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When we were getting ready to head to Disney World our first time, I was nervous about packing. We are a road trip family - I pack for trips all the time. I shouldn’t have been worried a bit. But this was Disney. The place “where dreams really do come true,” as Caedmon says. I could not mess this up.
So I trolled message boards, downloaded packing lists, went over my own packing lists and methods, and decided that we weren’t going to a third world country – we could still find whatever it was we needed or forgot, and finally relaxed. A tiny bit. Could we have scaled back a little? Sure. But since this was our first trip (and it all fit), I didn’t.
My “Disney pile” started a couple of months before we left, and grew until the time we actually packed our suitcases. There were some things I purchased just for our trip, and I tried to spread the cost out and include in my regular budget. Other items were “extras” of things I already had that I wanted to be sure to take.
Because we had a 2 ½ and 6 year-old, we probably had a few extras that wouldn’t apply to everyone else. But what did I take to Disney that I don’t normally pack for other trips?
- Ponchos. I hate getting wet when I’m not planning to. It’s a weird thing I have. So I bought a bunch of ponchos in the $1 Spot at Target. They can also be found in the camping section at Target & Walmart for about $1.50 each. I grabbed quite a few, since I didn’t want to have to worry about drying/keeping them. The guys used them on Kali River Rapids, but that was all we needed them for, thankfully.
- Moleskin. Yeah, it sounds creepy. It’s really not. Think of it like a giant, cut-to-size cushion for your foot. When someone got a blister, this is what we needed. A band-aid will not cut it with that much walking. Moleskin can be found in the pharmacy section of the store, usually near the foot products.
- Scissors. You have to have something to cut the Moleskin. They also came in handy several times. Toy packaging is just as hard to open at Disney as it is at home.
- Powder and/or pre-treat products for chafing. Disney = a lot of walking. A lot. If you or someone in your family ever has an issue with chafing, it will be worse at Disney. Be prepared!
- Clorox Wipes. I am not a germophobe, but I’m married to one. And I don’t want to imply that our room was dirty, because it was not. I’ve heard too many stories about people being stuck in their hotel, sick, while on vacation. There’s no way to know if that happened to someone who recently stayed in our room. So, when we stay in any hotel, the first thing I do is to wipe down every surface I can with germ-killing wipes. Door knobs, light switches, counter tops, drawer pulls, phone, alarm clock, (most definitely) the remote control, and bathroom fixtures. Seriously…every surface I can.
- Hand sanitizer. We had a pump bottle that I kept in the room, and used it to refill the small bottles we took into the parks with us during the day. With little kids who touched all the things, Chris was constantly pulling the “hand juice” out.
- Liquid hand soap. We are a hand-washing family, if you hadn’t figured that out yet. In hotels, Disney resorts included, they only offer bar soap for hand washing. Ever try to let a 2 year-old wash their hands with bar soap? Yeah. So we took some liquid soap for our bathroom.
- Dish soap and sponge. Honor still regularly used a sippy cup, and we had the QSDP, which came with refillable mugs. The drink stations in the food courts have a “mug wash station,” but it’s just a sink where you can rinse your cup, no soap. I wanted Honor’s sippy cup to get a thorough washing, and if I was going to be drinking out of a cup multiple times a day/multiple days, I wanted it clean. I just put some dish soap into a travel-size shampoo container and labeled it, and tossed the sponge in the trash at the end of the week.
- Bendy straws. You know what these are, right? They’re straws that bend…thus the scientific name. If you have young kids who struggle with straws that are as long as their little arms and have wondered why every restaurant doesn’t get on the bendy straw wagon with Chick-fil-A, you might want to consider taking some of your own. I put some into a travel toothbrush holder (perfect fit!), and we carried them in our backpack in the parks. It made drinking out of a kids cup much easier for my young ones. I still carry bendy straws in the car!
- Take n’ Toss utensils. Using full-size utensils was a challenge for Honor, so I took some of the plastic toddler-size utensils, and kept them in a baggie in our park backpack. That made it much easier for her to eat yogurt or applesauce (common sides on a kids’ meal). I actually wash and re-use these (and I had dish soap!), but if they were lost or thrown away, it wasn’t a big deal.
- Disposable bibs and placemats. Honor is not a neat eater. So, I saved myself some time and sanity and put together a bunch of “meal bags.” I took a sandwich baggie and put a disposable bib, disposable placemat, and an individually wrapped wet wipe inside. I made enough for every meal, plus a few extras. We didn’t end up needing them for every meal, but they were awesome to have. When we finished the meal, we could throw most of it away, and I still had a baggie that I could put those used Take n’ Toss utensils in until we got back to the resort. I loved these so much, I now keep some in the car for when we eat out at home.
- Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Because nobody wants to iron on vacation. Who am I kidding? Nobody ever wants to iron.
- Laundry detergent/softener and quarters. I wasn’t sure if we were going to need to do laundry, but I wanted to be prepared. Each Disney resort has guest laundry facilities. You can purchase needed items there, but at a premium price, of course. And my people have sensitive skin. I couldn’t take the risk of breaking out in hives on vacation for the sake of clean laundry. I made a few baggies of powdered laundry detergent and stuffed some dryer sheets in a baggie. For the quarters, I got a roll of quarters at the bank. But I didn’t want them to get loose if the paper wrapper was compromised, so I put them inside a Mini M&Ms tube. Perfect fit. We did a load of laundry, and I was really glad I had the supplies.
- Power strip. We wanted to be sure we were able to charge everything we needed to charge/plug in at once. I took a power strip just in case we didn’t have access to enough plug-ins.
- Over-the-door shoe holder. This was my favorite “ah ha!” thing I packed. I’d never used one of these for this purpose before. But I’d read on some message boards that there was little counter space in our resort’s bathrooms, and let’s face it…we had a lot of stuff. My original plan was to hang it over the bathroom door (as some others had), but it didn’t work with our bathroom door. So I hung it over the curtain rod in the closet, which was right next to our bathroom counter/sink. We didn’t need the closet rod space, and were still able to use the area behind it for storage. It was SO nice to have all of our toiletries, hair accessories, medicines, etc. off the counter, but still with easy, organized access. Empty, it folds almost completely flat. I put it in the suitcase on top of our clothes, and it took up almost zero space. I will definitely do this again.
- ID Bracelets. When we go to crowded places, I use these ID bracelets for the kids. Disney was no exception.
- Safety pins. You never know when these little things might come in handy.
- Breakfast/Snack stuff. We planned to have breakfast in the room most days, and we wanted to have snacks handy. I took paper plates, disposable utensils, and a roll of paper towels. I also took Pop Tarts, cereal bars, granola bars, and some individually packaged snack-size treats. They were great for a quick breakfast, snacks between meals, and in the room. (We bought a case of water when we arrived in town.)
- Tummy & “feel better” meds. With all the food, all the walking, and all the off-scheduleness vacation brings, I always bring medicine to soothe big and little tummies, and for general maladies. Most of what I took was essential oils and a few OTC meds.
- Extra surprises & Disney-fied specialness. More on this in a later post – it’s a topic all its own!
What do you pack for your Disney trip?