Things You’ll Wish You Had Remembered to Bring on Your Disney Vacation

What To Pack on Your Disney Trip

A successful Walt Disney World vacation requires preparation, particularly when you’re traveling with children. In my adventures going to Walt Disney World with up to six nieces and nephews at the time, I’ve learned that the simplest things can mean the difference between tears and tantrums and giggles and glee.

So here’s my list of things that you may not have thought to bring . . . but if you don’t, you’ll wish you had. The last 6 are more about the kids’ safety and your own sanity.

1. Stickers

Stickers are a great way to keep small children occupied in line. I bring lots of them so the kids can use as many as they want, and I often give them to other kids standing near us if they look like they want one too. (It’s best to ask the parents first, but I’ve never had anyone say no). I like the foil-backed ones because they stick to clothing and skin better than the paper kind. I’ve found Disney ones in bags of 100ish at Walgreens and Hobby Lobby for around a dollar or two. They used to be at Dollar Tree, too, but I haven’t seen them there lately.

2. Temporary Tattoos

Another great way to keep kids occupied. All you need to do is pocket a few paper towels from the bathroom and then wet them with a drinking fountain or water bottle whenever the kids need a little distraction. Again, I bring a lot of them and let the kids have as many as they want. I’ve found a wide assortment of Disney tattoos at Party City.

3. Glow Bracelets/Necklaces

Kids love them, and it helps you keep track of them after dark. I’ve found them in the Target Dollar Spot and at Dollar Tree, which is much less expensive than buying them in the Parks.

4. Water Spray Bottle/Fan

If you’re in WDW between April and October, chances are it’s going to be *hot*. As soon as your kids see the spray water bottles they sell just about everywhere, they’re going to want one. I don’t remember exactly how much they cost, but I remember being horrified. Bring one (or one for each kid) along and pull it out of your bag at the right moment to satisfy their water-spraying urges.

5. Hair Glitter

If you have little girls, they will soon notice other little girls around the park who have fancy hairdos covered in pixie dust (glitter). These girls have been to the charming but expensive (currently $49.95 to $189.95) Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you’re not planning on shelling out for that, you may need a plan B. One option is to go to Harmony Barbershop on Main Street U.S.A., which doles out glitter after a haircut (or at least they did when my niece and nephews got their first haircuts there in 2005 and 2008). The other option is to pull your little girl’s hair in a high, tight bun (which seems to be the most common Bibbidi Bobbidi hairstyle) and cover it with glitter you brought from home. I’ve never seen it sold in the Parks.

6. Some Way to Label Small Children

I’ve heard there are no lost children in Disney World, only lost adults. Either way, it’s pretty terrifying when little ones wander off. We once lost my 18-month-old niece in the Once Upon a Toy store in Downtown Disney. She was missing for all of 90 seconds, but I will always remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when we noticed she was gone. A few years later, when my parents and I took my sister’s kids to WDW while my sister and her husband were on an anniversary cruise, we made the kids wear luggage tags. I’m not kidding: we put our names and phone numbers on the tags and looped them through the kids’ belt loops. Other options include stick-on labels, custom dog tags, and Safe Shoe Child ID.

7. Adhesive Bandages and First Aid Kit

I’ve yet to have a trip that didn’t require at least one Band-aid. There is a first aid station in each park, but if it’s a small cut or scrape, it saves time if you can just take care of it yourself on the spot. I like the Nexcare Tattoo Waterproof Bandages because they stay on so well. They used to come decorated with Disney characters but don’t seem to anymore. You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to violate brand loyalty by wearing a non-Disney-character bandage inside the parks.

8. Nightlight

Useful for kids who are afraid of the dark or nervous in unfamiliar hotel rooms . . . or to keep you from stubbing your toe while moving about in the room after the kids are asleep. Get a cheap one (I’ve found Disney ones at Dollar Tree) so it’s no big deal if you forget it there.

9. Kids-Sized Earplugs or headphones

All of my nieces and nephews have gone through a phase of being terrified of fireworks (some of them are still in it). And for good reason: kids’ ears are much more sensitive to loud noises than adults’ are. We typically cover their ears (which requires a one-adult-per-child ratio, which we don’t always have), or we take them into a shop and try to watch the show from inside. Neither works particularly well. So, next time, I want to try earplugs, although I’m not sure the kids will go for it. Another option is noise-reduction headphones. (Update: Noise-reduction headphones it is! See Enjoying Fireworks While Protecting Children’s Ears.)

10. Rain Ponchos

It seems you rarely have an entire Florida day without at least a brief period of rain. Before your trip, get ponchos at the dollar store and bring them with you, saving yourself something like $5-10 each. They’re also helpful in water rides like Splash Mountain. The first time my niece, then 4, was tall enough to ride it, she was a little nervous, so I put her in my poncho, which covered her from head to toe. The fact that she wouldn’t get wet gave her the confidence to give it a try.

11. Quart & Gallon-Sized Zipper Bags

These bags have an infinite assortment of uses, like:

  • Taking snacks into the park (We always bring things like pretzels and crackers for when the kids get antsy or need a quiet break.)
  • Keeping your electronics dry on water rides (I actually put all the contents of my backpack in a gallon-sized bag.)
  • Storing food your child refuses to eat while sitting in the restaurant but will while standing in line (not that we’ve ever done that . . .)
  • Keeping the Mickey-shaped confetti the kids just had to pick up after the Magic Kingdom welcome show (haven’t done that either . . .)
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