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12 Things You Should Do/Buy Before You Go To Walt Disney World

1. Purse/backpack

Having a purse or backpack to take into the parks with you that you feel comfortable using throughout your trip is more important than we often realize. You don’t want to find yourself inconvenienced halfway through your trip when you’re struggling to find your credit card at the bottom of a purse, or don’t have enough room to throw in an extra park map or pair of sunglasses. It can be difficult to strike the perfect balance of space and comfort, and what works for someone else may not work well for you. If you do not already have a go-to bag to use in the parks, start looking for one now so you have it ready to go for your trip.

2. Camera

Most guests who do not consider themselves to be skilled photographers tend to forget how important a camera is when traveling. Even if you are not going to run out and purchase a DSLR or you consider your photography background to be very amateur, there are still a few things you’ll want to consider when taking photos. One is how easy the camera (or your cell phone) is to use. You don’t want to spend the first half of your vacation trying to figure out how to use it when you could be spending this time taking photos. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough space on your memory card—even if you are using your phone, make sure there is enough room for new photos!

3. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of those things that you’ll want to have purchased at home before your trip simply because it will be so much more expensive to buy it in the parks. While it is good to know that sunscreen is sold nearly everywhere at the Walt Disney World Resort, your safest bet is to already have it with you when you arrive.

4. Shoes

It is no secret that a Walt Disney World vacation comes with a lot of walking, and to make this as comfortable as possible you’ll want to make sure you have shoes that are up to the challenge. You may find it easier to switch off between sandals and sneakers, or you may have one pair of shoes that you know will be comfortable enough to last the week. Whatever the case may be, make sure you come prepared with sturdy (and broken in) shoes.

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5. Hand sanitizer

As clean as Walt Disney World may be, it is still visited by thousands of people every day, which simply put means germs everywhere. While the parks are meticulously cleaned by a series of wonderful custodial cast members, there are certain things that cannot typically be cleaned until the park closes, like railings in lines for attractions and lap bars in attractions. Even with regular handwashing, carrying some hand sanitizer in your bag can come in handy.

6. Basic first aid items

You can purchase basic first aid items if needed nearly anywhere at the Walt Disney World Resort, and unlike sunscreen they are not incredibly expensive. A little overpriced sure, but not totally undoable. However, having some things like BandAids or aspirin on your person may be a wise decision, just for the peace of mind of knowing that if a headache or the like strikes you’ll be prepared.

7. Snacks

Worried about how much dining at Walt Disney World will cost you? Regardless of how you plan on paying for meals, bringing some snacks to the park with you can help hold you over between meals and save you money at the same time.

8. Disney gift cards

Disney gift cards can be used to pay for nearly anything (in a Disney-official register) all over the resort. Saving some extra money on them before hand for spending money, dining, or even paying off your hotel room can help you budget better for your trip (and keep you from spending it on other things at home).

9. Extra clothes in your carry-on bag

If you are using Disney’s complimentary Magical Express Service to travel between the Orlando International Airport and your resort, then you are probably already aware that your luggage will arrive a couple of hours behind you. If you plan on changing, or just want to freshen up when you arrive at the resort, make sure that you have whatever you need in your carry-on bag. Even without the Magical Express, packing some extra necessities in your carry on will make you feel better safe than sorry in the unlikely chance that your luggage doesn’t make it down with you right away.

10. Dining plan (maybe)

If the dining plan is worth it for you, you’ll want to purchase it ahead of time when making your reservation. Doing so would allow you to better budget your trip and make payments on the full amount owed. Before purchasing it however, read up on what is included and compare this to what you think you and your family would actually eat or spend otherwise to determine the better deal.

11. Park tickets

Purchasing your park tickets ahead of your trip will save you time when you arrive at Walt Disney World. You may also find that you are looking for discounted tickets, which would not be available through Disney directly. When purchasing discounted tickets however, be careful to not fall into a scam and make sure the tickets are coming from a legitimate source.

12. Research

Lastly, to make the most of your Disney vacation, be sure to research all that there is to see and do before you arrive. Even doing so while on the plane will help you save time to enjoy yourself during your vacation rather than feeling the need to plan while you should be relaxing.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.