7 Things to Buy BEFORE You Get to Disney World

Disney World can be an expensive vacation. Because we live in Florida, we are lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the Florida resident discounts offered throughout the year. We are also able to make the trip in a long weekend without having to take 7-10 vacation days to make our trip worth the money spent. Before you make the trip to Disney World, buy these few things to save some money. Sure, Disney World has stores everywhere and you can certainly purchase them there, but you will be glad that you saved money on these items by purchasing them before your trip.

Ponchos – Go to your local dollar store and purchase a stack full of ponchos. They are packaged perfectly for travel and cost one dollar. You will be glad you have them because it always rains at Disney World.

Souvenirs – You may be wondering why you would buy your souvenirs before your trip! Head to any store that carries Disney items and pick up a few ahead of time. You will find many of the same items at the theme parks and at a much higher price. The Orlando Targets and Walmarts also have large displays of Disney merchandise. We go shopping ahead of time and surprise the kids with little souvenirs throughout the trip. If they find something in the parks that they just absolutely have to have, we discuss it then. My kids know that this is the case and the begging every time we come out of a ride and get dropped into a gift shop does not bring out the “I want this now’s,” thankfully.

Sunscreen – I forgot my sunscreen and bought a bottle of spray sunscreen for $12.99 at the hotel. Enough said.

Batteries – If your camera takes batteries, be sure to pack extra. They will cost you more just as the sunscreen does.

Spray Bottles or Fans – These are sold all over the theme parks. You can find them sitting in ice filled coolers. Florida is hot. And humid. Buy your kids a spray bottle or fan for just a few bucks before you go.

Snacks and Drinks – This is one of our biggest money savers when we head to Disney World. You can bring in a soft-sided cooler full of drinks, snacks and even lunch. Purchase them ahead of timeand bring them to the park. Freeze water bottles and use them as ice packs. When the bottles defrost, drink them.

What do you bring with you on your Disney World trip?



  1. 1

    Great tips!

    I know I was happy to have those ponchos packed when we took our trip!

    We also discovered that their is a Disney Store Outlet near Disney World. We ran over and bought a few souvenirs for the kids (especially the lanyards and pins for pin trading) that were pretty reasonably priced- but the best deal was on my daughter’s princess dress. It was already priced at half off any we’d seen in the park (it was the previous seasons, bu that didn’t matter to us)plus, since we spent more than $50 we saved an additional percentage off our total purchase. It’s definitely worth checking into.

  2. 2

    We always buy souvenirs before we go to the circus, but I had never thought of doing it at a theme park like Disney. What a great idea!

  3. 3

    Great tips! We bought our princess dress at littledressupshop.com before leaving home. It was lightweight and machine washable. A great item for any amusement park with water rides like Splash Mountain are plastic Ziploc bags for keeping cameras and phones dry. The poncho would also work for this, but those are not mandatory items in California’s Disneyland.

  4. 4

    Great tips for so many adventures, not just Disney. Sunscreen, snacks and drinks are always our big money drains. I swear I have 10 bottles of sunblock but they never manage to travel with us. Being a red head you would think I’d just leave it in the suitcase by now.

  5. 5
    Lindsay says:

    Glow sticks! Dollar store or michael’s dollar bin. Great for the evening parades. I bought tons of the glow bracelets and passed them to the kids around us.

  6. 6

    My husband and i always buy pins in bulk to trade… if we choose mystery ones we even save more and since we plan to trade them we dont care what they are. However we have gotten some pretty cool and rare ones…

  7. 8

    I always by glow gear (stucks, bracelets, wands, etc…) by the gross online from Oriental Trading. We save so much money on light-up and glow toys at night by carrying them into the park with us. We take extras and hand them out to children standing by us during the nighttime shows/parades/fireworks.

  8. 9
    rabbit's wife says:

    Do they still have lockers? We packed zip lock bags of snacks, frozen drinks, frozen wash cloths, and put them in a locker. Saved a fortune on drinks. Watch for Disney drink cups and other things at garage sales and thrift shops. I had a whole bag of nearly free things to surprise the kids with. Make a t-shirt before you go using iron on images. Bead bracelets with ID information on them, add Disney character beads. My kids were so decked out they didn’t need more. They were allowed one purchase near the end of our visit after they had seen it all instead lots of little junk.

  9. 10

    We JUST got back (Feb. 2015) from taking a 4 year old. These blogs saved us a lot of cash. Absolute must buy ahead items:(Dollar store or Walmart) Logo t-shirt, glow stick, princess dress (but stop by the barber shop near the entrance to MK for some free pixie dust in the hair), a very light weight blanket, to sit on, cover up with , PONCHOS and stroller rain covers (it was worth it to us to invest in the heavier weight ones instead of the saran-wrap ones, they are totally reusable and rain was in the forecast), led flash light, hand sanitizer, wet wipes- a small pack, autograph book and a fat pen, lanyard with a plastic sleeve for each person or a wallet on a lanyard for the credit card carrier, light weight back pack for each person, even the little one, a CHARGER for your phone, band-aids and a piece of mole skin in case of blisters. There is free water at every walk-up food venue plus nice, iced water near the entrance to the sit-downs (even hot chocolate a few – it was in the 40s in the morning). There are still lockers, but we had a stroller, so we did not use one. For little ones, take things for them to do in the lines like bubbles, a small note pad and colored pencils, a lazer pointer, anything new to them… silly putty etc. For older kids, a DS or older portable game would be good (used ones are cheap now, but you do not want them to drop or lose a $200 game),rubiks cube, sliding number puzzle, stickers to share with new friends in line (huge hit and conversation starter). Between her junior size back pack, and my verysimple full size pack, we could grab all of this and carry it with us into an attraction. We did not make any emergency purchases in 3 days and did not feel like pack mules either. We had room for some planned purchases. DO buy your pins in bulk before you go OR pack a mini- M&M tube with quarters and shiny pennies. If you tried to play the card games, swap pins, smash pennies, swap mini-figures and all of the collectible activities, that would become your focus. Pick one or two and stick with it. We did pins and Pennies if we happened to see the machine. Also think about throwing in disposable place mats (10 for $2) They came in handy for seat covers after the rain as well as snack mats. DO NOT BUY A PASSPORTER GUIDE – Disney is constantly changing and the guides are printed in March of the current year. DO DOWNLOAD THE APP TO YOUR PHONE AND LOAD IN YOUR TICKETS. DO pack an extra car key in a separate bag (not my experience, but I saw some one else have a problem).

    • 11

      WOW, Thank YOU!!! We’re going in September for the first time and great to see this list!!

  10. 12
    shannon says:

    Where do you buy the pins?

  11. 13

    Rebecca, thanks for such a detailed list. We’ve been before but not with the kids and of course it’s been many many years ago. (they still had paper tickets. Gasp!) I couldn’t think what to pack and you really helped a lot! I feel much more prepared. Heading to the dollar store today in preparation for our trip next month.

  12. 14

    Amy i buy my trading pins from eBay

  13. 15

    sure these are good ideas but you cannot buy authentic Disney Park merchandise anywhere but the theme parks, sometimes the Disney store will carry a small selection. All the disney stuff at target and other retailers are licensed products but not actual Disney theme park authentic items. The best money saving tip by a LONG shot is pack your own drinks! This is a MUST do no matter what time of year you go to, even if you are on the dinning plan, always pack your own drinks, the cost for drinks is ridiculous at the parks.

    • 16

      Love the tip about packing your own drinks. Last time we went, a couple of people in our party packed camelbaks and they loved being able to just fill them up and drink water whenever.