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!


Autograph Book

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.

My friend, Danielle, just released this amazing Unofficial Disneyland Activity and Autograph Book. She sent me a copy of it, and I can’t wait to have Jack use it! It has beautiful pictures, places for autographs, activities, and it even tells you which rides are currently closed, the height restrictions, etc. I think it’s a must-have for Disneyland!



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. My aunt and uncle and some of their kids went to Disneyland recently, and I think they made some fun shirts. I kind of want to do that as well!

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. If you have heard of something similar, be sure to leave a comment about it!

Unofficial Guide to Disneyland or Disney World 

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!

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!

Mouse Ears

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! You can get Mouse Ear headbands on Etsy for a reasonable price (and if you look hard enough, you might even be able to find a Mouse Ear hat!)


Sun protection

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 recent high school graduated person, 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.

Hidden Travel Wallet

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.

Entertainment Book

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!

GetAwayToday 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!

Portable charger

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?!)

Glow Toys

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.

Stroller hooks

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! Of course, set aside a little bit of money for classic Disney treats, but it’s good to have a nice supply of granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. to tie everyone over!

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!

Waterproof pouch

This is a must-have for when you go on rides like Splash Mountain or the Grizzly River Run (in California Adventure!)

Small cooler

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.

Water bottles

You can bring disposable water bottles, but I think it’s a good idea to bring something a little mroe 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’ve heard amazing things about the S’well Water Bottles…though they definitely come at a price tag (they keep your water cool for 24 hours! They are cheaper on their website than on Amazon.) I’ve always been a fan of Nalgene water bottles (they were soooo cool when I was in middle school.)


Rain poncho

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 obviously am not a big Disney expert, since I haven’t been in about eight years, but I think this is a pretty good list of things to buy BEFORE a Disney vacation! Let me know if I missed anything.


Does Pirates of the Caribbean have real human remains?

Find out the answer to this and learn about other amazing Disney secrets - including where to find the best prices - by signing up below!

More Posts about Disneyland:

The Best Dollar Tree Disney Souvenirs to Buy BEFORE your Trip
The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Disney Vacation
The Ultimate Guide to Disney on a Budget

16 Things


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  • These are great tips! I definitely agree with bringing your own mouse ears before, and sunscreen and water bottles. We forgot ponchos and had to buy them when we were there because it rained 2 of the 3 days. But it was still so much fun! Rain can't ruin a Disney vacation! I hope you guys have SO MUCH FUN!!

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