Disney (Must Read!) Tips & Tricks
SO MUCH goes into planning and packing for a Disney World trip! I feel like you could write a whole class on Disney! After a TON of research and planning for our first trip, we felt more than prepared on our first family vacation to Disney World and learned so much leading up to our trip, so I wanted to keep the magic alive and share these tips and tricks that were game changers for us.
NOTE: What works for us, may not be what's best for your family. These are just things that we found fun, helpful and/or made our trip go much more smoothly.
Check out my more extensive packing guide: "Disney: Buy BEFORE you Go! Save $, Create more Magic!"
PACKING CUBES: I'm a little OCD when it comes to wanting things organized when traveling and these Clear Packing Cubes are one of my FAVORITE things, and we use them for all our trips! I use a different stitching color for each kid (my son has the green set, my daughter has pink, I have white, and my husband has black) so we quickly can find our things and stay organized while traveling. For each kid, I use a separate cube for pajamas, undies, socks, bows, etc. You can also organize outfits by day and label them with a sticky note or masking tape. I also used one of these for the park day "ESSENTIALS" bag which included Advil, Dramamine, sunblock, Chapstick, Kleenex, Pedialyte, moleskin band-aids for blisters, regular band aids, $1 and $5 bills for the pressed penny machines, Neosporin, etc.
BUY AHEAD OF TIME: We ordered a lot of our Disney shirts, princess dresses, Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, comfy shoes, Ponchos, Minnie Mouse Ears, and other goodies from Amazon, Target, and Costco ahead of time. If you like to save money, check out my post "Disney: Buy BEFORE you Go! Save $, Create more Magic!" for a full list of the things we purchased ahead of time.
SNACKS & SWEET TREATS: You can also go to Target or your local candy shop and get a few snacks and fun treats like lollipops, cotton candy, etc. ahead of time and save your money to spend on the good Disney treats like Dole whip, Disney Mickey pretzels, Mickey ice cream bars, cupcakes, etc.
COMFY SHOES: I decided to splurge on some Hoka Shoes ahead of time and can't tell you how much these saved my feet! I found a decent deal on these shoes so check them out on Zappos too. I was skeptical at first as I wasn't a big fan of wearing boats on my feet, but my feet and back always ache after being on my feet all day, and I felt fine all week in these! FYI: You'll walk the most at Epcot. These are now my new favorite shoes! Worth it!!
MICKEY EARS: We bought ours online before we left (for $7 each!), but if you enjoy spending $40 per pair of ears, then by all means, wait until Disney! They do have some fun ears there! I bought this adorable Minnie Mouse Ears set for my daughter and me along with this traditional Minnie Mouse Ears set for us too!
DISNEY CLOTHES: We scoured the Internet for some fun Disney gear and found some adorable shirts from Amazon, Target, Carter's, and even Costco! Here are a few of my Favs: Dream is a Wish T-shirt, my fav Magic Vibes, adorable Tanks, and Magical. I made one "Family" set of shirts for our first day too with my awesome Silhouette Machine. See pic below. Again, another easy way to save a little as we preferred to spend $5-$22 per shirt instead of $40 per shirt at Disney, but do as you please!
PACK (JUST IN CASE):
iCARE MOBILE MEDICINE: If someone in your party gets sick, it's always great to have a plan. I've heard great things about Dr. Brown at iCare House Call Doctors (24 hour mobile medicine) so keep their number in your back pocket just in case: 855.247.3627.
DRAMAMINE: If there's even a chance you or someone in your family may get motion sickness, better to be safe than sorry! Pack Dramamine for adults and Dramamine for Kids because you just never know how those rides are going to treat the body. We like to be prepared Polly's and have them just in case we need them.
MOLESKIN BANDAIDS FOR BLISTERS: We packed these Blister Bandaids and didn't need them, but you'll be glad you have them if you do! If you or your kids are not used to walking a lot or have newer shoes, these might just come in handy for you. They're useful even when we're at home for when we or the kids get blisters with new shoes too.
TRAVEL DETERGENT: Another useful tip is to pack a few Travel Detergent Packets in case you need to do a quick wash in the sink! These came in handy for us as we started the trip with the stomach flu. For the flu or messy eaters alike, these can help limit the set in stains for when you get back!
GOOD THINGS TO HAVE:
FANNY PACK/MINI BAG: This was gold for me. I'm notorious for losing things and with my fanny pack, I lost NOTHING for once in my life! In my fanny pack, I kept my Phone, phone battery pack, hand sanitizer, mini sun block, chapstick, and sunglasses and all were super easy to access and put away on the rides. I LOVE this adorable, little Crossbody Sling Bag as it's super cute, functional, and the perfect size for the essentials! Plus it comes in a variety of colors and a few sizes.
PORTABLE PHONE BATTERY PACK: My phone is notorious for dying by around 11AM when I'm not even using it much, so I knew I would need a backup at Disney. Using the DisneyWorld app for the map, to book rides, pictures, etc. drains the battery fast, even if you have a decent phone to begin with. Charge ahead of time and bring a Portable Battery Charger - you'll thank me later!
EASY ACCESSIBLE HAND SANITIZER: This was nice to have nearby after the kids played at the Dumbo playground, after rides, and also before snacks if we weren't close to a bathroom to wash hands.
PONCHOS: We were lucky and didn't have any rain, but they are always a good thing to have in your bag just in case. We bought 2 ponchos per person with this Poncho Family Pack as a back up in case one of them ripped. Florida is notorious for pop up rain showers, so better to be safe than sorry!
PRINCESS DRESSES: If princess dresses are a must for your child, pack princess dresses (and crowns if desired) in Ziploc bags to avoid glitter getting on any and everything. My daughter wanted to wear a dress to meet certain princesses and for some of the character meals, but I knew she wouldn't want to wear it all day, so I packed them in a Ziploc bag to change into. We brought my daughter's princess dresses from home to save some money and then surprised her with one dress from the princesses when we arrived.
ZIPLOCK BAGS: Bring some extra sandwich and quart-size bags for snacks and Disney cookies/treats or other things they may want to finish later. These are also great for wet or dirty clothes.
SOUVENIRS: We told the kids they could each pick out one thing on their last day at Disney. This kept them from asking if they could have something every time we went into a store or saw a vendor. I've also seen people do Souvenir Vouchers which are a cute idea. Of course my daughter picked out the most expensive souvenir - the biggest Disney castle, so next time we will be setting a price limit on their souvenir. ;) My son evened it out with a $15 sword though so it all worked out.
BUBBLE WANDS: I would say this is probably one of the better, more useful souvenirs for little kids at Disney. If you do 2 souvenirs for the kids, you could have them pick out 1 souvenir at the beginning and 1 at the end of the trip. The bubble wand is a good one to get at the beginning as they will use it all trip. Bring extra bubbles from home or add them to your Grocery pick up order if needed. You can also plan ahead of time and buy some other Disney versions on Amazon such as these Disney Bubble Wands (2+ for the price of 1 as the bubble wands at Disney are $35-$40). We did this for our kids, and they didn't know the difference and had a blast with them each day!
AUTOGRAPH BOOKS: I made the kids autograph books ahead of time and brought a variety of Retractable Sharpies (which make it easier for the characters and also less likely for permanent marker stains on your clothes!) You can also buy basic Disney Autograph Books online, make your own, or buy them at the park! Another fun idea is to have the characters sign one of your kids' favorite Disney books.
FRAME MATS: One of my favorite things was our autographed picture frame. We had these White Picture Frame Mats autographed to use in picture frames and put one of our favorite pictures of all of us in it.
BED BUMPERS: If you have toddlers or little kids that aren't used to sleeping in a big bed without railings/bumpers, then these Inflatable Bed Bumpers are for you! They blow up easily so they don't take up much room in the suitcase and worked great for our kids age 2 and 4.
MONEY: If you have a Magic Band, you really shouldn't need money as you can pay for most things with your band, but you may want to bring some $1 and $5 bills if your kids like collecting the Disney pressed pennies and medallions. You can use a credit card too, but it usually will charge you for all of them if you use a credit card, and we didn't want all of them each time, so it was nice to have some spare bills for this. Magic bands don't work for these machines as of now. Also, even though you don't need to tip Disney staff, if someone goes out of your way, you can always offer a tip or give them a Cast Compliment (on the DisneyWorld app) as we all appreciate being recognized for a job well done!
COLLAPSIBLE LAUNDRY HAMPER: When we travel, we love bringing a compact Collapsible Laundry Hamper to easily throw our dirty laundry in and stay organized.
GLOW STICKS: We packed some Glow Sticks and had fun with these at the fireworks and Fantasmic show. Bonus, we packed extra and when I could tell a mom behind me was having a hard time with her kiddos, I offered some glow stick bracelets to them (ask the mom first of course!) which brought some major smiles to the kids and was one small way to add a little "Pixie Dust" to someone's day.
PIXIE DUST: Disney is known for its magical "Pixie Dust" which just means giving, finding, creating, or being the recipient of "pixie dust" (some act of kindness or extra magic) from someone else. If you're lucky, a cast member might be a part of this (it might be as simple as getting a better seat on a ride or a cupcake at a restaurant to celebrate a birthday), but you can create your own too! If you're one of those people that goes out of your way to try and make someone else's day better, you will love this aspect of Disney! If you want to be the giver of pixie dust, some ideas are: giving a mom (or a few moms) a $5 Starbucks gift card, having glow sticks or Disney stickers for your kids to give to other kids, or something as simple as telling a mom she's doing an amazing job (with all the research, planning, packing, and effort that goes into Disney, hearing this can be a gift in itself)!
BEFORE YOU GO:
DINING ALERTS: Sign up for Dining Alerts if you weren't able to snag the restaurant you wanted. We booked our vacation about a month out so we didn't get to making dining reservations 60 days out. We used StakeOut and the Dining Alert apps, and the Stakeout app actually worked for us as we got into Akershus for a character dinner with the princesses! Many times a few days before your trip, there will be lots of people that cancel their reservations so you may be able to snag something a few days before or even the day of!
DISNEY PLANNING GROUPS: I joined the "Smart Moms Planning Disney" group, and it was a life saver for me as I learned TONS of tips before we went and felt more than prepared while we were there.
DISNEY TRAVEL PLANNER: I highly recommend working with a Disney Travel Planner (we worked with Margy from Main Street Vacation Planners and she was amazing!) as they can find ways to save money. LJ from the Smart Moms Planning Disney group is awesome too! If you're not set on a specific time to visit Disney, go at a less popular time for lower prices and hotel/park day discounts.
DISNEY GOODY BAG: Add a little magic before you go! I ordered a few things and stopped by the Dollar Tree, TJ Maxx, and Target dollar bins and found some fun Disney goodies and cheap thrills that I gave to our kids for the trip down to Disney. We brought the Leapfrogs as a backup for our 8-hour car ride, but with all the goodies, excitement, and books, our kids didn't even open up the screens on the way there or back (to be fair they also slept in the car for a few hours on the way home which was a first!) but regardless, I'll call it a win! Here are a few of our fun finds!
GET FAMILIAR: Download the DisneyWorld app ahead of time and get a good lay of the land. We made a tentative, flexible park day plan for each day and then went with the flow for other parts of the day. This saved us TONS of time from needlessly walking around from one end of the park to the other. Watch some YouTube videos for how to use Genie+, check out height requirements for which rides your kids can go on, etc. Also, just because your kid meets the height requirement and can go on a ride, doesn't mean that it's best for your kid. You know your kid best and what they can handle, so do what you think! We checked out a few rides on Youtube ahead of time to get an idea of what to expect since I have a little one with sensory issues.
STROLLER TIPS & TRICKS:
STROLLER: We brought our own stroller, but if you need to rent a stroller, Scooter Bug is a great place to rent. It should be waiting at the resort when you arrive.
STROLLER COVER: If it looks like even a hint of rain, cover your stroller with a Stroller Cover or poncho as a last resort (check ahead of time to make sure it fits), if you're headed in line for a ride, show, or restaurant. Florida's weather is unpredictable and quick rain showers are quite common. The last thing you want is a drenched stroller as kids don't want to sit in a wet, soggy stroller. Better to be safe than sorry!
STROLLER ORGANIZER: We used this shoe organizer on the back of our stroller and it was pure gold. My hubs doubted me at first, but by day 1, he was a big fan. If you have little kids and want to avoid digging in a bookbag every time, this is your ticket. For quick access, in the pockets we had extra diapers/wipes/diaper cream, sunblock, snacks, autograph/sharpies, sunglasses, kids' waters, etc. I found this at the Dollar Tree, and it was the perfect size. I tied (and double-knotted) big loops of fabric strips I had (or you could use rope, large carabineer hooks, sturdy ribbon, etc.) at the top so that I could easily take it on and off when/if we needed to break the stroller down (ex. To get on any buses or the Skyliner since we had a double stroller). We were able to just push our double stroller straight onto the ferries which was a huge win.
STROLLER FAN: This was also a MUST for us. We had 2 REALLY hot days so we took turns with the fan. When my kids fell asleep in the stroller, we angled it down on them which kept them cool. We LOVE and use this Battery Operated, 3 Speed Flexible Fan often.
DECORATE STROLLER: It's no joke, there really are TONS of strollers at Disney and the cast members can move your stroller around as needed. Decorate stroller with ribbon, balloon, bandana, a small sign hanging from the back that says "<LAST NAME OF FAMILY'S> STROLLER" to easily locate your stroller. We also put an Air Tag in our stroller to locate it easily.
STROLLER LIGHTS: Use stroller lights for nighttime if you plan to stay out later and want to find your stroller easier. I found some cute Minnie lights in the dollar bins at Target.
ARRIVAL: Our room said it would be ready at 3PM, but it was ready a little ahead of time. We packed swimsuits in a carry on in case we got there early and could use the pools while waiting for our room.
DISNEY ROOM SURPRISE: When the kids were swimming, I ran up to "go to the bathroom" so I could get the Disney surprises out while the kids were occupied. I laid out a Disney princess dress, crown, and pajamas with a note from the princesses on the bed my daughter would be sleeping on, and for my son, I included a Mickey shirt, Mickey pajamas, Mickey plush, and a note from Mickey and friends. They were thrilled and it started the trip on a magical, fun note!
GET ORGANIZED / LAY OUT OUTFITS THE DAY BEFORE: Mornings are always hectic for us, but one of the most helpful tips was to get everything organized the day before including laying out all the clothes, shoes, Mickey ears, etc. I made sure the stroller was packed and ready to go the night before with water in the water bottles, extra water bottles, magic bands, sun screen, bubble wands, sunglasses, and ALL the essentials, etc. This took me a good hour every night as I had about 50 things to check off my list, but it was worth it to save time and avoid stress in the morning.
MOM TIP: If you're able to, Moms get up earlier and shower in the (semi) dark, then get ready in peace and quiet. Your brain will thank me later. ;)
SUNSCREEN: Make sure you apply and reapply sunscreen on your kids, including their ears, behind ears, hair part lines / pigtail lines, etc. to avoid sunburn. The sun at Hollywood Studios is unforgiving as there isn't much shade, so make sure to reapply often there! We love the sunscreen at Trader Joe's.
AVOID LOST KIDDOS: You probably will be fine as we have 2 littles 4 and under, and they stayed by us for the most part, but we felt it was better to be safe than sorry, especially since one of our kids isn't very verbal. We did see other families panicking with lost kids while we were there so we were thankful to have peace of mind. There was one time when our 2 year old looked up and didn't see us and must have gone into panic mode as he bolted for the door of the restaurant, but thankfully I was watching him like a hawk and was able to run after him to get him before he went too far. If you prefer peace of mind, here are some ideas to help. Place Air Tags in children's pockets, in Air Tag Bracelets, or attached to belt loops with these Waterproof Unbreakable Air Tag Holders, You can also place one in the stroller (to quickly locate your stroller as cast members can move strollers around). We attached these to our kids' belt loops with the Air Tag Holders and when they didn't have belt loops, we had our kids wear them in these Air Tag Bracelets. Since my 2 year old was too small to have a Magic Band, he actually thought his Air Tag Bracelet was a Magic Band so he would pretend scan it at the rides and felt so proud! We also had custom silicone bracelets made with our phone numbers that the kids wore (from WristBandy.com) and had a plan for them to find a cast member if lost, just in case. Yes, we are a little over the top when it comes to our kids' safety, but at the end of the day, you can't put a price on your kids or peace of mind.
PREP FOR COOLER MORNINGS OR EVENINGS: If it's chilly in the morning, bring a sweatshirt, cardigan, or light jacket (especially for the kids). This also works well if your kids get cold in restaurants. We love this light, Compact Travel Blanket too as it folds up compactly (easily fit inside the stroller organizer) and worked perfectly for chilly mornings when the kids wore shorts, but the mornings were still chilly for 2 hours. It also was great for the kids to sit on while waiting and watching the parade and waiting for the fireworks.
DISNEY DIAPER FOR POTTY TRAINING: We had just potty trained our 2 year old, but didn't want to spend half of the trip searching for bathrooms or changing clothes from accidents so we told him he could wear a "Disney Diaper" (or "Travel Diaper" for long car trips) just while at Disney. This worked well for us and saved time!
GENIE+: Genie+ is a must (if you want to avoid 2 hour lines and plan to ride a lot). We did ride stacking and were able to ride 8+ rides in 3 hours at MK. If this is your strategy, book what's around you with the soonest time possible and then rebook your next ride right after you scan into your current ride. Also, start refreshing your phone screen at 6:59AM as some say you can actually book your first ride at 6:59:57. There are plenty of YouTube videos to watch to get your prepared to use Genie+ before you go so you will be ready when you're there.
STANDBY SKIPPER: We didn't have to use it, but people swear that Standby Skipper saves you, especially if you don't want to mess with setting up Genie+.
SET ALARMS: Set up alarms on phone for Genie+ if you don't use Standby Skipper.
RIDER SWAP: Utilize "Rider Swap" to make sure you still get to enjoy the rides with as little wait as possible, even with little kids! There will be a cast member outside each ride that can set you up for this! We did this with Slinky Dog, 7 Dwarves Mine Train, Soarin' and a few others that my son was too small to go on.
PARK & RESORT TIPS:
2 & UNDER FREE!: We were on the fence on whether we should wait a few more years to take our 2 year old, but looking back, I'm so glad we took him! Not only was he free (free entry to parks, free buffet when dining at a buffet restaurant, and many character meals will provide a free small option for food too), but watching his reactions when meeting the characters and making so many memories for all of us was more than worth it!
USE YOUR TIME/STRATEGIZE: If you plan to wait around for good seating for the parade or fireworks or for a longer character meet and greet, use your time and have someone wait in the spot with a blanket (or in line) while the other adult grabs some lunch or snacks to bring so that not everyone is just sitting around for an hour. For example, our awesome Disney planner Margy at Main Street Vacation Planners recommended camping out for the fireworks about an hour early and then my hubs grabbing mini corn dogs and a hot dog at Casey's Corner. For the Alice in Wonderland meet and greet, I waited in line with the kids while my husband grabbed Fish and Chips from Yorkshire Country Fish Shop in the England World Showcase in Epcot. Then the kids ate while we waited in line. Maybe I was just starving, but I thought it was by far the BEST fish and chips I've ever had, and I lived in England for a summer!
REST DAY: We did 4 parks in 4 consecutive days with 2 little kids (age 2 and 4) and no rest days except before and after, and I wish we would have had one rest day in between as the late nights and early mornings (and our 2 year old refusing naps) would have been a nice break. We made it work though, but in hindsight, the extra pool day in the middle would have been fabulous!
FREEBIES: Disney has some freebies that are fun to grab for the kids (and adults!) A few things: Kids can get free "pixie dust" in their hair at Sir Mickey's, treasure maps at Adventure Island, "first visit" buttons, a Belle bookmark in Enchanted Tales with Belle, etc.
BUTTONS: Don't forget to wear your buttons if you're celebrating something (ie. First visit, birthday, anniversary, hero, etc.) You never know when you might get a little extra magic!
FERRY: The ferry was awesome for us as we had a double stroller, and we could just wheel the double stroller on without breaking it down. We had 2 days at MK so this worked out awesome for us.
ARMY DRUM CORPS IN TOY STORY LAND (HS): This was a fun little break as the kids had a snack as we enjoyed the entertainment. Stand by the alien saucer ride to watch the show.
CAMPFIRES: If you're back at your resort in the evening, many of them have campfires where kids can roast s'mores which is always a hit with the kiddos.
FIREWORKS: We ended up sitting here (at the end of Main Street facing the the castle) and it was wonderful! If I do it again, I'll sit towards the middle of Main Street to see the new projections on the building. I did get some pretty great shots though even with tons of people around and an already tall guy ahead of me holding up his Phone 1 foot above his head which was annoying. Thankfully he brought it done every once in awhile. If you would like a guaranteed seat to watch though and not be bumped everywhere, splurge on the Fireworks Dessert Parties as they bring out desserts and you have a place to watch!
PHOTO PASS: If you like photos, budget this in as it's worth it! Not only do you not need to ask other people to take your photos, but you'll have so many more from your trip. Ask the photographers if they have any "Magic Shots" too (see example below)! The kids loved these and we had so much fun with them!
PARADE: We ended up watching the parade 3 times. If you want a prime spot, you'll probably need to camp out about 30 minutes before (or possibly longer). One adult can camp out while another one can grab some snacks from a quick service restaurant or snack cart if desired. We got to this prime spot about 15 minutes before, but the nicest gentleman insisted he stand behind so the kids could get a front row view. We were grateful for the sweet pixie dust gesture! The funny part about that though was that as soon as the "scary fire breathing dragon" came out, the kids jumped in the stroller to hide for half of the parade. haha
KEEP IN MIND:
KEEP IN MIND: Remember, little kids don't know what they're missing. One of the best decisions we made for our family was skipping Remy's as my kids get scared easily as well as were overstimulated and scared of the dark rides, even if they weren't scary, so even though it seemed age appropriate and "all the kids are doing it", we skipped this ride as well as a few others that we knew would cause nightmares for our very visual and curious kids. They had never seem the movie so they wouldn't have cared anyway. We also wanted to stay and watch the fireworks show at Epcot, but we ended up coming back and missing the fireworks as our kids refused naps and needed sleep to avoid major, overtired meltdowns the next day. Even though I'm a "want to see and do it all" type, I have to take into consideration what's best for our family, and this was by far one of the best decisions we made to avoid meltdowns and for everyone to enjoy the trip the best way possible. There's always another year!
DISNEY FOOD & SNACKS:
Obviously food preference is quite subjective, but wanted to share just a couple of our favs while we were at Disney. Check out "Disney Food & Snacks Worth the Splurge!" for even more delicious food and fun treats and sweets to try!
DOLE WHIP at MK: We loved the Pineapple Swirl Dole Whip and Tropical Serenade Float at Aloha Isle (near Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride) so much we had it twice on our trip.
TOTCHOS AT HS: This deserved its own point. By far one of my favorite foods at Disney. Just try them at Andy's Lunchbox in Toy Story Land (in Hollywood Studios). We may have been extra hungry, but they were amazing and everyone in our family loved them! If you order them on the mobile app and there is a long wait, you can go stand in line and ask a Cast Member if they can possibly move up the order. They were able to do this for us so we didn't have to wait 45 minutes which meant moving on to the next part of the park! The kids also ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut & Raspberry Lunch Box Tarts and liked them, but I wasn't a huge fan. If I had to pick, I'd go with the chocolate hazelnut tart though.
FISH & CHIPS AT EPCOT: Just try the fish and chips at Yorkshire Country Fish Shop or Rose & Crown in the England World Showcase in Epcot (Maybe I was just starving, but I thought it was by far the BEST fish and chips I've ever had and I lived in England for a summer). They taste WAY better than they look!
More food and Character Dining info at "Disney Food & Snacks Worth the Splurge!"
FOOD & WATER:
WATER: You can't bring glass bottles to Disney so pack stainless steel or plastic bottles! We filled up our water bottles in the morning and then brought extra water bottles with us too. They do have complimentary water at some of the Quick Service restaurants and drinking fountains, but I'm picky with how water tastes, so preferred bottled water when traveling. Hydrate well in the morning and throughout the day to avoid heat exhaustion and to keep everyone feeling their best. This was my favorite Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle we bought ahead of time (and I loved the colors!), and I just attached it to the stroller ribbon with a small carabineer hook. My husband had a water bottle on the other side of the stroller too. We both were recovering from the stomach bug so we also used these Liquid IV Hydration Packets which are great for recovery as well as hydration on hot days.
GROCERY DELIVERY: Utilize Vacation Grocery Delivery or Walmart delivery if you would like groceries or adult beverages waiting for you when you arrive.
FOOD TO PACK/GROCERY PICK UP: Use whatever works for your family of course. Some of the things that worked for us were Lunchables, fruit, muffins, cereal, milk, water, oatmeal, granola bars, veggies, snacks, water, cheese sticks, bagels, cream cheese, prune juice (see note below), Pedialyte packets, etc.
FOOD PLAN: We drove to Disney for this trip, so we brought a soft cooler that we took to the parks and also had a larger hard cooler that we refilled with ice every night. Our son has special medical/dietary needs so we were able to request a microwave in our room, but they usually have a microwave onsite even if you don't have one in your room. Many of the rooms have a beverage cooler, but they are smaller and also don't get as cold as a refrigerator so we decided to play it extra safe since we brought lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, and smoked salmon. We found the best way to get out the door quickly in the morning was to make a quick breakfast that the kids could eat in the stroller, on the way to the park to get everyone a little something in their stomachs and avoid the hangry morning monsters, so we packed hard boiled eggs, oatmeal packets, a small thermos of DF milk, muffins, bagels and cream cheese, granola bars, etc. Some other food that worked out well for us were individual mac and cheese cups, Lunchables, turkey corn dogs (for late nights when we or the kids needed a little something extra in the room).
PEDIALYTE: We always pack plenty of Pedialyte Immune Support packets whenever we travel because our kids ALWAYS get sick. These are not only great for IF the kids get sick, but for prevention and hydration. Every day we actually brought a water bottle with water for each kid along with a Munchkin Straw Cup (close to spill proof) for each kid filled with Pedialyte. Our kids love drinking Pedialyte and think it's a special treat, so it's a win for everyone. The extra electrolytes helped keep them hydrated along with an extra boost of vitamins. Crazy enough, even though we all were recovering from the stomach bug going into the start of our Disney trip, no one got sick (minus pink eye) for the first time ever after we got back from Disney (and I even have a 2 year old thumb sucker!) PTL!
SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS!: Yes, I know you can buy and try lots of Disney food (which we did and LOVED!), but when standing in line (especially character meets) and the line ends up being longer than you anticipate, let's just say snacks were our best friend and kept everyone happy. Some of our go-to snacks: cheese sticks, clementines, fruit, pretzels, granola bars, fruit bars, veggie straws, sliced peppers, chips, and fruit pouches.
PRUNE JUICE: I'm sure I'll get a few chuckles with this, but this is always a life saver for us when we travel to keep the kids a little more regular and avoid our daughter complaining of her stomach hurting ALL day as she isn't a big water drinker. We didn't go crazy on it, just had them drink a little every morning. I also LOVE these LOVEBUG Toddler Probiotic and Fiber Packets that I put into my kids "Vitamin Water" each morning which helps to keep them regular. We use them every day!
VITAMINS: Load up before you go and take plenty while you're on the trip. I had some vitamins in our room ready to go but also kept some in our cooler for us and the kids for after we had a full meal in our stomachs to avoid taking them on an empty stomach.
Thanks for reading!! For things to buy ahead and pack, ways to save money, and create more magic, check out "Disney: Buy BEFORE you Go! Save $, Create more Magic!" as well as "Disney Food & Snacks Worth the Splurge!"