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WDW November 2013 Food and Wine_0247

Photo By Meg Mayo Lucas

By Savvy Diva

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your Disney vacation special. Here is a list of useful vacation things I have found at my local dollar store:


1. Zip bags & plastic containers

These are handy for a variety of reasons: snacks, leftovers, containing liquids (like shampoo or juice boxes) if their containers bust open, water-proofing things for water rides or rainy days, change of clothes, containing wet & dirty clothes, & holding all the little things that seem to get lost in the bottom of the bag.


2. Beach toys

If you’re heading anywhere with a fun beach, like the Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World or Castaway Cay through Disney Cruise Line, beach toys are a source of inexpensive entertainment. Dollar stores usually have bags of sandcastle shapes, pails & shovels, and inflatables like beach balls. If you don’t think you will lose them again after your trip, when you’re done playing you can give them to another family to enjoy or recycle them. Plus, it frees up room for more souvenirs!


3. Laundry bags

This is an easy way to keep your dirty clothes out of your clean clothes. You can get one big bag to use as a family, or everyone can have their own they keep in their suitcase. The bag itself is usually machine washable, so toss it in after your clothes. A laundry bag, or pop-up hamper, is really handy if you need to do a load of laundry during your trip.


4. Clothespins

Both Walt Disney World & Disney Cruise Line have retractable clotheslines in their bathrooms. You can drip-dry more clothes at a time if you have clothespins. They are also handy to keep curtains closed.


5. Pump hand soap

My kid has a much easier time with liquid soap than he does with bar soap, and it cuts down on the mess around the sink. I like the fact that it doesn’t dry my skin out as much. Try picking a scent you’ve never tried before. Chances are, every time you smell that sent it will fondly remind you of your trip. To help prevent a mess in your luggage, cut an empty toilet paper tube in half and fit it over the top of the pump. This should keep the pump from pushing down. Then tuck it into a zip bag and it should be fairly safe.


6. Snacks

Some snacks and candy are a deal at $1 and some are not. Take a look to see if you can score a deal!


7. Toys

I enjoy making inexpensive travel bags for my kid (ok, my husband too) so they have new things to keep them busy on the plane or in the car. A new small toy can also be a lifesaver for a cranky toddler in a restaurant.


8. Nightlight

Finding the bathroom in the middle of the night can be tricky no matter how old you are. Plugging in a nightlight by the bathroom counter will help.


9. Beauty products

If you don’t want to take expensive products with you on vacation, see if the dollar store has a comparable product or a travel size. Be sure to test it out first!


10. Activity books

Cross-words, word searches, & Sudoku puzzle books can make waiting that much easier, whether it’s at the airport or waiting in line. Don’t forget to take a pencil or two!


11. Glow-in-the-dark toys

After the sun goes down all the vendors with the light-up toys come out! You can save money by pre-purchasing necklaces, bracelets, swords, & wands. It also makes your child (or your party or your stroller) easier to pick out in the dark because they will look different from the rest. I can usually find a tube of twenty glow-in-the-dark bracelets for $1, and that makes it easy to share!


12. Baby & toddler supplies

You’re on vacation so who wants to do dishes? Not me. Look for disposable bibs, changing pads, sippy cups, washcloths, silverware, plates, bowls, & snack containers.


13. Collapsible boxes

These are so incredibly handy! I keep one on the room table to catch all the things everyone empties out of their pockets. That way, important things like room keys, bracelets, & smashed pennies don’t get misplaced or lost. You can keep one on the bathroom sink as well.


14. Sunglasses

This is one of those things that you really don’t realize how important it is until it’s gone! Stash a pair of dollar store sunglasses in your luggage so if something does happen to your usual ones, you’re not stuck buying a $30 pair.


15. Mesh/closet organizers

Disney does not allow the over-the-door type of organizers because they tend to damage the paint. A simple solution: Clip a clothes hanger to it! Use the type that pants normally come on and make sure it has a good grip. These organizers can make finding things a lot quicker, especially with bigger families.