Contributor Post: Whats in Your Bag?

It’s Amanda again!  I wanted to share a little bit about Whats in My bags when I travel to Disney!  We are a family of 4.  We travel with two strollers, two book bags, two kids, probably even two cars if we could!!

 

Strollers: We have carried our own, rented through Disney, rented offsite from 3 different companies as well as purchase one in the gift shop when we arrived.  I carry travel size Lysol and clorox wipes to disinfect the ones I rent, but all of them have been cleaned so we haven’t had issues with dirty strollers. All of them worked for what we needed, so it depends on your situation!  I recommend bringing your own if you have small children that like to eat while being strolled or connect via travel carrier car seats.  Most strollers I have found for rent are missing the attachment for the food tray and car seat carriers.

Renting Offsite – We have used Orlando Stroller Rental, Kingdom Rental and Magic Strollers.
Great things: Cheaper then at Disney parks, delivered to your hotel, you have it your whole trip, kids can be wheeled out while sleeping after a long night at the parks, Comfortable, Extra storage area underneath. Downfalls: You have to collapse them to get in bus/car/tram/train (or leave at station), Reserve in advance – may not have them available once you arrive.

Renting at Disney – Hard plastic so not as comfortable, but you can get one on a whim if your kids gets tired.  You can get a multiple day ticket so its cheaper per day to rent one for the length of your stay.  You can leave them at the train station and get a new one at the next stop.  You can leave them at the park end of day…so less to keep up with. I recommend these for older, larger kids.  You will see 10 year olds in strollers, adults taking naps in them, so don’t think your child is too old for a stroller, that’s a LOT of walking for kids. If you don’t want to drag them around….stroll them to let them relax at least one day of the vacation!

Buying one in the giftshop – This happened last time because I forgot to reserve a stroller so tried to get one on the trip down and EVERY rental company was sold out!  Both of my children can not fit in a double stroller (and be comfortable) so we figured instead of renting two hard plastic buggies it was better to buy an umbrella stroller there.  So that $40 in the gift shop, still saved us more money then if we rented one! It was perfect for toddler and above, but with younger kids you need that storage space!  Then end of trip you can give it to another family, take it home and use it or whatever else you need to do with it!

Bookbags – We take a lot of stuff because you never know with kids and adults what is going to be needed….ok, “I” take a lot of stuff…My husband gripes about it 🙂 But we have used almost everything I pack, so it comes in handy!
Autograph item(s) and pens/markers, Trading Pins, Change of clothes for little ones, Water bottles/Thermos cups (For the free ice water you can get), Clip on fans and Mister Fans if its going to be hot, Sunscreen, Clip on cooler bag to keep leftovers or waters cool, extra shoes/socks on rainy days or after water rides, Camera, Batteries, Pain Medicine, Snacks, Mio or flavor packets for water,  Ziploc bags to keep things dry or leftover food, Vaseline and Band-aids for blisters, Ponchos, Bag to cover strollers, Jackets, Phones and Phone chargers, Games for kids, Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes, Body Splash or Deodorant for all those odors you may smell in line….those that have been, you know what I am talking about!! With younger ones – You can pack bread and get packets of PB and J and make them sandwiches in the park.  Carry single serve chips and apple sauce too for a easy meal! For Babies – Diapers, Wipes, disposable mats for changing in bathrooms, don’t forget bottles for babies – I used the drop-in bottles and carried bottle wipes to clean the nipple and used a new liner each time.  A lot less to keep up with! They have Baby centers in each park to help with some supplies and feeding, rocking but try to carry everything you need in-case they are out of something or its not convenient to where you are. Now with all this stuff we carry we break it down into two bags.  Our valuables and things we would need for bathroom stops stay with us at all times, the other items we typically leave in the stroller in the other bag so we aren’t weighted down the whole day!

Suitcases – Florida weather can be hot, cold, rainy or beautiful!  It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you are never guaranteed perfect weather! If you are travelling Oct – April I recommend at least a light jacket because some nights it can get cooler even if you were wearing shorts that day the wind can make you cold! Just because you are travelling in December….doesn’t mean you must take Eskimo suits and all pants and long sleeves…..We have wore shorts MANY times in December and it was plenty warm for it!!  We have packed for warm weather and it get colder at night than we expected and had to go buy several Disney Sweatshirts so either plan ahead or bring extra money to purchase in the park. If you are onsite you will probably have a mini-fridge in your room.  So get waters and capri suns for great pick me ups! Swimsuit and floaties- ALWAYS bring your swimsuit, kids swim year round so don’t leave your tikes out….they may jump in fully clothed if you forget! Shoes – Bring extra shoes for everyone!  With that much walking your feet will be screaming at you so get your best, broken in & comfortable, shoes you have and bring an extra pair to alternate with.  Coins and Detergent/dryer sheets – With kids expect messy clothes, accidents and laundry.  There are laundry rooms onsite if you need them, but bring plenty of coins!! Pop-Up Hampers – they fold flat but are great at holding dirty clothes. Snacks or Breakfast items for your room, Dry Erase Board (this was fun last time to leave thank you notes with Mouse-Keeping). Fan – If your kids need white noise to go to sleep with or the rooms just don’t get cool enough for you, bring a fan! Stuffed animals and Disney toys for the rooms, and all the Princess gear you have at home because your daughter will want to be a princess like all the other girls she sees, so plan ahead and bring stuff from your house!

 

Ok Thats about all I can think of for now.  Have fun packing!!

 

Guest Contributor: Amanda-Slightly Addicted

It’s time for another of our brand new guest contributor posts!! Thanks to all our new contributors and be sure to give her some comment love!

 

Hello everyone! I’m Amanda, and I’m a new contributor to The Mouse & The Monorail. I know a lot of you are probably like me and a little addicted to the magical world of Disney. Where else can all your worries be washed away and you can be like a kid again?  I began my Disney addiction at the young age of 2.  My family tried to get us down to Orlando every other year.  I remember the days of the 20,000 Leagues under the sea, The Skybuckets, Mickeys Toontown Fair, and the days of paper tickets!  While I miss all the old rides,  they have replaced them with some great ones!

I got married in 2004 and our honeymoon destination was none other than Disney World.  My husband had never been, so I was excited to share it with him.  We opened and closed the parks every day we were there and came home exhausted after the 9 hour drive.  My hubs said, “I hope you enjoyed that, we are never doing that again!” Well our first Anniversary, Disney offered an amazing deal, so yea…we went again!  And then the next year another fabulous deal.  Do you see a pattern here?

So here we are now in 2015….2 kids later, we have managed to visit the world every year except 2007, but we made up for it and went twice in 2008 and twice in 2014.  I have seen Disney when I was 8 months pregnant (ummm wow!), I have taken kids as young as 3 months old, and vacationed with friends as well as grandparents.  We have stayed in the Value resort almost every time, used the Dining plan or the Quick Service Dining plan, and ventured to several other “optional” experiences.  We try to see and do a lot for all ages and we have fun every time!  I cant wait to share adventures with you all, and I hope each of you can get a little more addicted with me!

Now, I’d like to share with you a little advice based off of the questions I have been asked over the years.

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Traveling with children -I hear so many people say “My kids are too old for Disney” or “My children are too young, they wont remember it.”  Well I can say I have taken my son yearly since 9 months old and my daughter yearly since 3 months old, and they both have remembered rides since they were around 2 years old.  Disney makes it easy to travel with children, and they even make them free up to 3 years old!  If you are thinking its like Six Flags and they cant ride anything, you are in for a treat.  At 3 months, my daughter was able to ride at least 85% of the rides at Disney.  Of course she couldn’t ride the major rides, but there is a lot more that babies and toddlers can ride than people think.  Some of the rides I was able to wear the baby carrier on, and others I held her in my arms.  I would say the fastest moving one is Toy Story Mania and we had her in the carrier for that one.  The rides they can’t ride, Disney offers a rider swap option.  This works as a FastPass for the parent staying behind with the little one.  That way if you have other kids, you can take turns riding with them, without waiting in line twice!  So believe me when I say, Disney is a park for ALL ages.  Your kids are not too young or too old for Disney (unless they are a few weeks old, then I understand!)

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Best time to visit – I would say the Best time to visit for lowest crowds is September.  For overall best Experience – November or December (excluding the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.)  September is awesome for riding as many rides as you want and they usually offer Free Dining during this time.  However, the heat can get to you and sometimes its pretty rainy as well!  November and December – Great temperatures, the crowd level is up a little but its manageable.  Many times Free Dining is offered certain dates.  The Christmas lights though, are AMAZING!!!  And if you are going around this time, try to take in the Very Merry Christmas Party too!

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Best place to stay –  There are amazing properties all around Disney.  Offsite vs Onsite – I am onsite all the way!  I love free parking, buses constantly running, extra magic hours, magic bands, get your FastPass picks earlier, free dining promotions, need I say more?!  Now that you know I say onsite, what is the best Disney hotel to stay at?  This depends on your budget and how you vacation.  If you are going to hit the park in the morning, lounge around the hotel and sight see some and enjoy some downtime, then I would recommend a Moderate level resort or above and check their amenities.  If you are going to Disney to see the parks and go to the park every day….you probably just need a value resort!  If you are like us, we open and close the parks so we only see our hotel room to sleep and shower…the rest of the times we are in a park.  It would be a huge waste of money for us to look at a Deluxe hotel, even though they are awesome, because we are not around the hotel enough to take in the amenities that make it worth the extra money.  So consider your plans before choosing a hotel. 

 

Hope this helps a little bit! I look forward to sharing more Disney magic with you! ~Amanda

 

Thanks for the great post Amanda! If you’d like to become a guest contributor, simply shoot us an email at mouseandmonorail (at) gmail (dot) com! We’d love to feature you too!! ~M º0º