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Every time we leave for vacation, I begin hoping that a little fairy will come down to my kid’s rooms and magically pack all their stuff for me. It’s yet to happen, but if it ever does I’ll let you know! You’ll find post after post out there telling you everything you “need” to pack your kids for Disney vacations. But if there is one thing I have learned since becoming a parent, when traveling with kids, less is more!
Now if you stick around here long, you’ll probably start to realize that I’m prepared to a fault. I think through every worst case scenario and guard against it! When the kids were babies, I would take like 5 outfits for every day we would be gone. I don’t think we ever went through more than 3, but I WAS PREPARED!
And then one day, as I was toting 4 suitcases, a stroller, a blanket, a stuffed animal and my daughter up three flights of hotel stairs, I had a revelation…Sure I’m prepared, but I’m also tired of carrying ALL THIS STUFF! There had to be a way to pack everything we needed without me having to visit a chiropractor after every trip.
What to Pack Your Kids For Disney
If this sounds like you, I have great news. It is possible to be totally prepared and not bring more than one suitcase per person! Even at Disney World! I’m going to teach you what you really need to pack your kids for Disney, and cut out all the nonsense that just adds weight!
Clothes and shoes are going to take up the majority of your kid’s suitcase. If you missed the last post about Packing for Adults, I go over how to pack according to what you are doing not how many days you are going. A Disney vacation is going to be made up of travel, park, resort, and shopping days.
You’re going to need different clothes for different types of days. If in doubt choose cool and comfortable, but for much, much more detail than that, head back to the last post and apply all the packing principles to your kid’s clothes as well.
Kids are allowed to wear costumes at Disney if they are under 14, but just because they can wear something does not mean they should. Before you put that kid’s favorite costume in the suitcase, here are a few things to consider:
- How hot is it? Our son has a Kylo Ren costume he absolutely loves! Since we’re doing group Star Wars costumes for the Halloween party, it would be a natural fit and we wouldn’t have to buy him one. Except that it is made of thick, black material. The little guy was going to roast in it! So we bit the bullet and bought a Poe Dameron flight suit. It’s much lighter both in weight and in color!
- Is it easy to walk in? Back to the Kylo Ren costume…I’d never thought about it till getting ready for this party, Kylo Ren wears a full-length black dress. He somehow manages to have epic lightsaber battles in it, but I’m thinking the Disney Dude is just going to trip all over it trying to get on and off rides…for 8 hours! Another fail for Kylo!
- Does it have a mask? Masks are allowed for kids under 14, but they must have full vision so no eye slits or other obstructions. As you can see in the picture, the Disney Dude couldn’t wear the Kylo Ren mask which is half the fun of the costume. The Poe costume, on the other hand, has a mask, but the part covering the eyes is clear so he’ll have full vision! Lightside wins again!
Whether you’re going to a Halloween party or just have a kid who has their heart set on dressing up as their favorite character, I’ve got some costume alternatives you could pack your kids for Disney. All these meet both Disney’s rules and the guidelines above!
Disney sells PJs that look like characters. We’ve had Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear ones. Both were big hits. In fact, the Spiderman ones got worn until there was a huge hole in the leg and we had to go buy another pair! They also have nightgowns that look like princess dresses! These are usually lighter weight, definitely comfortable, and can be combined with accessories to make a full costume.
Themed T-shirts and Dresses
I actually have a dress that looks like BB-8 and Shaun has a Darth Vader look-a-like t-shirt complete with cape, but they make them in pint-sized versions too! They are similar to the pajamas, but come in different styles and look more like real clothes. When buying items like this, be sure to check that the material is soft enough to be worn all day… nothing more annoying than an itchy t-shirt.
Who says only adults can Disneybound! Until we found the Poe Costume, our plan was to have the Disney Dude bound as Han Solo. Dark pants, a white shirt, and a black vest and he would have been good to go. This one is great if you don’t want to spend money on a costume because you can use clothes they already have or if you need them to look nicer for a dinner or picture, but you can’t get them out of their costumes! Accessories are especially important for Disneybounds so add in tiaras and other accents as needed!
Many kids have a toy, blankie, or stuffed animal that they can’t leave home without. If you have one of those kids, make sure that item makes the cut when you pack your kids for Disney! Nothing will derail your vacation faster than a kid who won’t sleep because their blankie got left at home. I check for Pooh and blankie about 10 times before we leave the house!
If it’s something they’re used to carrying around with them, take a stroller leash to hook them to the stroller with so they don’t fall out while walking. I’ve had people run after me more than once trying to return Pooh Bear after he took a tumble out of the stroller, and I was extremely grateful they did!
Kids tend to eat non-stop and having to constantly buy snacks can really add up! Plus, kids can also be picky and may not want anything that’s easily available. Instead, save yourself the money and headache, and bring some of their favorite snacks from home.
Things like granola bars, trail mix, pretzels, and fruit snacks are easy to pack and will pay off big in the long run. How many snacks do you need? My rule of thumb is 4 snacks/person/day. Especially pretzels and crackers can double as side dishes as meals to stretch your food budget a little farther!
I also pack cereals, granola bars, and nutrition shakes for a fast and easy breakfast in the mornings. Since these aren’t things that have regularly at home, they think a glass of chocolate milk in the morning is a vacation treat!
Disney has merchandise everywhere! And you kids may want it all! If you want to save some money and avoid the “I want it” syndrome, think about buying some souvenirs at home and hide them until you get there. They can magically appear on beds or at parks throughout the vacation.
We always take a trip to the Disney Outlet nearby before a trip. They have merchandise from the parks for a fraction of the cost. We’ve been able to get princess accessories, bubble blowers, lightsabers, and autograph books at heavy discounts. I also pick up glow sticks, sippy cups, and other small items for Target or the Dollar Store to take along.
How to Pack Your Kids for Disney
Now I promised you a way to pack your kids for Disney without bringing 20 suitcases! Once again if you didn’t read the Adult post on choosing outfits by what your doing, go back and do that because how you pack your kids for Disney depends greatly on that method of choosing outfits!
I used to pack all the shirts together, all the pants together, and so on, but what would happen is we’d be digging around the suitcase and things got messy fast. Then we’d forget what went with what and end up with a mismatched outfit at the end of the week! Our hotel room was a disaster, and mama wasn’t a happy camper!
I decided something had to change and started packing outfits together. I pack myself this way too! In one stack, you’ve got the pants, shirt, undies, socks, and accessories you need for one outfit, but for kids, I take it a step further. I put all of that in a one-gallon ziplock bag!
Now when its time to get dressed in the morning, they can go grab the next bag on the stack and get ready by themselves! At the worst, I have to go grab their bag to make sure they have the right one, but it saves me a ton of time trying to find their clothes.
Where do the clothes go at the end of the day? Right back in their ziplock bag and back into the suitcase so at the end of the week, they’re all packed and ready to go!
Take Advantage of Their Personal Item
We tend to fly budget airlines which saves us money, but the downside is we have to pay for each bag we take. The only thing included is our personal item that goes under the seat in front of us on the airplane. If you pack smart, this bag can fit a week’s worth of kids clothes in it.
Make sure all the air is out of the ziplock bags. Take one outfit/day plus two extras for the week if your child is over two. Under 2 take 2 outfits/day, but keep them simple. It’s important to minimize the accessories. Get a couple of hairbows or hats that can be used with any outfit to save space.
If you’re worried about what your kids are going to do on the plane, pack activities like coloring, books, and Ipads in your personal item. This will make it easier for you to control what they’re playing with, and save those Ipads for the end when everyone is getting restless.
Go Pack Your Kids for Disney!
Don’t let packing intimidate you! Don’t let the voices creep in which tell you that you might need a parka in July in Florida– ya know just in case!. No one knows your kids and their needs better than you. Overpacking can make traveling harder than it needs to be. You’ll probably forget something and that’s ok! As long as you have your ID’s and money, most other things can be bought or lived without.
If you want these guidelines and a checklist to help you get everything you need, download the Packing For Disney Pack that includes everything you need to pack yourself, your kids, your park bag, and keep your room tidy. Go download that now!
What’s the one item you think a parent should never leave home without? Let me know down in the comments below!