There’s two types of moms in this world — those who plan and prepare for every eventuality when going to Walt Disney World parks and . . . well, me. (Around the TouringPlans office, I get looks of shock and horror when I prepare for a day in the parks with little more than what I can fit in my pockets.)
For moms and dads (and anyone else) who wants to be prepared for everything, packing for a day in the parks means an operation of almost military precision. Chrissy from our team is an expert at this, and shared some of what she considers packing for certain needs, especially when it comes to the hot days of summer.
Sunscreen with high SPF. Sprays can be used for easy application to the body, but use the stick variety to help apply sunscreen to the face without getting it in the eyes. You can buy sunscreen at Walt Disney World gift shops, but you’ll pay a LOT more than if you pack it yourself.
Water bottle. Hydration is so important, especially in Florida in the summer months. Make sure that you’re having something to drink at least once an hour. If you haven’t had to take a bathroom break for several hours, it’s a sign that you’re not getting enough to drink.
Cooling towels. Like sunscreen, you can purchase cooling towels at Disney, but at $16.99 each, you’ll do far, far better to buy them in advance. Packing 2 per person is the way to go, so one can be cooling off in a bag of water while the other is used, and then you can swap them throughout the day. Most people know the trick about getting a cup of ice water at a quick-service restaurant. The best option is to order a large ice water from a park’s Starbucks location. Use most of the water to refill your water bottle and use the rest of the water and ice to refresh your cooling towel bag.
Snacks. Yes, Disney has a huge variety of snacks available for purchase. They’re often large and full of sugar (and delicious, of course) — and they’re always more expensive than what you’d pay to buy snacks at the grocery store before you head in the parks. You never know when a case of the hangry will strike, so always have a snack at the ready.
A change of clothes and hair ties. Even with splash pads closed right now, it only takes a few seconds for a Dole Whip to go from delightful to clothing disaster. If you have long hair, bring hair ties to help pull hair up and out of the way to keep cool.
Basic first aid supplies. Although first aid at the park can provide a variety of supplies, when someone gets a booboo, they’ll need “medical attention” right then! Itch relief sticks help for any mosquito bites picked up in the evenings, lip gloss keeps dried-out lips from being painful, and antibiotic cream with pain reliever can help ease the pain of a scraped knee. Oh, and any sort of character band-aid can cure almost any injury.
Masks and wipes. Especially on hot and sweaty days, masks can get gross after a few hours, so bring extras to swap out. (As a side note, if you suffer from horrible allergies, wearing a mask will help alleviate your symptoms in the state where there’s always something blooming!) Wipes for cleaning up sticky hands is also a must for younger kids. Why are their hands always so sticky anyhow!?!
Other supplies for Florida summer. Sunglasses are a given — for all ages! A sun hat, especially one that can cover the back of the neck, is a must to protect from the sun’s rays. Rain ponchos get a lot of use in the summer for Florida afternoons. Although Disney sells rain ponchos, the markup is huge. A battery-operated fan is a great way to keep cool (and to keep kids amused if you get the child-safe foam kid).
Toss these items into your backpack along with a few ziplock bags to hold anything that might get your backpack messy, and you’re ready for a fun-filled day at the parks!
We asked you on Instagram for your packing must-have tips. Here’s some of our favorites.