What to Pack in Your Carry-on Bag for a Disney Vacation

Carry-on bag with Cinderella Castle feature

Flying to any vacation destination can be stressful, and we do not want anything to ruin the magic during your next Disney World trip. That’s why we’re sharing the items you must have in your carry-on bag when you land in Orlando.

There are some items that are always recommended to keep in your carry-on, but in this article, we’re going to talk Disney-specifics. Things like medications and photo IDs should always be kept with you when you travel, but some other items will not be easily replaceable if your entire vacation takes place on Disney property.

Guests with Mickey and Minnie in front of Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

Must-have clothing

This might sound crazy, but you need to put a couple of pairs of underwear in your carry-on (at least if you are not renting a car during your trip.) If you are going straight from the airport to your Disney Resort and your checked luggage gets lost, one thing you are not going to find at Disney stores is underwear for adults. You might find packs for children, but even these can be tricky to track down. Same for bathing suits- You might find suits for every member of the family, but it can be a challenge and that is not to say that they will be the size or style you’re looking for.

If you do find yourself needing to purchase clothes in the event of lost luggage, know that while there will be no underwear to be found at Disney World, the Resort has become much more size-inclusive over the years so you may be able to find entire outfits (especially for women.) In case you would end up needing a pair of men’s pants or shorts, or you do not want to take the chance that finding something in your size will be easy, throwing some bottoms into a carry-on bag never hurts, too. You can rest assured Disney will likely have t-shirts for the whole family.

Regardless of lost luggage, having a light sweatshirt or a spirit jersey in your carry-on bag never hurts. Even if you are visiting Disney World in the summer, the plane could be chilly, as could your hotel room so having that extra layer might be more useful than you’d think.

Disney 50th Finale Merchandise-Spirit Jerseys

Credit: Disney

Laptops and other electronics

In the event of lost luggage, you would not want to deal with the added stress of wondering where your laptop, camera, or other expensive electronics could be. And in the more likely event that your luggage is not lost, putting anything on the more fragile side like a laptop in checked luggage is not recommended. Pack these items (and their chargers) in your carry-on bag to avoid any potential for major stress later on.

Those other medications

Putting any prescription medications you will definitely need in your carry-on bag is a very general travel tip, but some over-the-counter meds can be difficult to come by at Disney World, or can be very expensive. Consider bringing allergy medication even if it isn’t quite the season yet (the pollen schedule could be different in Florida!) along with anything you might need to settle your stomach while traveling.

You can find basics like Tylenol, Benadryl, Dramamine, and Pepto Bismol at the Orlando International Airport and Disney Resorts, but if you know there is only one allergy medication that works for you, or if you are prone to something Tylenol won’t take care of on its own (like migraines vs. headaches) it certainly does not hurt to have these medications in your carry-on bag.


Credit: Disney/WDW Magazine

Comfortable shoes

In the spirit of saving space in your carry-on bag, you may want to actually wear your most comfortable shoes instead of carrying them on the plane, but this is another important item that could make or break your trip if your luggage doesn’t make it to Orlando with you right away.

I once flew to Orlando with a friend whose luggage was lost, and she opted to wear shoes that were easy to slip on and off for the flight rather than the shoes she would regularly be wearing in the theme parks. By the end of our first day in EPCOT, she had stopped in Creations Shop to buy a pair of Disney Crocs. (Her luggage was found thankfully, and arrived the following evening, but it was a scramble to find something more comfortable for our next Park day in the meantime.)

Must-have toiletries and accessories

Disney gift shops, especially those at Resorts, have many necessities, but if you feel strongly toward any particular brands or products, pack them in a carry-on bag just in case. For me, this means chapstick and hair elastics. Both are difficult to find at Disney World, and the hair elastics I typically find tend to have Mickey ears or other components that will only get tangled in my curly hair. The last thing I want is to be waiting in line outside in Central Florida’s heat and humidity and either be unable to put my hair up altogether, or have it be a tangled mess with elastics that probably cost at least $10 (that I know I will never use again.)

Makeup is another one that could fall into this category. If you will be lost without your go-to eyeliner or spf foundation, you’ll have a hard time tracking it down at Disney World. The only real makeup option is Sephora at Disney Springs, and this could be a pricey and time-consuming stop to make, especially if you are only needing to replace drugstore makeup.


Credit: Disney Tips

My last must-have in this category is hand soap. This one is totally my personal preference, and putting hand soap in a carry-on bag definitely takes a little extra planning with TSA’s limits on liquids, but I just do not like using bar soap in hotel rooms. I use these small soap dispensers from Amazon to be able to bring hand soap in my carry-on bag.

Hopefully, you never have to deal with lost luggage, though even if your bags arrive in Orlando with you, it can be nice to have the essentials ready-to-go!

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not reflect Disney Tips as a whole. 

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."