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By Pink Diva

Over-packing is one of the biggest mistakes people make for a vacation.  The “what if’s” take over and before you know it, you have more items shoved into a tiny hotel room or are miserable all day because you carried a heavy bag into the park.  Never fear!  I am here to let you know what you absolutely need and what to leave.

For the hotel room:

  • Somewhere to put your dirty laundry.  It can be a garbage bag, a designated suitcase, or as I like, a pop-up laundry basket (you can find these super cheap at dollar stores or Wal-Mart).  Keep your discarded clothes together and in one place.  It will keep the hotel room looking clean, you will know the dirty from the clean and can help you pack up faster.
  • Snacks and drinks.  There is nothing worse than a long, fun day then going back to the room and find you are hungry.  Sure, you could order room service, but it’s so much easier to be able to grab something in your room.  You can bring your own snacks, mail them ahead of time or have them delivered by a grocery.
  • Extra towels.  As soon as you get there ask the hotel to bring you extra towels.  These are great for everything.  We have brought towels inside the parks to cover strollers, used small towels to wipe sweat or as an emergency blanket when it gets cold.  We have also used them in the room as a mini picnic on the bed.  Put the towel down and put the snacks on top.  Kids can easily eat and no mess on the bed!
  • Pump hand soap.  I know they have soap in the hotel room.  But how many little hands can easily use that soap to wash?  I have found bringing my own pump hand soap keeps the bathroom and hands cleaner.

Pump soap makes keeping hands clean a LOT easier than the one bar soap from the room.

  • Dish soap and bottle brush.  This you only really need if you are washing kids bottles or cups.  And it’s something most people forget about.

Dish soap keeps cups and dishes all clean.

  • Entertainment.  Books, toys, electronics-whatever your kids or you like bring them.  You may not plan on a lot of down time, but it will be there.  While you are showering, packing for the day, or getting things together it’s nice to have something for everyone to do.  On occasion, the little ones are too exhausted by the end of the trip to make it to final fireworks (or you come back for naps) a book is nice for you to enjoy during that down time.

In the park:

  • A park map.  They are located at the entrance of each park.  These are very handy.  Getting from one place to another can get confusing.  Plus, the maps make fun souvenirs!
  • Something that tells time.  Yes, Cast Members can tell you the time, but it’s nice to know to keep yourself on schedule.  Cell phones make this very easy, but if yours dies or you have it buried in a bag you may miss out on a FastPass+ or a parade.
  • Sunscreen.  No matter what time of year you are visiting it will be sunny.  Keep it with you and apply every 90 minutes for maximum protection.
  • Snacks.  I usually have a small bag of snacks for the kids, but I try to include a few things for the adults as well.  It saves time (no waiting in line!), money, and you know it will be enjoyed.  I have found a small Dum Dum lollypop will keep kids entertained while waiting for anything.
  • Your own glow-in-the-dark items.  If you are staying at the park until it gets dark you will see the whirly, light-up items everywhere.  And they are pricey!  Yes, it’s part of the experience and go for it if you want, but I have found a trip to the dollar store, party store, or Target’s dollar section for these items is the better option.  I usually pick up a few necklaces, bracelets, sticks, wands and I’ve even seen princess crowns.  These items are small, lightweight and don’t take up much room.  Plus, you can give your kids a bunch of them for what you will pay at the dollar store.
  • Rain gear.  It rains in Florida.  A lot.  Bring an umbrella and poncho or rain coat.  Ponchos fold down nicely if you don’t need them, but will keep you nice and dry if you do.  A poncho at the park will cost you anywhere from $7-10.  You can find cheaper (and still Disney!) ones if you look in your store’s local umbrella section.

I picked these up at a Wal-Mart near Orlando for around $4.

  • Water bottle.  Some people will disagree with this one, but it’s a must for me.  I take full advantage of the free cups of water/ice by filling up my water bottle with two cups of ice and using the water fountain.  My water stays cool, I have it with me and when it’s really hot it’s nice to have it handy.

His and Her water bottles.

These are a few of my must have items for a trip to Disney.  Also, don’t forget your Disney-themed clothes!  Have fun with it.  Where the shirt, hat, sunglasses, bag, shoes-anything!  What is on your must-have Disney vacation list?