Thursday, January 31, 2013

15 Things to Definitely Pack for Disney

This is Day 2 of my mini series of Disney Tips. Yesterday, I shared 3 Tips to Make Planning Your Disney Trip Easier. And today I want to share 15 Things to Definitely Pack for Disney.

To help me with today's list, I asked Lori, a Disney enthusiast for her tips. Lori is a long time reader of The Intentional Home blog and just 2 days ago I learned that she too is a Disney Travel Agent. And get this, she works with Ginger at TMC Travel, the travel agent I worked with and told you all about yesterday. AND Lori lives here in Raleigh and I went to college with Lori. Small world, eh?

Lori's #1 thing to pack is

1. Comfortable Shoes.  She says:

Make sure everyone in your family has comfortable shoes. Everyone. You'll be logging a lot of miles on those feet throughout your trip and if someone has sore feet from wearing uncomfortable shoes then your whole traveling party will be miserable. This may seem like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised at the footwear choices some people make.

And now let's continue with 15 Things to Definitely Pack for Disney:

2. Bathing Suit.  The pools at Pop Century where we stayed were heated so even though we went to Disney in January, my kids enjoyed the pools.

3. Costumes. This is part of the fun of Disney. I am telling you that because on more than one occasion Rob had to remind me. . .because at certain times during our trip, dressing up just seemed like too much effort.

Dressing up is the norm at Disney, especially at Magic Kingdom. My girls (yes even at 15 and 12) knew without a doubt they wanted to dress up. We went out for a mini shopping spree before our trip and put together the Minnie Mouse outfit above and the Tinkerbell outfit below. I also packed tiaras for the girls to wear on other days.

Now my boys did not want to dress up. But once they got to Disney and saw everyone else dressed up, they did. And I was glad I packed red bandanas and eye patches and fake gold hoop earrings for my boys. You can get a pack of 4 eye patches and 4 gold earrings for $3 or so at Party City. That is also where we found the Mickey Ears for $5. I also packed some black face paint to make beards and scars on the boys' faces.

Now David my 13 year old wanted me to tell you that everyone dresses up at Disney. Everyone, except 13 year old boys.

4. Stroller.  Now you can rent these at Disney but they are $13-$15 a day for single and $27-$31 for doubles and they do not have nearly the storage space that normal strollers do. We primarily used our stroller as a shopping cart, putting all our bookbags in there. But because you walk miles and miles a day, Jonathan occasionally (even at 6) hopped in for a ride. We were very glad we brought a stroller.

One tip: tie a bright ribbon around the handle of your stroller so it is easy to spot in the stroller parking lots. You would be surprised how many people have your exact stroller. Also Disney workers (cast members) do organize and move strollers around in those stroller parking lots to make room for more strollers, so often your stroller is not in the exact spot you left it. David tied bright orange hunting tape to our stroller handle.

5. And then you need to have a well prepared Park Bag. Since there were 7 of us, we had 3 bookbags that we took into the park each day. Your park bag does not have to be a huge suitcase to be well prepared but there are a few key things that you will be happy to have if you need them.  And those things are:

6. Ponchos. I picked mine up at the Dollar Store. They come 2 in a pack. Lori from TMC Travel told me that she gets hers at Target in the camping section for $1.29 each. Disney does sell ponchos but 50¢-$1.29 is much cheaper. Get a poncho for each member of your family. We needed them one morning.

7. Mini Pharmacy. In a gallon size Ziploc bag put the following: chapstick, sunscreen,Tylenol for all age groups traveling with you, band-aids (I found Mickey ones at Target), antiseptic wipes, blister relief, neosporin, dramamine, allergy medication, Pepto, and gum (no gum is sold in Disney so if you are  gum chewer, bring lots from home).

8. Water bottles and Snacks. Disney allows you to bring in your own snacks and drinks which can help save some money. But even if you are on the Dining Plan or just plan to pay cash for snacks in the park, pack some granola bars for that kid that "just can't wait another second to eat" while you are waiting in line.
9. Ziploc Bags and Plastic Grocery Bags. These come in handy to put wet ponchos in, to put leftover food in, or if one of you should get sick on the bus ride back to your hotel (ummm. . that was me). Me, because I had to ride Astro Orbiter (below) with Jonathan. Kids 6 and under have to have someone 14 or older ride with them. Rob and David and Anna had gone to ride Space Mountain. I was to take the younger 3 to Astro Orbiter. I was planning to just take pictures because those spinny rides do not make me feel well. Tell me I am a good mom for riding that with J.

10. Glow Sticks. As soon as it gets dark, carts full of glowing, light up toys come out. Save a little money (actually a lot of money) by packing your own glow sticks and blinking lights because the kids are sure to want them. I picked up fun glow sticks at the Dollar Store and Party City (not just the normal glow sticks, but interesting stuff like swords and wands and mini headlamps). Your kids will love having their own glow toys as they watch the Electrical Parade, the fireworks, and even in some of the rides where it goes completely dark. I made sure I had a little light up/glow stick for each night we were out.

11. Sunglasses

12. Quarters and Pennies. There are many pressed penny machines around Disney. These especially appealed to my little boys. Turning the crank or pushing a button to mush a penny and stamp a Disney image on it was great fun for Jonathan and Daniel. And it is a cheap souvenir; it only costs 50¢ and the penny. I had read ahead of time to have your coins ready so you are not fumbling in front of the machine. Other bloggers recommended that you take an empty mini M&M container and put 2 quarters and shiny penny in it and repeat until full. This was Brooke's job before we left. I also packed a mini coin purse to put the pressed pennies in so they would not get lost. I will put these in our Disney scrapbook. Here is a good post on Disney's pressed pennies, even includes a map of where all the pressed penny machines are in Disney.

13. Wet Wipes and Stack of Napkins. Kids Equal Mess. At breakfast, each morning I would grab a huge stack of napkins and stick them in my pocket. They were all gone by the end of the day. Enough said. I also carried hand sanitizer in my pocket.

14. Autograph book. Save money by bringing one from home. Ginger at TMC Travel sent us two and Brooke made her own by taking a mini notebook and putting Disney stickers on the front. Brooke, Daniel, and J enjoyed getting the character's autographs. I plan to put them in our Disney scrapbook. A clickable sharpie pen was perfect. Even the characters with "gloved hands" could hold the sharpie pen, plus I did not have to keep up with a pen top.

15, And then of course your camera!! I brought my computer too so I could download my pics each night and start each day with a blank SD card because how can you not take tons of pictures at Disney?!

Anything else you would add to this list of definites you must bring to Disney? Come back tomorrow for my last post in this mini series of Disney Tips. Tomorrow I will share How to Really Make Disney the Most Magical Place on Earth.


  1. Great stuff, Su! We just went to Disney in December, and I wish we'd had this list before our trip! Good to know for next time, though! :)

  2. This is great Su!! Thanks so much for including me =).

  3. You are a good mom for going on the spinning ride.

  4. Wow..great..will keep following..we leave next Friday...military fam son got back from Afghanistan last week and we are all meeting in Disney. ..need all the tips we can get!

    1. So excited for your family to all be together. Many thanks to your son (and you!) for sacrificing in ways I will never know. Thanks to your son for keeping our country safe. Thanks to your son for being brave and dedicated.

  5. I always take 1 rain poncho per person per day. They don't re-fold well and they are a pain to carry around all wadded up. So when the rain showers are over for the day we ditch them and start with nicely packaged new ones the next day. You can get them at Wal-Mart for 88 cents. At the end of the trip you can store away the extras for the next trip or take them back.


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