Stuffing the Suitcases

It’s never too early to start packing. Or at least start planning to pack.

Our summer travels have ended. Instead of putting the suitcases away in the attic I placed them in the corner of the bedroom and started dropping some miscellaneous items that we won’t be using before Disney into them.

I also went through the closets and pulled out some clothes I had purchased on clearance last year with intentions of the kids hopefully fitting in them for this trip. We had a short fashion show after bathtime one night to check them out. It was a perfect fit.

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Now I have a small laundry basket with a selection of Disney apparel starting to fill up. I’ve placed the clothing I’ve bought over the last year and the shirts that I’ve made with my Cricut aside for the trip.

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I’m so ready to start packing. I will admit over and over that I’m an over-packer. I always have been. I always will be. I absolutely hate to be unprepared. Disney is the only place that I almost know what I’m going to wear on a daily basis, but I still need to have options.

What you didn’t know you needed

You’ll find packing lists for Disney all over the internet. Some of them are miles long and help you remember every one of the basics that you take on any trip– including reminders to pack your underwear. You laugh, but I have read comments online from someone who forgot! There are many things on the lists you may have never heard of or thought would be useful. Here are some of my favorite items that I didn’t know to bring but won’t go without:

Frogg Toggs! – This is our #1 must-have for warm weather. I had actually never heard of these until planning our second Disney vacation. We live in Ohio so there’s about a week or two every year that there’s much use for these. In hot weather they are AMAZING. Our tip: Prepare them the evening before. Place in a Ziploc bag and freeze overnight. Throw it in your stroller or park bag the next morning when you leave the hotel room and it will thaw so you can unfold and cool down.

Frogg toggs
Frogg Toggs & O2Cool Misting Fan

Sports Wrap – This is multi-purpose. We originally packed it to tie around the stroller to make it easier to find among a sea of strollers in the stroller parking zones. The brightly colored accents did make it pop as we glanced around. This wrap came into better use when I was dealing with a very painful blister on the bottom of my foot. I was able to wrap each morning to alleviate the pain and provide additional cushion to my foot. We don’t travel anywhere without it anymore.

Portable Chargers – These are an absolute MUST for us. Both in the parks and on-the-go at home. With all the pre-loaded apps on phones then the apps that we use daily the phone needs charged at least once during the day. We had some Anker “candy bar” chargers for about two years but they were starting to have less and less charge to them. Originally we could get roughly 4 full charges out of a charger. After our excessive use, we were only getting about 1-1.5. Amazon’s Prime Day had a good deal on the upgraded model (from 5200mAh to 6700mAh). Grumpy actually find a huge battery bank that we’ve been looking for as well and are probably going to throw in our suitcase as well, though it’s a bit bulkier and weighs a fair amount.

Power Strip – I don’t know about you but nearly every hotel room I visit is lacking in outlets. Some are getting better and even adding USB ports for the ease of charging phones, but they are generally still low in number despite the number of electronics most visitors possess. We, of course, have our phones. The kids have each have portable DVD players (a true lifesaver for traveling!) and one kindle. There’s the camera battery charger. I generally bring my laptop on most of our travels. Then at some point, those portable chargers need some recharging. A power strip is a great option for the low wattage items that need to be boosted to full charge. I like the one in the link that has the option of outlets and USB plugs. We take this everywhere we travel!

Retractable Sharpies – I’m a Sharpie junkie! Regular Sharpies, Sharpie Pens, Ultra Fine Point Sharpies, Chisel Tip Sharpies. I use them all for different kinds of projects or even daily writing. I wasn’t really a fan of the retractable ones until we went to Disney. There is no cap to lose when passing to the characters and many sites recommend it for the characters that have costumes covering their hands (all of the Fab Five, Winnie the Pooh & Friends, and more). These worked like a charm and were much easier for the everyone to manage.

Packing cubes – I was introduced to packing cubes a few years ago and swear by them now. They are so much better than the vacuum bags I used to use for travel. Those worked great on the way out of town but were a pain on the way back in. The cubes allow me to sort items and somehow they always seem to save me space. Last year I used them to sort our outfits by day and had extra in their own cubes.

Packing Cube

Sunscreen – Hopefully you already know that you should be bringing this with you to Florida, but make sure you grab the travel size bottles. If you are utilizing Disney’s Magical Express and their luggage transportation service your sunscreen will be packed in your travel bag. Whether you’re heading to the pool, walking around Disney Springs, or like me love to hit the parks first thing you’ll want one of the small bottles handy. It’s the perfect time of year to stop by the travel section at Walmart or Target and stock up on a few of these.

The Fun Stuff

Autographs: Once you have the markers you need something to autograph. The most common is an autograph book. Your local Disney Store and the parks sell a basic one which we were gifted before our first trip but used on our second since I had already purchased ones from Etsy. A current search has over 3,000 listings for “Disney autograph book.” I fell in love with Little Golden Books that were turned into autograph books or notebooks by seller Storybook Journals. It was fun to have a few characters sign by their pictures. The Evil Queen even made comments about how radiant she looked in her picture.

 

Another option I’ve seen through Pinterest and Facebook groups is purchasing the Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters and having the characters sign next to their photos. Some have even had the binding removed and replaced with a spiral binding. There are really so many options out there.

There are also options other than books. I’m currently trying to decide what, or if, we’ll do for autographs this year. Photo frame mats and a wooden letter (initial for first or last name) have been suggested. Pinterest has a plethora of options to sort through. If you have a unique idea definitely let me know.

Accessories: From Mouse Ears to Magic Bandits to Sunglasses. There are accessories galore to take on a Disney Vacation. Are they necessary no, but they are definitely fun! Some like hats are also multi-purpose. They can be cute and stylish but provide a little shade from the sun.

Mickey or Minnie Ears are also very fun additions to the wardrobe. We’ve only worn them in the parks a day or two, including our first meeting with Mickey last year. The ones we had were actually left over from a birthday party so we just tossed them in our suitcase. But, this past weekend I decided to get a little crafty and follow this YouTube tutorial to make some ears for our trip. And my little Diva requested a Maleficient pair which is looking to be much better than I anticipated.

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Maleficent Ears: Still making adjustments. Stay tuned to see how they turn out.

Glow Bracelets/Necklaces/Sticks: This was one of the best things we decided to bring on our last trip. It was enough of a distraction for my kids to play with a few of them while waiting in line. What was more fun was passing them out and sharing the fun with other kids waiting for Illuminations to start. You can find often find them in the dollar spot at Target or buy the bulk pack in the link above. We’ll definitely do it again and 100 is plenty to get through the week.

Food

We tend to take snacks on our all of travels. When we head to Disney it’s no different. While we opt for some groceries to be delivered to our hotel I always pack some boxed snacks in our suitcase. By packing some things (that offer a better price for me to buy than to be delivered) we end up with extra space in the suitcase for any souvenirs that are purchased during our stay.

Now… I do need to work on that grocery list…

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