You’re already spending so much to go to Disney, so do yourself a favor and buy a few things before your trip to save money in the long run.
Here are items you’ll probably need, but you can get a lot cheaper on Amazon, at the dollar store, or by stacking coupons with a sale.
1. Ziploc bag for your phone
Because, Splash Mountain!
2. Umbrella stroller
It’ll cost you $15 per day to rent a single stroller at Disney World ($31 per day for a double stroller).
Why not just check a lightweight umbrella stroller from Walmart with your other baggage to save money and have a stroller to use in the airport.
3. Water bottle with filtration
But if you don’t think you’ll have the patience to stand in long lines for water, buy a couple of water bottles with filtration before your trip, and share them with your kids.
The water from public fountains inside Disney parks is notoriously gross and tastes like metal. That’s where the filter comes in.
Spend $8.99 on Amazon for a water bottle with filtration (you’ll pay a lot more if you want Brita).
Heat, walking, and waiting in lines will all add up to really hungry kids.
Luckily, Disney allows pre-packaged food and drinks as long as there’s no glass involved.
Bring your own granola or protein bars in order to avoid paying for food inside the park. And don’t pay full price for snacks! Use snack coupons to get deals on items like granola bars, chips, crackers and fruit snacks.
For example, download the Target app and watch for Cartwheel offers like 25% off brands like Quaker. If you can combine this with a $0.75/2 Quaker manufacturer coupon, you could get a box of 8 granola bars for only $1.13, when you buy two.
5. Disney Autograph Book
Buy your Disney autograph book online at shopDisney for $9.99 before your trip in order to avoid lines and be ready for the first signature when you walk into the gates.
TIP: Consider alternatives for autographs if you want to spice it up. Ideas like white sneakers, a white fabric headband or a white baseball cap that characters can sign might get more use than a book.
6. Disney trading pins
You can trade pins with any Disney cast member, which means you need a few pins when you show up!
You can buy them in the park, but in order to save money you should buy them used on eBay for about $0.50 per pin. They usually come in bulk lots of 2-30 pins, so divide the stash among your crew before your trip.
7. Glow paint
You haven’t lived until you’ve painted your face with glow paint before a visit to Animal Kingdom’s Pandora at night. Grab some on Amazon before you fly out. You can expect to pay around $11.95 for a five-pack of different colors.
8. Matching Disney-themed shirts
You can pay money for personalized matching family shirts, but why not just make your own?
This simple DIY Mickey shirt uses pencil erasers and acrylic paint to create dots around a Mickey stencil on a T-shirt.
Get the tutorial here.
But whatever you do, do not wait until it starts raining in the park to buy an overpriced Disney umbrella!
10. Mickey Mouse Ears
Order custom-made ears on Etsy before you reach the Disney World to give yourself more options than the handful of styles sold inside the park.
If you can think it up, I guarantee it’s being sold on Etsy. From Star Wars to Hei-Hei (Moana), and from Pirates of the Caribbean to Beauty and the Beast, your only problem will be deciding which pair to buy.
Prices for decorated ears on Etsy start around $9.95 and can reach up to $40-50, depending on the style you want.
11. Portable battery charger
You’re gonna be using your phone like no other, so don’t overestimate your battery life!
Order a $25 portable phone charger before you leave town.
12. Insect repellant
Watch for OFF! coupons you can stack with a sale: for example, a $0.55-off coupon for OFF! that you can use when you see a sale at a drugstore like Walgreens. We’ve scored insect repellant for $3.94 (reg. $8.49) this way!
13. Baby wipes
Even if you don’t have a baby, pack wipes because, easy clean-up.
Check out current baby wipes deals and stock up on Huggies or Pampers baby wipes when you can get them for about $0.03 per wipe.
14. Hand sanitizer
Pick up some small hand sanitizers at the dollar store to toss into your backpack for the park.
Or try Bath & Body Works where you can usually find a $10-off-a-$30 purchase coupon. Add a few small PocketBac sanitizers to your order to reach the minimum amount you need in order to use the coupon.
15. Lip balm
Shop Target for the best deals on lip balm, and don’t buy unless you can get it for less than $1 per tube.
Look for coupons to stack with a sale, or buy when there’s a Target gift card promotion like “Spend $50 on Beauty and get a $10 gift card.”
16. Fanny pack
You can get a simple fanny pack for under $7 on Amazon.
Being hands-free is necessary to hold Dole Whips and water bottles and bags full of souvenirs.
17. Laundry bag
This is 100% so your 9-year-old boy doesn’t accidentally wear the same pair of underwear for the whole week.
Keep dirty items in the laundry bag while everything that’s clean keeps living in the suitcase. Find a generic mesh laundry bag on Amazon for under $10.
Why pay $12-15 for a poncho at Disneyland when you can get them at the dollar store for $1.00 each and stuff them into your checked baggage?
19. Stain Remover
Let’s get real — I put my kids in last year’s summer clothes with a “next stop, the donations pile” when we are on vacation.
But I usually don’t want them to destroy their adorable family T-shirt in the first 5 minutes of being at the park.
Watch for Tide To-Go coupons and use them at Dollar General so you’re only ever paying $1.50 per Tide To-Go stain remover pen.
Just in case you need it, get painkiller at the dollar store for free when you use coupons.
Here’s how it works — Watch for $1.00-off coupons for brands like Tylenol, Excedrin or Motrin. Then use them at your favorite dollar store to get painkiller totally free.
Find out what other items you can get for free with coupons at the dollar store.