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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our "Must Pack" List--For Any Disney Vacation

A Williams Family Blog reader’s comment on “What Not To Pack” prompted me to consider that is essential that go in the suitcases for a Disney vacation.  Here is our list:

Camera(s), Chargers, Batteries, and Memory Cards.  This may sound like a “dah” but we bumped into a family while waiting for rope drop at Magic Kingdom who did not bring their camera—it was forgotten.  Our tablemates during one of our cruises brought their camera but not their charger—they ended up springing for a new camera.  And, with the prevalence of camera phone or cameras on tablets, the actual camera is taking a backseat. 

So, why a camera?  Well, let’s say you are on a Disney Cruise ship that has stopped in Grand Cayman and you are using your cell phone to take photos.  I hope you hit airplane mode prior to snapping photos or you just might be charged for international coverage if calls or text messages come through.  Leave the turned off phone in your stateroom and use a camera instead.

Also cameras can come in a “tough” style with water proof, freeze proof, and drop proof features.  I have to meet a phone or tablet with those capabilities.  There are also one time use disposable water proof cameras that can be purchased much less expensively while at home than on a ship or a Disney water park gift shop.

We had three cameras during our most recent trip, including one that was water proof.  We needed that many because the battery life on one camera cannot keep up with a 16 hour day of park touring. 

Power Strip.  All of those camera chargers, along with phones and any electronic devices require charging.  I remember one of our trips that we didn’t take the power strip and one night we had cords strung all over our resort room and were juggling plugging in and unplugging to make sure all of our devices were charged.  Well, no more!  Just this trip, we had to upgrade to two power strips—one plugged into the other so that they still only require one electrical outlet.

Electrical outlets in Walt Disney World Resort rooms or Disney Cruise Line staterooms can be in short supply and not easily accessible sometimes.  Plugging in a power strip and then using it to charge electronic devices makes the process so much easier.  And, we leave our chargers on the power strip even at home, so we just unplug the power strip, pack it in the suitcase, and off we go.  No searching for all the chargers.  When we return home, the power strip comes out of the suitcase, gets plugged in, and we are again operational.  Easy peasy!

Water proof watch(es).  This has become a necessity for all of us in our family.  Again, many folks now rely on their cell phones for the time rather than a watch.  And, because of the reasons listed above, a cell phone may not work the best while traveling.  Our water proof watches get worn throughout the trip and you would be amazed at the number of folks who ask us the time.

We even wear them while at home.  If I am headed off to a pool or water park, the water proof watch gets put on.  The boy and the husband wear theirs daily.  Our black rubber bracelet style watch can be worn with anything including more dressy attire on the cruise ship.

Comfortable Shoes and more than one pair.  This definitely applies to packing for a Walt Disney World vacation but could also apply to cruising with Disney as well.  Why more than one pair?  Well, water. . . in any form, can dampen the shoes and feet.  Having an extra pair allows for the wet pair to dry.  Also, the amount of walking while park touring can cause “hot spots” on the feet and having a second pair of shoes gives those hot spots a break.

Our most recent trip to Walt Disney World was by far the most days of park touring we had ever experienced in one trip AND I didn’t experience any blisters on my feet.  The secret?  Great shoes that I alternated wearing throughout the trip—never the same pair two days in a row.

First Aid Kit including Blister Care (Moleskin).  This particular category also goes with the one above in terms of taking care of your feet, but our first aid kit has come in handy multiple times both on land and sea.  Hint:  Be sure to cut the moleskin into various sized pieces prior to your trip as finding a pair of scissors to do this after you arrive can be tricky.

One time the boy slipped and skidded across the floor on a Disney ship, taking off a chunk of skin above his eyebrow.  I reached into my trusty bag and provided antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid.  He was good to go swimming in Grand Cayman.  On our last trip, the first aid kit came in handy twice, but for other guests who were in need.  When a mom was standing in the bathroom at Downtown Disney holding a paper towel on her son’s head because he had fallen, I was able to whip out band aids and a wipe with triple antibiotic ointment (which goes easily through TSA security).

Protection From the Elements.  And by elements I mean rain, sun, cold, hot, etc.  Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, misting fans, poncho, umbrellas, jackets, gloves, etc. fall into this category.  Depending on your destination and the time of year, these items become essential.  And, trust me that you will be happy that you brought them rather than trying to find and then pay for those items either at the Walt Disney World Resort or on a Disney ship.

Medications and Medication Like Items:  Everyone remembers to pack prescription medication, but what about the other stuff that is like medicine, but doesn’t require a prescription.  Do you remember those items?  We bumped into a guest trying to find over the counter allergy medication as arriving in Florida triggered her symptoms.  That took some doing for her to find it.  I would have asked the main desk to recommend a pharmacy that delivers.  Or another guest who needed chafing cream as the extra walking had created the need. 

We have a large plastic seal-able bag that contains all of those items that then gets packed in our bags.  And, there have been times when we have needed those items.

There you have it; our “Must Pack” list created from experience and necessity.  Our experiences also tell us that folks do not always pack the items listed above and wish they had.  We want you to be prepared!

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