Disney World: Packing / Preparation Tips for Mom

Photo Credit: Raymond Brown

Are you planning and preparing for a trip to Disney World. If so, you are in for a treat (not the restful or relaxing type of treat, of course).  Disney is all about making memories and this list of packing and preparation hints will ensure you only create good memories.  Here are our most popular tips for a Disney World family trip.  From one mom to another…..

(1)   Rain Ponchos – it often rains in Orlando and there are rides that will leave you soaked.  The price of a Mickey poncho outside the entrance to Kali River Rapids is double that of the local drugstore.

(2)   Comfortable, water-friendly sandals – My daughter and I both took our Keen sandals that we use at the beach and wore them every single day.   I was glad that we did not pack crocs. I noticed several kids lose their crocs on rides and stumble as they literally ‘stepped out’ of them in line.

(3)   Tide-to-go – your clothes will have food stains and will sit for several days before returning home.

(4)   Hats / Sunscreen – even in the winter

(5)   Snacks – You can carry small snacks into the park.  This will save you valuable time and money.   You’ll thank me when you pull out a granola bar to appease your 3 yr old in the Dumbo line at the Magic kingdom.

(6)   Small backpack – Use a small backpack to carry everything but remember that it will need to go on all of the rides with you and need to fit beneath your feet. A small camera is helpful also.

(7)   Extra Duffel Bag – This is the BEST thing I packed!  I initially packed an extra duffel for souvenirs but ended up using the duffel to pack all of our dirty (and I mean DIRTY) clothes.  I put all of our dirty clothes in this bag at the end of each day, zipped it up on the last morning, checked it at the airport and then poured it into the washing machine upon return.    I think I secretly hoped it might get lost.

(8)   Ziploc Bags – Use to pack wet shoes, clothes and bathing suits.   I also ended up using one to protect a beloved autograph book and camera from the rain (backpacks get wet in the rain and on water rides).

(9)   Prince/Princess costumes – Save time and money by purchasing items (dress, crown) in advance for your little prince or princess

(10)     Register for Disney Photo Pass in advance – There are photographers all over the park ready to take pictures of your family.  Simply hand them your Photo Pass card, they’ll scan it and take several pictures of your family.  You can then order them online when you return.  The photographer in the family will be grateful for the few pictures that include him/her.  The Disney photographers are also capable of capturing a good picture of the Epcot ball or Cinderella’s castle at night.

(11)     Create a master calendar that includes the following: (1) Early or Late hours at the parks, (2) Special shows or parades (many occur daily). This basic information will help you determine which parks to visit on specific days.  With this basic plan, you can make reservations for meals.

(12)     Download mobile phone applications related to the parks.  We utilized an iphone app that relayed the current wait times on the most popular rides at all of the parks.   It was a great tool.

(13)     Sharpie Pen / Permanent Marker – This may sound crazy but I did it.  With small children, utilize a permanent marker to write your cell phone number inside their shirt or on their hand.   My children are ages 6 and 3.  I wrote my cell phone number on their inner arm and told them to find another ‘mommy’ (a woman with a stroller) or a Disney employee if we became separated.  Fortunately, we did not test this process but I did feel better knowing my 3-yr old had a tattoo of my cell number.

(14)     Disney Story Books – Many of you have the story books at home.  Pack them and enjoy ending your days with goodnight stories related to the day.  Few things can replace reading Cinderella to your 3yr old with a view of the castle outside your window.

Do you have more ideas?  Please share and help another Birmingham Mom prepare for Disney.