In addition to extra planning before the trip, traveling with the littlest visitors will also require a few extra things in the park bag. Take the time each evening (even when you’re dog-tired and just want to drop into your resort bed) to prep the bag for the next day.
For the whole family, you will want your park tickets, ID’s, credit cards/cash. Take a picture of your park tickets with your smartphone or digital camera, in case of loss. Take a copy of your dining reservation confirmation numbers. A park map with your planned route already marked is handy, as well as your touring plan, if you plan to use one. Don’t forget those phones, cameras, and extra batteries or chargers. If you pin trade, take some pins. If you collect pressed pennies, take a small baggy of change for the machines. Grab your autograph book and a nice fat pen. (Many of the characters have bulky hands/gloves and need a bigger pen.)
Pack any prescription medications you may need during the day, as well as both children’ s and adult pain relievers. You will need a good sunscreen for the family. I carried bug repellent for our first trip, but we never needed it so I’ve not taken it since. Antibacterial gel and wipes are a necessity for little hands that want to touch everything. Keep them handy and USE THEM! I like to also carry a small first aid kit. You never know when someone will get a bump or scrape. These handy kits have become my travelling favorite now. Rain ponchos will come in handy. Buy them ahead of time, put them in your bag, and you’ll save yourself some cash at the parks. Hats, visors, and sunglasses will be handy in the Florida or California sun. You may also want to pick up a small misting fan or mini regular fan. These are extremely popular with tiniest travelers since they are often in a stroller that, while comfy, gets warm on hot days.
When traveling with kids, snacks are a must! My kids have horrible meltdowns when they are hungry so I took a lot of snacks! Raisins, granola bars, applesauce packets, peanut butter crackers. I tried to carry things that were small and light and did not require refrigeration. If you want to carry items such as cheese sticks and sandwiches but don’t want to carry a cooler around with you, you can look into a locker rental at each park. Locker rental information can be found here. Your kids, your sanity, and your wallet will thank you for keeping snacks handy. Carry smaller Ziploc bags for restaurant leftovers to stretch your meals even further.
A refillable water bottle can help you save some money and stay hydrated. We carried two, as well as some of the various flavoring packets to change it up. Water fountains can be found throughout the park. If you have a toddler, don’t forget a sippy cup or two or three. We liked the take and toss cups for travel.
For your smallest travellers, don’t forget diapers, wipes, baby food, and bottles. If you forget one of those necessities, they do have them available for purchase at the baby care centers in the parks. Larger Ziplocs can come in handy for wet or dirty clothes, so make sure you have a few of those. Don’t forget extra clothes—my kids were 2 and 4 and I still carried extra clothes for them. Accidents happen.
Whew, that’s a long list of things to pack into one bag. If you’re overwhelmed, pack one larger bag and store it in a locker at the park and carry a smaller bag that you can refill from it and carry with you. Most of all, don’t stress too much if you forget something. Almost everything you may need can be bought at the parks (at a cost!) And dirty shirt might not look great in the pictures, but will probably be a good story to tell anyway.
Rachel is a Virginia native who now lives in Louisiana. She is married with two children, ages 5 and 3. After dreaming and wishing for several years, her family had their very first Disney vacations this year and are now addicted to researching and planning—whether for themselves or for others. They now plan to visit the parks at least once a year.