THE GEAR • August 2022
“Everything is so meticulously planned at Disney – right down to the concrete you walk on.” Few know as much about the inner workings of the ‘happiest place on earth’ as Gabriella Sorrento, who spent almost a decade working in project management. Ahead of your next date with Minnie and Mickey, she dishes top packing tips and ultimate Disney essentials…
When I spend a full day at Disney, the first thing I throw in my bag is a portable phone battery charger. From Cinderella’s Castle to those evening fireworks, I know I’ll be taking hundreds of photos and videos throughout the day, and that takes a toll on my phone battery. The Charmast Portable Charger is sleek and fits in almost any sized bag. It also tracks the charge percentage, so you can see where you’re at.
Florida can be a hot place in the summer, so staying hydrated is very important. You can bring your own empty water bottle into the parks and I highly recommend you do so. There are water stations located throughout each Disney Park – a lot of them are located by the restrooms.
If you’re traveling to Florida between May and October, there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in one of our famous Floridian downpours. It’s no fun walking around the Disney parks while wet, so a good raincoat is a must! I love this Madewell packable popover raincoat for three reasons: it’s made from recycled water bottles (we love a sustainable moment); it can fold up conveniently into a bum bag and be worn around your waist, and it keeps you perfectly dry when that quick three o’clock rainstorm hits!
I recommend being as minimalistic as possible inside the Disney Parks – take just the essentials. It’s a lot of work lugging around a bag all day, so narrowing down to the important stuff will help you enjoy the day that bit better. Sunglasses, sunscreen, paracetamol, plasters and a snack would be on my list.
I probably get this question the most: can I bring a bag – and should I bring a bag – to Disney? The answer is yes (unless you want to skip the bag-check line and don’t plan on bringing any souvenirs back home). The ultimate Disney bag should be lightweight and on the smaller side (that way you can tuck it easily under your seat on rides like Big Thunder Mountain). I love this lululemon City Adventurer backpack mini 11L because it is designed for on the move, it’s water repellent and it’s super cute. Also, there is plenty of room for the essentials.
Of course, you must make sure to leave some room in your bag for souvenirs! My favourites are the mouse ears (a classic must-have, c’mon), and the Starbucks x Disney collaboration coffee mugs, which make great gifts for friends or family, too.
Shoes are another incredibly important aspect to consider when planning your trip. I think the best two pairs of shoes to pack would be open-toe Tevas and a plain pair of trainers that can go with any outfit. The former are comfortable and give plenty of breathing room, while also providing support and comfort. The sneakers, meanwhile, work for running around the parks and when you’re slipping into something more cute for dinner. Nine times out of ten when I’m in the park, I am wearing white Cole Haan Crosscourt Sneakers.
Gabriella Stewart is a former Walt Disney Imagineer working in project management, pre-development and master planning for eight years. Most recently, she has partnered as a creator on the creative learning programme with TikTok, where she specialises as a strategist for various accounts. To follow Gabriella on TikTok, click here