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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Disney magic : packing list

Packing for Disney World is overwhelming, not gonna lie. But it's doable. I swear! There are tons more lists out there on Pinterest I'm sure, but here is what worked for us.

I kept a handwritten list in a notebook for weeks prior to our trip and crossed things off once I picked them up or got them out of summer storage.

I hope these lists help you when planning your trip.

Reminder: this packing list is from my perspective with a family of five, including an 8 year old, 5 1/12 year old, and 17 month old baby. Things will differ depending on your family.

Above: You can see the purple and gray shoulder bag we used to carry into the rides with us. So easy! Such a great bag, no clue where we got it from! That's the size you'll want. It can hold a sippy cup or water bottle on the outside, holds the diaper and wipes and bag of snacks in the inside. Then we included the phone charger, coins, lanyards, hand sanitizer, lollipops, sunglasses, autograph books and markers in it for the lines. We held our phones.  You can also see the blue flower stroller bag we had hanging off the stroller. This was awesome for spare clothes, snacks, deodorant, ponchos, sunblock, hats, etc.

What to pack for your days at Disney World parks.
  • Stroller- Most people with a stroller had a jogging stroller. A few had an umbrella stroller. Those with an umbrella stroller had to carry a backpack on their backs. We took a jogger, LOVED it. Even in the airport, it was totally fine, no issues with it. It's easier to push, has more room, and especially is great for letting the baby lay back to sleep. Most umbrella strollers don't let you lay backward so that's something to look for also. 
  • Ponchos - Buy at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart in Florida had adorable Mickey and Minnie ones for $4! We never needed them our entire trip, but it was highly suggested and I'm glad we packed them just in case. If traveling with a stroller: take an extra poncho to put over it while on rides so that it stays dry. Do not bring umbrellas- nobody had them, and it's so crowded at Disney parks you won't be able to use one without hitting someone. 
  • Backpack and a small shoulder bag or drawstring bag to bring on rides. This is a must. You will want a shoulder bag or sling bag to take into rides with you. 
  • Baby carrier- if you have a young one, you'll want a way to carry them during the lines. You are waiting 5-45 minutes most often. Even 20 minutes is a long time to carry a big baby over and over all day long for a week. So having a carrier was a lifesaver for us. 
  • Diaper changing pad to lay on- bathrooms are full of germs, even though they are SUPER clean! Having a pad is helpful. Also you can't always just get to a bathroom to change the baby, so having these available for on the stroller is helpful too. Also pack diapers and wipes of course- we packed about 11 diapers a day for an estimate for a 17 month old. 
  • Wet bag or ziplock for phones on wet rides. We didn't use this, but people recommended it. I got one for $2 at Target. It's good to have just in case. Because I was always off the big splashy rides, standing with baby and stroller, we didn't need this. My husband took his cell phone on the rides though and didn't get wet. 
  • Ribbons or bandana for stroller- We didn't need these since we had a bright colored stroller bag that hangs off of the stroller so it was easy to detect amongst the other strollers. However, Disney staff do move strollers in the stroller parking lots so you may want to have a ribbon or something to distinguish your stroller for you easily in the mass of crowds.
  • Mickey/Minnie ears- I wore mine all day long at Magic Kingdom, but not at the other parks. 
  • Sunblock- We used 1.5 while there for 10 days with 5 people.
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer- Get two small containers of this to have with you. We used them frequently- airports, restaurants, waiting in line at rides, etc.
  • Band-aids- You may not need them, but they will help in busy crowds instead of finding a first aid center. 
  • Sneakers- MUST for walking Disney. NO idea how people wear anything but sneakers. No way. I heard people walking 20,000 steps in a day or more. We didn't stop, barely sat down all day. It's really important to have sneakers. Try them out BEFORE your trip. I got one pair that I thought I'd wear during the trip, but after one day at work my feet were killing me. Make sure your kids try their sneakers on before the trip also. I saw a few people in flip flops and Crocs, but mostly sneakers for all kids and adults. We packed Crocs for the kids for the Kali River Rapids ride at Animal Kingdom, as I was told people get super wet on that ride. They got wet, but not their shoes. Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom was similar, wet on shirts but not sneakers. 
  • Gum- Disney doesn't sell gum, so if you chew it you'll want to pack some. It's a good thing to have while waiting in lines, too for kids. 
  • Sharpies and autograph books or frame- You will want the Sharpies that you push like a pen, not the ones with covers. It's more expensive but I think worth it. We didn't get those, and wish we had. A friend told me a few days before our trip about getting a frame mat instead of autograph books to frame a picture for their rooms. I wish we'd done that... but at the same time think it's harder to carry around to parks. 
  • Snacks and lunches- Pack your lunch! It's so much cheaper, saves you time and avoids waiting in more lines. You also can eat healthier and whenever you want, like kids do. Pack double the snacks your kids typically eat in a day. It's exhausting standing in line, being hot and sweaty, and walking so much exerts a lot of energy. Pack extra everything. We put all snacks into a large ziplock bag so it was easy to find things. 
  • Wipes- even without babies, pack these for hand washing and wiping down strollers, etc. 
  • Sunglasses and hats. It's hot and sunny, make sure you're prepared. 
  • Spare change of clothes. We packed these for each kid, regardless of age. I heard of 5 year olds peeing their pants in lines while waiting so long, and of big kids getting their shirts covered in chocolate sauce from ice cream. It's nice to have a spare set of clothes- socks, underwear, shirt, shorts. We squished them into ziplock bags so they took up less space in our backpack.
  • Long sleeve shirt- I only packed one for the baby and the middle child who gets cold easily. We did not need them except one night at fireworks. It was perfect weather and we were fine without them, plus sweatshirts are bulky and take up space in the backpack. Mornings were cool, but otherwise by 9 a.m. it was hot most days. 
  • Baby blanket- we packed a lightweight blanket for over the stroller and carrier to keep the sun away so the baby could nap.
  • Fan for stroller- someone suggested this, we didn't end up doing it but I highly suggest if you have an infant who stays in an infant seat in the stroller. 
  • Charger for phone- We got a battery operated portable charger. LIFESAVER. With using the Disney app all day and taking pictures, along with being there from about 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. some days, you NEED to recharge your phone. Mine died every day we were there, and it was a brand new phone I'd gotten the week before. They have spots to charge in the park, but I didn't see them so it's easier to bring your own. 
  • Lollipops, smarties, gum, mints, gummies, etc. for standing in line. This was all we needed for standing in line to keep littles occupied. We didn't use iPads or phone games or toys. They were content with the occasional lollipop. Disney does an awesome job of putting cool pictures on the walls and activities in their waiting line areas for young kids. 
  • Glow sticks, wands, tiaras etc. for fireworks. It's so dark at Disney at night, so you'll want to have some glowing things to keep track of your kids and it's also just fun. The wands and light up things at Disney are super expensive. Go prepared to the Dollar Tree first and get some cute things- Disney has its own line of bracelets, tiaras, etc. I spent about $10 on these at Dollar Tree, less than half of what it costs to buy one thing at the park. The kids didn't care at all. It helped having these available as soon as it gets dark at the park, the kids are begging for those spinny light up things. Those are cool, so go ahead and get one if you like, but having Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart light up attire is helpful to not have to buy as much or any of the Disney stuff at the park. 
  • Cooler- We saved SO much money packing our own waters. We did not buy a single water at the parks and we visited parks for FIVE days. We bought a pack of 36 waters at Wal-mart for less than $4 - the same price it was for ONE bottle of water in the park. My husband is so proud of this. Buy ice packs there, they are cheap. Freeze some waters at night so they serve as ice packs, too, just take them out in the morning at the park to dethaw so you can drink during hotter times mid-day. We took a large soft cooler- easy to pack on the plane and large enough for lots of waters. We packed 2-3 waters a day per person. We also packed juice boxes. We don't use juice boxes often in our family, but for a very warm trip to Florida they were helpful with keeping kids hydrated. We packed about 4 of these per kids per day. 
Packing for the parks is hard... you don't want too much, because it's a pain to carry, but you're leaving for an entire day so you need some stuff, especially with young kids. I saw so many people carrying a backpack around all day... which looked so heavy. It's doable, for sure, but if you have to bring a stroller anyway, it's nice to put things away and not have to carry it. Of course having a stroller is annoying, too.... but I think the lesser of the two evils.

Below: our cooler for water bottles and even my salad, some sandwiches, apple sauce pouches. This size worked great for us, it fit nicely in the bottom of our stroller.

In addition to what's listed above in the packing list for the parks, here are some ideas for things you'll want to remember when packing for your family trip to sunny Florida!

This is for a February vacation trip. Check the weather before you head to Florida. Our family members went four weeks before us in January and wore pants to Disney some days, whereas we in February were sweating with 80-90 degree weather.
  • IDS and birth certificates- We needed a birth certificate for our youngest, 17 months, but nothing else. I brought all three birth certificates just in case.
  • Magic Bands, hotel address, flight information, itinerary printed from My Disney Experience- You will want these all accessible in your carry on. Make sure you print off any confirmation numbers for character meal reservations for when at Disney, it's easier than finding it on your phone when trying to park.
  • Clothes- 1 outfit a day, plus 2 extra outfits for kids. Pack two long sleeve or sweatshirts including what you wear on plane traveling day. Pack one pair of pants. Pack pajamas that kids will wear for two nights, they are barely in them and they swim every day so get super clean anyway so it's fine reusing them. We had 10 days, 5 pajamas. 2 bathing suits each. Socks and underwear for each day, plus a couple of extra pairs. 
  • Swim goggles and life jackets
  • Swim Towels? See if you'll need these at your condo off site. We bought some but didn't need them. 
  • Flip flops / Crocs- we had kids wear Crocs on the plane travel day, so much easier when going through security than retying sneakers.
  • Travel hygiene care- shampoos, razors, travel soap for kids, toothbrushes, etc. I bought an extra set of tooth brushes just for the trip so I could pack them and not forget the early morning we left. 
  • Bottles, sippy cups
  • Mailing addresses and stamps. I put addresses in my phone and brought a pack of stamps. 
  • iPads, chargers, headphones. These were lifesavers on the plane rides.
  • Trinkets from Dollar Tree and Target. I packed coloring books, stickers, etc. all Disney related and for a few dollars versus buying expensive treats everywhere we went in Disney. Don't go overboard with packing these, but a few are great to have. 
  • Multivitamins
  • Baby Tylenol
  • Thermometer for young kids
  • Nail clippers 
  • Hair elastics and brushes, along with detangler spray for girls longer hair - must have with pool hair
  • Pen and notebook- you'd be surprised but you cannot easily find a pen if staying off property! It's nice to write things down as you're going through your trip to remember to tell people or blog later :)
  • Kids stuffie, blanket, noisemakers, sleep sacks for sleeping- Think bed time routine. What do they need? We packed their blankie, a stuffed animal, and then one noisemaker for the baby (the big kids we put the fan noise from the bathroom on for them at night and it worked great in our condo. Having these things written down to cross off your list is helpful, as you won't remember them all when heading out the door early in the morning for a flight.
  • Carseats- We packed two boosters and a convertible car seat for our three kids. We bought a large carseat cover from to check these at the airport. We needed these for the rental car. 
Packing is not fun. It seems simple but took me weeks to get everything figured out. Keep lists, post-its and open suitcases around and start packing at least 2-4 weeks before you leave. We packed a month in advance and still were up for two hours the night before we left rearranging suitcase luggage, packing last minute things you can't put in a suitcase ahead of time, etc. 

We have five people in our family. We took 3 backpacks, a tote bag, a jogger stroller, and 3 suitcases. WAY too much stuff... I think we could have gotten away with not taking a third suitcase, but we were there 10 days and I didn't realize we could wash our clothes at the condo. Next trip I'd take less stuff... we just didn't know this time around. 

What else did you pack for your trip? What are your tips?

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