I am a chronic over-packer.
Also, I hate to fly. I don't even like to be inside of an airport. They make me nervous.
Hence, when we decided to go to Disney World, we decided to drive. 17 hours.
Here are some Road Trip Tips, not just for Disney World, but for any Road Trip lasting more than 4 hours:
KWTF Road Trip Tips (what is KWTF? Find out here and here.)
1. DVD player.
I feel like I should be ashamed to say that Superfrykid pretty much watched movies the whole time. But I'm not. Because it's the truth. And she was quiet. Which was awesome, because Superfrydad and I could have great conversations. See how enthusiastic he was?
I saw this idea on the internet several times. (You can see some cute examples here and here). I bought lots of little things from the Dollar Bin at Target, Dollar Tree, and here and there. I wrapped them up and every hour or so I let Superfrykid open one of the gifts. However, the rule was that if she asked how much longer or what time it was, she could not open the gift at the allotted time. That only happened once, so I think it was definitely worth the $20 or so that I spent on it. Here's what Superfrykid's gift bag looked like:
Superfrykid was also introduced to the movie, The Goonies, which she loved. If you do not love this movie, get out. Go read another blog because clearly, we have nothing in common.
3. Stop for Restroom Breaks and to Eat.
I feel like I shouldn't really need to include this on the list. But, hey, a road trip without these is no fun. Maybe #3 should really say "Stop at Clean Looking Places and Not at Dingy Gas Stations with Keys Attached to Large Wooden Clubs", because that's really what I mean. One place we stopped at had a sign on the wall from 1993 warning that the water was unsafe for human consumption. We did not wash our hands. We opted for hand sanitizer in the car. Tips like that are why you read Ketchup With the Frys, are they not?
4. Stop and spend the night on particularly long trips.
Driving to Disney World is a straight 17 hour drive. We opted to stop overnight and break up the trip. One of the places we stopped looked a little.....shall we say......shady? We had already stopped at 2 other places that were booked. This was a well-known chain, but definitely a motel and not a hotel kind of a place. Fine, it was only for one night and we were tired. However, I did tell Superfrydad to go up and inspect the room before we lugged all of our stuff up. He did, and said it wasn't anything fancy but it looked ok. Fine. We lugged our stuff up to the third floor. No elevators and an outside entrance should have been my first warning. And the fact that it was $59. But whatever. I go in and use the bathroom. There are about 6 "ants" on the floor. And I say "ants" in quotation marks, because that's what I'm telling myself they were. I don't really know what kind of bugs they were -they looked like ants, but they were tiny - maybe piss ants? Can I say piss ants without offending anyone? I hope so. If you are offended, you may stop reading now and go read facebook or something. Anyway, I came out of the bathroom and noticed the bedspread. First of all, most hotels don't even use bedspreads anymore. This one had not one, but two cigarette burn-holes. We collected our things and traveled back down the 3 flights of steps. We did receive a refund and hopefully none of those bugs made it into our unopened luggage during the 2 minutes we were there.
5. Pack snacks and drinks.
I actually found Mickey Mouse shaped cheese and let me tell you, that made me feel like Supermom-of-the-Year. Never mind that I'm sure there's a mom out there on Pinterest who would probably make the cheese from their own sheep's milk. Let me have my moment, people.
Also note that no matter how many snacks you pack,
6. Only take 1 Child.
This cuts down on sibling fighting. I've found that sibling arguing is not a problem for us on road trips since we only have one child. Ketchup with the Frys recommends choosing your favorite child for a Disney World trip and allow your other child to go on a less-exciting trip closer to home. If you have more than 2 children, you probably have no spare time to read this nonsense, so we won't worry about you. However, if you have more than 2 children, you probably have more patience than me and you are probably immune to the noise of fighting by now, so by all means, take them all.
Provided you follow those 6 Road Trip Tips, I think you will have a great time on your next travel adventure.
Now, let's move onto packing for Disney World. There are many great online resources with lists that contain nearly every single possible item you could pack. Some great ones can be found here and here and here. Here are the things that I found to be the most essential.
KWTF Official Disney World Essential Items to Pack
Ziploc bags are by far the #1 item that you need to pack. Sandwich, Quart and Gallon Size. Sandwich to protect your phone if it rains. Quart for smaller toiletry items. Gallon for shampoo, etc. Gallons also work as seat protector if you need to sit on a wet bench or curb. I put my big Nikon camera inside a gallon bag when it rained. Ziplocs can be used for wet poncho storage, leftovers, snacks, rain bonnet, autograph book protector, and many, many other things.
Did you know that Florida is known as the "Sunshine State"? Do you know what they call rain in Florida? Liquid Sunshine. Har har.
It rains in Florida. A lot. Buy ponchos at home so you don't have to pay $9 for a poncho at Disney. Many sites give this tip, but my advice is to not wait to purchase your ponchos at home. I went to WalMart and tried to buy ponchos for 88 cents. When I got to the register, I could not purchased them because they had been recalled by the manufacturer. Recall on ponchos? Really? What could possibly be wrong with 88 cent ponchos that they would need to be recalled? Neck holes too small that cause choking? I'm pretty sure that if my poncho costs 88 cents, I can rip a slightly larger neck hole if needed. Maybe they were made of poisonous plastic, I don't know. What I'm trying to say is that finding cheap ponchos might not be as easy as you think, so don't wait until the last minute. Thankfully, I had time to go to Dollar General and find WVU ponchos, which were more than 88 cents but at least a dollar cooler than the clear ones.
Also, with all of that being said, usually the rains comes and goes quickly. I hate to wear a poncho because it makes me too hot and sticky, so I would recommend an umbrella if you have room in your bag. It's easy to pop up for a light shower. But I'd still bring a poncho in case it rains sideways. Which it might.
3. Pressed Penny Money
A cheap souvenir that may have been Superfrykid's favorite thing at Disney is pressed pennies. You know the machines that cost 50 cents to squish your penny flat and impress it with a design? They are everywhere in Disney World. There is even a dedicated blog to pressed pennies in Disney World. Tips from the Disney Diva has some great information, too. I will say that the pennies prior to 1982 did look better when pressed. You can do a cool science-y thing where you clean them with vinegar and salt and they look super clean. I was skeptical, but it actually does work. Here's the penny holder I made for Superfrykid, using a mini-M&M's container:
4. Liquid Soap
Disney World provides bar soap. I prefer liquid soap at the bathroom sink. I found this soap online at Target (along with Mickey Band-Aids that I think I got at WalMart):
I also brought a small container of liquid dish soap to wash out our cups and Brita water bottle. I found a tiny bottle in the dollar bin at Target that worked perfectly.
5. Brita Water Bottle
Everyone says the water in Florida tastes funny. They are right. We used a Brita Water Bottle, which we filled up with ice and were able to refill for free in the parks with that nasty Florida water. Some sites also suggested taking flavored water packets to mask the taste of the water. We did not do this, but it sounds like a good plan if you like gross water with added fake cherry flavoring.
6. Gum and Pepsi
Disney World does not sell gum. Or Pepsi. Pack yourself some gum and if you don't like Coke products, smuggle in some Pepsi. Actually, you don't have to smuggle it. You are allowed to take food and drinks into the parks. Just no glass.
7. Mister Fan
We took a very small, clip-on, battery operated mister fan that was really nice to have while waiting in line. If you have the room in your backpack or stroller, a larger one would be great, especially if you go when it's hot, which is pretty much all the time. Of course, Disney sells mister fans, but you will pay more than you would if you just buy one before you go. If you have a little one in a stroller, a clip on fan is a must during the warm weather.
Check back for more Disney tips and details from our trip. If you missed the first post about Disney planning 101, you can read it here.
Disney Post 2 of 6: Packing Must Haves and Road Trip Tips
Disney Post 3 of 6: Magic Kingdom
Disney Post 4 of 6: Hollywood Studios
Disney Post 5 of 6: Animal Kingdom
Disney Post 6 of 6: Food at Disney