When you are traveling with young children and toddlers you put as much consideration into packing your daily Disney Bag as you do packing your suitcase. And the urge to overpack is strong. Particularly for new parents or those on their first trip with their kids, even if they were Disney vacations beforehand. If you were an avid Disney Parks goer prior to having children the transition to daily packing for a larger family can be daunting. For my husband and I, our first trip with our oldest son (then 13 months) was full of mountains of bags and a full stroller that was difficult to navigate through the crowds. We hadn’t put much thought into what we would actually need daily and wound up overwhelmed and overburdened. Over the years we have managed to eliminate much of the bulk and now carry only essentials with us to the parks. Our backs, our kids, and our stroller thank us for our minimalistic approach to our Disney bag.
Here’s the thing – When you are planning park days with a toddler you’ll feel the need to carry EVERYTHING with you. But in the end, you won’t use even half of what you pack and are essentially lugging around needless weight. No one wants that, and a heavy backpack leads to a sore back and a miserable vacation. So, take only what you actually need with you each day. If you find you had a need for something you left behind, make a note and throw it in the next time. Likewise, if you have something in your bag and your two days into your trip and still haven’t pulled it out chances are you can leave it behind in the room the next day. You’re bound to determine, however, that you will be just fine with less. Ask yourself what your toddler will need during the day and make a list. Divide that list into three columns: Needs, Wants and Would Be Nice. Place the absolute necessities in your Needs column, the things you want to have with you in the Wants column and the extras in the Would Be Nice section. Look at your columns and ask yourself if the items in the list are things you take with you anywhere you were going with your toddler, like the grocery store or dinner, or things you would need for a day trip to the zoo or the park. If you have extra things move those into the Would Be Nice column and come back to them. Chances are if you wouldn’t need the item on a local outing like the zoo you won’t need them at Disney. Also, avoid a big bulky bag and opt for an all-in-one camera bag if you are a DSLR user. We love the Sling-back style and have one very similar to this model.
My boys are currently 7 and 2. Here’s what’s in our Disney bag.
- 3-4 Diapers
- Wet Wipes
- Changing Pad
- Hand Sanitizer
- These are all kept in a small Grab & Go Diaper Accessory bag that you can easily grab and take with you. I just purchased a new one at Target, because, well, Mickey Mouse. We just hook it to the handle of our stroller.
- Change of clothes – as small as possible. Cotton rolls up smaller than denim!
- Sippy Cup
- A few snacks (that won’t melt)
- Mini M&M’s tube with quarters and pennies for the Pressed Penny Machines
- Portable Charger – obviously for me. 🙂 I recommend the FuelRod they sell at Disney since you can swap out the charger when it dies for a new one that is fully charged.
That is seriously it. We are able to put the change of clothes, snacks (I’m talking fruit snacks, applesauce, and Goldfish) and sunscreen in my husband’s camera bag easily, and we don’t carry anything extra. Sometimes we even forgo the camera bag and toss the extras in a plastic Disney bag and then store it under the stroller. The bag is only to make it easy to fold the stroller up for transportation. Obviously, if you need prescription medication during the day you should pack those, but if you just need an ibuprofen or an antihistamine you can get a packet for free at first aid and save yourself space in your bag. Add an autograph book if you or your kids are into collecting signatures.
Avoid the temptation to stuff a big backpack full of food, water bottles, electronics, coloring books, and crayons, headphones, etc. It gets really heavy! Plus, with my kids I’ve learned that if I don’t have it they don’t miss it, but if they know I have it they insist on using it! All that said, everyone’s family and needs are different so your list may not look like mine and that’s totally fine. Just focus on what you will need and use and leave the rest in the room.
What are your “must have” items for your Disney Bag?
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