I’ll admit it, before I started traveling as often as I do now (and dating Chaz) I was a complete over-packer. I would NEVER travel anywhere, even an overnight roadtrip with a small, carry-on sized suitcase, and I was always the person bringing along multiple pairs of shoes and clothes for un-seasonal weather “just in case.” Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to pack much less… so much less that you may even say I pack light. Packing for one or two adults though does not need to be overwhelming and stressful. Read on to see some of my best tips for packing light and comfortably for your next Disney vacation, and to download my free printable packing list!
Only pack for unseasonably warm/cold weather within reason
The first time I visited Walt Disney World in August I brought two pairs of full-length jeans and a pair of capris. If you are visiting Orlando in the summer, and you’re considering bringing a pair of jeans “just in case,” DON’T. You will not wear them, and they will take up unnecessary space in your suitcase. If you’re that worried, throw in a pair of capris, leggings, or other long pants that are made of a lighter material, like linen. Even if you find yourself wanting long pants, the material of jeans especially if they are fitted tight to your legs is not going to be comfortable.
The major exception to this rule is if your trip falls in the winter months. Many guests do not realize that Orlando can get “cold.” I say “cold” because coming from New England I’ll take the 40s or 50s compared to what our winters are like any day. But still, you may assume Florida is warm and you won’t need the winter clothes, but consider that it can be as low as the 40s at night… while riding Expedition Everest… in the front row… with the wind in your face. Winter in Orlando is much less predictable than summer, and you may want to bring more of a variety of shorts and pants, or layers that you can easily add or take off if it gets warmer or cooler.
Go easy on the makeup and shoes
I don’t even want to think about how many shoes I carried back and forth in my suitcase on previous Disney trips that almost always went unworn. I bring two pairs of shoes with me now, and I really think that’s all you need. My park shoes believe it or not are a pair of $17 sandals by Mossimo from Target. I find them so comfortable I actually have them in all the colors they come in. I actually didn’t go to Target with the intention of finding shoes to wear to the parks, but I happened to see them and I’m in love. The soft fabric is similar to what you’d find with Sanuks though I actually find the soles more comfortable because the shape has a lot of arch support in if you sweat a lot or get rained on they don’t get slippery.
Park shoes are tricky because there are so many posts online of people swearing by certain pairs of shoes that are made for the kind of walking you do in Walt Disney World. Before purchasing these shoes, my go-to park shoes that were recommended from an online Disney fan community were these J-41 flats by Jeep. Now don’t get me wrong, these shoes are insanely comfortable, and like the sandals I wear now they also stand up to the test of having adequate arch support and staying dry in Orlando humidity and rain BUT they’re not nearly as stylish. Before I happened upon the sandals I wear now, I thought stylish shoes just weren’t possible for a Disney vacation, which is why when I tried the sandals on at Target wearing them in Walt Disney World was never my intention. I think this just goes to show that recommendations are great, but it’s okay to branch out from what other people suggest too. Some guests even swear by wearing Converse in the parks. I can’t imagine doing that, but you do you…
I really love my Mossimo sandals that much that they are usually the ONLY shoes I wear in the parks, at least when the weather is warm. Sometimes I bring running shoes for a more casual outfit in the winter, but they are typically all I wear now. However, many guests do like to switch shoes each day, or at least have the option to wear sneakers vs. sandals, which may be something else to consider while you’re packing.
As for makeup, I bring one small makeup bag’s worth of products that could fit in my purse if I wanted it to. I cover the basics without bringing anything extra that I really don’t need. I do the same basic makeup style for the entire vacation, perhaps with the exception of a night out dancing or at a fancier restaurant, but in this case I’d be able to just up the makeup game with whatever I bring. I LOVE my Naked palette, but realistically I know I don’t need to bring the whole thing when I travel, so I use the more compact version instead. I also bring liquid foundation, two powder foundations (which I manage to use as a contour/highlighter) eyeliner, mascara, eyelid primer, eyebrow pencil, and one or maybe two lipsticks.
One addition to my makeup kit that I don’t bring simply because I haven’t invested in it yet is setting spray, which I think would work wonders in the Florida heat. If you’ve used setting spray when visiting the parks let me know how it worked out in the comments! I also bring only a minimal amount of brushes and a very small bottle of brush cleaner and a travel pack of makeup remover wipes. This may sound like a lot, but considering how small each of these products is you can see how they would easily fit in a pretty compact makeup bag.
Pack light colors and light materials
There are two reasons why this is important for efficient packing. Light colors go with more pieces to create various outfits. For instance, plain t-shirts or tank tops that are white, or light pink, blue, beige, etc… will easily go with anything you decide to wear on the bottom, any pair of shoes, and any accessories. This means you can wear whatever Minnie ears you want without worrying that they’ll clash with your outfit.
Light materials make it easy to layer, which is what you want to do regardless of the season you visit the parks. If you want to use a raincoat in the summer, you don’t want to be putting it over an outfit that will make you overheat. And in the winter you may want to wear cooler clothes during the day, and bundle up at night, and lighter materials will make it easier to layer up or down throughout the day. And of course, lighter materials means more space saved in your suitcase. I also suggest wearing dresses for this reason, as a dress is one entire outfit that you don’t really have to think about or devote a lot of suitcase space to.
Don’t overdo the toiletries
Another downfall of mine during my overpacking days was that I would go nuts with toiletries. I somehow thought I was going to be doing my nails, using lotion, facial masks, and all kinds of other things I could realistically go a week without doing. Now I bring a travel sized container of lotion, and a couple of little things like tweezers, a nail file, and a razor, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush/floss, and conditioner. I don’t bring shampoo or shower gel because I feel comfortable enough using the sample-sized ones provided at the resort. I can’t skimp on conditioner though with my hair, so I am always sure to pack this and some other hair products. One thing I do make sure I bring though is hand soap. I’m just really not a fan of using bar soap to wash your hands (which is usually what hotels give you), so I always bring my own liquid hand soap from home.
Of course this post didn’t cover all the bases, but I wanted to share with you all where I’ve made mistakes in the past. I’ve never overdone it with phone chargers or medications, and I always remember to bring an ID and cash, but clothes and shoes really used to be huge downfalls for me. I hope this post helped you curve your packing process to make things a bit easier and don’t forget that you can: