Carry On Only

Is it hard to travel to Disney or Universal with just a carry on? I know that you avoid the luggage claim, and lost luggage. Every time I say I’m going to do it, I end up changing my mind, whether it’s because I need a bigger suitcase, or for fear of needing things that probably can’t be in a carry on such as nail clippers, hair products, souvenirs etc. I’d like to hear your experiences at MCO when you’ve just taken a carry on, no checked bags. Were your experiences good?

  1. Here’s a great packing vid.

  2. I rarely check a bag, but I don’t use a lot of liquid products. A miniature shaving lotion and tooth paste is all
    I take. If I need need clippers, I’ll by them there.

    3)Any souvenirs, that I can’t carry on, I’ll buy online or I just won’t buy. That’s how I control my spending.

And lastly, I once took a long weekend with no bags. I wore a photog vest with three days of underclothes stuffed in the pockets. A ziplock back for toothpaste, etc. I wore the same pants all weekend, and bought shirts for the other days. Returned with a shopping bag of dirty cloths. Had a great time.


No. Just depends on how you pack.

My trip this week is the first time I’ve checked a bag since May. I’ve flown carry-on the last 4 trips.

Shoot, we flew carry-on with the kids in October. 5 people, 7 days, 6 night, and total was 4 suitcases and 5 personal items. I planned it so we could stop at the admirals lounge in Orlando and have breakfast, change and not rush. (We flew the red eye)

This trip I’m here for 8 nights and I have a bunch of non-Disney things planned, which required formalwear and ice skates. Since I didn’t have kids to help Sherpa the load…I checked a 48lb bag. :joy::joy:


I’ve done a few week-long solo WDW trips with carry-on luggage only. No problem at all, I just bought toiletries at the resort when I got there. I got a few smiles at the Virgin Atlantic checkin desk every time though, especially on the way back. “Where’s the rest of your luggage?”…:rofl:

If I was going solo I would absolutely go carry-on only. It can be a hassle while going through the airport, but not if you do it right. When I was travelling for work I never checked bags. 3 nights or less was just a (large) backpack, more than that and I have a small (fits under seat) roller bag that I took along with the backpack. And I definitely did not wear shorts to work, so packing for Disney in hot weather would be easy. Not sure if that fits with current carry-on standards of 1 bag plus a personal item since the backpack is big, but if it doesn’t, I’d go with a bigger roller bag.

With the family, not so much. Certain members of my family require many more things than I consider necessary for a vacation. I think the 5 of us had 6 checked bags this year plus we each had a small backpack to carryon. I believe my allotment of checked bag space was approximately 1/2 of a medium duffel bag.

My last two trips — ten nights and eight nights, I think — I only had carry-on. I packed very carefully and it was fine. But I had the advantage that I was staying at a friend’s house and had access to her supplies.

For my upcoming trip I’m not sure which way I’m going to go. With only carry-on you fly through the airport when you arrive and you’re on your way to WDW. But with it, you drag your suitcase around the departure airport waiting for the flight. And fight people for overhead locker space.

Plus with carry-on only you have all the dumb rules about liquids to worry about. I’m particularly attached to my brand of sun block (which apparently you need even in December) and it’s over the 100ml limit. I don’t want to be shopping for accessories once I arrive.

Hmm. Unless there’s somewhere that carries my brand at MCO?

What’s your brand? You could try to have it delivered by a US company to the resort.

Hopefully to use together! :laughing:


It’s more difficult in the winter due to varying clothing needs. I carry on sometimes but always bring a packable duffel for the return flight. Dirty clothes go in there and then I can carry on my souvenirs as my family has no self control when buying them!

That’s the method I use, too, except no hanging organizer, which takes up too much space IMHO. I can travel indefinitely this way. My personal best is 4 weeks, when the family went to Europe. We all packed liked this and it worked out great.

@profmatt @padfoot86 here’s an entire website devoted to carryon-only

Clothes don’t get wrinkled because there’s no folding. But you do have to have high-end fabrics to pull this off in the winter, especially. Jeans and sweatshirts will not work unless you wear them on the plane of course. It’s a great technique for Disney where you can get unpacked & stay that way. Using this on a road trip is a bit of a pain with all the packing & unpacking.

And finally, make sure anything that might make the security people go “hmmmm” is on top or out of there completely. I once had a TSA agent try to look through my bag. After destroying my meticulous packing, she gave up entirely because she couldn’t figure out how to unwrap the layers and get to the center.

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Try talking to your doctor about this. Have him/her give you a written prescription for it, then you can probably take as much as you want. You might even be able to get the pharmacy (chemist?) to put a prescription label on it for you, then you’re bulletproof, er TSA-proof. It may be different on the UK side of things but I think it would work here- medications can exceed the 3oz limit as long as it’s a reasonable amount for use during the trip.

A bad Florida sunburn can send you to the clinic, if not the hospital. I’m sure that happens a lot at WDW!

Or just buy a couple of small travel squeeze tubes and fill them. You might not need as much as you may be covered up more in Dec.

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I know Amazon sells it. That’s where I got my current supply from. Shipped all the way from the US!

How close to a check-in date does a delivery need to be?

I’m not certain, but I think within a couple days would be fine.

I’m making a lot of fuss over something so trivial!

It’s just a particular brand of sun block that I like (Neutrogena Wet Skin). It’s an aerosol, so you can’t split a bottle into smaller ones. And it’s no more medically necessary than any other brand.

But I like it and used it the past two trips and didn’t suffer from any kind of sunburn, despite being out in the parks all day at high temperatures and never re-applying.

I’ve had worse sunburns in the UK! The sun never shines here!

If I can get a bottle sent to my hotel then I might suffer the dragging-through-the-departure-terminal misery of carry-on to win the benefits of no-waiting-at-arrivals joy that leads me more quickly to DME and the parks.

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Ok, but If you can’t get a bottle sent & If you do best with this brand, why not ask? Sunburns are serious business. You’re not gaming the system or taking something from someone else. In general doctors just wanna help people, even if it’s just giving them a pass for a special sunblock. Believe me, they’ve had dumber/weirder requests. :wink:

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Don’t the resorts charge to receive packages?

Yes, $5 per package.

That’s expensive sunscreen, but I suppose if you ordered a bunch of things. Still. How much to check on piece of luggage?

For me, $5 is a small price to pay not to have to travel with a suitcase. A lot of the transatlantic carriers have also started offering tickets which don’t include hold luggage, and are considerably cheaper than the ones that do - well over $100. That’s a lot of sunscreen. :slight_smile:

I can check two pieces for “free” (haha, not really, more like it’s prepaid) domestic or international, and I still don’t do it. Except sometimes on the way back home when I don’t care as much if it gets lost. Even then, my really nice stuff goes on the plane with me.