Heading to my happy place (Walt Disney World, duh) tomorrow for the Traveling Mom retreat! To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement. I left my bags out from our Disney cruise and can’t wait to fill them back up! So that got me to thinking about my packing tips for a Walt Disney World vacation. Here are my essential items for traveling to the House of Mouse!
Packing Tips for a Walt Disney World Vacation
For My Upcoming Solo Trip:
Although these are not everyone’s thing, these are mandatory packing for me. I love wearing Mouse Ears (those cool headbands with Mickey or Minnie Ears attached) because they let me show my love of Disney with pride. Makes photos pop even more when you’re displaying your Disney Side.
Everyone has one of these in their phone, but I also like to haul my SLR mack daddy camera along for zoom features and nighttime shots especially. It takes better photos. Period.
I think I’m packing 3 backup batteries for my upcoming trip. Sure, I’m going to be LIVING on social media since it’s for work, but nobody wants their phone to die halfway through the day and having to stay chained to a power outlet for 30 minutes while recharging. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
These are a MUST in Florida (or California if you’re at Disneyland) or on a Disney cruise. So pretty much, for any Disney destination, pack the sunglasses! Saves you the squinty look in your photos and makes you look super cool.
Hey, it’s like rain deterrent by bringing your umbrella. Ponchos cost approximately $9 at the parks, so be prepared to shell out the money if it rains, or bring your own poncho.
Alex and Ani bracelets
This is my newest obsession: collecting Alex and Ani bracelets to commemorate memorable Disney experiences. Now I can see why people are wearing them from their writs to their elbows! I love how you can mix and match the silver and gold colors, and now they’ve even come out with some new designs like filigree gypsy wraps. Naturally, you can only find the Disney charm bracelets through Disney and not at Alex and Ani’s retail stores. So be on the lookout for these at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Store.
Disney Shirts (The Home T and Happily Ever Tees)
I love my Home T. It’s super soft cotton, and it features Cinderella Castle with the word “home” written on it. Grab yours online at the Home T website and you’ll be telling everyone that you consider Walt Disney World your home.
Happily Ever Tees are the coolest around. I love the messages and their personality. From celebrating Dole Whips to quoting the lyrics from the song “Wishes” that is played during the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, this brand has incredible pizzazz. Here’s my all time favorite:
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World resort or you are a Disney Annual Passholder, then you automatically receive a MagicBand. (Non Disney resort guests can also purchase MagicBands.) MagicBands are “colorful, waterproof wristbands—resembling a watch or bracelet—that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a touch point. Cards work in a similar fashion, but physically resemble a plastic credit card or driver’s license.” They can:
- Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
- Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
- Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
- Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
- Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay)
- Add a touch of magic to your vacation by unlocking special surprises, personalized just for you, throughout the Walt Disney World Resort!
I’m going to borrow a line from Scar in The Lion King and say that the name of the game for packing with kids is “Be Prepared!”
Their Own Wheeled Suitcases
Ever since my kids could walk through the airport on their own (about age 3), they have had their own suitcases. They have responsibility in packing and pride that they are toting their own weight. You may need to check behind them to make sure they have underwear, toothpaste and toothbrush! (Speaking from experience)
I list this one because I truly believe that for kids 6 and under, you will be thanking your stars that you have a stroller (and kids even older than that will be eyeing that stroller with envy before the day is over!) But it’s debatable whether you need to bring one from home. Here’s why: you can rent strollers at the entrance to all the parks or use a stroller service. Several companies are available: Buena Vista Scooters, Kingdom Strollers, and Magic Strollers. They will even deliver your stroller directly to your resort and pick it up again upon departure.
Sure, you can leave your stroller at home, but when my kids were little, I loved having an umbrella stroller to make traveling at the airport easier, too!
Not hard to remember a bathing suit when headed to Florida, right? Walt Disney World resorts boast some of the most amazing pools, so you would be wise to make sure everyone in your party has a bathing suit at the ready.
Packing was never so easy if you use ziploc bags to organize. Dressing quickly in the morning becomes streamlined if you have everyone decide their outfits ahead of time and roll them (so they stay wrinkle free) and put each outfit in a ziplock bag. Voila–no worries trying to pick out what to wear!
While you can find lots of yummy treats at your Walt Disney World resort, you would be wise to pack some snacks your family enjoy. Or better yet, order grocery items from the Garden Grocer. Minimum orders must be $ 40 with deliver charge of $14, and orders over $200 have a $2 delivery fee.
Hand sanitizer and baby wipes
Keep the germs at bay by bringing hand sanitizer to use when sinks aren’t handy or practical. And baby wipes aren’t just for diaper changes. They are especially nice to wipe down your airplane tray table, doorknobs, and sticky hands after meals.
Don’t forget to put your Walt Disney World resort luggage tags on your checked luggage if you are flying to Orlando International Airport and staying on property. Your luggage will be whisked away for you and will magically appear at your Walt Disney World resort a few hours later. (Hint: be sure to pack what you will need for the rest of the day just in case your luggage takes the behind the scenes tour and doesn’t arrive quite as punctually.)
Hats & Suntan Lotion
My dermatologist will be so proud of me that I included these on my list. She’s screaming, “Yes! She gets it!” I’ve come a long way from the 1980’s days lounging by the pool all day and bronzing in the sun. From a girl who tanned so easily as a kid swimming on the swim team and using suntan oil, pack the bleeping suntan lotion! And reapply often. The same goes for hats. I didn’t wear my hat on our Disney cruise and my scalp wasn’t very happy with me about that fact. OK, so after my chemical peel a few weeks back, I may be a tad more sensitive about skin care and awareness. I sure didn’t go through THAT experience to suddenly ignore my skin care regimen.
These handy dandy photo tools are now banned in all Walt Disney World parks. Bummer because I really loved taking group shots with these, and you can squeeze everyone into the shot. But I get it. No one wants to be whacked upside the head because the person beside you pulls out a selfie stick on It’s a Small World or during the Festival of Fantasy parade. Poor form. So leave the selfie stick at your resort and pull it out for family shots there. The Walt Disney World resorts are some of the most ideal landscapes for memorable photos. My personal faves: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Don’t overpack. Seems so simple, doesn’t it? And yet how many times have I done it? Countless trips I have looked at all the clothes I didn’t end up wearing and grumbling.
What did I forget? Any must haves you like to pack for your Disney vacations?
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