Disney can be a pretty expensive vacation option that takes months to save for and plan. While I will be the first to tell you that there are definitely things you can only buy at Disney when you get there, there are some things that can save you time and money if you buy them before you head out on the vacation of your dreams.
5. Drinks – Now depending on how you get to Disney, there are a few ways to do this. If you are flying or driving, consider buying a few refillable water bottles (Brita types) and label them with each person in your group. Disney has several places where you can re-fill these bottles throughout your day and in the summer, they will fill them with ice too. It is a waste to spend snack credits from your dining plan on water when there is many other ways to get water while in the parks. We have also opted to use a grocery delivery service before and had bottles of water and small bottles of Gatorade delivered right to our resort room on the day of check-in. That way we were able to take them with us to the parks and also have them in the room and save our money from the vending machines monster.
4. Rain gear – Now, I love a Mickey Mouse poncho and umbrella as much as any Disney addict, but I like spending my money on much more fun souvenirs. With Disney in Florida, the chances that it will rain on you during your visit is about 97%, even in the winter months. We have made the mistake of paying $11 for Disney ponchos, but I learned my lesson. We hit up the dollar store before we go to Disney and buy a few ponchos for everyone in our family. Since they are so cheap, they aren’t really meant to last, so instead of trying to dry them out and fold them up, we just toss them. We would also take some extras to cover our stroller too. Sometimes in Florida it is sunny when you get in line for a ride and pouring by time you come out, so make sure to have your rain gear before you go.
3. Scrapbooks – One of the most fun things to do, especially if it’s your first trip to Disney, is to get autographs. Disney does sell some amazing, although small, autograph books and to be honest they are geared to girls…a lot. So pick up a few larger ones at a local craft store or Walmart along with stickers and paper to decorate them. We bought ones that had a spot for pictures too and attached pictures we took with each character next to their signature. It makes for a cheaper options and you can have it all set up and decorated before you get there. All you have to add is the picture and signature.
2. Things to keep you cool – Head to the store before Disney for the handheld spray fans. These come in many sizes and with straps to help keep them in place and they can be filled with cool water all over the Disney parks. We buy different colored ones and have even decorated them to make them more festive and to avoid fighting over them. Remember to bring batteries for them also, in case you use them up or accidently leave them on, all night… You will also want to load up on sunscreen too. The last place you want to buy this is at the park. We buy several small tubes to stash in the backpack so we can apply it throughout the day, but make sure you stick it in a baggie also. You don’t want to clean up a sunscreen leak in the middle of your day.
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1. T-shirts – Now, I write this as something to buy before you go, but also knowing full well I will buy some while I am there also. I have found that going to the Disney Store before a trip is a great place to find shirts for the whole family, in the sizes we need, at a great price. I will buy them for certain days in the park or character meals to make for a great photo. Etsy and other online stores are also great places to have family shirts made for almost any occasion at Disney. It also makes for easier packing when you have set shirts for each day at the park.
There are still a few others things we could add to this list like gum, if you want it, because Disney doesn’t sell gum ANYWHERE in the parks, resorts or Downtown Disney. You could also buy some glow-sticks or fun light –up toys, if your kids are the age to love those, and then bring them out during the nighttime parades and shows. They will have carts loaded with these but if your child already has one, you can escape a few dollars richer. Don’t forget baggies. We take a few empty ones in different sizes to store leftovers and to put items in during wet rides or rainstorms. Also bring some hand sanitizers or wet wipes, while all those interactive lines are fun, they are also germ-filled.
Once you have these items bought and packed for your Disney trip, the rest of the things you buy will be one-of-a-kind Disney items that complete any Disney vacation. So save your time and money for the fun stuff!
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