So you’re winding down that amazing Disney World vacay. The time has come to toss your dirty clothes in your bags and head home. Then you spot those souvenirs in the corner you forgot about.
How, oh how, will they make it home?!
Don’t fret! We’ve all been there. We’ve bought that Mickey Balloon or those mugs in the gift shop we HAD to have and were faced with a flight back home and the thought of broken mess everywhere.
But we’ve got a few tips for those common Disney souvenirs so they’ll survive the flight back home!
Mugs, Plates, Picture Frames or Other Breakables
Maybe you were dying for that ABC mug with your initial on it. Thankfully, the Cast Members at the gift shops know the drill here. You’ll likely see your breakables wrapped in multiple layers of a waffley textured recycled packing material.
Cast Members actually do a solid job of wrapping these sort of things, so trust in their experience. If you have a suitcase you can fit it in, wedge it between soft clothes on all sides (including top and bottom. Make a cocoon of softness! Smaller items are great stuffed in shoes as well. That, combined with the packing materials, has never failed us yet.
Okay, you got sweet talked by your kiddo into one of those Disney bubble wands. It happens. Many of us have them stashed in closets at home after our kids NEEDED them, too!
Key here is to prevent drips. Remove the bubble solution if you saved the cap that came with it and screw it on tight. If you don’t have it, it’s not the end of the world. You just may have to rinse off the wand when you get home if any bubbles leak out! Ask a Cast Member in a gift shop (either on your way out of the park the night before you leave or at your resort) for a plastic merchandise bag. Even without the bubbles attached, the tubing can collect a fair bit of solution that can leak in your luggage. Pop the wand in the bag and wrap the excess bag around it. Hair ties make a great way to secure these.
We’ve all bought the cute (but expensive!) Mickey Balloons (only to spend the entire trip getting smacked in the face by one hanging from a stroller!) but what to do with them when you leave? Well, you have a few options.
First up, YES you can take it home but…you gotta deflate it. The TSA technically won’t allow inflated balloons on a plane. The balloons are tied shut with their ribbon and if you have a bobby pin or other small object like that, they’re pretty easy to open up. Simply let the air out and pack it away.
You can have these reinflated at home too! Either blow them up yourself (and learn how frustrating trying to get air into BOTH of Mickey’s ears is!) or take it to your local party supply store. Most are happy to try filling it up for you for a small fee!
Worst case scenario? Share the love — pass it along to a family you see on your way out. You may just make another child’s trip by your sweet gesture!
Either you made a trek to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or you bought a dress in a gift shop for the little princess in your crew. And now you’re staring at a full suitcase and this massive, puffy, tulle-covered dress and no clue what to do.
Roll it up! I’ve packed MANY a princess dress in my day, and rolling always seems to be the easiest way to get these to and fro. Fold the dress in half lengthwise, tucking it in as neatly as you can and roll it up tight! The dress won’t get all crinkled up, and it won’t take up a full suitcase transporting it home.
Did you make a trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge complete with building your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop? If so, you’re finding yourself ready to go home with a four-foot long saber that doesn’t fit…well, anywhere.
These are rather unwieldy, but they’re totally fine to take home on a plane. Carry these guys home in the padded black carrying case they came in. Throw it on your shoulder and take it through security with you. You’ll be asked to put the saber through the x-ray machine (don’t worry — LOTS of people do this every day. Think of how many people buy those lightsabers and need to get them back home!) then hop on your plane!
You should be able to store your saber in an overhead bin with no trouble and other suitcases can still go in front of it, so you won’t be taking up any overhead space.
Minnie or Mickey Ears
Ears are actually fairly simple to take home!
If you have a normal suitcase, most have a large zipper compartment on the inside side of the front that opens up. Minnie Ears lay relatively flat, but for Mickey ears, push the back half of the hat into the front half (like they are when being displayed in gift shops). Slip them in that compartment (or snuggle them into some soft clothes) and you’re good to go!
Maybe you bought something BIG at Disney. I’ve made the trip home with the large kids Monorail playset before and can tell you that big box in an airport is no fun! Sure you can navigate home with something large like this, but an easier option is to ship it home.
This takes a bit of forethought, but any item purchased in the parks or resorts can be shipped to your home. When checking out tell the Cast Member you’d like to ship that item, and they’ll pull out a slip for you to fill out. You’ll be charged shipping fees, but the hassle of navigating home with a cumbersome item will be off your plate! This also works for fragile items if you’re nervous about transporting those.
Oh, the number of Disney plush that have made flights home with me over the years. They may be cute and cuddly, but these guys take up SPACE!
You have a few options with plush but most involve toting them through the airport. Likely you won’t have room to get these home in any checked luggage. If these are for a kiddo in your group, have them carry their new plush through the airport. They make great pillows for when your kid inevitably falls asleep on the plane the minute they slow down from all the Disneyness!
Those big blue Disney merchandise bags are your friend here, too. If you travel through MCO, you’ve likely seen a small sea of Disney merch bags in the airport! Ask at your resort, in a gift shop, or even in the Disney gift shop in the airport for one of the BIG bags with the reinforced handles (or consider purchasing a reusable one sold in all gift shops!). You can toss a smaller bag, multiple plush, and a variety of other items in one of these and make navigating the airport much easier. In our experience, the TSA agents are happy to let you through security with a big Disney bag loaded up with items. This is an easy way to get big, squishy, bulky plush back home easily.
If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan you may find yourself raiding the Confectionery or a gift shop looking to spend those last snack credits before you leave. If you wind up with a dozen Mickey Krispie Treats or caramel apples (hey, it happens!) your odds are good whether you’re packing these in a suitcase with clothes around them or carrying them on the plane in a gift bag. Decide if you want a snack for the plane, and pack them accordingly.
A key with ANY merch you purchase is to consider how fragile or important it is to you. If you want to guarantee it doesn’t break or makes it home in one piece, always consider carrying that item home with you. With a bit of planning and smart packing, you can get any Disney World souvenir home safe and sound!
What have YOU struggled to get home? Any tips we missed?
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