Ready to take your toddler to Disney World, but you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed?
We feel ya. There’s a lot of planning involved with any regular Disney trip, but add a toddler into the mix and things get instantly more complicated…especially when it comes to packing. Kids need quite a few things when traveling, and today we’re sharing our ultimate packing list for your little ones — so nothing gets left behind!
First of all — we say this often — there is no “right age” to bring a kid to Disney World. It really depends on you and your family. Some wait until they’re big enough to actively participate while others are cool with bringing their kiddos as newborns! A magical trip can be magical at ANY age and what works for one might not work for another. BUT, if you’ve decided to take your toddler to Disney World (and take advantage of not buying them a ticket until they’re 3!) you can have an AWESOME time. We’re gonna give you some packing tips to make it easy peasy.
Let’s start by talking about the important things — food!!! Your child is inevitably going to get hungry during your trip, and there’s the chance that they won’t like the food options that Disney has to offer. Even worse, toddlers love to get hungry at the most inopportune times (like while ON a ride or RIGHT after the bus takes off from your hotel!). You’re on vacation and your schedule is understandably different than at home.
A lack of naps and bedtimes, travel, and overstimulation can mean your kid’s eating habits could do a 180 on you so be ready for it. Sometimes the best eaters won’t eat a bite for days or that favorite snack is suddenly a turn-off to them. Have options (and backup options) ready to go. If you pack their favorite snacks, you’ll help prevent problems that may arise.
Portability is key so opt for pre-packaged portioned snacks or invest in some small Ziploc baggies. With such a busy schedule in the parks, you may be eating at unpredictable times, so having snacks will help avoid hunger-induced meltdowns.
If there’s one thing we know about toddlers, it’s that they can get into messes no matter where they go! And at Disney World, there are dozens of ways to get messy. Throughout the day, your child could have an accident (oh the joys of potty training!), they could spill food on themselves, or they could get wet from rain or playing in splash pads.
Like many other things, it’s better to have extra clothes and not need them than to be without in an emergency. Throw an extra set of clothes (don’t forget socks and undies too!) in your bag juuust in case. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way when you’re rushing in a gift shop to spend $$ on the first kid-sized shirt you can find!
And speaking of wet clothes, wet shoes can be even more uncomfortable! That’s exactly why we recommend choosing shoes that don’t cause problems in the rain or water.
If you can, make sure to get your child shoes that they can wear without socks, but that are still comfortable to walk in. We’re big fans of enclosed-toe kid sandals. Their toes aren’t wiggling out the front and they’re really more like velcro shoes but with ventilation and water-friendly materials. These unisex sandals by Keen have worked really well for some of our kids! Bonus points — they’re easy to clean!
A Stroller Fan
Next up, let’s discuss the things you may need to purchase before your trip. A stroller for a toddler is a must but it’s up to you if you want to bring one from home or rent one for your visit. Either way, Florida is known for being incredibly hot and humid, so a fan that attaches to your stroller would be a great investment!
Here’s a great option that you can purchase on Amazon right now. It has adjustable legs to attach to your stroller and is battery-operated, so no charging is necessary. All for $24.99! You may want to pick up some extra batteries — because you could be using that little fan A LOT! This is a LIFESAVER in the warmer months (so, you know, basically year-round!) to keep your kiddo cool and makes napping in a stroller MUCH more comfortable.
In the same vein, along with being hot and humid, Florida also gets regular rain! We recommend bringing a few ponchos with you.
This can be handy to wear to keep the rain off, but they’re also useful to protect your stroller from getting soggy from a rain shower passing through. Trust us, we’ve been there. We’ve parked our stroller to experience an attraction as a family with not a cloud in the sky, only to return it to find that it was rained on while we were gone! No toddler wants to sit in a soggy seat (and we don’t blame them) so have that poncho handy, just in case. And buy them ahead of time to save yourself from paying a premium in the parks!
Speaking of covering that stroller, if you have a double stroller or just want to really ensure your kid stays dry in there, invest in a dedicated stroller cover. These are basically just giant ponchos fit to your stroller! Many come in universal sizes meant to work on most strollers. This universal single-sized cover is about $15 and this double stroller cover is only $17.50!
Hat and Sunglasses
They’re not just stylish, they’re practical too! You’ll definitely want to pick your child up a hat and some sunglasses before your trip to help shield them from the sun. And to add to the magic…there are plenty of Disney options to choose from!
How cute is this Mickey Mouse Bucket Hat for Toddlers? You can get it right now on shopDisney for just $19.99. The perfect way to let your little one wear ears and stay protected at the same time.
Anyone who has a toddler knows how helpful wet wipes can be. Whether you choose disinfecting wipes or baby wipes, you’ll want to pack something to help eradicate the sticky messes. And believe us, Disney World’s surfaces can get pretty sticky!
With hundreds of people sitting at the same tables each day and Mickey ice cream bars that drip all over, you’ll likely encounter several moments throughout the day where you need to clean up a table or — more likely — your kid. These Amazon brand wipes are cheap, you get a lot of them, and they work really well! We were constantly shocked by how many times we were whipping out the wipes with our little kids in Disney World. Sticky hands and messy faces are a toddler way of life but in Disney World, that seems to get cranked up to 11!
Did we mention that Florida is HOT? If so, we can’t say it enough! The sun is really intense here in the Sunshine State, so you’re going to need that sunscreen — especially for toddlers with more sensitive skin.
If you don’t pack some, there are places where you can purchase it all around the resort (you’ll be spending more money than at your local store, but it’s a necessity). Just make sure that you don’t go without…you and your child will regret it later if you do! Pro tip: invest in sunscreen powder! This little miracle is super portable, works great, and best of all — is easy to apply. If you’ve ever wrestled with a screaming slippery toddler trying to get an even coat of sunscreen on them, you know the struggle is REAL. We especially love this sunscreen powder for delicate faces and scalps (bonus — it seems to last forever!).
Their Own Water Bottle
We tell our readers all the time that it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated in the parks. With all the sweating and walking, it’s easy to start feeling faint before you even realize what’s going on. And for the little ones, that means that they should get their own water bottle as well.
If the kiddos have their own bottles, then it’ll be easier to keep track of how much water they’ve had throughout the day and they won’t be depleting someone else’s supply. Most toddlers haven’t mastered drinking out of an open bottle, so opt for sippy cups with built-in straws or designs that don’t leak when (inevitably) tossed out the stroller, on the ground in the restaurant, in a queue, etc. This design by Munchkin is super easy for toddlers to drink out of without a straw, doesn’t leak, and is easy to clean. Prefer a straw? This sippy cup is great.
Favorite Comfort Items
Just like at home, your child is likely going to want their favorite comfort items. Whether that’s a stuffed animal, blanket, or favorite toy, don’t forget to bring it along!
New and uncomfortable environments can be pretty overwhelming, so having a piece of something familiar can help prevent meltdowns during your trip. It’ll be something that keeps them happy and grounded and allows you to keep your sanity!
Activities for Waiting in Line
It’s no secret that you’ll be waiting in quite a few lines at Disney World. Everything from restaurants to rides to restrooms have queues, and it’s really easy for children to get bored during those long waits.
That’s why we suggest packing some activities! Handheld games, coloring books, stickers, and any other small item that can be stored in a backpack would be great to keep your kids occupied during the most tedious parts of your day. We loved keeping a coloring book and crayons in our bag for restaurants too — those Disney menu/coloring sheets get really boring and repetitive real fast for kids!
Okay, let’s face it…gift shops with children can be tricky. Inevitably, they’re going to spot something that they want you to buy and you may have to say the big N-O. However, we’ve got a solution!
Purchase a few souvenirs online ahead of your trip. Then, when you arrive, you can hand them out throughout your visit to help mitigate the desire for things in the stores. You can even make it into a fun game or surprise each day! This obviously doesn’t work as well for bigger kids that have their eye on specific goodies. But for your younger set, they’re much easier to please!
Any Medicine They May Need
While Disney World is home to several First Aid stations with many different options for medicine, they may not have exactly what you need. If your child is used to taking a certain brand, dosage, or type of medicine, then your vacation probably isn’t the time to switch things up.
Set aside some medicines that your child may need and pack them in your park bag. Even common over-the-counter medicines like children’s Tylenol can be good to stash away in your luggage — just in case you need it, you won’t have to hunt for it! Once again, it’s one of those “better to have it and not need it” scenarios. Don’t forget kiddo shampoo/baby wash and kids’ toothpaste too if needed!
Oh no, the dreaded bubble wands! They’ll all over the place in the parks and your child is surely going to see another kid with one and beg you for their own. But, the ones at Disney World are pricey! Save your money and buy one online ahead of time.
And if you purchase one, don’t forget to buy the extra bubble solution. This pack is cheap and large! If you leave it running all day, it’s going to empty itself FAST and then you’ll have one sad kiddo. Or even worse — a sad parent that just shelled out a lot of money for soapy water refills! (Click here for a great bubble wand from Amazon!)
A Kiddie Camera
And if you’re looking for something more fun to add to the packing list, may we suggest a kiddie camera? Think about this — all week long your child will watch you snap pictures during your vacation and they’ll likely want to take a few of their own! Save the stress of your toddler running around with your phone in hand trying to take pics and get a camera just for them!
Plus, at the end of your trip, you’ll have a whole series of photos from your toddler’s point of view. Whether or not they turn out well, it’ll certainly be fun to check them out! 😜
And last but not least, make sure to pack an autograph book. Once character meet-and-greets come back in a traditional sense, you’ll want a way to remember all the character interactions that you enjoy throughout the week.
It’ll be a wonderful souvenir to look back on years from now, and you can even take the time to add photos to the book!
It may sound random, but plastic or ziplock bags can come in SO handy with toddlers, or let’s be real, they’re just handy. Period.
Bringing a few with you can help you store wet, soggy clothes, protect items from water rides or rain, or store any leftover snacks that your toddler can munch on later in the day. We always try to carry some with us because they’re so universal!
If you’re in the park and you lose something — whether it’s a shoe, blanket, pacifier, bottle, or anything else — make sure to check on top of the trash cans! That’s where most Cast Members place items before they take them to lost and found. So, your first course of action should be to head to the area where you lost the item and check the tops of trash cans. If it’s not there, then check with Guest Services at the front of the park.
If you’re taking your little one to Disney World soon, the best thing to remember is that you should relax. You’ll need to remain flexible and patient throughout your trip, and as long as you do that, you’ll have a great time! For more traveling advice and tips for the parks, make sure to keep following along with DFB!
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Have you ever taken a small child to Disney World? What are your best tips?