First and foremost is a sturdy, school-book sized backpack. If it has side pockets for water bottles, bonus! For a couple, or for a family with out-of-diaper kids, one should suffice. Of course, if you have toddlers or younger children, a diaper bag with the usual accouterments is necessary (and that is an entire discussion in and of itself!). We have found this is the best way to carry needed items while giving us some room to store at least small purchases we pick up throughout the day as well.
Prepare to log thousands of steps each day on a theme park vacation. Coming back to the hotel with aching heels is so common that some of Walt Disney World’s high-end properties offer mint foot cream alongside shampoo and conditioner. Slip gel insoles into your tennis shoes before you head out for the day and your feet will thank you
Even if it doesn’t feel particularly hot outside, ALWAYS wear sunscreen. Sunburn sneaks up out of nowhere and is never fun. Take enough with you to handle a reapplication for everyone in your group at least every 2 hours.
Every person in the group should have a water bottle. Most food locations in the parks (that have fountain beverages) will provide free ice water upon request. There is no excuse to becoming dehydrated while visiting Walt Disney World! We also bring small liquid flavor enhancers (Mio) in order to add some variety.
This can be anything from a small disposable camera to a professional looking rig with zoom lens etc... It can also be your phone if you wish. The photo-pass photographers at the resort will be more than happy to take pictures with any camera you have on hand.
Disney World is full of sticky kids (and adults!) putting their sticky hands everywhere. We carry dozens of individually wrapped wipes and use them constantly. Whether it's cleaning our hands after a messy meal, wiping down a bench seat before sitting, or cleaning up after following a cotton candy aficionado on a ride, these things are invaluable!
Of course, you want to bring any prescription medication you take with you in sufficient quantity to last the full day. It is also a good idea to bring some OTC pain medicine (Motrin, Tylenol, etc...) as being on your feet and walking all day can cause some discomfort. A small first aid kit with some bandaids and antiseptic wipes is a good idea, especially for blister control.
Generally speaking, you can count on an hour or two of rain almost every day in Florida, especially during the summer. Expect it, and enjoy it! The rain does help clear up some of the humidity and also does drive some Nervous Nelly's from the parks. Usually, you can wait it out on an interior attraction, shop or restaurant. If you do need to walk in the rain for a distance to get to a reservation or fastpass, a cheap, dollar store poncho helps keep you dry. We take a few per person so we don't have to worry about refolding them, we can discard them in the appropriate container shuold we need to.
Using the WDW App helps planning your day very convenient, but it does use a lot of juice. Don't forget to bring portable chargers and cords with you. There are chargers for sale at the parks that come with free exchanges, but if you have your own, that is an added expense you don't need.
Contrary to what many people think, you can bring your own snacks into the parks. Beef jerky, pretzels, and cheese sticks are some of our favorites.
Many of these items are good to have with you no matter where you are visiting, be it the Magic Kingdom, or Florence, Italy. No matter where you are traveling, having some basic necessities in easy reach is always a good idea!