To say I overanalyzed packing for our 6-day theme park trip to Orlando would be an under statement. I know that my kids (and husband) are best behaved when everything is in order and there aren't any surprises. So, I spent a whole lot of time figuring out the best needs for us while on our trip. We did 5 days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and one day at Disney (Hollywood Studios). Each day, we did over 12 hour days with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old who were happy just about 90% of the time...so, I'd say it was a successful trip! Below are some of the things I ordered for our trip that were most helpful.
Water Resistant Clear Pouches
I really cannot stress enough how much I love these clear pouches. I use them for everything. Each day, I used a large sized pouch to pack matching shirts and shorts for the boys. Each daily
pouch also included two pairs of socks for the boys and one pair of underwear and one diaper. It made it SO easy to get ready every morning and because the bags are clear it's super easy to find what you're looking for. In addition to the daily outfits, I packed one large pouch with swim stuff, one large pouch with extra socks and underwear, another with a few extra shirts and shorts and another with pajamas. I use the small and medium sized bags in our diaper bag to take things to the park. I had one bag of just snacks, one of activities and one of diapers (they are so great for keeping diapers compact).
Family Pack of Ponchos (comes with 5 adult and 5 child ponchos)
Our trip happened at the same time as hurricane season. So, instead of having to pay a premium for ponchos while in the park, we took our own. It rained every day we were there for about an hour in the afternoon so the ponchos came in handy. Although, I will admit, that I never wore one because I was always so excited to be cooled down from the rain that I enjoyed the break from the heat by getting a little wet. Plus, once the sun comes back out, you'll dry out in minutes anyway. The ponchos were great for the kids and the stroller, though.
I'll admit, I had never even heard of a chafing stick until I researched for our trip. I didn't really know if I would need it, but turns out around day 4, I was happy to have it!
Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick
This sunscreen stick was SO convenient to have with little ones. They didn't mind putting it on themselves and it really didn't feel greasy at all.
Collapsible Water Bottles
My husband kept making fun of these little water bottles because they do look kind of strange at first, but holy cow were they awesome to have! I actually think I enjoyed having them more for our flights than for the parks because we ended up getting the refillable mugs at Universal. We're always making sure we have lots of water on flights for our kids, but it's annoying to have to keep a hard water bottle in the diaper bag because it takes up so much room. These bottles were seriously so convenient to have and collapse down so easily. My kids really loved them. Unfortunately, we left both of them in Orlando on accident :( but I plan to order a few more before we fly again.
Short iPhone charging cables
I knew we'd be charging our phones with charging blocks frequently and that having a long cable is annoying when on the go. So, I got a bunch of these little short cables and they worked perfectly.
Universal & Disney Approved Soft Coolers
I searched high and low for properly sized coolers that fit the Universal Studios and Disney cooler guidelines for size. I honestly spent hours and hours and hours looking for the right one. I wanted them to look cute and be something we'd use afterward too. I found these are they were absolutely perfect. We used them for the kids to take to school for the two weeks before our trip and the kids love them too. The freezer packs are built into the side of the bags so you just freeze the whole pouch and don't have to worry about buying freezer packs too. Unfortunately, we left these in our hotel fridge in Orlando :( Whoops!
These are our favorite wipes and we always have them because our youngest is still in diapers. However, having wipes on hand for sticky hands and clean-ups in general was so convenient. It kept us from having to make a bunch of trips to the bathroom to clean up after all of the messy treats consumed :)
Basic Cotton Underwear
I know...you're probably thinking that it's really silly to include underwear, but like I said...I wanted to be prepared in every way possible. So, I got these cotton basics from Amazon and they were super comfy.
Odor Resistant No-Show No-Slip Socks
I absolutely LOVE these. They are so comfy, have a little rubber stopper on the heel to keep them from slipping and they are so breathable. They dried quickly after getting wet and were perfect for a theme park. I wear a size 11 in women's - these say they fit men's 6-11. So, I think they'd fit a wide range of upper women's sizes.
Lightweight Quick-Drying Water Slip-On Theme Park Shoes
These shoes were probably one of the biggest surprises for me. I really had no expectations for them. I knew I didn't want to have to worry about walking around in wet sneakers all day and wanted to try and find an inexpensive alternative that would keep my feet dry but would also be comfy enough for walking 12 hours a day. These were perfect. They were comfortable, held up well under all the walking and the best part...they dried so fast after getting wet. They are definitely more comfortable with socks on, but obviously you don't want to wear socks if you know they will be getting wet. So, I would wear socks with them all day until I knew I was going to ride a water ride or if it was raining and I would just put my socks in our bag and wear them without socks. It worked out great and I didn't have to deal with wet shoes once! I wear a women's size 11 and got a Men's size 9.5 in these.
Kid Water Shoes for Theme Park
I got these water shoes for both my 1-year-old and 3-year-old. They both have big feet, but I got the 1-year-old size 7s and the 3-year-old size 13s. When they first arrived, I thought they both looked a touch too big for them and they were a little big, but the adjustment thing on the shoe allowed us to tighten them enough that they fit great and they'll be able to wear them for quite a while. We just had them wear these on water rides and when it rained. They were sturdy but also compact enough that we could take them with us in our bag every day.
Fold-up Ball Cap
My sunglasses were lost on our flight to Florida, so I was stuck with only a ball cap to shield my eyes because I am SO picky about sunglasses and just didn't want to compromise and get ones I didn't like while on our trip. Anyway, my husband thought this ball cap was really nerdy :) I suppose it is...it folds up and has a bit of a long brim. However, I cannot believe how useful and convenient this hat was! It was SO nice that it could fold up small enough to be able to fit into my rather small fanny pack. So, I could wear it while in the ride line and then once I was ready to ride, just fold it up and slip it into my fanny pack. So so convenient and I now love this silly hat! :)
Baby Sun Protection Hat
My 1-year-old doesn't really like wearing hats or sunglasses, so this hat was perfect because the velcro straps stayed put pretty well. He still ended up taking it off many times, but he kept it on longer than he would keep a ball cap on, so I consider that a win.
USB Charging Hub
This is just a USB hub for charging everything at night. Every night, we had 2 phones, 2 charging blocks, 1 Apple Watch and 1 GoPro to charge and this Hub made it so easy.
Fold-Up Baby Carrier
We actually have a bunch of nice baby carriers already (including two that I sewed myself!) but they are rather bulky. Our 1-year-old actually doesn't like to be worn much, but I knew it would be really necessary to have a carrier with us but didn't want the bulk. I did lots of research and couldn't believe it when I found this one. It completely folds into it's own pouch and becomes about the size of a large fist. It's so easy to use. It's also so breathable. My guy is huge and it still seemed comfy enough for him. I LOVE that it has the snap on hood which made it so much easier to nurse him in public. The only thing I don't like about this baby carrier is that I didn't discover it until he was 1! It would have been so nice to have on all of our other trips.
I didn't end up getting to take these on the trip because I lost them on the way, but I've ordered another pair since and love them. They're really inexpensive and the lenses don't give me headaches. For some reason, lots of cheap sunglasses give me MAJOR headaches, but these don't. So, that's a win for me! I also got them for my mom and she loves them too.
Medium sized Fanny Pack
I wanted a fanny pack that wasn't too big but also not too small. This was seriously perfect. I went back and forth between multiple styles forever and finally decided on this one and it was perfect. I used the far back pouch for my money - it was the hardest pouch to access while wearing the fanny pack and seeing as I didn't need to pull my card or ID out often, it was perfect. The front pouch I used for food. I was able to also have on hand a package of cheez-its, a package of beef jerky, bribery suckers and bribery smarties (more on these later). In the main pouch, I kept my phone, a phone charging block and cable, a sunscreen stick and a GoPro camera. And when I would get on rides, I would put my fold up hat in there too.
Best snacks for Disney and Universal STudios
These were really cheap, easy to carry and didn't break much while traveling.
If I would have known how much the jerky would come in handy, I would have ordered way more of it. I just got 18 packages for our trip and we went through about two packages a day. I would have definitely preferred to have had enough for each person to have one package a day. It was really great for giving the kids a quick hit of protein and they both loved it, despite not ever having it before (and I have VERY picky eaters). Jerky is WAY cheaper on Amazon than it is anywhere else, so I definitely recommend buying before hand. One tip that came in handy for us...every day when I would pack our snack bag, I would put a few packages of jerky in there, but first I would poke a hole in the package to let the air out and would fold it up smaller to make sure it didn't take up more room than it needed.
This is a staple for most kids, but these were so handy to have while in the parks. They're small, cheap and a good way to keep blood sugar up on hot days.`
These lollipops were probably my biggest weapon in battling kids who seemed close to losing it while waiting in line or in places where we were around a lot of people and I needed them to not be quiet or during shows when they were supposed to be quiet. They each probably got one a day so it's not like I was popping these in their mouths constantly :)
So, smarties are basically the same as the mess-free lollipops, but in smaller forms. I kept a handful of these in my purse every day and used them as bribery, and if that didn't work I moved onto the suckers. Smarties are great, because it's a quick hit of sugar and it helps to hold you over until you're able to eat a proper meal/snack.
These little things are wonderful for times you're away from your house/hotel for long periods of time....especially when kids are getting to eat a lot of sweets that they aren't normally allowed to eat.
We always just order new toothbrushes for long trips (heck, my husband buys new toothbrushes every 2 weeks anyway haha) and when I found these, I knew they were perfect! They are numbered 1-4 on the handles. Any time we try to assign toothbrushes by color, everyone always forgets what color they are supposed to be, but remember what order you are in the family is easy! My 3-year-old thought it was awesome that he go the toothbrush with a 3 on it because he's the 3rd oldest in the family.
10/9/2022 03:17:29 pm
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I'm a 30-something mom and graphic designer living with my husband and our two boys in Austin, TX. I'm obsessed with product research hopefully some of my research can help someone else.