Everyone knows traveling with an infant or a toddler is tough, especially when it’s to Disney. I’ve done it myself with my niece a few times and if it wasn’t for the power of three other adults, I don’t think I would have been able to survive.
But fear not!
Through trial and error, I’ve come up with The Ultimate Packing Lists for Doing Disney with Children. I’ve broken it down into three categories: For the Plane, For the Hotel, and For the Parks.
For the Plane:
Hand Sanitizer– The last thing I want is to be sick on my Disney vacation, so I sanitize CONSTANTLY. The Disney Parks App has cute hand sanitizer in holders to clip onto strollers or backpacks. With so many different themes, each member of your party can have their own! If you’re looking for something a little more on the cheaper side, Bath & Body Works has PocketBac sanitizers 5 for $6.00 and PocketBac Holders ranging from $1.00 to $7.75.
Travel Blanket– If you take early flights like I do (those 6:50AM’s get you in at the perfect time) then most likely your children will want to sleep on the airplane ride. Bringing your own Disney Travel Hugger Fleece Blanket like this one here will keep them nice and cozy while they dream of Mickey Mouse and Main Street without having to pay for one on the plane! Even better, they can use it at the hotel as well.
Gum– Chewing gum is the perfect solution to ears popping during takeoff. Stock up on your parties favorite flavors and hand out a pack to each. Make sure you dispose of them neatly! You wouldn’t want the next guest sitting in your seat to find gum underneath them.
Lollipops– Air travel is hard on little ones ears. If they are too small to chew gum, sucking on a lollipop will help with the pressure. Lollipops are also good for containment. If they are itching to get out of their seat, bribe them with their favorite flavor. They can only get it if they stay seated. Nine out of ten times it works. They are a sucker or suckers.
Tissues– Everyone is going to need a tissue eventually, especially children. Buy single packs and give one to each of your party members. This is a life saver when everyone is sitting in separate seats. They won’t have to ask for a spare hanky! Target sells themed tissues just like these ones here, but in less quantity. They are sure to put your little ones in the Disney spirit.
Headphones– Some airplanes provide televisions for your viewing pleasure. Bring your own set of headphones for each member of your party so there’s no arguing over who can watch what and when. Children can view their favorite television shows or listen to age appropriate music.
Colouring Book and Crayons– No plane ride is complete without a good colouring book and crayon set. They are super lightweight and perfect for lounging in the hotel or around the pool. Find your little prince or princess’s favorite character in a colouring book and they will be occupied for hours. If you can, spread the book out between your two trays and colour with them. They will love how inclusive this activity is.
Your Children’s Favorite Drink Cup– My niece when she was younger was very particular about what cups she wanted to drink out of. She had her favorites and she knew when we gave her a different cup. Since airplanes provide drink service, bring along your children’s favorite drink cup and pour their juice, water, or milk inside. The comfort of their own drink cup will provide a much better airplane experience. These cups are also great to bring into the parks.
Stress-Free Crafts– Depending on where you’re flying from, children can get a little antsy sitting too long with nothing to do. If your like me and don’t want to stick a smartphone in front of their face, then it’s time to get craft (literally). Michaels or any local craft store sells cute arts and crafts for children for $5.00 and under that require no scissors or glue. My niece and I love the brand Creatology™. Their themes are based on which season it is, so get them right before you go. These travel size crafts are light weight, easy to carry, and are the perfect ‘thank you’ gifts for your hotel maid from the children. My niece loved that she was doing something for someone who made the room magically clean and left origami towels for her.
A Good Book– This one is less for the children, and more for the adults. We need our getaways too. While the children are doing their thing, you do yours! Bring a book you’ve been dying to cross off your reading list or an E-Reader with endless possibilities. You never know when you might be able to sneak in a chapter or two.
For the Hotel:
DIY Room Decorations– To make your children’s vacation extra magical, dress up your hotel room with some DIY room decorations. Add some personalized Disney themed tags to the outside of your door, cardstock window streamers; anything that can’t be considered a fire hazard or swept away by the maid. If you’re really sneaky, pre-write a note from Mickey to your children welcoming them and when they aren’t looking place it on the table for them to find. These little things will be what they remember.
Pop up Hamper– Pop-up hampers like these ones here really help to separate the dirty laundry from the clean laundry, especially when children insist on changing themselves. They are lightweight and easy to fold. These hampers are so small they can fit in the front zipper of a suit case, virtually taking up no space! What’s great about these is that you can find them in the dollar store. I pop the hamper open for the trip then load the dirty laundry into plastic bags for the ride home.
Slipper Socks– There’s no other way to feel at home in a hotel than walking around in your slippers. But those might be a little too bulky to pack. Bringing slipper socks is an easier alternative. Target has cute kid slipper socks for the whole family. You can pick from Mickey and Friends, to Pixar, to Star Wars.
Disney Plush– Every child needs a Disney plushie to love and take with them on their Disney adventures. Although we all know Disney Springs is the ultimate place to buy one, ShopDisney has the same merchandise and you can get many of your items on sale. Yes, I said it: ON SALE! Buy your children a Disney Parks plushie (on sale!) before the trip and have your character sitting atop of their luggage waiting for them right before you head off to the airport. The magic doesn’t have to start when you enter Kissimmee, it starts when you make it.
For the Park:
A Reliable Backpack– I’ve gone through a bunch of backpacks and tried to find the most comfortable, most reliable, most affordable one for Disney and I’ve come down to two: One for Mommy and one for your child to wear. They both come from none other than my personal favorite Vera Bradley. I love her merchandise because you can hand wash it. Sounds so baby proof! For Mommy, I love the Campus Tech Backpack. It’s roomy enough without being overbearing and there’s a slot in the back to place on the handle of your luggage. For my niece, she loved to carry around her items in the Hadley Backpack. She felt like such a big girl. If you have a Vera Bradley Outlet nearby like me, you can get these backpacks at amazingly low prices.
Disney Hats and Mickey Ears– These are essential for any Disney vacation. whether it be a hat or ears you purchased from ShopDisney or a DIY you’re rocking and instagramming, you have to have a pair to wear everyday. Disney is the one place you can get away with wearing them 24/7.
Extra Hair Ties and Bobby Pins– I never go anywhere without extra hair accessories. To keep them from falling down to the bottom of the bag, I use an old Tic-Tac bottle to store them in. This tip will save you hours of searching. I promise you!
Poncho– If you have ever been to Disney World, you know there is a 100% chance of a sun shower. You must be prepared and have a poncho handy. No matter if you are enjoying a day in the park or cruising Disney Springs. You wouldn’t want to get caught in a downpour. If you don’t want to buy one from Disney, you can easily buy one from your local dollar store.
Change of Clothes for your Children– This is important. We all know accidents happen, so lets be prepared. Always pack a spare change of clothes just in case a Mickey ice cream bar drips on it, Splash Mountain soaks you, or the lid on the drink cup just didn’t make it on all the way.
Sweatshirt– Nights can get chilly, so make sure you bring a sweatshirt for everyone. Last thing you want is to be running to Main Street trying to find souvenir sweatshirts in your children’s sizes because they’re complaining that they’re cold.
Sunglasses– I CAN’T live without my sunglasses. They are the perfect accessory that matches any and all outfits. Make sure you pack a pair (or three) for yourself as well as your little ones. As much as we need to protect their skin from the sun, we have to protect their eyes too.
Lip Balm– Did you know you can get sunburn on your lips? It’s very common and you MUST protect them. Always keep lip balm on you and apply as much as possible. To protect my lips I use by Bath and Body Works C.O. Bigelow Lemon Lip Balm. It keeps my lips nice and moisturized using Shea Butter and is packed with Vitamin C.
Portable Phone Battery Charger– If you’re like me, you will be taking a lot of pictures and videos of all the special moments that occur (and character sightings!). Unfortunately, pictures drain so much of your battery. Pack a portable phone battery charger and when you’re running low, juice up! Make sure when you return to the hotel you don’t forget to charge it! Wouldn’t want to be next in line for a photo with Mickey and you run out of battery on both ends.
Brita Water Bottle– Unless you want to pay $4.00 every time you need water, I highly suggest you invest in a Brita water bottle. There are a bunch of fountains around Disney for you to fill up on, but what’s great about this brand is there’s a built in filter to separate all those nasty things you worry about and only serve you a refreshing drink. You don’t realize how much this could save you. We could go through four waters a day times the four of us. That is sixteen waters. Sixteen waters at $4.00 a pop, we’re saving $64.00 daily. JUST ON WATER.
Re-sealable Zip Lock Bags– These bags are great for multiple purposes. You can use it to store snacks, your phone during Splash Mountain, your phone during a Florida mid-day sun shower, your children’s clothes when they get them wet or dirty. There are endless possibilities, but I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Flushable Cleansing Cloths/Wipes– It speaks for itself. When you’re in a moment of crisis, they will be you’re saving grace. You can get them cheaper with Targets Brand Up & UP.
Glow Sticks– We all know Disney’s magic doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. With the Electric parade and all the Disney souvenirs that glow, attracting children like moths to the flame, why not create your own glow fun with glow sticks. You can find them in any dollar store and they serve the same purpose as that $14.50 toy they will forget in a few hours. Get the bracelets and the necklaces. Hey, for a dollar go all out! They’re also a great tool for locating your children at night. They become little glow beams in a sea of children who look, well just like them.
Nonperishable Snacks– Those long lines can take up a lot of your eating time and if you’re traveling with children you’re going to have to corral them with toys and snacks. Keeping snacks handy such as goldfish, granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, twizzlers, and fruit snacks will keep the kids occupied and take way the hangries. You can pack anything that won’t melt in the Florida or California heat. The last thing you want is to waste your time in the park cleaning your backpack.
Gum– Fun Fact: Disney does not sell gum! You will not be able to find any at the parks or in the hotel convenient stores, so stock up! Bring enough to last you the whole trip.
What do you pack that isn’t on my list? Let me know in a comment!