Disney Vacations: Part 1-Getting Ready for a Disney Trip

Last week I posted packing lists for vacations. This week I thought I would tackle preparations for DISNEY! As many of you know, prepping for a Disney trip can be different then packing and getting ready for a beach trip. I am going to share tips and a special packing list that I have used when my family visited the parks in Florida.

Growing up, I went to Disney many times. My family and I are big fans of the Magical World of Disney. My husband didn’t feel the magic his first few trips, and really didn’t find the joy in long lines and Mickey ears. That all changed our first trip with kids. He saw how the kiddos lit up riding “It’s a Small World” and now, even he can report about our special memories of our times at Disney World. We have taken the kids three times, and each trip was a different ballgame since the kids were in different stages of life. The first time we drove down with a two-month-old and a two-year-old, and we were playing man-to-man defense the whole time. The second time we flew with a twenty-two-month-old and four-year-old, and met my parents in Orlando. The last time we went just the four of us, and the children were three and six. We have been when it was extremely hot, literally having to ring the sweat out of our socks and undies midday. We have also been when it was a little cool, and jackets were needed, and we have certainly been in the rain. All three times have been adventures. Here are some things I learned from those trips that may help you when preparing for your next Disney vacation.

First, let’s discuss what to pack in your bag when going in the park. The first time we went was with a baby, and a freshly potty-trained child. It was in the middle of June, and we decided to go and have some fun in Disney for two days before Matt had to attend a work conference nearby. With two young kids, Matt and I both needed to carry in a bag, and we also had a large double stroller with Andrew’s infant car seat. I will never forget standing in the parking lot waiting for the tram; staring at Matt thinking “what in the world were we thinking?” I was holding the baby, not wearing him, like I had planned, since discovering at the car the wrap I had purchased for the trip made the 100 degree temps feel like I was in an oven. My other arm was being yanked by my very excited two year-old, and I was carrying an exploding diaper bag. My poor husband stood beside me wearing a very heavy backpack and was carrying the large, folded double stroller. With fogged sunglasses and sweat dripping down our backs, we jammed the stroller in the tiny compartment on the tram, and forged ahead.

The diaper bag I carried the first trip had all the normal necessities for a baby and toddler. Here is the list of the contents that were in my bag:
-extra clothes for kids
-sippy cups
-snacks and snack cups
-bib, breastfeeding cover (Of course the cover is optional. The parks do have nursing rooms, I never checked them out, but I’m sure a cool place to nurse would have been nice.)
-small bottle cooler (I carried an extra bottle I pumped before going in, because I knew with it being so hot I would probably get dehydrated and produce less milk.)
-hand sanitizer
-diapers, wipes, changing pad, cream
-Tylenol, band aids, tissues, lip gloss, sunscreen
-small toy and book for entertainment while waiting in lines

Matt’s backpack including the following:
-park info/map and tickets
-water bottles/Gatorade- (Gatorade was really nice to have for the electrolyte boost on the hot days)
-small lunch bag with plastic utensils, napkins, and Ziploc bags (On the first trip we brought cereal bars, yogurt, etc… With the heat I didn’t want to take a chance on things melting or going bad)
-sunglasses
-warm jackets for all, and leggings/pants for the kids
-rain gear-umbrellas, ponchos/rain jackets
-large trash bags (We didn’t have a plastic rain cover for our stroller and infant car seat, so I packed a few trash bags and ripped them open, making a stroller/car seat poncho. I secured it with the trash bag ties and my extra hair tie.)
-camera, batteries, cell phones, cordless cell phone charger

Just like in the book “Nine for California,” we used almost everything in our bags, especially that first Disney vacation. Other items I recommend that have come in handy are:
-fan/mist sprayers- That was a lifesaver when we went in June!
-“car towels”-I keep old towels in my car, so we threw two of them in the bottom of our stroller. Every trip we have used the “car towels.” The rain was so hard one trip, we used them to wipe down our legs and stroller. We have used them to clean up spills; the kids have snuggled up with them at night when it got cold; and we used them to sit on waiting for an afternoon parade, which saved our bottoms and legs from roasting on the hot pavement.
-glow stick pack-In the evening, when the sun goes down, carts of cool glow toys come out, and so does my glow stick pack. By having their own necklaces and bracelets, the children’s need to ask for fun items from those carts diminish. Plus, your wallet will thank you.

Stay tuned for Disney Vacation: Part 2-Park Tips.