One of the biggest mistakes parents make when they head off to Disney with a young child is thinking that they don’t need anything extra because Disney will keep them busy enough. Plan ahead so you have everything covered and you won’t be spending time and money on things you don’t need.
6. Wipes – Even though we are past the young child age, we still pack these on vacation. Whether we just finished a Mickey ice cream bar or a turkey leg, it’s nice to not have to go to the restroom to clean up, but instead just use some wipes and keep moving. You may also want to wipe down tables or chair before you dine at some of the busier, quick service places if you are lucky enough to snag a table…even a dirty one. They are also great to have to wipe down hands after rides with hands-on line activities and long waits in lines with chains and rails to rub little hands on.
5. Snacks – Do not waste your snack credits (if you are on the dining plan) or your money on small snacks. Bring them with you, along with small, refillable water bottles. We usually bring in small bags of goldfish or teddy grahams to snack on while in those long lines, especially if it is close to meal time. Instead of buying large water bottles that little hands can’t hold, bring in a smaller one that can be refilled throughout the day. Disney has several places where they will refill your water for you. Also bring along baggies in case you do buy snacks or meals and don’t finish it all. Some of the food makes great leftovers to munch on while waiting for a parade or show to start.
4. Things that glow – If you are staying for any nighttime show or parade, your children will be bombarded with items they can buy that glow and spin and that cost a crazy amount. So be prepared and load up on a few of these at the dollar store before your trip. You can find glow-sticks or necklaces, toys that spin and glow or light-up and even crowns and swords that glow. I never showed my kids these things until the night events so they were surprised and happy to have something to pass the time and I was happy to have saved a few bucks.
3. That special stuffed animal – I know that stuffed animals are a favorite of most young kids, and boy is Disney full of them. But we have found that taking a trip to the local Disney store, or most any retail store, and picking out a special Disney one works wonders. The kids love having it to tote around with and sleep with at night and I love that I didn’t spend too much on something that isn’t park specific, but specific to our vacation at Disney. We also do this with shirts too. I just buy them ahead of time and then they have a new Disney shirt to wear on each day of vacation and it makes one less thing they ask for later.
2. Treats – While meltdowns in long lines will happen, even with us adults, you can try to prepare for them with some cheap, fun things to do. I hit the store before we go and buy pipe cleaners, magnets, mini dry erase boards and markers, and even small coloring books with those never need sharpening pencils. While in long lines I will take out something for the kids to do that they haven’t seen yet. It keeps them entertained and it doesn’t take up too much space in my backpack.
1. Patience – I know as parents we have this idea in our heads of how magical the Disney vacation will be with our kids. But you need to remember, they are just kids. Things will go wrong, they will get tired and cranky and their idea of fun may not be staying at the park from sun up until late at night. Be patient. Your vacation will be amazing even if you don’t get that last ride in before you leave or that perfect picture with Mickey. You are making great memories regardless, so keep your cool.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper