How to Avoid Overpacking for your Disney Vacation

When folks are planning a trip to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, they are trying to pack as much stuff into their suitcases because they are thinking about making it through their entire vacation without doing laundry. Granted, as soon as I starting thinking about this article, I literally laughed out-loud because I’m a serial over-packer!

Just a little note before I get into this topic…because it’s actually a two-fold topic. There are things that you should consider packing before your trip and things that you should make space for when you’re coming home. This is the list for things that you should anticipate bringing home from your vacation, because I personally haven’t had to buy a second suitcase, but I have been present when family and friends have had to make the trek to the Orlando Premium Outlets in order to have enough space to fit their purchases.

The other name for this article that I was running with was “Things make room for in your suitcase”, but the advice is similar…just know beforehand that you’ll be buying stuff, and that you have to find room to get everything home with you.


This is the biggest tip that I can share, because I’m the one who tries to over-plan without really thinking about what I’m going to use and what’s just going to take up space. When you can anticipate a percentage of your suitcase that is being allocated to stuff coming back with you, it’s easier to know what kind of suitcase and travel bags you should pack.

Knowing your airline’s baggage policy will help immensely for this, as you can get away with packing bags within bags. Do you have a purse or a satchel that you know you’ll be wearing daily? Well you may want to pack that in a backpack, because coming home…you can fit more stuff in the backpack than in the side bag.

This is also a point that you can use for checked-baggage, as most airlines are charging for this now. Why not head to Amazon and pick up a travel duffle bag that you can pack in a carry-on for your trip down, and then pay the fee only on the way home?

Related Article – What to pack in your Disney Bag


Shirts at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

If you know that you’re going to buy a Disney shirt, why not buy it ahead of time and have it delivered to your home for a pre-vacation laundry run? First off, you’ll probably get it cheaper (shirts at Walt Disney World are predictably expensive, ranging from $25-35 for a basic design), so saving money while getting something that little kids haven’t wiped their noses on…and yes, I’ve seen this first hand.

Remember, I worked in the Canadian Pavilion and saw kids play hide and seek in the shirts and way too many other stories to share here…

Needless to say, it’s a space-saver to know what you may end up buying and not stress about finding space in a suitcase when you can have it shipped.

Related Article – 20 Items to Purchase Online Before your next Vacation


This jumps on the previous topic, but if you see something that you want to get in the parks…make sure to check online, because there’s a chance that you can just have it shipped. PLUS, online retailers often have promotions that include things like Free Shipping or discounts on clearance items.

This is how folks get great deals on dated merchandise (like marathon shirts or 2019 date specific stuff), so why wouldn’t you take advantage of that when you’re able to search for promo codes and not when you’re in the Emporium during your last night at the Magic Kingdom?


Puzzles and Games at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Puzzles and Games at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Photo by Steps to Magic

Jill and I have a tradition where we’ll forgo all of the random stuff and instead will purchase on Thomas Kinkade puzzle per vacation. It’s a way that we’re able to remember our trip AND not have to really make room for stuff that we know will just sit on a shelf when we get home.

It’s also a cause of stress for many folks, as they are spending their entire trip trying to buy for friends and family…so why not know ahead of time what you’re going to pick up and then just get it done on the first day? We’re a huge fan of using Package Pickup, because once we buy it…we don’t have to carry bags and can just pick it up at the resort the next day after 1pm.


Mickey Mouse Sweatshirt
Mickey Mouse Sweatshirt – Photo by Steps to Magic

I guess this is a showcase of being Canadian, but when you wear layers…you can take them off when you don’t need them anymore. This is a great way to save space in your suitcase, because let’s be honest…the airplane will be freezing cold anyway. Wearing an extra shirt, or a sweater will buy you a little more space for that extra piece of art from The Art of Disney


Easiest way to gain space in your suitcase coming home is to bring down stuff that you can use and not worry about it. This may be anything from rain gear to clothing that you’re going to replace on a trip to the Orlando Premium Outlets.

Yes, I’ve brought the outlets up twice, but that’s because I’ve been known to bring down a pair of sandals at the end of their lifespan in order to pick up a new pair for the trip home. I’m not saying that you should bring down stuff that you wouldn’t want to be photographed wearing, however it’s just another strategy;)

This is all about having fun during the planning process, and knowing ahead of time that you’ll be huffing suitcases through the airport to your Uber or Magical Express (or visa versa) is important to remember. We all don’t like paying for the extra charges on airlines, so if you’re saving $25 because you’re able to condense your stuff to carry-on baggage and then splurge for a checked baggage on the way home, then that could mean another Dole Whip in the Magic Kingdom!

Dustin Fuhs
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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