Our past trip to Disney was the first one I have ever taken as an adult. I have to say it was quite different being responsible for two kids instead of experiencing the magic as a kid yourself. You are extremely aware of all the stresses that go into a Disney vacation. There is the heat, crowds, and the inevitable cranky children. It isn’t always the perfect picture they paint in the commercials. That being said, I started planning early to make sure I had everything I needed to make our vacation as stress free as possible. I learned a lot and hope to share my insights over the next few posts.
Before heading to Disney, I read numerous blogs about what on earth to bring into the park and everyone had their own opinions. We didn’t necessarily pack light, but I felt like we had the right amount for us. Here are the things we brought with us every day to the park:
1. Unofficial Guide to Disney
Every year the publishers come out with a new version of this guide book and it is always the first thing I buy when planning a Disney trip. It tells you about every single ride and restaurant, but more importantly provides suggested tour plans. We adjust these to fit our needs, but the book provides multiple plans based on if you have small children or teens and if you have just one or multiple days to visit. By having a plan, you avoid wasting time deciding what ride you want to do or where you want to eat. The book suggests that you always arrive for rope drop (park opening) to avoid the longest lines. I have done this since I was little and I have to say it is the only way to do Disney, especially during the peak crowd time. Now, I wouldn’t bring this book into the park (it is fairly large), but having a plan is definitely a must.
My boyfriend and I debated on whether or not we needed a stroller for our nearly four-year-old. This however was ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! If you have a child under five I strongly recommend it. We walked on average 12 miles per day – our feet and knees were killing us by the end of the day, but think of that times ten for little toddler legs. My stepson doesn’t normally use a stroller so we didn’t think he was going to be a fan of it, but honestly he loved jumping in it. It made navigating through crowds so much easier since I wasn’t afraid that we were going to lose him and he wasn’t dragging his feet the whole time. It also made snacking on the go pretty easy for him. Be warned: you may become a crazy stroller lady that doesn’t fear rolling over the toes in your way.
I also have to put in a positive review for the stroller we used. After a lot of research, we went with the Baby Trend Rocket Lightweight Stroller. This was easy to set up and breakdown, which made it easy for getting on and off the trams at Disney. It had a small pouch included where we kept our water and snacks, that provided easy access for my stepson while riding. It comes with a shade to keep sun out and allows you to slightly recline it for daytime napping. It also had a small compartment underneath where we kept our small backpack of essentials. I could not have imagined Disney without this stroller!
3. Small backpack
I found this backpack necessary for keeping things we might need, but not anything that I necessarily had to have easy accessible. Our backpack contained hand sanitizer, baby wipes, small first aid kit, ponchos, umbrella, and my stepdaughter’s autograph book. I also kept spray sunscreen in the side pocket, which allowed for quick applications during our mini breaks. We ended up having great weather and didn’t have any need for first aid (thankfully!), but I felt comfort knowing that we were prepared if needed.
4. Fanny pack
This was another thing I debated on. I remember the days of fanny packs and know that they aren’t exactly the coolest fashion accessory. That being said, having a fanny pack was awesome! I went with this one from Everest and it worked great for everything I needed to have on me at all times. It has a clip for your keys and three large pockets. I kept my cell phone, small wallert, sunglasses, park map, and our plan in it. I also carried around my stepson’s Magicband as I knew he would lose it instantly if I didn’t. The fanny pack was very easy to take on rides as I could just push it to the side and it was never in the way. I am forever changed when it comes to fanny packs though and see myself using this in a lot of other places.
5. Water Bottles (and free water!)
We made a trip to the dollar store prior to our trip where we picked up a few things I knew I didn’t want to pay for inside the park. Some of the best things I got were some cheap water bottles for the kids that they kept in the stroller. Fun fact: water is free anywhere in the park where they serve fountain drinks. So, we would get a bunch of cups of ice water and pour them into our water bottles. We could then bring these into line with us to keep hydrated during the hot waits. It definitely helped us keep cranky children at bay.
Disney is expensive; everyone knows this. One way we saved on money was to pack our own snacks. Before we left for Disney I bought a giant container of goldfish, fruit bars, and giant bags of pretzels and veggie straws. I then separated these into Ziploc snack bags that we took with us each day to the park. Inevitably the moment we got to the park my stepson was already hungry, so he could easily help himself to a snack that we stored in the stroller. It allowed us to keep running to rides and helped to hold him over until our reservations. We still of course splurged on sweet treats every day, but it stopped us from buying snacks multiple times during the day.
7. Small fan
The one thing I wish we had bought before we arrived was a small battery operated fan. My stepdaughter ended up buying one of the spritz fans from Disney on our hottest day, but it was rather large and cumbersome so she kept just leaving it in the car and not bringing it to the park. The one day we actually had it with us in the park though it was really nice to have. Again, anytime you can keep kids hydrated and cool, it helps keep everyone in good moods. I recommend trying to buy a cheap one off of Amazon or at a dollar store ahead of time.
That is pretty much everything we brought with us every day. I didn’t feel like we were really missing anything, but also didn’t think we had too much. Everyone’s backpack is going to have different stuff, but hopefully this is a good start for you. Let me know what your Disney essentials are in the comments below!