Being a parent at Disney can be tough, especially with little ones. When packing your Disney Park bag, make sure to include these 6 items to ensure an easy day at the parks.
1. Ziploc bags
You’re at Chef Mickey’s. Your sweet three year old is on the verge of over-stimulated tears because you tell him that you know he’s had too much breakfast already; and no, he may not eat that last Mickey waffle. (If he does, you’ll soon be seeing and hearing something very unmagical – what Disney food service calls a “protein spill.”) You can tell your little guy that you’ll bring the Mickey waffle along for later, popping it into the Ziploc which you’ve conveniently found in your bag. And it won’t be one of those parental empty promises that we all make from time to time, for the greater good of family harmony. He really *can* have the waffle later. Mid-afternoon, you may be sitting on a curb waiting for the parade to start. Or maybe out in front of a park waiting for a resort bus to appear. “I’m hungry!” your little man exclaims urgently. Out comes Mickey to save the day. The waffle wouldn’t have survived, wrapped in a paper napkin. But in a Ziploc, that tasty Mickey is perfectly good to eat.
The same Ziploc application may cater to the needs of mom or dad. Let’s say you were at Boma and put a Zebra Dome on your plate, but you just can’t eat it. That is a huge buffet – and you couldn’t resist a second helping of the Nigerian Peanut Soup – and oh, those Spinach Paneer Cheese Sambosas! By the time you get to dessert, your stomach tells you that you’re done. But back in your resort room around 11:00 p.m., you have no idea how delicious that Zebra Dome is going to taste! Of course, you have to be very careful with a Ziploc containing a squishy dessert – and regardless of what a pro you are when touring Disney – it might be beyond your powers to get that back to your room in one piece. So, to take this tip to the next level, bring along a very small, snack-sized Tupperware container. You’ll find yourself using it every day and washing it out every night, ready for its next delicious assignment.
2. Hand wipes
These are a good idea whether you have children or not. But they’re especially critical when your adorable daughter has just had her first Mickey Bar. You know how the pieces of chocolate are always cracking and peeling off, and she ends up eating them with her bare hands? And your little princess is wearing her Elsa or Bella gown. Or maybe a super cute Minnie Mouse themed outfit you made yourself or found on Etsy. You’ve got to get to those little hands with a wipe before the little hands wipe themselves on that dress. Not only do you want her looking sharp for all the photos you’ll be taking, but think how Cinderella is going to feel when she’s presented with the prospect of a chocolate-smeared hug?
You can buy individually wrapped wipes or just whip a few out of a pop-up tub and put them in a Ziploc (see item #1!) each morning. If you use a stroller, sew an elastic loop on the side and carry around a tub of wipes in easy reach.
3. Coins – preferably shiny
There are cool fountains in every Disney park and resort, many of them ornate and charming – like the Jolly Holiday Penguin Fountain inside the Grand Floridian DVC building or the spitting frogs fountain at Port Orleans French Quarter. Tossing a coin into a glittering fountain is one of the few Disney enjoyments that’s practically free. (And the coins are periodically gathered out and donated to charity.) There are often multi-tiered layers to aim for, making the older kids feel that they can’t resist your challenge to toss a coin (proving they’re really not too old for coins in a fountain).
Disney’s least expensive souvenir has to be a pressed penny. The Coin Press Machines are tucked into nooks and corners all across Disney property, offering designs with a wide variety of Disney characters. (Look for Disney pressed penny lists online.) You’ll need two quarters to get your penny pressed – and be sure to bring along a bright new penny for the pressing!
4. Dollar Store Glow Sticks
These come in quite an array of sizes and shapes these days. And they’ll save you a bundle if you’ll be waiting for a night-time parade or fireworks show. When the carts of bright, tempting, blinking, winking expensive wands and trinkets go trundling by, you won’t have to tell your child “no.” Just pull a glow stick or necklace out of your bag of tricks. Your child will be delighted. And so will your wallet.
5. Travel Sized Baby Powder
On a hot day, this can be a life saver. Children often develop heat rash on the back of their necks or elsewhere. Blot skin dry with a tissue and apply baby powder to make heat rash or chafing disappear in no time. Baby powder is the cure for many other park-induced skin complaints for children as well as adults. An itchy Disney guest is not a happy Disney guest.
6. Travel Sized Water Mister
While you’re getting your tiny container of baby powder in Target or Wal-Mart’s travel section, have a look at the little misters. They come with small caps, so they won’t accidentally dispense inside your bag. Take it (empty) through security when you’re heading to Disney World. Fill it at a water fountain near your gate, and use it if anyone is feeling dry or restless on the flight. Show your child how refreshing it feels to give yourself a spritz. Even if you’re the only one who wants to use it in flight, you’ll be glad you’ve got it. And of course a cool mist in the parks can be a lifesaver – helping you avoid afternoon melt-down. Their compact size makes them much easier to tote around (and of course enormously cheaper) than the big ones (with fans) that Disney sells.
Your spouse may ask you what else you’ve got in that bag, Mary Poppins — a measuring tape, coat rack, and rubber tree? Just respond, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!” Or maybe even more appropriately, “Semper Paratus!” That’s you, Disney pro!