Packing…..exciting stuff, right? At first, I thought maybe it was overkill to post about how I packed my Disney stuff, but what to take and how to manage it all it was one of my big questions and one thing that I crowd sourced lots of my friends on. Since I had lots of questions about it, I figured it may be of value for some of you.
If not, then consider this your what not to wear Disney image and keep on reading.
For their suitcases, I kept it simple. Target had all sorts of Disney shirts on clearance sale from $3.77 – $10. I snagged a few shirts for the kids and for hubby and I for one day and then spend $25 (total) on shirts for all three of them to “match” on two other days. By match, I mean they all had Frozen shirts – or Disney themed. I shopped the sales and so while they weren’t super personalized, they were still cute, the kids were really excited (and don’t know any different) and my budget was happy.
Florida is hot this time of year, so we had shorts and a tee shirt each day and then I packed two extra outfits per kid. PJ’s, diapers, toiletries, shoes and socks and called it done. All three of their stuff fit in a mini suitcase and that was that. Adults, wear what you’d like and be cute, but personally, I’d go comfy and simple for moving and sweating all day. That said, we saw it all…short skirts, tight dresses, wedges, heels, and more.
Stickers, pens, little matching books, sewing kits and more kept them entertained for the majority of the drive down. We sang along to Disney tunes and got in the mood. I have also heard that if you don’t want to buy a lot of things for the kids while at Disney, that the Dollar Store is a great place to stock up and then give them stuff while there…they feel like they are getting goodies, but you save money on it. We took a different approach, which I will mention below!
As for the parks, each day, we took our Double Bob Stroller (stroller details below) and a backpack. I carried a crossbody purse with my iPhone, ID and . The backpack had random, non important stuff in it and when we went on rides, we left it on the stroller.
Should something have happened to it (which it didn’t and I always felt “safe” with my stuff), it was stuff that I wasn’t worried about. This allowed us to have everything we needed for the kids plus a few extras yet kept it minimal as we went to rides and navigated around.
In our backpack, here is what we packed::
- Diapers and wipes
- One extra set of clothes (my boys can fit the same size almost and I wasn’t going to carry a ton of extra. Should we have had a major wardrobe incident, I would have bought something at the park!)
- Snacks for the kids (squeeze pouches, granola bars, chips, banana’s and juice boxes). I didn’t worry about a cooler. Wasn’t worth it to be chilled to lug it around.
- Bandanas (insert 90’s joke based on my outfit above!) For real though, we left one tied to the top of our stroller just as a marker that it was ours and then the kids would use them to get wet in a water fountain and wipe down their face and neck if they were hot. My Mom has quite the bandana collection and we borrowed from her stash – but we didn’t don them as part of our wardrobes.
- A hat or sunglasses for each kid.
- Glow sticks for the night time parades – $1 at Target and was great since Disney sells the heck out of these things and my kids already had them in hand. They didn’t even bother asking as the carts passed by.
- Ponchos. We got mixed reviews on taking these, but if it rained, trying to get my family of 5 and large stroller inside would be a challenge. This gave me a back up plan to keep stuff dry and since they were $1 and small, we took them. It rained twice for half an hour or so and each time we were headed in for a meal so just we threw them over our stroller and left it. Our stuff stayed dry, poncho was trashed and we happily carried on.
- Quarters and pennies. All over Disney are the machines where you can flatten the pennies. We took a stash of coins and basically turned the search for these machines into a huge game for the kids. They LOVED finding them, picking out a new design and turning the wheel for their penny. They did this instead of trading pins and we did this instead of shopping. They occasionally would say, “Can I have this!?” and we would say, “HEY! There’s a penny machine there, how about a new design”…they would cheer, hubby and I would high five and we would all move on.
- Sunscreen. Florida plus a bunch of red headed, blonde hair, blue eyed, fair skin people…need I say more? Also, this Sun Bum is my FAVORITE. Its Gluten Free (Did you know that gluten is in a TON of products (face washes, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc) and so people with Celiac’s need to avoid products including it as well? Play Doh is not Gluten Free…Who knew!?)
price was right and I wanted to have as much ready to go as I could – versus having to get down there and buy a bunch of stuff.
For anyone who is wondering, our Double Bob is big….we run with it, ramp over curbs with it, take it on trails, to malls, through grass, gravel, the kids nap in it and more. Its awesome, but is not the easiest thing to maneuver depending where we are.
At Disney, we did not ride the tram and only did the bus system one day. Parking was free since we were staying on property, so our game plan most days was just to drive to the parks, park and walk in. Should any kids have had major meltdowns, the plan would have been for one of us to leave with them in the car and the other parent to stay with Annie M and ride transportation home. This gave us options – and options give me peace of mind!
With the trams in the parking lots, the idea of me holding our stuff and three little kids while my husband folded it up to cram it onto a tram seemed annoying. Since we weren’t stressed over crowds and since I saw it as a good opportunity to get extra fitness and steps in, we most of the time just planned to walk from the parking lot in.
From park to park or while in the parks, we had no problems with Bob (our stroller). In Epcot, the kids were antsy at one point and we decided to ferry across the lake. To our excitement and surprise, Bob could just roll right on the boat – no folding necessary and we didn’t even take the baby out. Same with the times we rode the monorail – we just rolled it right on.
One day we slept in and went to the parks later, and we knew we were going to be at one park all day so we opted for the bus system. It was really easy, but we went after the crowds and departed before the park closed. If we had to wait in line with kids, folded stroller and stuff, I would have been a bit stressed.
If your kids are older and you just need something to give them time to rest their legs, I would absolutely say just rent a stroller from Disney. You can pick it up as you enter the park and leave it when you go. This leaves you free of dealing with one and hauling it around, but gives you options for moving around while there. If your kids are little, I would recommend taking your own. The Disney ones are hard plastic-y and don’t look all that comfy – nor do I think they are recommended for kids under two.
Parking the stroller at the parks were easy. Tons of designated stroller parking, lots of Disney crew around to help manage and absolutely no issues. Really, the stroller and packing stuff turned out way easier than I anticipated!!
Our drive down was great and with the exception of Brother coloring on his face versus the paper, we had no issues. They were happy all 7+ hours and even snoozed some! We were greeted with wonderful Disney crew members to hand us our first timer buttons Annie M her birthday button – as well as all of the Mickey stickers a kid could dream of!
Here are images of Port Orleans Riverside where we stayed. I snapped these the first night as we walked around! The first few shots are of the main lodge, main pool areas (there were six pools!) and the restaurant area. The last picture is the outside of where our room actually was.