In between our Walt Disney World vacations, I undoubtedly brainstorm about what I should take on our next trip to make life easier for us, especially with young children…
First, I can’t stress this one enough. ZIPLOC BAGS! If you plan to take anything into the parks with you to keep cold in a small cooler, Disney no longer allows loose ice into the parks. So we bring Ziploc bags to fill at the ice machine at the resort before we leave for the day. This is great if you have a young child that will need milk during the day and you don’t want to have to scramble to find milk for the first part of your day, or if you want to bring any bottled water or have medication you’re taking along that need to stay cold. Take note: the refrigerators that they’re putting in the guest rooms now do not have freezers so bringing an ice pack unfortunately won’t be helpful here. I’ve found that Cast Members in the parks are often willing to give you a cup of ice to refill your Ziploc during the day as your ice melts too. Plus, Ziploc bags are great if you have a child still in diapers that potentially needs an outfit change – keep the dirty clothes separate from everything else! Anything that needs to be kept dry – ZIPLOCS! Are you bringing snacks into the parks too? We usually order some basic groceries through Instacart to be delivered the day we arrive so that we have snacks and bottled water on hand for our trip – Ziplocs will be helpful for your kiddos snacks if they’re not individually packed. Bring several Ziplocs, you never know what you may use it for!!
I pack my own First Aid Kit to keep in the room. Yes, you can get most basic types of medications at many locations across Disney property, but I feel better knowing I’ve got it if I need it. My first aid kit usually includes: Tylenol and Motrin (for both the adults and children), a thermometer, Pepto-Bismol and/or Tums (clearly not for the young kids), Benadryl/Zyrtec (something for allergies – sometimes the change in geography can cause a flare up for me and my kiddos depending on the time of year), band-aids, Neosporin, Cortisone or some sort of anti-itch cream, powdered Pedialyte packs in case anyone needs it while on vacation (just pour into water and shake), and even corn pads if I plan to wear closed toe shoes at any point.
In addition to being able to buy medications across Disney property, there is also first aid in all of the parks if you ever need anything. I always try to remember to carry a few band-aids and the Neosporin with me, just to be safe. It makes life easier when one of my kids randomly cuts themselves or trips and falls to whip a band-aid out of my bag while in a line rather than have to schlep across the park to head to first aid with an upset kiddo.
I’m sure this is a given, but don’t forget the sunscreen, as well as aloe. We haven’t really needed the aloe (maybe just me!) but again, I’d rather have a small travel-sized bottle of it and not need it than have to run to the gift shop (and pay a small fortune). I like to also bring a sunscreen stick for my kids faces to make it easier when we are in the parks to reapply since that’s typically where they need the most reapplication.
Ponchos. Yes, Disney sells them if you need them. Yes, you will pay a premium for them there and they are very well made. But I really prefer to bring a poncho (or two) to keep under the stroller at all times. And they’re not even necessarily for us to wear… BUT when you go to park your stroller to go on a ride and you see those dark clouds looming, it’s great to be able to pull a poncho out to throw over your stroller to keep it dry. Nothing will bring on a meltdown from a small child like sitting in a wet stroller (and then a meltdown from the adult carrying said child across the park in the Florida heat because of the wet stroller). While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to carry an umbrella along too. Keep it under the stroller, it’s totally worth it.
While I’m on the topic of strollers, if you have a double stroller, I personally feel it was well worth the investment for us to purchase a stroller cover specifically for a double stroller. We had to use it more than once on our last trip and it was easy since it fit perfectly over our Joovy Groove Ultralight Umbrella Stroller.
Which reminds me – yes, you can absolutely rent a stroller when you get to Disney if you’d like, but I absolutely love our Joovy. It’s super easy to fold and carry the buses/monorail, it’s easy to push, not too heavy, the seats recline wayyyyy back, there are huge canopies to protect the kiddos from the hot Florida sun, and there’s a great amount of storage under the stroller. (Side note: I don’t work for Joovy and I’ve paid for every product I’ve ever owned; I love their products this much that I wanted to put this out there as it’s not as well-known of a brand).
If you are bringing your own stroller and flying to Orlando, buy a stroller travel bag. A padded one is worth buying if you anticipate you may be able to use it more than just for one round-trip flight, but even a cheaper one just to protect the seats of the stroller will be helpful. If you go the cheaper route, be warned that it will likely only be able to be used for that trip as the bags are very thin and rip easily. Ours went directly into the trash when we landed back at our home airport as it was torn. But the stroller was protected, so it served its purpose.
I also like to keep a separate bag under the stroller that I don’t need to lug onto rides with me… some people love backpacks, but I feel that they’re bulky to take on rides. I’d rather keep a small purse or bag of some sort with me that has my wallet and phone (anything valuable) and whatever I might need for the rides and keep the bag with snacks, toys, diapers, etc (non-valuables) under the stroller. This of course is at your own discretion if you feel comfortable leaving anything in your stroller, but this has worked for us in the past.
A portable charger for your phones. I realize this may sound silly if you haven’t been to Disney recently, but let me tell you this: Going in and out of rides, shows and restaurants will suck your battery dry! Plus you’ll probably take pictures and videos at some point with your phone, and your kid may ask to play with it while waiting in a line or sitting at a restaurant at some point. And you need to know where your next Fastpass and dining reservation is using they My Disney Experience app. Trust me, take the portable charger, and don’t forget to charge it when you go back to your room. And while you’re at it, turn your Wi-Fi off while you’re in the parks. You’ll use less of your battery since your phone won’t be hunting for Wi-Fi.
I also try to keep a few very basic toys on hand for the infants and toddlers. Something easy to pull out of a diaper bag if you’re in a pinch waiting somewhere. Something that’s easily washable if they try to toss it when they’ve had enough. BooginHead makes a sippy cup strap that has Velcro to secure the strap around the cup and is intended to keep the sippy cup from hitting the ground when you attach the other end of it to the high chair or stroller. Let me tell you, this can work for teething rings or most toys!
Speaking of cleanliness, I always bring hand sanitizer. Disney is very clean, but when you’ve got young kids, some sort of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes would definitely be on my list. With my kids when they were younger, I loved the Babyganics Sanitizing Wipes that have no alcohol in them. You can buy them in a pouch or individually packaged.
What do you bring on your Disney vacation to make your life easier? We’d love to hear from you!