I recently became an annual pass holder for Disneyland in California, after 10+ years and 1 child later. Now that my trips to the Happiest Place on Earth on not relegated to once a decade, I’m learning a few things about making your trip to this magical place with kids a little easier. Many families look forward to a Disney trip for years in advance, and we all want it to be a special occasion that is both fun and functional. One of the best ways to make your trip easy is to plan ahead and pack some necesary accessories. I’ve done all the planning for you, so check out these must-have items!
1. Cross-Body Bag
As a mom, you are usually relegated the task of carrying both you and your kids stuff. As tempting as it can be to load down the stroller or a huge backpack, you are not going to want to lug around a heavy bag in the hot California or Florida weather. You also don’t want to worry about how to carry everything once you have to get on the tram and fold up the stroller, nor worry every time you leave your stroller and personal belongings when waiting in attraction lines. Try and go as minimal as possible and then pay the $10 at the Park to get a big locker for the entire day. Trade in the huge diaper bag for a SMALL cross-body bag. I’m going to give a shoutout to my favorite bag, the LeSportsac Kylie Cross-Body bag. It’s very lightweight, thin, has three separate and unique sized zipper pockets and comes in about 20 different patterns. If you don’t load it down, you will not even feel the bag over your shoulder! I was able to carry my car keys, small wallet, cell phone, sunglasses, hair tie and some Advil without so much as a backache this last week. It is a very affordable bag that’s worth every penny.
2. Filtered Water Bottle
The last two things you want to happen to you at Disneyland are becoming dehydrated or having to fork over $8 for a bottle of water. Sure, there are water fountains but carrying a water bottle that filters the water for you will save you time and give you piece of mind (I once filled up my bottle from a drinking fountain at Disneyland and the water came out WHITE). The Water Bobble is an excellent choice because it everything is contained in your hand (no need to fill up with your Brita filter at home!). It comes in at $10 or under and the filter lasts for months. It’s plastic, so safe to take into the park and for the kids to use. You can buy replacement filters and use your Water Bobble for years to come.
3. Broken-In Gym Shoes
If you’re planning a special trip to the Park, it may be tempting to splurge on some cute new shoes to wear. As alluring as it may sound, don’t do it. Chances are you will be getting your money’s worth and spending 10+ hours walking, which means 4 or more miles. The last thing you want to worry about is a blister or a pair of shoes that aren’t as comfortable as you thought while trying them on at Sport’s Authority. Also a word to you sandal lovers: look, I get it. I’m a California native and I LOVE my sandals. I wear them 95% of the time and even in the rain. But having to worry about keeping your shoes on while keeping track of your kids is not sometime you want to think about at a crowded theme park. Put on your most comfy gym shoes and just focus on the fun.
California and Florida are no strangers to the sun. We are blessed with beautiful and bright weather much of the year- theme parks included. Constant exposure to the sun is not only bad for the skin around your eyes, but the constant squinting, coupled with the heat is bound to give you a headache. Do yourself a favor and pack some sunglasses to protect your eyes and that you won’t mind potentially losing!
5. Lightweight Stroller
I may receive a little pushback from moms on this next item, but I’m going to stick to my guns and tell you that you should bring a lightweight umbrella stroller when visiting a Disney park. Try and avoid bulky and limousine-sized strollers for a few reasons. First, you will have to get that stroller onto the tram (if you’re at Disneyland in California), and that’s not easy if you have a huge, heavy stroller that is packed to the brim with stuff- not to mention your child. Unless you want to wait in the very long line that’s technically for people using wheelchairs, you will need to be able to fold and carry both the stroller and your kids. If you end up in the parking structure, there is a walking path that you can use to avoid the tram, but keep in mind you will probably still want to take the tram home, when your feet and kids are exhausted. You also may end up parking in one of Disney’s remote parking lots (like the Toy Story lot which is a mile away), in which taking a bus is almost necessary and where you will HAVE to fold up that stroller. Another reason to avoid a huge stroller is that there are TONS of people visiting the park. Try navigating a giant stroller around slow and distracted walkers, horses, train tracks and more. Finally, you don’t want to worry about your UppaBaby getting stolen while you’re enjoying the magic. Sadly, it happens and you can avoid it by bringing a cheaper version or just renting one at the Park.
This last item is pretty important. Don’t let your trip be ruined by a careless sunburn, and slather sunscreen on every few hours to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Buy BEFORE you enter the Park if you don’t want to be price gouged. Sunscreen is an accessory you never want to be without.