So, you just booked your vacation to Disney World. Next on the checklist: packing.
For some, the preparation is exciting and fun because you have the anticipation of the trip. When we were kids, my sister would write out a checklist of items to pack at least two months in advance, and it was because she thought if she wrote it out #1: she would not forget anything, #2: the idea of the checklist makes the anticipation of the trip even more significant for her.
For others, it is frustrating having to decide do you take this shirt or that shirt: those pants or those shorts. Packing for a vacation can get stressful when you have no idea what to expect. You do not want to pack the wrong things and end up not wearing any of them because they were the wrong clothes.
Also, you do not want to have to go shopping and spend extra money on new clothes when you could be riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Before you start filling that suitcase, be sure to check out the Disney World website for items that are prohibited inside the parks.
Packing for a Day in the Parks
One would think that all you need is a wallet and a pair of sunglasses for a day at Disney World. Well, unless you are willing to spend a lot of unnecessary money, that is fake news! There is so much more that you need at these theme parks. Some things are vital while at Disney World that you do not want to go without. Make sure that when you pack your suitcase, you add these items listed below.
- Water bottle
One of the items that I highly recommend anyone to have is a backpack. Now, if you are flying, you can bring it as your carry-on if you would prefer not to pack it. Bringing a bag is essential because you will have a lot of things to carry when you go to Disney World. If you have a baby or young children, you are going to need a bag to put all their things in. Tote bags and baby bags are not something I would recommend because it is harder to carry.
Backpacks are much more comfortable to wear for an all-day affair. We like bringing a backpack to put all our Disney World souvenirs in and our miscellaneous items. Backpacks are cheap and can practically be purchased anywhere. Please note that there are security checkpoints in all the different parks, so a tip would be getting a backpack that does not have many zippers because they will want to search all the compartments.
Every time my family and I went to the Disney parks, we would always buy a case of water bottles because they are too expensive inside the parks. We thought that we were geniuses! It was not until someone recommended we use re-usable water bottles that we realized we were doing it all wrong! Using a plastic water bottle is great because you can refill it at the water fountains around Disney World.
Also, if it is a hot day, all you have to do is put ice, from your hotel ice machine, into the bottle with a little bit of water. This way, you can savor some cold water throughout the day! Water bottles at the parks are expensive, and water in a cup sometimes costs money, so having a re-usable plastic bottle is a great alternative. Keep in mind that glass bottles are not permitted into the park nor are plastic straws.
A bottle of sunscreen is essential for any time of the year that you go to Florida. During your whole trip, it may be cloudy, but there are still harmful rays out there that you need to protect yourself from. An umbrella is good to have in case of rain.
I bought the mini umbrellas from Target a while back, and they were perfect for just stuffing into my backpack for emergencies. Lastly, snacks. Yes, the Mickey Mouse lollipop looks adorable, but I would not pay over four dollars for one lollipop when I could spend that much for a whole bag outside of the park.
If you are like me, I like to snack a lot when I am on vacation. That is one of the best parts of a holiday vacation! However, Disney World is one of the most expensive places to buy snacks. Inside the park, one banana can cost you up to two dollars! Expensive treats are why you should bring your own. You can save money on not buying snacks and instead buy an incredible souvenir!
Lastly, one of the essential items is comfy shoes! If you do not have any, do yourself a favor and buy some! They will make your vacation a million times better if you have comfy shoes to walk in a while in the parks all day! Trust me, wearing the wrong kind of shoes have the power to ruin your entire Disney experience! Been there done that, and I still regret it to this day!
Baby Carrier vs. Stroller: Which is Best?
One of the things that my sister struggled with is deciding if she wanted to bring a stroller or baby carrier to Disney World for her eight-month-old baby. She went back and forth, and finally, she ended up bringing both.
The first day we put the baby in the stroller, everything was great up until we had to park the stroller along with a few hundred other strollers. Which would have been fine except all of them looked the same! Some people suggest to buy a balloon so that you can identify your stroller, but they also warned that someone might steal the balloon!
There are some other ideas that people gave to be able to identify your stroller, but they all seemed to cost extra money, which my sister was not willing to spend just to find her stroller among the crowd.
My brother in law tried to place the stroller somewhere where he could remember, so it would be easy to find once we came back.
Great idea, right?
Well, what we did not take into consideration was the rain. When we got outside after the ride, it was raining heavily. He finally found the stroller, but because of the rain the stroller was dripping wet. There was no way that my nephew could sit in it, so he ended up carrying the stroller the rest of the day, and we just holding the baby.
After that, we just decided to put the baby in a carrier, which was much more manageable! Yes, you will have to carry the baby the whole day, but we found it easier than the stroller. The good news is that you can maneuver around the parks much easier without pushing a stroller through the crowds. Also, you do not have to bother having to remember where you parked your stroller every time you go on a ride.
Plus, some of the rides that infants are allowed to go on are required to be in a baby carrier. I know that sometimes bringing a stroller is unavoidable, but for us it was just a waste for us to bring. There are many instances where you will probably need the stroller, especially if you have toddlers that you do not want to carry all day.
Then you would probably need a stroller. However, if you are willing to hold your children instead of bringing the stroller, it would eliminate a lot of problems for you. So, moral of the story, if you have a baby pack a baby carrier, and leave the big bulky stroller at home!
Packing for Your Children
Before our trip to Disney World, I researched information about packing for children because my sister was a new mom, and she did not have time to research it herself. It was her first vacation to Disney World, and she had no idea what to bring.
While I was researching, I was pleasantly surprised by how many websites there were on the subject. One of the top suggestions is to bring double of all your children’s clothes.
Every day was pretty warm when we were at Disney World, and because my nephew was in the baby carrier all day, he sweated in every onesie he wore. At night my sister would go back to the hotel, bath him in cold water, and change him into a clean onesie.
Thankfully my sister planned and brought double clothes for her son. You can utilize the hotel’s laundry service, but my sister decided not to. I believe that there are laundry services available at all the Disney hotels, but check with the hotel before your stay to be sure.
Packing a light jacket for them is always a good idea. The weather in March can get sometimes cold, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Cooling towels are recommended to bring for children in case they get hot. We brought one to Disney World for my nephew but only used it once.
However, if you are looking for ways to keep yourself and your kids cool, investing in one is worth at least looking into. You can find them in the parks inside some of the stores, but if you are interested and think that it is something you would like to invest in, my suggestion would buy and pack it before your trip.
Remember everything inside the parks are going to be more expensive, so try to get everything you can outside the Disney parks. Costumes, snacks, drinks, etc. Do not forget to bring the dish soap for your baby’s plasticware like bottles and spoons.
If you are going to be watching the parades or night shows, pack a blanket or towel that you do not mind lying down on the ground. One night we stayed at Hollywood Studios to watch the Star Wars: Galactic Experience, but we had to wait for about forty-five minutes to find the best spot and save it for the rest of our family.
A blanket or towel would have been on great use if we had planned and brought one. Sadly, we did not. Instead, we had just to layout jackets down and let the baby sit on that while we just sat on the bare ground. Toys are another item that you do not want to forget.
Something to keep the young ones distracted while you wait in lines or shows. If you have an infant, pack a nursing cover. Mothers are not going to want to go back to the hotel to nurse their baby, and sometimes nursing in a public bathroom is not appealing.
This kind of situation is where a nursing cover comes in handy. They are usually thin, so it will not take too much space in the suitcase or backpack when you go to Disney World. Do not forget the essentials also, food, diapers, change of clothes, etc.
Packing for the Spring in Orlando Florida
Ah! Springtime! March is the month where the weather in Orlando is changing from winter weather into summer weather. For Disney World, this is the time of year where you might not know what the day might bring. In summer, you know that hot, humid weather is almost guaranteed, and in the winter months, a less harsh kind of weather is expected.
However, for March, it is the time of year where it can go either way. Depending on what week you are going to be vacationing will help you figure out what to pack. If you are traveling towards the beginning of March, bring warmer clothes like long pants, couple jackets, closed-toe shoes, and a few short sleeves. Packing clothes that you can layer is always a good idea because then if it gets too hot, you can start peeling off the layers.
Towards the end of the month is when the weather starts to feel like summer, so light is best. Short sleeves, tank tops, shorts, and flip flops are the way to go. Always bring a light jacket to be on the safe side, you may not wear it, but at least it is there for emergencies.
One tip that I would suggest to everyone brings clothes that you do not mind possibly getting dirty, and because you will not have a washing machine, unless you are willing to pay, you are not going to be able to wash your clothes until you get home.
Anything can happen when you go on vacation, and stains are one of the for sure things that will happen. So, do not bring that twenty-five dollar dress that you love, instead bring the ten-dollar t-shirt dress. A swimsuit is a clothing item that you might want to consider. On vacations, one might think swimming is not something that they want to do on their trip because they figure there are better things that they could be doing. However, in Orlando, Florida, may change your mind.
Yes, there are the parks to go to, but in all that heat and humidity, a dip in the pool might be the thing you need to let loose and relax. Swimsuits are not that big, so packing even if there is only a slight chance you will use it is still a good idea. For some more insider information about Disney World in March check out Mommy Mouse Clubhouse Blog.
Miscellaneous Items to Bring
Wherever I travel, I always have a few various items that are not typical items you would think of bringing on a trip. These are things that are not on the top of the checklist, but became very useful to me when I took my Disney vacation. One of those items was a portable charger.
Now, when I was trying to figure out what to pack, my sister told me to bring a portable charger. I thought it would just be a waste because I was already packing a regular plug-in charger for my phone, and yet I took her advice and brought one. I am so glad I did!
Typically, my day at the parks would start around 9 am, and then I would go back to the hotel around 3 pm. Within that seven-hour time span, I went from a fully charged battery phone to less than half! I can only imagine what would happen if I had stayed out for a full twelve hours! The fact is, you are going to be using your phone a lot in Disney World, possibly even more than you would on your typical vacation.
For example, you will want to be taking pictures with all your family, the kids, characters, you see, the castle and the list goes on. You will also be using your phone for the My Disney Experience App a lot on the trip. Using your phone so much takes a lot of your battery charge up, so packing a portable phone charger that you can take with you while still enjoying Disney World is a must in my book!
Hand sanitizer is an excellent miscellaneous item to have. While inside the parks, there will be a lot of germs and sticky things that you will be touching. Having some hand sanitizer to kill all those germs will be quite useful. Also, if you have children who get their hands sticky from a lollipop or ice cream instead of trying to search for the closest bathroom, you can give them some hand sanitizer.
In the last year, Disney World has gone from plastic straws to paper straws. Personally, I hate paper straws because the longer you use them, the more they disintegrate. Which is nasty when you are trying to drink something, and you get little bits of paper in your mouth.
Re-usable straws are an ideal item to pack when traveling to Disney World. Especially, if you have young kids, who do not know how to sip their drinks. They are not expensive, and all you have to do is rinse them out at a water fountain or bathroom sink when you are done using them.
Riding all the rides. Going to the character meet and greets. Staying in an amazingly themed hotel! Everything about the World of Disney is magical! Before you start your epic journey, first, comes packing that suitcase. Disney World in March is great because of the lower crowds in the parks, and the weather might not be as brutal as it would be in the summer.
If you are someone like me, I tend to forget items that I should have packed for a trip, or I worry from home all the way to the hotel because I do not remember if I packed my toothbrush! An excellent way to avoid all the worrying is to make a Disney World packing list.
All I do is make a list on my phone, so I can have it handy whenever I need to look at it or add to it. If you are traveling for the first time, do a lot of research to gain information or ask people that you know who have gone there before what you should be bringing.
One last tip is: keep all your vital things on hand at all times, like your hotel information or your wrist bands. If you are flying, you do not want to keep your wrist bands in with the suitcase because the hotel will activate them when you check-in, so have them on you when you get there. So, pack those bags and get ready for a fun vacation to the Magic Kingdom!
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- This article was written by Countdown to Magic contributor Priscilla Leong.
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