Four years ago, I authored a post for the WDW Radio Blog entitled “5 Things You Should Always Pack for Walt Disney World.” I still stand behind that list, and continue to pack those items on every vacation. However, my most recent trip to the Florida Project included my preschool age child, and I very quickly developed another list of five things. This time, my quintet of items is specifically for families that include small children. Let’s face it, we families of little ones can use all the help we can get, so I am hoping to pass along a few suggestions to assist others when packing for that next Walt Disney World vacation.
Generally, the lighting in most hotel rooms is an all or nothing situation. In some of the deluxe resorts on WDW property, Guests will find dimmable lights on the headboards of the beds, but even those may not provide light to the right areas of the room. A midnight bathroom run will most definitely result in a full-on, wide awake child, as those lights are typically quite bright. Bringing along a plug-in nightlight, or two, can help assuage bedtime fears, assist with nighttime bathroom trips, and make traversing a room filled with luggage a little less dangerous. If suitcase space allows, a favorite bedtime light, like the illuminated turtle pictured above, may help to make a small child’s week away from their crib or bed a little easier.
Poncho….for the stroller
We learned this lesson the hard way. After a relaxing trip through Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, we exited the theater to find that our stroller had weathered a deluge. Our son was none too happy about walking while his stroller aired out. We saw several parents who had pre-purchased the inexpensive ponchos from Walmart to cover their strollers any time it appeared that a storm might be approaching. At less than $3.00 apiece, it may be worth it to buy more than one in order to avoid having to fight with drying and repacking a soaked one at the end of the day.
Often seen as a part of rock climbing gear or used as a keychain, the carabiner can be a mom’s best friend. This oblong metal clip is sturdy and attaches easily to a number of items. The best suggestion is to fasten a large carabiner to the handle or sidebar of the stroller and use it to secure any number of necessities. We used ours to secure my son’s water bottle which had a plastic loop handle on the top. It could also be used to hold small bags, hats with straps, resort re-fillable mugs, fans, etc. What or how much can be fastened depends on the size of carabiner, the enormous Mommy Hook would be capable of holding so much that the stroller may become back heavy!
Wide-brimmed sun hat
Young children have such fair skin and fine hair that it is incredibly easy for the tops of their heads, ears and faces to burn quickly. While sunscreen is always necessary and recommended, it can be hard to keep up with reapplications, so it is good to take extra precautions. Wide-brimmed hats cover the top of the head and provide shade to the ears and, depending on brim size, the majority of the face.
If the child in your family is still in the diaper stage, this is a given; however, even once a little one is potty trained, wet wipes are an essential on vacation. It is nearly impossible for even an adult to finish a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar without getting drippy ice cream and chocolate on their hands, and a powdered sugar-covered funnel cake cannot be properly enjoyed with a knife and fork. In these sticky situations, it’s wet wipes to the rescue! Not only are they good for after eating, they are nice to freshen up with before enjoying those favorite finger foods, too. Also, while the Cast Members of Walt Disney World are exceptional, there are times when quick service dining locations can be so busy that you may need to snag a seat where the table has not yet been cleaned. It is always easier to wipe down a table with a wet wipe than a dry napkin.
If you travel with small children, what items make your Walt Disney World packing list? Have you discovered any products that help solve common vacation problems?
(Photos from the author’s personal collection)
To learn more about Kendall and read her recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.