Disney Vacation Series- What to Pack
There's no doubt that taking your family to Disney World will cost you. After all, it's the most magical place on earth- not the cheapest. In my last Disney post I shared a few money saving tips for planning your trip. I learned a TON after our first family trip that I think will really help you guys out! Things can REALLY add up when you arrive at Disney if you don't know what to pack. Let's face it, everything is going to be more expensive on property than it would be elsewhere. Today, I'm going to share with you ( in list form, of course) my NON-NEGOTIABLE must pack list for Disney travel. Take notes, I'm about to save you a lot of grief and money.
The list is long, but necessary!
STROLLERS: Pack a stroller, people! You will do more walking in five days at Disney World than you will do in a month at home. I don't care how old your kid is, you need a stroller! It's hot, kids get tired, and it can ruin everything and feel like your life is over. So, if your kid is 8 and under PACK YOUR STROLLER. If you're flying you can rent a stroller at Disney. There will be designated stroller parking outside of restaurants and rides. I have known of a stroller being stolen in the parks. I highly recommend creating a laminated sign that says your family name for the trip. Attach the sign to your stroller with zip ties and yours will be less of a target... plus you'll be able to easily pick it out of the crowd after dining or riding.
MAGIC BANDS: If you're staying on property you will be sent magic bands. These nifty gadgets get you into the parks, your hotel room, and even let you pay for things if you've attached a card to them. I have no clue what happens if you forget them, but I'm guessing it's not good! Also, feel free to use your Cricut machine to personalize these with your name or other fun decals! Search magic bands on Pinterest for ideas and I'll be sure to share mine once they're complete.
PRINCESS DRESSES: You will see little girls in princess dresses throughout Disney World. They wear them in the parks, at dinner, you name it! That being said, buy your princess dresses BEFORE you get there. My best advice is to stock up right after Halloween when they go 75 % off at Walmart. You'll be SO glad you did!
Princess dress pro tip: When packing your beloved princess dresses it's important to put each one in a gallon zip lock bag to prevent glitter from getting all over everything in your suitcase. You'll thank me for this one!
Custom Shirts: You guys know I love custom shirts. It's probably the main reason I purchased my Cricut machine. I highly recommend taking the time to make fun family shirts for your trip. It adds to the magic and looks great in photos! We are making SO many for our upcoming Christmas trip. I'll be sure to share the designs I chose.
CROSS BODY BAGS: No need to lug your purse all over the parks. Cross body bags allow you to be hands free and keep while keeping eyes on your little ones.
RAIN PONCHOS: Make sure each member of your family has a rain poncho before entering the parks. It rains almost daily in Florida and these can make a huge difference in your day! Ponchos in the park cost around 9.00 each. Buy yours at the Dollar Tree before you go!
MEDICINE: Tylenol, IBUPROFEN, allergy meds, prescriptions- Make sure you pack your own stash so you're not forced to overpay in the parks. It doesn't hurt to stick a few band-aids and other first aid options in the mix either.
SUNSCREEN/SWIM SUITS: Don't forget to pack the sunscreen! Disney World has some of the most amazing swimming pools. Make sure everyone has swim suits, hats, and sunscreen so you're not forced to buy them at your resort. It's hot in Florida. Still have kiddos in diapers? Don't forget the little swimmers!
HAND SANITIZER/BABY WIPES: Wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere! Keep that sanitizer handy for before snacks and meals. Baby wipes are needed for sticky hands and faces after the countless Mickey shaped ice creams your kids will consume.
DISNEY STUFFED ANIMALS: I think I mentioned it in the original post, but let each child take a Disney stuffed animal with them on the trip. Leave them in plain sight in your hotel room and "MouseKeeping" will have them doing something new and fun each time you return from the parks.
DISNEY GIFT CARDS: Once I arrive at Disney I like to know that I don't need to spend another dime if I don't want to. We always do the dining plan and beyond that I buy each person in our family a Disney gift card before we leave for souvenirs. This allows you to know almost the exact expense of your trip before you even get there! It worked GREAT the first time we went and we came back with a lot more money in our pockets than we expected.
TRASH BAGS: I pack a TON of clothes for this trip. Some people might suggest that you don't want to over pack, but you'll be sweaty and gross by the end of the day which means you'll probably change clothes multiple times a day. I pack each family member a trash bag to stick their dirty clothes in. It keeps everything separated and makes laundry a breeze when you get home.
COMFORTABLE SHOES: I know it seems obvious, but Disney World isn't the appropriate place to "break in" a new pair of shoes. Blisters and achy feet will ruin your day so pack shoes that you know are comfortable.
GLOW IN THE DARK STUFF: You'll be watching some of the most exciting parades while you're at Disney. Night time parades are some of my absolute favorite! Disney offers light up toys for your kiddos to hold during those evening parades. I highly recommend going to the Dollar Tree and stocking up on glow sticks, glow in the dark necklaces, etc. Tuck them away in your suitcase and give them to your kiddos right before the parade. They'll be excited and you wont be stuck buying a toy they'll never use again.
SHARPIE MARKER: I think losing a kid at theme park is basically the most terrifying thought that any of us could have. This year, I'm going to write my name and phone number on my kiddos' wrists in case we find ourselves in a bad situation. You can't be too prepared!- You guys already know i'm crazy...
STROLLER FANS: It's SO hot. If you have little kids that will be in a stroller, small fans that attach to the stroller will help you tremendously! You can purchase these inexpensively on Amazon.
SNACKS: You can bring food and drinks into the Parks. It's great to have a few things on hand for when hunger strikes.
DRINK HACK: If you're staying on Disney property you'll be given a refillable cup that can be used at your resort. Refills are free in that cup at all resorts for the duration of your stay. If you also purchased a dining plan each meal comes with a completely separate drink- So, if you use a quick dine meal at your resort, utilize the free refills with your cup and save the bottled drink that came with your meal for the parks. Each person in your party can do the same and voila- you've got a drink stash for the day!
SNACK CREDIT HACK: When you have a dining plan you can easily be overwhelmed with the amount of food options given to you at each meal. EVERY meal, including breakfast, comes with a dessert. So, let's say I grab a huge carrot cake cupcake at breakfast to save for a snack later- this allows me to save up my snack credits! Meals and snacks don't go away if you don't use them in a day- they roll over. SO, if it's the last day of your trip and you have 4 snack credits left make sure you run into a Disney store and stock up on some delicious treats to take home. Yes, you can use snack credits in the candy shops and pretty much anywhere you see food!
RECHARGEABLE PHONE BATTERY: If you're like me, you'll be documenting your entire trip on your phone. That means your battery won't last long! Make sure you keep a charged battery pack on you at all times so you don't miss a moment!
SOUVENIRS TO BUY: I talk a lot about what not to buy at Disney World, but now i'd like to tell you what TO buy when you're on your dream vacay! The truth is, you should take something home with you! And it should be something that you'll use and remember your trip by. Coffee drinker? Buy a mug! Chistmas lover? Buy an ornament! (I'll be doing this one this year!) Love a good novelty tee? Grab yourself a Disney Parks T-Shirt! Bottom line- no souvenir is a waste if it's something you will use and love. Personally, I'm a sucker for mouse ears. My kids will get a new pair every trip and believe it or not we've used them multiple times- (Disney themed church parties, school spirit weeks, and more). Also, it's super fun to have characters sign an autograph book. You can make one if you want, but you can also buy them in the park and it won't break the bank. PS characters can sign more easily with an over sized pen- grab one from the dollar tree while you're picking up those ponchos and glow sticks.
STROLLER COVER: Like I said, it's bound to rain at some point while you're on your magical vacation. There's nothing worse than getting off of a ride and having to put your little guy or gal into a rain soaked stroller.
BACKPACK DIAPER BAG: If you feel like you'll need more than a cross-body bag for the parks a backpack is the way to go.
BUG SPRAY: You'll be glad you brought your own.
LISTS: Do your research and make a list of must see resorts, foods to eat, rides to ride, pictures you'd like to take, and other things you don't want to forget to do!
DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP: Use the My Disney Experience App. It can help you with directions to rides in the park, switch your fast passes, current wait times for rides, and a lot more!
GUM: You can't purchase it at any of the Disney parks. Please chew responsibly and have a magical day.
FITBIT: This is optional, but aren't you dying to know how many steps you'll take while you're there?!
UMBRELLA- For obvious reasons.
TAKE ALL OF THE PHOTOS: Your best souvenir will forever be the photos you take while on vacation. Don't just take photos of your kids. GET IN YOUR PHOTOS. I don't care if you're unhappy with your weight, you've got a big zit in the center of your forehead, you hate your haircut... NO ONE CARES. Get in your photos. Take family photos, selfies with characters, one on one photos with your kiddos- Do it all while you have the chance! For even more photo fun you can search for a Disney photo checklist on Pinterest.
I think that covers most of my "must pack" items. If you're a Disney pro and have suggestions please let me know! And don't forget to follow along on Instagram- at oh_lovely_blog