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INSIDER SECRET: Disney’s website says that all food and drink is allowed in the park, so you can save lots of money by bringing a backpack filled with your own water, snacks and lunch.
Planning a trip to Disney, The Happiest Place on Earth, can be a wonderful family activity. And as with any trip, you’ll want to pack everything you need because there’s no worse feeling than leaving something important at home.
Thorough packing can also save you money. When you’ve forgotten something important and you’re crunched for time to buy a replacement, there’s a good chance you won’t be getting the best deal.
And speaking of saving money, you might be surprised to find out that the official Disney credit cards are not the best option for Disney lovers. Instead, use some of the best credit cards for travel and you can easily get more value than what the official Disney cards offer.
Here’s our Disney packing list, along with some tips and tricks for saving money.
Disney packing list: The right preparation can save you money
Disney can be quite expensive, but you can avoid being gouged for something as simple as a bottle of water.
For instance, earlier this year we shared three great travel secrets to avoid Disney World’s prices, which are summarized below:
- Bring your own water
- Bring plenty of snacks and pack your own lunch
- Be smart about your hotel
When it comes to hotels, there are a few things to keep in mind. Staying at a hotel closer to the Disney theme park will generally be more expensive. You’ll be paying for proximity, although if you stay at a Disney World Resort, parking is free, which does help a bit.
Some hotels also have a shuttle to and from the park. This could give you the best of both worlds – not having to pay extra for parking and also not paying a premium to stay close to the park.
As part of our checklist, there are a few things you’ll probably want to do before you leave the house:
- Turn off the water – Having a pipe burst while you’re away from your home for even a few days can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Avoid the possibility of coming home to a nasty surprise.
- Set a schedule for lighting – Setting a lighting schedule for your home can deter would-be burglars by creating the appearance that someone is still there.
- Stop USPS mail – Having your mail pile up day after day is a telltale sign to burglars that no one is home. Put on a temporary stop with the postal service.
- Set travel notifications on your credit cards and ATM/debit cards – Credit card companies have systems in place to detect fraud. They could prevent your card from being used if you’re trying to use it far from home. By notifying your banks of your travel plans, you can ensure the transactions will go through without a hitch.
- Download movies or videos onto your phone – This is especially helpful if you’ll be traveling with kids, but either way, it’s helpful to have something to watch just in case an internet connection or cell phone reception aren’t available.
If you’re planning a trip to Disney, here’s our packing list. It should help minimize the chances that you’ll forget something important.
- Wallet (with some cash and your credit and debit/ATM cards)
- Driver’s license
- Boarding passes (if you’ll be flying)
- Health insurance cards
- Photocopy of items in wallet (in case your wallet gets lost or stolen)
- Any cards for airport lounge access (Priority Pass, credit cards, etc.)
- Tennis shoes (or shoes that are comfortable for walking long distances)
- Shorts/skirts and long pants or dresses (depending on weather)
- Swimming goggles
- Poncho (depending on weather)
- Neck pillow (if you’ll be flying)
- Charging cables for cellphone, laptop, iPad and any other electronics
- AC power adapter for cellphone, laptop, iPad and any other electronics
- Laptop, laptop charging cable, extra batteries
- Camera, memory card, battery and battery charger
- Powerbank (so you’ll have a backup/emergency source of power if your electronics run of out battery life)
- Toilet paper and/or wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Ziplock bags
- Shaving cream and razor
- Lip balm
- Nail clippers
- Contacts and contact lens solution
- Contact lens case
- First aid kit (ibuprofen, band-aids, disinfectant, anti-bacterial ointment, etc.)
- Medication and vitamins
- Bug spray
- Hair products (gel, hair dryer, straightener, etc.)
- Comb/hairbrush and hair ties
- Makeup and perfume
- Feminine hygiene products
- Nail polish
- Baby food
- Sippy cups
A trip to Disney can be fun and memorable. Although it can be pricey, you can save money if you plan ahead. Bringing your own food and drinks lets you avoid the often-overpriced food in a theme park. And by using our packing list, you’ll reduce the possibility of leaving something important at home and being forced to buy a pricey replacement on the road.
And don’t forget that as surprising as it may sound, the official Disney credit cards are not necessarily the best option, even for Disney lovers. Instead, look into some of the best credit cards for travel to get more value out of your points redemptions for car rentals, airfare, and hotels.
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