Let’s take a look at two DIFFERENT ideas when it comes to packing for your Disney trip today!
By Clever Diva
Let me start by saying “I travel like the Queen”. I like the airlines that let you have 2 checked bags for free, plus up to 2 carry-ons. I don’t mind tipping the valet at the hotel or the porter at the airport. I believe that the Magical Express was invented just to move my luggage.
While some may wear the same clothes over and over, and don’t mine spending some time each night in the hotel laundry room, I prefer to have bring enough clothes to last the trip. I also prefer not have to re-wear any item, unless I choose to. With the heat and humidity that occur most of the year in Florida, once you’ve worn a garment outside for a couple of hours, it’s next destination is the washer- not back on your body. I always purchase the Memory Maker/formerly Photopass Plus (ahead of time, because I love a discount) so I’m going to have my pictures taken many times each day, with my children and husband. And I love clothes! And so do my daughters. So, we do enjoy seeing out different outfits in the pictures each day. And yes, that means more suitcases. But, as long as they all fit in the mini-van, and we’re staying on Disney property, they’ll get to Disney with little assistance from me. Curbside check-in at the airport takes them right from the car to the conveyor belt. Once we arrive at the Orlando Airport (MCO), Magical Express takes them off the conveyor belt. There is a short wait, but they will appear in your hotel room. And if we change resorts, the wonderful valets at Disney pick them up from the hotel room, and move bring them to the next hotel room. When we go home, the process is reversed. It’s a beautiful thing!
Bottom line – we bring the clothes that we will enjoy wearing, and we often dress up for dinner. These gorgeous red dresses traveled well, and my daughters enjoyed all the compliments they received at the California Grill. Watching the fireworks on the viewing deck, while wearing a pretty dress and sparkly shoes makes the night feel really special.
I do have a packing system. The people that make zip-top bags stay in business because of me! First, we check the weather forecast for the days of our trip. Often there are cold days, and warm days. Unless you go during the summer, and then there are hot days, hotter days, and hot, wet days. Then, my daughters and I cull our wardrobe and put coordinating outfits together for each day, and evening. Finally, we add the items needed for each outfit – underwear, socks, tights, etc. Then we are ready for the baggies!Each bag is marked using a Sharpie, with the name of the person, day/date, and a.m. or p.m. The complete outfit goes in the bag, and all the air is squished out of the bag. We usually bring a set of PJ’s for every 2 or 3 days, and they go in bags too. The same for bath suits. We usually bring 2 bathing suits and cover-ups so a suit and cover-up goes in each bag. Then we scatter the bags across all the suitcases. That way, if a bag gets lost, everyone has some clothes, and no one has lost everything. Shoes go in baggies too, because who wants shoes touching your clothes? We bring 2 sets of park/walking shoes per person, and one or two dress shoes, and flip flops for the pool. I also put several plastic hangers, children’s and adult’s, in the suitcases. They are great for drying bathing suits. And young girls’ dresses don’t usually fit on the big hangers provided by the resorts. Toiletries – I have a great bag with pockets on the outside (31 Bags made mine, but there are others out there), and I put all our toiletries in the bag, utilizing the outside pockets for the most used items. Then, I put the entire bag into a suitcase. I have a great suitcase with a zippered half that holds the bag securely, but if you don’t, put the whole thing in a large plastic zippered bag. When you arrive, pull the bag out, and put it in the bathroom. How easy is that?
If we can manage, we also pack a smaller suitcase and fit it inside a bigger suitcase. If you do this, you have to be really careful not to go over the 50 pounds per bag usually allowed by airlines. We all buy way too much at Disney, and getting it home can be a challenge. With the extra suitcase, you can squeeze in the life-sized stuffed animal your child just has to have. It makes that final pack job so much easier, on that sad last day when you must leave Disney.
In our carry-on bags, we pack clothes we will need for our first 24 hours at the resort. This usually includes clothes for dinner that night, PJ’s, clothes for the park the next day, and a bathing suit and cover-up. If our luggage is delayed, or even worse – LOST, we can manage initially. In our carry-on, are our Magic-Bands, cameras, computers, Memory Maker voucher, and any paperwork we’ll need, such as our reservation numbers and details of our car rental. We also travel with extra clothes, make-up, etc, in our carry-on on the way home. More than once, we’ve been stranded in an airport in the way back. Having a toothbrush, clean shirt, and contact lens solution, made it much bearable.
When we arrive at the hotel, we first unpack our carry-ons. And once Magical Express brings our bags, each person looks for the bags with their names, and put them in their drawer. When staying in a hotel room, we also bring a sweater storage unit for each child – the type that has shelves, and hangs in the closet, since there is so little drawer space. Nest the suitcases, and find a corner of the room to stash them (behind the drapes works pretty well), and you are settled. Each morning, each person pulls out their bag for the day, and gets dressed. No looking for clean underwear, or trying to find pants that go with a shirt – it’s all easy. I bring a collapsible laundry basket, and when it’s full, we empty it into an empty suitcase.
You can look at my pile of suitcases, and chuckle. But, it makes our mornings simpler, and we feel that we look our best. And I spend time at the pool, instead of the laundry room. If your family of 4 can travel in one large suitcase, good for you! But, if you can’t, don’t worry about your growing mountain of suitcases. The valets smile when they see you. Tell them the Clever Diva sent you!