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Don't Freak Out About What to Pack for Disneyland
You bought your tickets and marked it on your calendar: You're going to Disneyland! Now that you’re all hyped up for your fun adventure, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack.
Ladies, this list is just for you! After dozens of trips to the happiest place on earth and talking to many other travelers, I’ve compiled a list of the important things for every girl to pack to be comfortable and prepared for the magic. For now, the kids and guys are on their own.
Besides all the things in this list, you'll need the perfect Disneyland bag for carrying things into the park. Use this guide to find out what works best, and why.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Your Best Hair Care
Anaheim, California isn't muggy Florida, but you still need to be prepared for humidity. In the Anaheim area, it ranges from comfortable to more than 90 percent. Here's the part that might surprise you: The air is driest in late November and most humid not in summer, but in February. You need to be prepared for humid days any time of year, though.
You already know that humidity makes curly hair frizzier, while it sucks the style right our of straight hair.
If your hair is more like Mulan than Tiana in "The Princess and the Frog," think Cinderella. Style your hair in your favorite up-do or use some conditioning mousse and set it with lots of humidity-resistant hairspray to make sure it stays in place.
I have super hard to style curly hair and a hair care routine that works like a charm when I’m at home. That’s all fine, but the minute I take a shower in Anaheim, my curls start looking more like Merida's. When I can’t get those curls to behave, I start acting like Donald... Duck in the middle of a temper tantrum. It’s not pretty.
Use lots of anti-frizz products and leave-in conditioner to keep it all under control. And think about going natural instead of trying to tempt nature with that flat iron.
Or just tuck it all under a cute hat.
Aside from the weather, Southern California’s hard water can be just as disastrous on your locks. Trust me when I say that the result of wrong water with some hair care products is worse than a baby doll that’s having a bad hair day. To counteract some of the water's effects, grab a lemon and add its juice to your rinse.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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SPF is a Must
It often escapes our minds because we’re having so much fun, but walking around Disneyland means spending hours upon hours in direct sunlight. Also, with a lot of water and a lot of light-colored concrete everywhere, the park radiates the sun’s rays at you from every angle.
All that sun can cause burns as red as Snow White's lips in the most unlikely places, like the backs of your knees and under your chin! Pack the highest possible SPF in case you don’t put on enough or forget to re-apply. If you forget, you could end up looking like Sebastian, the lobster from the Little Mermaid.
Here's how to pick the best sunscreen.
To get an idea of what the weather might be like in general, check the Disneyland weather guide — but also check the short-range forecast before you pack that bag.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Waterproof Makeup Keeps You Looking Cute
When it's hot and humid at Disneyland, makeup like Maleficent's and hair like Sleeping Beauty's just won't fly, mostly because you’ll be completely uncomfortable.
Don't end up in those photos looking like you need as much rest as Sleeping Beauty, with raccoon eyes and washed-out cheeks. Instead, look cute in every picture you take by wearing waterproof mascara and opting for a tinted moisturizer or tinted sunscreen. Set it all in place with makeup setting spray to help it stay on.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Why You Need Extra Clothes and Socks
Pack quick-drying clothing instead of cotton shirts and jeans, so you don't go around feeling damp all day afterward. But don't forget your feet. If you're wearing socks, your feet could turn into a soggy, stinky mess.
Pack plastic bags and twice as many socks as you might think you need and change them when they get wet.
And while we're talking socks, I’ve definitely picked up a few blisters at Disneyland. To avoid that, pack some high-tech, moisture-wicking runner's socks — or Wright brand socks which have a double layer.
For more protection from splashes on the rides, pack a cheap plastic poncho.
Some moms also take their kids to the park wearing a modest swimsuit, carrying their regular clothing, spare socks, and a big plastic bag. Use a locker to keep the dry stuff in, then ride early... and change clothing afterward.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Bring Lots of Bras and Detergent
Apologies for TMI, but someone needs to tell you: In the summer, you're going to get sweaty. That means your bra will get soaked. Or at least, mine always does.
Avoid the yuck factor by packing at least two of them to alternate every other day. Bring a sample packet or a travel size bottle filled up with laundry detergent. Or just use a little shampoo or body wash. Give your bra a quick wash in the sink and hang it to dry so you’ll have a fresh one to wear each day. In case you only packed one, a hair dryer can speed up the drying process.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Dog Bowls for Your Feet?
For every hour I spend at Disneyland, I walk about a mile. In a long day, it's easy to cover a half marathon’s distance or more, enough to make even Minnie Mouse wish she had Aladdin's magic carpet to take her home.
Your feet will definitely need some TLC after so many hours, so here's a solution recommended by a doctor: Pack two containers, each one big enough for one foot and water up to the ankle. Collapsible, portable dog bowls like the ones Pluto might take on vacation are perfect and easy to pack. You could also pack regular plastic containers and fill them with some of your clothing to keep things packed neatly.
After your long day of walking, fill one container with ice water and the other with water as hot as you can stand. Soak one foot in each for about a minute, then reverse. Repeat once or twice.
Peppermint foot lotion also feels really good after a hard day.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Umbrella Or No?
Before you pack your bag with sunscreen or raincoats, check the weather forecast.
Even if rain is ahead, don’t pack an umbrella. It’s bulky and totally impractical in a theme park. Just imagine all of the people you’d be running into with an open umbrella over your head. Instead, take a rainproof jacket with a hood.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Don't Forget Your Girly Stuff
Even if you’ve checked the calendar and aren’t expecting your "monthly visit" to start, stress could change that. You might want to pack emergency feminine hygiene products just in case.
In a real emergency, Disney sells these items in the restrooms. You may also be able to purchase them at First Aid or the Baby Care Center in each park and in some hotel gift shops.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Light Sleepers Need to Know This
Disneyland fireworks are fun to watch, but it's surprising how loud they are and how far away you can hear them. Even across the freeway, they can rattle the windows. If you want to go to bed early and you’re staying close to the park, check the fireworks schedule online to find out if they're going off after your bedtime.
You may be a light sleeper, in which case you definitely need to pack earplugs to help you sleep through all that racket.
And you're going to need all the rest you can get. If it will help you sleep, give yourself permission to pack your favorite blankie or stuffed toy — or even that white noise machine.
If you're sensitive to loud noises, you may want to pack those earplugs (or noise-cancelling headphones) even if you plan to stay in the park during the fireworks. They can help you enjoy the sights but not the sounds.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Other Things You May Need to Pack
Some of these are essential; some are not. It's not a complete list, but these are a few things I have found useful that some people tend to forget:
- Don't forget your Disneyland tickets. If you're using e-tickets, make sure you have the receipt to scan at the gate. You might be able to save the day if you forget them, but it's a hassle you don't need.
- If you hate those hotel pillows that turn into a pancake as soon as you put your head on them, take your own. You can find good ones made of memory foam that roll up into a packable-sized ball.
- Friends who are on their feet all day tell me that it helps to wear different shoes each day. They might take up some room in your bag, but your feet with thank you for giving them a change of pace.
- Take a power strip for charging things in the hotel room. They never seem to have enough outlets, or they're all in the wrong place.
- Take your phone's charging cord. If you use it all day to take photos, make videos, post on... social media and so on, you may also need a portable charger.
- If you're a photographer and want to take photos a night. You can take a folding tripod or monopod into Disneyland as long it can fit inside a standard backpack.
For Your Disney Digital Suitcase
You might want to pack some Disney tunes to get you in the mood on the way there, but for the park, you'll need an app or two. Check my best recommendations in this Guide to Disneyland Apps.
I also love the Disneyland version of the charades-style game Heads Up! and you can download the Disneyland version of it for free if you're actually at Disneyland.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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What Not to Pack
This short list will help you avoid taking along a pile of luggage that's taller than the Matterhorn and is full of things you'll never use.
- If you want to dress like a Disney character, go for it. But you won't get in if you look just like them. It's a rule at all Disney parks. Check my Pinterest board for some Disneyland outfit ideas.
- Don't pack super short shorts. They may look cute, but ride seats can get hot, wet, sticky, and generally uncomfortable on bare skin.
- When planning your wardrobe, don't even think about taking dangling things. They'll just get caught on the rides and tangled up in your lanyard.
- Choosing the wrong day bag could be embarrassing, and I don't mean a fashion fail. Opt for something that you can secure well on the rides that will fit in a seatback pocket. Otherwise, you could be THAT person whose bag fell out on California Screamin' and stopped the whole ride for nearly an hour.
- If you're planning to carry your suitcase onto... the plane instead of checking it, don't pack big bottles of liquids. That pesky TSA rule: liquids must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. And they all have to fit into a one-quart zip lock bag.
- You don't need to pack the whole medicine cabinet. Whatever you carry daily is enough. If you need more like band-aids or aspirin, you may be able to get them at First Aid.
- Don't pack that selfie stick. They're banned in Disneyland. So are wagons, bicycles, tricycle,s pogo sticks and Segways.
- Leave the drones, skateboards, scooters and inline skates at home too. Also banned. You can find a full list of prohibited items on the Disneyland website.
- Leave that cat or pup at home, too. Even if they may want to jump in your suitcase while you're packing it.