Admit it. You’ve been to DisneyWorld, forgot a crucial item and then had to fork out $25 (per person) to fix your mistake. Am I right? We’ve all done it. Take this list with you so you can avoid these painful “stupid taxes” and make sure you save some of that money on items you don’t need and use them on items you do need (like more stuffed animals if you ask my kids).
It’s Florida. It’s going to rain. As Scar says, “Be prepared.” This means you will need some degree or rain protection (poncho, rain jacket, umbrella). It’s up to you what you want, but I’ve found a set of emergency ponchos that take up almost no space in my little backpack and are only a few dollars. Your Disney branded poncho – which will tear before the end of the week – will set you back about $25 each.
2. Stainless steel water bottles
Dasani (a division of Coca-Cola, which sponsors all the beverages at Disney World) costs $2.50 per bottle. Their bottles are 16.7 oz. An adult needs between 64 and 96 ounces of water per day. That’s $10-15 per person per day. On a five day vacation for a family of four you’re looking at spending $200-$240 on water. That’s insane. And that doesn’t take into account the environmental impact of that much plastic usage. If you’re staying in a resort, you can fill one of those great stainless steel bottles with ice and water and it’ll last for hours. You can refill at drinking fountains; you can replenish with ice water at nearly any restaurant as well. But this can be a major cost savings by just being a little responsible with a good quality water bottle.
3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
The sunglasses they sell there are (sadly) cheap. They fall apart after only a few uses. Even a pair my husband snagged at a grocery store lasted longer than his Disney pair. As far as sunscreen, sad but true, it’s overpriced. Also, I’m very particular about what I put on my face, so bringing my own sunscreen gives me control over what brands we’re all using and how much I’m spending on it.
4. Chargers and maybe even a power strip
When we go to Disney, I usually have to work (at least a little bit) so I have my phone, watch, iPad, and my computer. My husband has his phone, watch, and computer. My kids have tablets and iPods for the car. All that means we have anywhere between 8 and 15 devices to charge at any point – it’s intense. So I’ve found that taking a power strip loaded with everyone’s chargers can be wildly useful at charging everything quickly, efficiently, and out of the way. You can also keep this as part of your “go bag” and keep it perpetually ready to be packed. It ensures that no one arrives at any vacation destination sans charger and you don’t have to drop $10-$30 on a new charger.
5. Breakfast foods
We’re DVC members, so we often stay in villas which either include a kitchenette (Deluxe Studios) or a full kitchen (1, 2, and 3-bedrooms), so we usually try to cook our own breakfast. There are many reasons we do this. 1) Cost savings. It’s cheaper for me to cook my family of four breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, cereal) than it is to take them to any quick serve breakfast. 2) Time. By not having to spend time sitting down at a reservation or go get food, we gain park or pool time. 3) It’s healthier. I have a little more control over the sugar content my kids are taking in this way.
6. Bonus: A Sweat towel
If you get as sweaty as my husband does (and there’s almost no way that you do), you will want a sweat towel. Drop it in some icy water and wring it out for a really pleasant, cooling way to get through the scorching heat of a Florida summer. Bonus points if you bring some essential oils like Eucalyptus to freshen up. He uses it when he golfs, gardens, works out, and walks around the parks.
What did you pack that came in handy? What are your favorite things to bring to DisneyWorld that enhanced the quality of your trip? Let me know in the comments!