We have been preparing to go to Walt Disney World for months now and are finally nearing a single digit countdown. As we are finalizing our last minute to-do and to-buy and to-pack lists, I wanted to take a moment and share some of my favorite last minute tips with you.
On the Plane
- Whether your child has flown before or not, it’s always good to have a few surprises to pull out in case they get bored, restless, or nervous. We like to pack Crayola Color Wonder coloring pads and mini markers. These things are amazing! The markers only work on the special paper. They come in lots of great Disney designs. (Sidenote: these are also great to toss into your park backpack or diaper bag to cure boredom in lines or while waiting for shows to start).
- Some children experience inner ear pressure during flights and we prevent that with gummy candies such as fruit snacks or gummy bears. Depending on the timing of your flight, it’s a good idea to have some non-messy snacks to prevent the little ones from growing hungry – or worse, hangry!
- Did you know that you can have items shipped to the resort ahead of time and they will be waiting for you at check-in? This is a great idea for items that you will not want to waste luggage space on and won’t be bringing home with you, such as food items and diapers. Last time, I had snack care packages and bottled iced coffee shipped from Amazon to Pop Century. This time I am shipping my own custom-made snack and breakfast package. We prefer to eat in the room while getting ready for the day rather than wait in line and then sit down to eat breakfast at the resort before heading to the parks each morning. Between meals, we refuel with protein snacks throughout the day so I will be sending a variety of bars, trail mixes, and jerky (foods that won’t go bad or melt in the Florida heat) to throw into our backpack each day.
- I know, I know. No one wants to hear that word while on vacation, but please hear me out! If you’re going to plan a resort day mid-trip, just think about it. I love doing a couple of loads of laundry halfway through the trip while my husband plays with the kids at the pool. The laundry facilities are usually right next to the pool, so I can throw in 2 or 3 loads at once and it’s all washed and dried within 2 hours. You can plan on packing half the number of shorts / pants this way. Not to mention I kind of like going back to the quiet, air-conditioned room ALONE for a few minutes to fold it and put it away. Ha! You can purchase laundry soap there, or bring your own. I stash a couple of laundry soap pods and dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag in my luggage (or care package box). It’s a good idea to prepare to do a load or two regardless because if you’re traveling with young children, spills and accidents are inevitable and you may not want to store and travel back home with soiled clothing.
Beating the Heat
- As you probably know, Florida gets very hot and humid throughout most of the year, especially in the afternoons. The best purchase we made on our last trip was the battery-operated misting fan. They make a pretty neat and useful souvenir, but if you don’t want to shell out almost $20 for one when you get there, they can be purchased at home. That mist really makes a difference and helps you cool off when the sun is beating down on you.
- I have been reading a lot about “cooling towels” which can be purchased online or in local retailers. I haven’t tried these before but plan to purchase some before our trip. You wet the absorbent, polyvinyl towels and then squeeze out excess water. They can absorb up to 8x their weight in water. Once wet, the towels produce a cooling effect with the help of simple evaporation. As long as the towel is wet, exposed to air, and allowed to breathe, they continue to remain cool. What do you think, have you tried them and do they work? I will keep you posted on my findings!
These are a few of my favorite tips – I hope you find them helpful!
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.