Disney Vacation Planning: Saving While Packing for the Parks

Anyone who has visited WDW knows “forgotten” incidentals can really cost if purchased in the parks each day.  Even purchasing at the resort hotel can add up the unnecessary costs.  Packing your “to-the-parks” bag with these things each day can really save the day.

  • Small water bottles – we found the small bottle of water is much lighter to carry and easily refillable.  They hold just enough to quench thirst and don’t weigh as much as the 16-20 oz bottles.
  • Packets of Germ-X or a small bottle of hand-sanitizer.  Several manufacturers have a pouch for these that easily clip to the outside of the bag.  I found these at the “Back-to-School” sales.  Hint; Keep it fragrance free so everyone can use them.  Baby-wipes come in handy if small ones are along.
  • Camera and/or video camera with fully charged batteries.  I empty the memory cards each evening onto computer, so I don’t have to carry or buy extra.
  • Phones – fully charged.
  • Small pill box with a variety of pain relievers – rule of thumb is enough of each type for each person once a day.  Use a generic pill box, so it can be refilled from the larger money saving bottles.
  • Simple wallet to hold your ID, money, passes and/or room keys.  Also include a credit card, if needed.  Don’t carry all your money with you each day!  We like to use a credit card at the hotel that allows us to use the room key to charge purchases, thus letting us carry only one.  I found a one-compartment credit card case works best – if you don’t mind folded money.
  • Small change pouch for coins accumulated along the way.  We usually don’t spend coins – rather we accumulate and deposit into vacation fund.  Always saving for the next trip!
  • For really hot days – a frozen or really cold washcloth or bandana in a zip-bag.  If you don’t have a refrigerator available – take your cloth and wrap ice in it before putting into a zip bag.  Be sure and seal the bag!  Freezer zip bags work best for this.  Bandana’s are thinner and are a $1 store find.
  • Chap Stick – drop in zip bag with washcloth to keep cool and refreshing.
  • Package of ponchos from $1 store – Why spend $8 for one and end up throwing it away?  These may not be needed, so if there isn’t a chance of rain or water rides aren’t planned for the day you may not want to carry.
  • Small snack bag with ointment, band-aids and mole-skin for those inevitable blisters.  You don’t need a whole box, just enough for each person one treatment.
  • We always wear sun-glasses and attach to a neck strap so they aren’t lost on rides.  This is easier then taking them off and on when going in and out of the sun.  If you wear a cap or hat, it will be hard to put glasses on your head.  We promise we won’t tell everyone you are using reading glasses straps.  Also put in reading glasses, if needed – hopefully you can share :~)
  • Pen – choose one that has a cap and doesn’t easily leak in the heat.  Add an autograph book and choose a larger pen, if character signings are on you list of things to do.
  • Sunscreen – small tube –this goes in the zip bag with the cloth.  Imagine how refreshing this could be about mid-afternoon!  I purchase larger bottles and then refill the small travel size.

Each night, I refill my/our bags and we are ready in the morning.  This makes it one less thing to do before heading out.

The last item I choose is what type bag to carry.  I lay all the items for each day out and then decide on the size of bag you feel comfortable carrying.  You don’t want a huge bag that will be in the way on every ride or walking thru some on the cramped shops, but you do want something large enough so every time you pull some thing out, everything else doesn’t come with it.  Also, having lots of compartments is great, but do yourself and everyone else in line for bag-check, a favor and have all zippers and compartments open before you get to the security officer.  This will save a lot of time and speed the process up.

We have used just one bag that we rotate carrying and we have also had one each of us, which leaving lots of room for souvenirs.  We found having the extra bag also allowed a place for those light-weight jackets used in the mornings only.  I prefer a bag with a strap that crosses over me in the front – it is more comfortable carrying.  My hubby prefers a thin back-pack with the string straps, so he can take off and on easier.  Be sure and do a trial run wearing BEFORE leaving home – saves looking for another one in the parks or around Orlando.  Hint; try it with and without the jacket you could need to wear each morning – it will fit different depending on how thick the jacket is.  A light-weight wind-breaker works best for us and doesn’t take up as much room.

I also keep a “Disney-Chest” and collect things I find on sale throughout the year.  Most items stay the same, but can change somewhat depending on how many are going with us and the ages involved.  Obviously, if children are along, there will be some other things needed along the way. Collecting items through-out the year gives me that Magical Feeling all year!

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Debbie and her husband live in Collegedale, TN where her youngest son is going to college. She is a huge Disney fan who dreams of someday retiring and working as a tour guide at Walt Disney World. She has enjoyed many trips to WDW with children, grandchildren and sometimes adults only. It is her ultimate goal to make sure everyone who visits WDW has the same magical time that she enjoys every time she visits.

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Related posts:

  1. Disney Vacation Planning: Saving for Souvenirs
  2. Disney Vacation Planning: What to Pack
  3. Disney Vacation Planning: Bird’s Favorite Tips for Saving for Disney
  4. Disney World with Little Ones: Packing the Park Bag
  5. Disney Vacation Planning: What to Think About When Planning Your Trip
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