My family’s been to Disney 20 times now. We’ve been as a young couple without kids – but we’ve also been when we were expecting, with a toddler in tow, and now with a tween and kindergardener … so we kinda have been through the ringer in what to pack, and what to buy there. But no matter how our family configuration changes, some items are a constant in what we bring.
See my top 10 packing tips for Disney.
1. Get a Tilley Hat. The Florida sun is hot. The wide-brim of the Tilleys give you needed shade (which is particularly important in Animal Kingdom, where there doesn’t seem to be any shade for humans). The Tilleys come in various shapes and sizes and styles for all family members. Get one. Put it on your head. Don’t take it off (unless you’re on a ride- then make sure the chin straps are on). You can also fill the Tilley with water for a quick douse in the heat (which is great for the kids when they get overheated).
2. Bring a knapsack. You’ll have to get the bag checked every time you enter the parks, but it’s great to have somewhere to stow the odds and sods for your park visits.
3. Get a dollar store rain poncho for everyone in the family. Throw them in the knapsack. Bring them.
4. Bring a change of shoes. You will walk – a lot. (My pedometer often will register 8 or 9 miles over the day). Be comfy in your footwear choice, but also remember – water rides or Florida rains will often soak shoes. Make sure you have pairs that dry quickly, and are comfy.
5. Bring a plastic water bottle for everyone. Don’t get dehydrated. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than a 2 year old who’s had too much heat and too little water. (oops – that has happened to me – I thought my wee one was drinking lots. but juice doesn’t count! Believe me, the crankiness, headaches, and overall not-feeling-well is not worth it!)
6. Bring Ziploc bags, bandages, Aspirin, suntan lotion, sunglasses, and whatever other supplies you might need that you don’t want to have to hunt down in the parks! (But if you’re carrying onboard the plane any liquids, please respect the rules about sizes. Else, your stuff won’t make it onboard with you.)
7. Go casual. Pack lightweight. Use disposable socks/ undies where you can. (I don’t mean the plastic kind… rather, if you have socks/ undies that are ready for replacement, put them aside for vacation time – then you can wear them, and toss them; reducing the amount of dirty laundry you bring home). Bring only carry ons if you can (and make sure your bathing suits and medicines are in there, regardless). But if you need more stuff, pack the suitcase, and realize that you’ll likely get charged per bag you check – deal with it.
8. Pack so each person travelling is responsible for their own gear. When you can’t find a luggage trolley at the airport and/or you realize you don’t have American coins to “buy” the only one in front of you, you’ll be glad you did. Small rolling carry on suitcases work well with kids. (This doesn’t work really well with infants or toddlers, but where they can assume responsibility, let them.) If you can get a fanny pack for little kids, they can carry their own water bottle, autograph book & pen, and a snack in the park.
9. Obviously, bring a camera. Take lots of pictures, and back up your photos often. Take daily photos of your kids in case you get separated in the park. But also remember to use a Disney photo pass when possible too – so that the family picture taker is in photos. (Take a photo of the photopass number too!)
10. If you really need to bring a cell phone/ ipad/ laptop for calling/ texting/ picture taking/ working, bring ’em. Just make sure you bring the chargers to go with them, and arrange for a US roaming package.
Call me if I can help you plan your Disney getaway.