What To Pack
Below is a listing of items that AllEars® Readers recommend you consider putting in your suitcase, along with some helpful hints.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR AIR TRAVELERS: Visit the TSA Website as well as your airline website prior to your trip to ensure you know the rules of what is allowed in carry-on vs checked luggage.
SPECIAL NOTE: Things that seemed innocent before can get you held up longer at the airport. Bring an emery board instead of a nail file. Tweezers and nail clippers should be packed in your checked luggage, not in a carry-on. Same is true for a corkscrew or bottle opener.
Address book and stamps, so you can send out postcards to friends and family at home. Another idea — Get a box or sheet of blank labels and address them all before you leave with whoever you will be writing home to. Once I’m on my trip, I buy postcards from various places and ask each kid to drop a few lines about our days events and we just peel off the label, stick, stamp and done. No need to look for the addresses. Include e-mail addresses so you can send virtual postcards from Spaceship Earth or Mission: Space in Epcot.
Aloe – our family found it extremely useful (we used almost all of a 20 oz. bottle!) in the summer heat.
Autograph book and a fat pen (so the characters can hold it).
Backpack – to store cameras, ponchos, etc. in.
Batteries/battery packs – for still and video cameras (though the camera shops in the parks can usually sell you some).
Battery-operated personal fan – It has a string so that you can put it around your neck, but it is still small enough to fit in your fanny pack.
Beach Towels – For the water parks. Disney resorts provide towels for the pools.
Beach Shoes – those rubber-soled stretchy neon shoes, for walking to the pool, or at one of the water parks, no need to go barefoot and stub your toes.
Bottled Water – if you’re driving and can throw a case in the car it makes it that much easier to grab some water on your way out each day. You’ll NEED the water in the warmer/hotter months!
Bottle of wine and the opener!
Disposable Camera – especially the underwater type if you plan to go to the Water Parks.
Cell phone with battery and charger base
Clothespins – for hanging wet swimsuits in the shower as well as closing up bags of snacks. Our hotel (a moderate one) had a clothesline in the shower.
Coffee or tea – if you like certain brands
Contact lenses – make sure you bring *both* a spare set and your glasses.
Cooler – a soft, collapsible one to tote sandwiches and drinks to the water parks
Ear Plugs – My daughter (age 5) is very sensitive to loud noises. In certain attractions, we found earplugs to be a great help for her. She carried them in her fanny pack and we just popped them in as needed.
Empty small suitcase/duffle bag – That way, when I load up on t-shirts and goodies, I have something to carry them home in!
Fanny pack for you and the kids.
Film – if you still use it.
Small Flashlight – for reading maps or guide books in dark waits
Golf glove and golf shoes
Gum – If you like to chew it, buy it in advance; you won’t find any for sale on Disney property.
Hangers – for pants and shirts (if you stay at a Disney hotel, ask housekeeping to bring extra to your room)
Hats – straw, baseball whatever… something to bounce the sun off!
Jacket for dinner at Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian
Frozen Juice Drinks – We found that the juice drinks (in the little pouches) were the perfect size and just sturdy enough to haul around in the back pack. Also, (if possible) freezing bottled water the night before heading out (assuming your room has a little fridge that can be turned up to extra cold), makes them extra refreshing just as you decide you need a cold drink.
Laundry Detergent – Rather than paying high prices for a small box of laundry detergent, bring some from home in a resealable plastic bag. Doing laundry during your trip also allows you to pack less clothing.
Lip Stuff – like Blistex or Chapstick – with sunscreen!
Prescription Medicines – Pack at least three extra days’ worth of any prescriptions for everyone in your party, and make sure they are in the carry-on luggage. It can be a real hassle getting prescriptions filled long-distance, and might take a day or two to get hold of your doctor to approve them.
Moleskin for your blisters
Nail clippers and emery board
Needle and thread
Night Lights – No bumps and crashes in the night if you just stick these in the outlets. The kids will feel more secure if they know they’ll be able to get to the bathroom quickly and easily, and you don’t feel bad if you leave them behind (which I usually seem to do!)
Notebook or pad and pens – especially if you’re going to write a trip report
Plastic glasses for poolside
Plastic silverware – especially spoons (for eating in room)
Poncho – so you can find your group amidst all those Disney slickers!
Portable DVD player and DVDs
Proof of Insurance – to show when you rent your car so you don’t need that expensive CDW (collision damage waver)
Safety pins and/or Diaper Pins – for broken zippers or missing buttons
Soap — Bring a small bar of your favorite bath/face soap, stored in a plastic bag. If you have sensitive skin, don’t assume that the soap the hotels provide will work for you.
Sensible shoes — Comfy, well-broken in shoes are essential. This isn’t the time to try a new pair of shoes. If you must get new shoes for your trip, be sure to break them in well before you depart for Florida.
Extra Socks and Sneakers and Undies – One thing my daughter and I found when we visited in August was that we ran out of clean dry clothes pretty fast.
Stain Stick – the laundry pre-treating stick. Since none of us like to do laundry on vacation, just rubbing the stain with the pre-treatment will let you hold off doing laundry till you return home.
Sweatbands – if you use them, bring them
Swimming goggles – as sometimes the chlorine from the hotel pools can be pretty high. Of all the things our kids enjoyed, the thing they enjoyed the most was the hotel pool.
Hard-covered Suitcase – My wife and I found that an old hard side suitcase filled with snacks and breakfast foods as well as drink boxes made having snacks and breakfast a big money-saver. When you return home you can also use it for all those souvenirs you purchased and can’t find room for.
Sunscreen lots and lots of sunscreen
Sunglasses – for ALL members of your traveling tribe, and don’t forget those handy-dandy straps that keep the sunglasses hanging around your neck. Much more convenient than tucking the sunglasses in a pocket or fanny pack every time you enter an attraction.
Tape – I always bring a small roll of packing or duct tape. It has repaired my suitcase when I arrived with stuff falling out, it has repaired flip-flops that flipped to pieces on my way to the pool, it has repaired book bindings and stuck notes on doors for me and well, you get the picture. It’s a great temporary relief when you need it.
Tickets (or reservation numbers) – Confirm or obtain airline seat numbers & departure times the day before. We got to the airport more than an hour early and still got three middle seats for ourselves. Since we made our plans three months early, we also found the departure time had changed by 20 minutes. Nothing the airline called us about, but 20 extra minutes in an airport with kids is not part of a well-planned vacation.
Tote Bag – to store ponchos and other items in. Another reader writes: and we’d recommend waterproof tote bags and/or backpacks for keeping cameras, etc. out of the rain.
Toys – for the kids
Trash Bags – a) helps with keeping room clean, trash cans fill up easily and b) dirty clothes- room stays a lot more organized. Every morning I would grab a trash bag and throw our dirty clothes into it, no risk of losing any articles.
Umbrella – a must for any time of year.
Water Bottles – especially in the summer. The bottles with the belt clip to be most convenient, no need to carry the bottle in your hands, an empty one or two also.
Water shoes – to wear to/from as well as IN pools/water parks.
Wipes – we found, having 2 young children who are out of diapers, it is still imperative to carry wipes of some sort. They get very sticky from all the junk they eat while in the parks.
Zipper-top Bags – I always find a use for these. I fill my refillable mug on the way out each day; wash it out when I’m done and put it in the bag till I’m back at the hotel. I can then refill it on the way to my room. Another good use is to keep film together. Zip-top bags are also useful to keep things dry at water parks and in the rain. Great for cameras, spare clothes or soiled clothes if you have little ones. You also don’t have to worry about finding a waterproof backpack.
OTHER GUEST COMMENTS:
I put as many clothes as I could, neatly folded, into freezer bags and then with a hand vacuum, I sucked out all of the remaining air. It saved so much space, it was unbelievable! When I went last August, all I took was a small duffle bag and a large backpack and I’m telling you the other people in my party wished they had done the same thing. One thing that is totally a drag is dragging more around than needed!
For the kids, I packed outfits in plastic zipper storage bags. Shorts, shirt, underwear, socks, hair ribbon or elastic. It was great! I would grab a bag and it had everything in it. The old clothes went back in the bag. I have three children and they were 5 , 7 and 9 and it worked out very well. (Wendy Richmond)
Everyone made sure to tell me to pack extra clothes in a carry-on bag for the way down in case luggage was lost — great idea. But the day we left, we thought nothing about needing extra clothes. Check-out time was at 11 and our shuttle to take us to the airport was not until 7 p.m. So we packed up everything and went off to the parks. Our 10-year-old daughter became ill and we had to spend 7 hours in our hotel’s food court near the bathroom until our bus came and there was no way to get to our luggage for her to change. She wore my sweatshirt and I froze all day. Needless to say, I suggest you pack clothes for an emergency on the way HOME or you will end up buying a new outfit at the hotel gift store.