Packing for any vacation is a huge chore, especially when you have three kids! If you are flying, you have limited space for some items you may have been able to pack in the car. So, you have to be selective about what you bring. I wanted to make a list of things that should definitely make “the cut” when you are packing. All of these items I found to make life easier, or it saved us money (sometimes even both). Here it goes:
- Collapsible Laundry Hamper- I bought ours at the Dollar Tree and it was one of the best things I brought. It easily fits inside your suitcase and obviously it makes it easier to separate the dirty clothes from the clean clothes. Hotel rooms can be kind of cramped as it is, having clothes strung out all over the place makes it worse. I also just kept the dirty clothes in the hamper when I packed them to go home! If you like to keep your area neat (and I do) then a hamper is very helpful.
- Autograph Books- I bought ours at the Disney Store and they were on sale. If you wait to buy them in the park you will pay much more for them. I also saw that you could buy them on Amazon for even cheaper than what I paid for them. My daughter lost hers and we had to buy another one at Disney to avoid the complete mental breakdown that was happening, and the one at Disney was almost double what I paid for the one from home.
- Bubbles- My kids love bubbles and they are cheap. I bought mine at the dollar store and they came in very handy when we were waiting for the electric parade to start. I even bought “Disney themed” ones so it made the bubbles seem special. It is a good time wasting activity to distract them until things get started.
- Light up toys and/or glow sticks- It is a smart marketing ploy to sell fun light up toys during parades. However, as a mom of three, that would cost us at least $60.00 for all three kids to get toys! That is insane… and not happening! Lol So, what I found was a great idea was to bring my own from home. I bought ours at Toys R Us for about $5 a piece. I also bought glow bracelets at the dollar tree. There is plenty in the package, I believe 10, and they are only a dollar. We ended up sharing them with some kids sitting beside us! Again, I bought Disney themed light up toys because… well I love a good theme! Lol
- Fan/Spray Fan- This is a hind sight is 20/20 item I am adding to the list. These contraptions are so wonderfully refreshing in the hot Florida sun. We did not bring them, or even think to bring them. They sold them in the park for $19.00. Yes, that is correct…$19.00. Guess which sucker forked out almost $40.00 for two of these heaven sent fans? Yup. Desperate times call for desperate measures. So, I would suggest trying to find them for cheaper before you get there because if not, you too might just be a sucker.
- Stroller/wagon- They do rent strollers inside the parks and that is a nice option. However, there is a LOT of walking that is not in the parks people sometimes forget about. Every Disney resort is huge. It might be a 10 minute walk just from your room to the pool. If you have kids you already know the inevitable argument “hold me” “pick me up” and that can get exhausting. Also, it’s nice to just have your own stroller that the kids feel comfortable in.
- Bandana or Ribbon- Weird item to suggest I know, but this was a very helpful thing! You can’t take your strollers on most ride lines and the employees rearrange the stroller parking area often. So you may come back from a ride and your stroller will be in a different spot. Tying a bandana around your stroller handle makes it much easier to spot in the sea of strollers.
- Ponchos- You can buy a poncho at the Dollar Tree for a dollar. At Disney you will be paying almost $10 for an adult size poncho and close to $9 for a child size. More than likely it will rain at least once while you’re there. It will save you money in a major way by purchasing these before you go. Also, buy an extra one for your stroller. I also saw some people use a shower curtain for their stroller which I thought was a good idea, but the extra poncho worked just fine.
- Snacks– Disney does not care if you bring your own food or drinks into the parks. We never use the dining plan, because our kids are still small and they don’t eat a ton yet. They were perfectly content with eating snacks I had packed them for the park. You can even make them seem more special by buying Disney themed ziploc bags and putting the snack in those!
- Costume- This is especially crucial if you are doing Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique or character dining where your little princess will want to dress up. The costumes there are very expensive and you can buy much cheaper costumes at home. I’m pretty serious about buying the costumes from the Disney Store because I feel like they are just made better but you can catch them on sale pretty regularly. I packed them in a trash bag and then rolled them til the air was out. If you don’t do this you will have glitter all over your other clothes you packed.
Traveling with preschoolers and a toddler is always an adventure, but these tips take a little of the stress away. 😉