I’m taking my daughters (ages 5 and 3) to Disneyland for my first solo mom trip and our first girls-only trip! We have three-day Disneyland Park Hopper tickets and will be staying two nights off property. Because it’s mostly going to just be me carrying everything, while Dad and baby boy stay home, I wanted to make sure I didn’t pack too much stuff. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try out one-bag travel! In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my minimalist Disneyland packing list, including everything I packed (and everything I didn’t!) and how I plan to stay organized.
There are no affiliate links in this post. I’m just sharing links in case anyone wants to see where I purchased some of the items I mention here. 🙂
I am bringing a 30L backpack, a JuJuBe Super Be tote to hang on our stroller, and a JuJuBe Hobobe crossbody bag as my purse. The JuJuBe bags are in the Sensational Snacks print–one of my all-time favorite prints! For my backpack I am using the Techonaut 30 from Tom Bihn. It’s super comfortable and can fit a ton but is also small enough to fit under the front of my seat on the plane. It’s not the cheapest backpack option out there, but this does have a lifetime guarantee and I’m hoping I will be able to use this for many more trips to come! I normally use my Caraa Diaper Bag for traveling, but since my backpack is my main luggage, I needed something bigger.
We will not be checking in any bags. We have not checked in bags in almost five years! Generally, I think we are light packers and we are also very impatient, so we hate wasting time checking in bags and picking them up at baggage claim.
The Hobobe shoulder bag from JuJuBe has a ton of pockets and I feel like it will be easy to remove and keep at my feet or next to me on the seat on most rides. I don’t have a ton in here, so I am able to fit this inside my backpack and don’t have to carry it separately during travel. Anything I need for the flight will be in the tote.
I originally was not going to bring the Super Be tote, but I was thinking it would be nice not to have to unpack things from my backpack before we head into the parks. I can just remove my purse from inside my backpack, drop the backpack off at the hotel, and everything I need for the parks will already be in the tote and my purse.
My girls will not have their own bags to carry. When we went on our Disney Cruise, I had mini backpacks for the girls and they didn’t like having to lug them around, so I vowed not to try that again until they were a little older.
No Sleep Gear
My girls are old enough where we don’t have to lug extra sleeping situation stuff, like a Pack ‘n Play mattress or Slumberpod, which is typically what takes up most of our luggage space. I thought about taking a Hatch Rest sound machine, which we use for all our kids’ rooms, but to keep things minimal I will just play white noise using an app (we like Noizio and Guva) on one of the girls’ iPads through the night. This worked fine for us during our Disney Cruise last month.
We also are not bringing our own stroller. I don’t like to deal with gate-checking our stroller and waiting for it when we deplane, so I try to rent strollers at our destination instead. We use ScooterBug for Disneyland rentals. They are affiliated with Disney hotels and this makes it easy to pick up and drop off the rentals. They also do free delivery and pick-ups at nearby hotels. I am paying $58 to rent a double stroller for three days. To me, this is worth not having to worry about bringing it through the airport, folding it up, gate-checking it, folding it back to get it into the car service, etc., especially since I’m by myself. More importantly, I don’t even own a double stroller (that I like), so this is definitely a win.
We are not bringing our own carseats. I am using Sunny’s Transportation, which is a car service that provides complimentary car seats. They have really good Yelp reviews, responded super quickly to my quote request, and was one of the most affordable based on my research. The cost is $120 including tip each way from/to John Wayne Airport.
- Stroller blankets for each kid: These are super soft and compact blankets from Milk Snob. The girls haven’t seen these yet. They usually use their jackets as a blanket over their legs when the temperature gets a little colder in the parks at night, so I thought this would be a cute, practical surprise for them. They’ll also be great for if the girls end up taking naps in the stroller. My eldest doesn’t typically nap anymore, but there’s definitely something about being Disney Tired!
- Tech kit: My husband put this together for me because he’s usually the one who carries all our tech gear and I complained how heavy and big his tech pouch was. This Tech Kit Compact from Bellroy has just enough room for what I need. It has two USB-C power bricks that will charge all our iPads, my phone, and my Apple Watch. The tech kit also has a cable for charging my portable power bank.
- MagicBands: This is our first time using MagicBand+ at Disneyland. This is more of a nice-to-have, but I do think it may make things easier to scan into Lightning Lanes and I won’t be fumbling around with my phone.
- Mickey carabiner + extra stroller hook: Will use these if I end up needing to hang any bags or maybe our water bottle.
- Toiletry kit: Contains deodorant, lotion, contact lenses, hair ties, hair clips, hair brush, makeup, toothpaste, our toothbrushes, and mouthwash
- Stroller caddy: Will obviously attach this to our rental stroller once we get it
- Stroller tag: We have a custom one from Etsy with our family name on it. It is bright and has ribbons and helps us identify our stroller quickly.
- Stroller straps: These are for hanging the tote onto the stroller.
- My eyeglasses
- Girls’ stuffed animals: They don’t sleep without them. (Side note: I thought this was so cute at first, and it still is, but it can be so frustrating if you ever lose one of them, like the time we left our eldest’s raccoon at Aulani. 🙈)
- AirTags and AirTag bracelets: I have my daughters wear bracelets with AirTags in them, just in case. I will also have one in our stroller.
- Travel Laundry Stuff Sack: This Laundry Stuff Sack from Tom Bihn is great because it has a clean side and a dirty side, so as we wear things I can throw them into the dirty side and they will already be mostly packed up at the end of the trip. I will probably get the larger size for the next trip, as the one I got is better suited for smaller things, like underwear and socks.
- First aid kit: In here I have a whole pocket pharmacy (printed labels from Etsy on sticker paper and put them on a travel pill container–thanks, TikTok!) , Band-Aids, kids’ meds, Neosporin, etc. This will go into my park bag. I use these little travel medicine containers for the kids’ liquid medicine. The pouch is the First/Second Aid Pouch from Tom Bihn. It’s a little bigger than I would like, but it’s still very light overall.
- Wired headphones: The girls have bluetooth over-ear headphones, but I thought I’d try these wired ones instead. I’m sitting across the aisle from them on the plane, so I didn’t want to have to deal with trying to help them connect their Bluetooth headphones. Plus, these wired ones are so much more compact. Fortunately, their iPads are old enough to still have headphone jacks. I have them stored in a clear organizer pouch attached to a key strap, which is attached to an O-ring inside the top pocket of my backpack.
- My AirPods and iPad Mini with downloaded content: I have some Netflix shows that I’ve pre-downloaded. I am considering bringing my Kindle, but in keeping with my minimalist Disneyland packing theme, I’ll probably skip it. I can read using the Kindle app on my iPad or phone.
- Girls’ iPad Minis loaded with downloaded content: I usually do a combo of YouTube videos and Disney+ shows. I think I will end up putting the iPads into the laptop sleeve of my backpack.
- My water bottle and one for my girls
- Travel Tray with MagicBand+ chargers: This is my first time trying out this Large Travel Tray from Tom Bihn. I will probably pack it flat in my backpack, but at the hotel I think it will be a great place for us to drop our MagicBands at the end of the night, along with any other stuff we want to corral together. I might also use it as a bedside tray to hold my glasses and AirPods. Oftentimes I don’t get the side of the bed with a nightstand and end up putting my glasses under my pillow, so having this tray would be useful in that situation. Another bonus is this tray actually flips up and has a drawstring closure so you can just pack everything up quickly and use it as a pouch if you wanted to.
- Wet bag: If we end up swimming on the last day and need to bring home wet clothes, this bag will help keep everything else from getting wet.
- Waterproof phone case: This is the one I have and it works great for keeping my phone dry, but the little back piece can interfere with the camera on your phone depending on the size. I have to shift my iPhone 12 up a little bit sometimes when I want to take a picture.
- Snack bag with tons of snacks: This is both for the plane rides and while at the park. This fits into my backpack for the flight and I will put it under our stroller before we head into the parks. There are also Ziploc bags in this Fuel Cell bag for storing leftovers or for any other use.
- Pack of wet wipes
Travel Day Outfits
We have a quick flight to SNA airport and are heading straight to the parks after dropping stuff off at the hotel, so I wanted to make sure we were dressed accordingly.
I got these cute matching dresses and hats from Etsy. We will all likely wear shorts under the dresses and have sweaters that we can take off when it gets warm.
The hats are a nice option because we like to wear ears, but I figured having the extra sun coverage is helpful. Plus, they stay on better than the traditional ears with headbands.
We are all wearing the one pair of shoes we will be using for the whole trip.
- Three shirts (one is extra)
- Underwear, socks, bathing suit
- One set of pajamas
- Pair of leggings
- Flip-flops for the pool
For My Girls
- One dress each: These are also from Etsy.
- Two shirts each: One is extra that I will keep in my park bag.
- Two pairs of shorts each
- Pair of leggings each
- Set of pajamas each
- Underwear, bathing suits
I am really happy with how light we were able to pack for this trip. I’m glad to know that I will have my hands free to hold my girls’ hands while we navigate through the airport and won’t be trying to juggle multiple luggages at the same time. I hope you found this minimalist Disneyland packing list helpful! I will report back in the comments when we get back on how everything worked out!
MelissaMay 5, 2023 at 6:15 pm
Post-trip update: Overall, everything worked out well in terms of the bags I used and what I packed. I ended up leaving the tote bag at the hotel after the first day at the park. There just wasn’t much I needed to hang off the stroller that I couldn’t just put underneath the stroller. I think I could have packed another extra shirt for my girls as we ended up coming back to the hotel before dinner, showering, and changing into a new set of clothes since it got pretty hot at the parks. The other thing I will say is probably best to never bring anything new on trips. The new earbuds I took ended up falling out of their tiny ears (I even tried the different tips), so that was a fail. I should have just brought the headphones that I know work for them. Again, all in all, a successful trip and I have some learnings for future trips.