Monday, May 21, 2012

Minnie Moms: Do Not Forget to Pack...

This month I asked our Minnie Moms this question: "What can you absolutely not forget to pack for your family's Walt Disney World vacations?"

Amy: When I asked this question of the Moms, I was thinking in terms of tangible items but now my best answers to this question are your sense of humor, a good night's sleep, and a hot cup of coffee.  You can get just about anything else at a Disney gift shop or at the local superstore.

Keeping your sense of humor is essential.  I am guilty of letting myself get too tired or hot or hungry to deal well with little ones.  I've given myself a "do better slip."  Learn from my mistakes.  Guess what? Meal times are crazy at home with small children and they will only be worse when you are off schedule and in a very busy new place.  Just roll with it as best you can.  If your child makes a mess, bring an extra set of clothes, clean up the table as best you can and offer the Cast Member who helps you the biggest thank you.  If your child doesn't want to eat the meal you have paid too much for, maybe next time get yourself only a salad or a soup and share the kid's meal.  (That worked great.)

It's so tempting to run as hard as you can at Walt Disney World.  I frequently try to share the message of SLOW DOWN!  If you are taking very small children to a Disney park, you are more likely to be a frequent guest so don't try to see it all.  This last trip, Tink did more than she has on her previous trips but still far less than an adult could do.  Baby Minnie didn't take in many attractions at all.  I am looking at it as adding a little each visit.

And along with the slow down idea is getting everyone into bed at a decent hour.  Even more than the kids, you need your own rest.  They can always sleep in a stroller but you will be the one who is really busy.  Patience and sleep go hand in hand.

If you can't accomplish the sleep request, at least fake it with a good cup of coffee.  Many thanks to my father for bringing his Keurig along on our Hilton Head and WDW vacations this year.

Corby: This topic comes at the perfect time for me as I am packing today to head to Disney World! There are quite a few things that I can't go without and each time we go to Disney, I learn more and more about what needs to come with us and what doesn't. I'm a very light packer (my husband packs way more than I do). I try to keep things to a minimum because I don't want to schlep the kids, luggage and other miscellaneous objects to and from the car/hotel/parks. I figure if I need something that badly, I'll be able to find it in Orlando nearby. So, as I was packing, I narrowed it down to 3 items I simply cannot go to Disney World without. There are more items on my packing list but in order to keep this list condensed here we go with my top 3 all time favorites!

1. My beloved City Mini Stroller. I can't say enough good things about it. It's lightweight and collapses easily when we are getting on and off buses/boats. It has ample storage space and perhaps most importantly it can maneuver easily in the parks. My rule for children traveling to Disney is if they can fit in a stroller, even if there legs are dragging on the ground, bring a stroller! They may look ridiculous but if it keeps me from listening to whining then I say it's well worth it!

2. A small backpack is a must do. I need something that will carry items needed and leave me hands free for dealing with kids.

3. A changing kit. I randomly came upon this on our way down to Disney at a Walmart. I love it because I LOATHE public restroom diaper changing tables. Ew. At least with this kit I can put my daughter on it and have wipes, diapers and ointment all located inside the kit. It even has little plastic diaper bags to place soiled diapers in. It collapses easily, has a handle easy for carrying and can fit in my storage space under the stroller.

Natalie: For the past 6 years, I have fiddled with, hated and loved a wide variety of strollers for my son. My son's first visit to Disney World was when he was 3 months old. I brought along with me a baby carrying harness but quickly realized that even a 3 month old child was too heavy to carry for very long.  Quickly I realized that I would always need a stroller to help me out with the gear and my son. I looked to rent a stroller from Disney but found that the price to rent a stroller was too high for me per day. Instead, I brought along my stroller from home.

As the years have passed, my mother often asks me why it is that I still take the stroller for my 6 year old son. However, it never fails that somewhere along the day, my son becomes very tired from all of the hours of walking and asks to sit in the stroller for a while. If I was not still pushing around the stroller, I would need to return to the room or actually sit down instead of head on to the next attraction!

Now that my son is actually approaching the time when he may state, "I am too big to ride in a stroller", I am beginning to reevaluate who really needs the stroller! I admit it! I use the stroller to hold my stuff that I simply must have at the parks. The list of items hung on the stroller includes but is not limited to a camera, cooler, lunch items, a handbag, purchases, etc. If I am not taking a stroller to the parks, where will all of these items go? I suppose it will have to be carried by me! I guess I will worry about that later when my son declares he is too big!

Janine: The really boring answer to the one thing we couldn't forget (well, can I make it three?) are our passports, airplane tickets and credit card. Without these we wouldn't even get past London let alone into the US.  But everyone travelling into America needs those so it's not very personal.

I thought about saying our camera, but although I'd be upset, you can always use Photopass and even buy a new one if you really needed to.

Suntan lotion and hats, sun glasses and water misters are imperative when you're used to the dreary English weather, but again, could easily be bought Stateside.

It would be annoying to leave our 14 Day Disney Ultimate tickets at home as they are only available in the UK and it would be expensive to re-buy them at the TTC, but not impossible.

I wouldn't like to be without my itinerary as it is precisely planned using good ol' Touring Plans and the busy day guide on UK Disney Forum, The Dibb. But as we mainly plan to go with the flow, again, it wouldn't be the end of the World.

So, what one thing could I not forget, could I not even imagine being without at The House of Mouse?
My family :-)  Although DH has joked about sending me off to WDW on my own, I couldn't go without him or Tink.  He is the very reason I visited in the first place and, to me, a holiday in our Happy Place just wouldn't be the same without my husband and daughter.

Danielle: What is the one thing you can’t forget to pack for your family for a Walt Disney World vacation? For my family and I, that’s an easy one: hand sanitizer! Now this may be of varying degrees of importance for different people, depending on your level of, shall we say, germ “sensitivity”. I will be the first to admit that my husband and I are slight germophobes! So, what are two germophobes doing taking their children to Walt Disney World, you ask? Well, our love for the Disney magic that WDW promises outweighs our mutual phobia. What makes touching an infinite amount of lap bars, high chairs, play structures, and public transportation easier on us, though, is our hand sanitizer! BUT – you don’t have to share our “sensitivity” to see the benefits of hand sanitizer. When Suzie is demanding popcorn RIGHT NOW, hand sanitizer steps in where a bathroom would to clean her hands before eating. When the bathroom is out of soap (I know, I know, this is almost unheard of in WDW, but still!), hand sanitizer assures you at least that partial feeling of cleanliness after using the facilities. Did that man just cough all over the lap bar after getting off the ride and now you have to sit in his seat and use that same bar? Hand sanitizer will be there for you when you exit that ride! Ok, ok, so maybe these instances aren’t of critical importance to everyone, but why risk getting sick when you’re in the most Magical Place on Earth? Even if you don’t have a fear of germs, doing your part to ensure a healthy rest of vacation for you and your family surely must be at the top of your list! ;)

Thank you Corby, Natalie, and Janine for joining me on today's post.  And please help me welcome Danielle, the newest member of our Minnie Moms! 


  1. Amy, I loved your answer. I, too, am guilty of sometimes forgetting to bring my sense of humour. DH and I get so frazzled by mealtimes sometimes. We have to remember its not just our young children who sometimes struggle at mealtimes. We have to learn to laugh off a crazy dinner and move on!

  2. I have been traveling with my 2 girls to Disney every year since they were 1 and 9 (now 14 and 22). Every trip has great memories and one we still laugh about is when my little one had an accident at pizza planet- where went in for a bathroom break and a cool down time. She was having such a good time playing - oops wet down to her shoes and floor! lol She was very excited to get her new Minnie mouse socks!! I have learned to go with the flow and enjoy all of it!! Every crazy magical moment! Remember to give yourselves several little breaks throughout the day!! Taking the grandchildren (will be 4 and 6) later this year!!


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