For families visiting Walt Disney World for the first time, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the exciting planning details like where to stay, what to eat, and which park to hit first, but many wait until the last minute to answer the all-important question: to pack or not to pack?
Waiting to pack, or even worse-not knowing what to pack- can leave even the calmest of parents in a panic. But answering a few questions will definitely help you narrow down the proper choices for your family.
What will the weather be during my family’s visit to Walt Disney World?
This question is, in my opinion, the question that needs to be answered above all others. Depending on the time of year you’ve chosen to visit, the weather forecast, and the season, what type of clothing to pack is first and foremost in my eyes. Having said that, we have checked the weather forecast the day we left and by the time we arrived the predicted temps lowered by 20 degrees.
My family is not used to the high southern temps and we wear shorts and t-shirts to the WDW parks year-round, but we always pack a light jacket just in case we come across a chilly morning. We also throw in our bags a disposable poncho for each of us just in case we encounter one of those mid-afternoon showers that Florida is so famous for.
Will the shoes that I pack be comfortable even after 12-14 hours on my feet?
Please ask yourself this question for each member of your family. If you are packing shoes that will cause blisters and foot pain after only a couple of hours, it doesn’t matter how cute they are, you’ll end up despising them after a day in the park and probably won’t touch them again on your vacation. Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes are the rule at Disney parks.
Will my kids walk by themselves in the parks or do I need to bring a stroller or baby carrier?
This is a very important question. I remember when my daughter was nine years old and a first-timer in the parks. After a couple of days, and even at her age, she was wishing she would fit in a rental stroller to ease the exhaustion. It is exhausting walking for hours and hours, day after day and strollers make it so much more manageable for you and your child.
If you have room in your car or want to check it on the plane, please pack your stroller. Flying or driving without one? Walt Disney World and other reputable offsite companies offer stroller rentals for guests in the Orlando area and many even deliver them straight to your resort. Single and double stroller rentals are available and can be rented by the day and week.
Oh, and you know that teeny, tiny seven pound infant that you plan on using a baby carrier for during your entire trip? Seven pounds will start to feel like 70 pounds after a few hours with hurting legs and feet so a good idea is to pack or rent a stroller even with a teeny tot.
What’s the general rule for the number of outfits I need to pack per child?
As a general rule for my family of two adults and a teenager, we wear an outfit per day. Smaller children, especially infants, will undoubtedly require many more than that so two per day should work well. All on-property Walt Disney Resorts have washers and dryers if you get in a pinch and need clean clothing.
We use them at the end of our trip and wash all of our clothes so we don’t have dirty laundry when we get home. If you are thinking about doing a load while vacationing, add a couple of those all-in-one laundry packs to your suitcase so you don’t have to pay for single use detergent.
After all of your packing and unpacking, if you feel like you have entirely too much to fit in your suitcases there is another option: box up your extras and mail them to your resort! Many a family has done just this with success, but before you do, double check with your resort to make sure they allow it.