Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World or on a Disney cruise can be fun and overwhelming at the same time, whether it is for a week’s stay or a quick getaway. For our family, it involves several stops before we even get to the resort, and over the years, I have developed a system for staying organized on our trips. Some people go all out and create cute Disney themed binders. But I have found that a simple expandable, five slot folder does the trick, and it is easy to travel with it in my carry-on. I do have a travel binder that I use while planning, and then I transfer the essential documents over to the folder. Call me old fashioned, but it is usually faster to pull out a piece of paper than to search for it on my phone.
What is Inside?
I like to organize my folder in the order I will need things.
Since we travel from Ohio, we leave our car at the airport, and sometimes if we have a super early flight, we even stay at an airport hotel. The first slot is for this information. I keep a paperclip on the top of the divider so I can attach the parking ticket for easy access when we return home.
Airline Documents and Disney’s Magical Express
Again, I’m old school and print out our boarding passes, so these go in the next slot. I also like to bring along the Disney’s Magical Express information and extra luggage tags in case one gets ripped before we check them in.
We frequent WDW several times a year and sometimes we do a split stay (staying at two different resorts on one trip). That means more paperwork in case something goes awry with the WDW reservation system. While planning our trip, we jot down things we want to do at the resort, like surrey bikes, yoga, etc. So this is a good place for that list; it’s handy, and we can cross off our must-dos as we accomplish them.
Park Itinerary and FastPass+
Because we stay on WDW property, we utilize MagicBands and My Disney Experience for all of our resort-related fun. I do still bring a print-out of our plans, so it is handy the night before, and when I’m bored on the plane ride, it gives me something to dream about. Plus, you never know when MDE will be down, or you just want to unplug from your phone.
Maps & Miscellaneous
You can never have too many Walt Disney World maps! I like to keep them as souvenirs, and the folder helps to keep them flat and wrinkle-free while we travel home. I also like to keep other items safe in the folder like racing bibs, disembarkation information, etc.
Depending on the type of trip we are taking, this slot could hold other important documents. For instance, I use this slot when we are at WDW for a runDisney event. It’s a good idea to print off your participant waivers while at home and to bring them with you — this is a safe place.
My family loves to cruise with Disney Cruise Line, which requires having passports. Since our first cruise in 2007, I have always kept all of our passports in a separate colorful zippered pencil pouch. The clear side allows a quick-peak to make sure they are all there without opening the zipper. It’s easy to reach into my expandable folder and grab the pouch when needed instead of having the passports loose in my carry-on or purse.
I hope your next trip to Walt Disney World is a magical one and that this Tip of the Week helps you stay organized and stress-free.
To learn more about Vanessa Prince and read her other posts on the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page.
(Photos from the personal collection of Vanessa Prince.)