10 Must-Pack Items for Disney World
Our editor's bags are packed for her upcoming Disney land/sea adventure. Follow along starting tomorrow afternoon as she tweets and posts her way through Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom and, later, aboard the Disney Dream — and see if she took mom blogger Kelly Raudenbush's advice as to what lesser-known items are vital to have on a family trip to the World.
I’m going through Mickey withdrawal. Coming home to what seems like eternal winter doesn’t make me smile like Big Thunder Mountain does.
Here’s my dose of pixie dust for the day: 10 things my husband may have thought I was crazy to pack that made me say "told you so."
- Trading pins I bought on eBay ahead of time. The whole Disney pin-trading craze is superfun. Kids (or parents) wear a lanyard, stock that baby up with pins and then trade them with cast members or other guests for other pins. But here’s the thing: The pins in Disney start at $7.95 a pop. So, I got on ebay and bought 100 certified Disney pins (they can’t be pins from Boy Scouts or Niagara Falls or just anywhere) and put them in my kids’ Christmas stockings. I paid about $.40 per pin including shipping for the lot of them, giving me 100 pins for the same amount of money that would have bought me 5 pins in Disney World. And, it didn’t matter what they were. In fact, I intentionally mixed them up in their stockings to give the boys girly pins and vice versa to get the trading going.
- Pin back locks. Those Disney pins come with really cute black rubbery Mickey-shaped backs. But they don’t stay put. In fact, load up a lanyard with the pins and walk around your house and they’re likely to be dropping all over the place. So I bought a big lot of pin backs that lock. You can still remove the pins easily enough, but the pins stay put so you won’t lose any.
- Ziploc-bagged outfits. I know this makes me sound over the top. But, hello? I’m writing a blog post about 10 things people should take to Disney; I’m officially over the top. I bought 2-gallon Ziplocs at Target and put each child’s full outfit for each day (shirt, pants, socks, underwear, hair things…) in a bag and labeled it. It made packing a lot easier. And when we got back late and were tired, it really was magical to tell the kids to get their bag out for the next day and be done with it. No brain power, no nagging, no fussing, no confusion. Magic, magic, magic.
- Stroller flag. This was a funny thing all the family units in my extended family ordered three Disney trips ago. It was the smartest thing we bought for Disney ev.er. Disney cast members have this habit of moving all the strollers in stroller parking around to make room for more and clear paths and make things look all around more magical. But the thing is, you park your stroller in one place, go on a ride, come out a different place, go to find your stroller and realize it’s somewhere in a sea of 100 other strollers in a different spot. This stroller flag probably saved us an hour of time spent stroller-hunting every day. The original attachment for the stroller is long gone, but we just tape it on there and we can spot the thing from a long ways away. A bonus feature was that since my sister had one on her stroller too, we could easily spot where she was in the park based on where we found her stroller. To be cool, we had stickers made with our last name and put them on the flags, ’cause we cool like that.
- Masking tape. I think this may need to be on every packing list for every trip. I always end up using it. I used it on our stroller to secure the stroller flag and in our room to hang birthday decorations and coloring pages from several different restaurants.
- Ponchos. I spent a little over $1 each on four ponchos to bring to Disney. My husband told me we wouldn’t use them. But it rained . . . more than I’d care to remember, actually. And those ponchos that fit so nicely into my bag that I took into the park got well used. My kids typically hate them. Lydia hates the way they smell and the crinkly sound they make. But every one of those ponchos got used because nobody wants to walk around soaking wet all day. There ain’t a whole lot of magic in that. On a side note, we now know that though rain in Disney World is ironic (think “like ra-a-in on your wedding day”), the lines are way way shorter.
- Little plastic containers with lids. I brought two of these in my bag to the park every day and used them both every one of those days. We had the Disney dining plan and were determined to not supplement it with any additional money. So when the kids didn’t finish grapes at a meal or chicken at another, I put the food in my little containers and they ate them later, saving us from having to buy any additional snacks.
- Facial cleansing wipes. On our last trip, my son selected full face makeup of a skeleton at the Pirate’s League experience . . . and he looked like a heavy metal rocker for the rest of the week, with dark black around his eyes that we could not get off. It was worse than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique hangover the next morning by far. This trip, I smartly limited their makeup but also brought facial cleansing wipes rather than simply face soap so that I could get that stuff off them at the end of the day. my son still had a little bit of an eyeliner look the next day, but it was gone by the following day. If you are doing any of the face-painting activities, facial wipes are a must unless you want your child to look like Iron Maiden.
- Dish soap. With the dining plan, you get these refillable mugs that you can use for unlimited beverage refills at your resort. They’re great. But, a couple coffees and some orange soda later, you need to wash those babies out more than just a little rinse. I brought a $1 little bottle of dish soap that we used to wash the mugs, my refillable containers for leftovers and spot clean any clothes that children decided to use as napkins after their Mickey ice creams.
- Laundry basket. Inside our checked bag, before I loaded it up with Ziploc-bagged outfits, I put in a foldable laundry basket. Granted, it wasn’t big enough for the whole week’s worth of clothes from six people, but it really helped keep dirty laundry in one central spot and not strewn around the room . . . at least for the beginning of our time. By the end of the week, clearly, I was looking at our very own tower of terror.
Of course, don’t forget to load your phone up with Disney apps (My Disney Experience, Hidden Mickeys, Donald alarm clock and Lots to Do in Line were our faves) and expect to pay more money: Don’t forget that tips are not included in your dining plan. Tips cost us about $200 extra.
Kelly Raudenbush is a mother to four children and cofounder of The Sparrow Fund, a nonprofit committed to encouraging and equipping adoptive families. Learn more about her family's adoption story, how she's been changed by it and what life for as a parent to four children with all sorts of unique needs and gifts at My Overthinking.