Can you pretend I’m shaking your hand through the screen? Because boy, am I PUMPED that you are going on a road trip to Walt Disney World all on your own!
Congratulations on taking this first (very brave) step.
Driving to Disney is an experience in itself. The beautiful scenery rushing past you, loud music (or an audiobook if you prefer) and the slow build of anticipation.
And then you glimpse the gates of Disney in the distance. The rush is unbelievable.
But you know what can ruin this exhilarating feeling? Three words: under-packing, overpacking and bad packing.
And that is why I am going to list some road trip essentials for you so your trip to the Magic Kingdom stays…well, magical.
However, if you’re still on the fence about this road trip, let me list a few pros down:
- You can take whatever you want
- You don’t depend on busses or taxis
- You can spend less on food
- You get places much faster
- You don’t have to wait in line for your bags at the end of the day
Now, all we have to do is get you ready for your adventure!
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Must-have Road Trip Essentials by Category
You may not know this about me but I love packing. I love packing as much as Dwight (The Office? The TV series?) loves packing.
So you can be assured that if you check everything off this list, there is no situation you will be unprepared for.
But it’s not all on me. You still have to make sure that you plan this trip well.
Know what is the best route to take. Check if there are rest stops on the way. Figure out where you want to spend the night– campsite or creepy parking lot.
Just don’t leave any stone unturned.
You are going on a vacation and it should be as stress-free as possible. And for that, you need to plan well.
But enough with the ‘responsibility’ lecture. Let’s jump into road trip essentials for driving to Walt Disney World!
1. Car Stuff
This is arguably the most important section of this article. You can do without a clean pair of underwear but not your car papers, you know what I mean?
Just get your car checked before you hit the road. And keep those documents handy in case there’s potential trouble.
- Important documents (license, car registration, insurance, etc)
- Spare tire
- Some Windshield wipers
- Windshield wiper cleaning liquid
- Breath mints (What? It’s important)
So it’s a long road trip with just yourself for company. It doesn’t have to be boring at all!
In fact, it is the best kind of road trip because you can listen to whatever you like, wear whatever you want and basically do anything.
Heck, you can sing to The Spice Girls while driving at 80 miles an hour wearing a charcoal facemask.
Here are some entertainment essentials you might need for doing that:
- I-pod (so your phone is not constantly running out of battery)
- Headphones (not sound-proof ones because you need to be aware of your surroundings)
- Good car radio (better get it fixed up)
- Power bank (for when your I-pod or I-phone runs out of juice)
- Pen and paper (you just never know)
- A good audiobook app
- An incredible podcast
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Where there’s food there’s home.
Now that might not be a real “quote” but to me, it rings so true. You may be on the road a hundred miles from home. But as long as your tummy is full, you feel good.
If you are planning on eating out on the way to Disney then you may not need everything listed here.
But if you are on a budget, carrying your food can help.
Note: I haven’t included a stove here because I am assuming that you can find outdoor barbeques and not carry extra weight.
- Protein bars
- Pre-cute vegetables and meat
- Seasonings of your choice
- Bread or Wraps(easiest carb to carry)
- Big bottle (1 or 2-litre capacity, at least)
- Aluminium foil (if you decide to barbeque)
- Baby wipes (to clean stuff before you eat)
- Plates, spoons and other cutlery
- Snacks for the road (chips, energy balls, crackers)
- Dishwashing liquid and a sponge (if you are a clean freak like me)
- Knife for chopping
- Can opener if you have canned food
- Airtight plastic containers
4. Clothing and Accessories
Who does not want to look cute strutting around Disney? I mean, the photo opportunities themselves should be enough of a cause.
But you also have to be comfortable while driving so here is what you can take for both occasions:
- Sweat pants
- Comfy shirts
- Five pairs of underclothes
- Two dressy items for the night (or unexpected dates)
- Three cute outfits for Walt Disney World
- Loads of hair ties and clips
- Contacts if you wear glasses (they won’t come off during a ride)
5. Tech stuff
In this day and age, who can live without technology right?
Here are a few things you might want to consider packing:
- Google maps app
- Camping app (in case you want to)
- Power bank
- Chargers (that fits into the
- Universal adaptor (if you need it)
- Camera (optional)
- Combination lock (not very techy but just to be on the safe side)
- Dash camera(as an extra security measure)
Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!
6. Personal Care
Even if you are driving alone, you don’t want to look (or worse– smell) like a bum.
Make sure you carry these personal care essentials so you look and feel fresh throughout the trip!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Deodorant (SO important)
- Hand sanitizer
- Baby wipes
- Lip balm (these are a lifesaver)
- Shampoo, soap, body wash (whatever floats your boat)
- Toilet paper
- Dry shampoo (girl, you need this on a road trip)
- Creams you use
- Nail clippers
- Medically prescribed creams
Read: 5 Incredible Disney World Packing List Tips for Adults (Ultimate Guide)
7. Sleeping Arrangements
Look, now I don’t know if you’re the sensible kind and want to camp in the car. You could have watched Into the Wild way too many times. And while that is a great movie (and book), the main guy doesn’t exactly have a happy ending.
However, this shouldn’t put you off camping.
Just make sure you have booked your campsite beforehand and make sure you carry all this stuff.
- Pillows and blankets (if you sleep in the car which is highly recommended)
- Tent (if you plan on camping)
- Sleeping bag
- Bug spray (for the more adventurous Theme Park Hipsters)
I wouldn’t take these things lightly. You are travelling alone and you need to be prepared for any kind of situation.
So don’t forget to throw these into your duffel bag! (or you can hide them in your boots like a secret agent, whatever)
- First-aid kit
- Pepper spray
- Swiss Army knife
- Water-proof bags
- Lighter or box of matches
Ready to start planning your next Disney World vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!
5 Easy Tips to Know When Packing for Your Road Trip to Disney World
- Get free parking: If you’re a regular at Walt Disney World, you might consider getting an Annual Pass or a Premier Pass. Free parking is just one of the perks you will get.
- Get more out of the journey: People keep saying that the journey is more important than the destination. And you can make that metaphor literal! When you are planning out your route, just look for some spots on the way that you might like to visit.
- Plan and fix beforehand: Speaking of planning, please plan everything out (and I mean everything). No one likes surprises on the road. Especially not from their car. SO get that fixed too,
- Remind yourself of your purpose: After seven hours of driving and realizing that you are nowhere close to reaching Walt Disney World, your motivation (and good mood) start fading. Put up a huge Disney something somewhere you can see so *cue inspirational voice* it reminds you of your purpose in hard times like this.
- Make reservations or slum it: If you’re thinking of driving to Disney, so are a hundred others. The hotels are going to be booked up completely. So, unless you want to camp in the wilderness (for which you also need to make reservations), book well before.
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What to Know Before You Go
Now that we have the essentials done. Let’s go through a few of the most common questions when prepping for your road trip to Walt Disney World.
Is it cheaper to fly or drive to Walt Disney World?
Hands down, driving is much cheaper than flying to Walt Disney World. But you need to consider the fact that it is also going to take much longer to get there.
CheapOair also offers a FREE rewards program that allow you to get up to 20% off flights and up to 55% off hotels.
How many days do you need to see all of Walt Disney World?
At the very least, you should set three to four days aside for your Walt Disney World trip. The parks are huge and there’s so many of them. You need to plan your days well if you want to see it all.
How can I avoid the parking fees at Disney World parks?
There are loads of ways you can do that– from buying the Annual Pass to parking at Disney Springs.
Is parking free at Walt Disney World?
Technically no, but it depends on where you park. The theme parks do charge an entrance fee at the parking gates. However, parking at Disney Springs is free.
The resort hotels also charge Guests staying overnight a parking fee, but if you’re visiting the hotels for dinner, then parking is free.
Let’s Wrap This Up…
A road trip to Walt Disney World can be the adventure of a lifetime. Be sure to document the journey with lots of photos and be safe while making your to The Most Magical Place on Earth!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!