This is the third post in my Disneyland with Babies and Toddlers series and today I am talking about what to pack, specifically to help you with the little ones on your trip. Before we went on our trip I did a little research and looked at other blogs for tips on things to pack. I found a few different lists and they said things like “Tickets” and “A Camera.” Well no offense, but duh. I’m pretty sure I knew those things already. These are suggestions for things to pack that you may not have thought of already but that came in so handy for us.
My number one tip for packing with children is not just a Disneyland specific tip. This is how I pack my kid’s clothes anytime we go on a long trip! It keeps them organized and maximizes space in the suitcase. And it all starts with Ziploc bags!
I am the type of person that plans out each outfit for my kids for each day we will be gone. I lay out a shirt, pants, socks, diaper or underwear, and hair bows for my little girl. And then each outfit gets put into its own Ziploc bag. Then all you have to do in the mornings is reach in and grab one bag and you are all set for getting dressed. Let’s by honest, baby socks are annoyingly tiny in a big suitcase! And my husband usually has no idea which bow matches which outfit. But this way, there is no guess work and no searching for small pieces in a large suitcase. It saves so much time in the morning! For a big trip like Disneyland, I even labeled which outfits go on which days.
I put together a back up outfit for each of my kids that we kept in our backpack while at Disneyland. The Ziploc bag does double duty here. If one of my kids had a diaper blow out, or spilled chocolate milk all over, then all we had to do was reach in, grab their bag, and head to the nearest restroom. All you need to change their whole outfit, diaper included, is in the bag. And once you have the outfit changed you now have an empty Ziploc bag to hold the soiled clothes. This packing tip has saved our lives on many vacations!
I talked about the awesome supply of Disney toys we bought at the Dollar Tree in my second post but I want to specifically talk about bubbles and glow sticks. BUBBLES! The most amazing toy ever. We bought some Minnie Mouse and Star Wars bubbles and they were probably the biggest hit of the trip as far as “stuff” went. Bubbles kept our kids entertained in just about every line or waiting for the parades. And not only our kids. We ended up entertaining every kid 10 feet in front and behind of us. SO MANY parents were saying, “Why didn’t we bring bubbles?!”
The same went for the glow sticks. You can buy packages of glow sticks at the dollar store and during the night parades our children were just as happy to play with the $1 glow sticks vs the $20 light up toys the vendors were selling.
My next tip, is to bring a dark colored sheet. I know it sounds random but trust me, you’ll use it. You could technically use a blanket but a sheet is a lot easier to pack and much lighter to carry around. This is a big deal if you are flying and need as much space as possible in your suitcase. A sheet will also just fit in a stroller or bag easier than a blanket! But why do you need a sheet at all you may ask? For one, it turns your stroller into a dark, out of the sun nap space.
I know that is not the most amazing, pinterest worthy picture but what you see are two tired children napping in their stroller and being protected from the sun. The darker color helps keep them cooler and since they are used to sleeping in dark rooms it helped them sleep longer. Our sheet is folded in half here so it didn’t drag on the ground, but is a regular queen sized flat sheet.
Secondly, your sheet will be your seat saver. If you want to watch any of the parades (which you will because they’re AWESOME) then you will need to save seats ahead of time. This consists of sitting on the curb for a good while before the parade starts. And you may think you have enough space saved but as more and more people come to sit you will slowly find all of your personal space being invaded by strangers and their strollers. People will get as close to you as they possibly can until your seat with the perfect view that you have been saving for an hour is now obstructed by a family with 10 kids all wearing matching giant Mickey Mouse ears. BUT…if you have a large sheet you can spread it out and stake your claim to your space! It clearly says this seat is saved and sets up a boundary around that seat. And you don’t have to sit on the dirty ground. It is just a sheet so it won’t really provide much padding, but it is cleaner.
Another must pack item? Food. Disneyland is great about letting you bring in your own food as long as it is in a soft sided cooler. And while I think it is an absolute must for everyone to have at least one churro while you are there, bringing in your own food and drinks can save you a ton of money! We ate breakfast each morning before leaving for the park, brought our own lunches and snacks, and then treated ourselves to dinner in the park. Granola bars, fruit snacks, nuts, applesauce, crackers, oranges, water bottles, juice boxes, etc. Bringing our own food also allowed us to munch while waiting in line for a ride or a show instead of wasting time at a restaurant.
Another really helpful item? Disposable bibs and plastic spoons from the dollar store. The paper bibs work great and the plastic spoons came in a package of 12 for $1. At that price we were perfectly okay with throwing them away after each meal if needed. Our youngest was still eating strictly baby food so bibs and spoons were a must. These were much better than having to find a place to rinse off a bib or spoons, or carry around ones that were covered in food.
Next, bring ear plugs or another form of ear protection. The parades and even some of the rides can be LOUD. You want your little one to be able to enjoy the amazing sights but not be overwhelmed by the very loud noises surrounding them. Ear plugs, large headphones, or ear muffs can really help filter out the sounds for little ears.
For my last tip, I say go all out and get into the Disney spirit. I am normally not a fan of clothing with characters on it but I think it is a must at Disneyland. Walmart, Target, Kohls, Amazon…they all have clothes with Disney characters. Look on Etsy as well. I picked up this ridiculously cute outfit for my little guy and bought the iron on decal for my daughter’s shirt on Etsy. Then all I had to do was iron it on to a plain white shirt from Walmart.
Savannah got to live out her Frozen fantasy and Milo rocked the Star Wars characters. Another day we were all united as a Captain America family. It is perfectly okay to geek out and be a little silly while at Disneyland. It actually makes the vacation even that much better.
Hopefully these tips give you some good ideas that you may have not thought of on your own! Packing for a big trip can be stressful and I’d love to help ease some of that stress. Whatever you decide to bring, first and foremost make sure you pack your sense of adventure!
You can see the other posts in the series here: