To my fellow OCD planners, some of my strange packing seems completely logical.  However, most of my newbie travel companions or even a few seasoned clients utter “I never would’ve thought of that!” when I rattle off my little list of packing essentials.  Are they necessary?  Maybe not, but I never head to Disney without them.

Here are my top five weird things to take on a Disney vacation that will make your trip better:

1. Zip-top Bags in All Shapes and Sizes

I grew up with this one.  When I was a kid, I remember my gramma always had a box of gallon-sized Ziplocs in her travel bag.  And she still does!  These serve so many purposes at Walt Disney World.  Throw electronics in them before hitting Kali River Rapids (or during those summer afternoon showers).  Stash your leftover lunch for later (unless it’s something that needs to be refrigerated—then just let it go, man).  Keep the kids’ autograph books and markers together.  Store wet clothes in them after a run through the spraygrounds.  I’ve even turned one into a make-shift camera cover when I just had to get my little guy’s pic with Gaston in a December downpour.

ŸGet Park (well, Packing) Wise: Use bags to pack the kiddos’ outfits for your trip.  I pack the entire day’s outfit in a Ziploc and smush out the air (technical term).  This saves lots of space in the suitcases.  I can pack both kids’ stuff in one. When it’s time to get ready in the morning, all they have to do is grab a bag.

2. Address Labels

Being a donor to a children’s charity has apparently gotten me on the list to receive thousands of personalized address labels.  Since there is no way I’ll write that many letters in my lifetime, I use them to mark my things.  I’ve got one on my camera, my folder (more on that later), my phone charger—pretty much anything they will stick to and I’d want back if I lost it.  I made the kids their own labels with their names, my cell phone number and a cute picture of them with Mickey Mouse.  They stick these on their autograph books, Sharpie packs, Epcot passports, etc.

Get Park Wise: We also bring a supply of labels with us to attach to anything we may buy while on vacation.  My little guy has a compulsive need to buy stuffed animals at Disney, and his labels fit perfectly on the tags.

3. Accordion Folder

There’s a strong probability that our entire trip would fall apart if I lost this thing (hence the address label marking it).  Mine has 12 pockets and I can easily store boarding passes, Disney’s Magical Express vouchers, confirmations sheets, etc. in an organized and contained spot.  Once we’ve arrived, I use it to protect restaurant photo packages from being bent, keep receipts together and corral any papers we end up with during the week.  Oh, and this is where our address labels are, too.


4. Filtered Water Bottle

Orlando water is gross.  It just is.  So is the water in my hometown, so I already had these bottles.  If you don’t, consider grabbing one before you head to Florida.  They make a world of difference.  Although counter service restaurants will slide you a free ice water if you ask nicely, sometimes you’re closer to a faucet or water fountain.  Take a deep breath and go ahead and fill the bottle.  Once the water makes its way through the filter, it’s perfectly fit for human consumption.  Or, at the very least, it tastes better.  I also use the water bottle to filter my water when I brush my teeth back in the hotel room.  But I’m weird.

5. Loo-pourri

It’s a non-aerosol you spray in the water before you do your business.  It works. Those hotel rooms can be small.  Enough said.

What weird things do you take on your Disney vacation?

  • clewandowski

    I have learned something very, very new reading this blog! Loo-pourri – something I will surely be looking into before my next vacation! I will have to secretly place it in my boyfriends bag, as a friendly hint 😉 I don’t pack many ” unusual” things when I travel to Disney. However, some people find my ” Must Eat” list a little odd. I compile a list every trip of things I still haven’t eaten or drank, and check them off as I go! Thanks for the tip!!

    Best regards,

    • Haha!! It’s good stuff, I tell ya!

    • Tracey Mallaby

      I love this idea Chelsy, I have lists of pressed pennies I already have & characters we haven’t met. A foody list will be drawn up for the upcoming trip, thanks for the idea 🙂

  • SueinSac

    Oh, please tell us you re-use all those Ziploc bags from your luggage. I’ve seen that tip to pack kids’ clothes that way, and it just seems so wasteful, with all those bags, bags, bags, bags! I just teach my kids to fold their clothes together into daily outfits when they’re packing. Pick up each day’s set, and they’re good to go, no bags wasted.

    (I do still use ziplocs for snacks and all kinds of other purposes – but it’s a whole lot less bags!)

    • Oh, sister, you don’t even KNOW!!! I still have bags from 2009’s fall trip. I just cross out the date and add the new one (yes, I put dates on the outfits). Believe me, we used the heck out of those bags. And it’s SOOO much easier to basically just dump the suitcases in the drawers. I use packing cubes for myself, and we’re totally done unpacking in about three minutes tops. The day’s clothes go back in the bags for easy re-packing at the end of the trip, too. Added bonus, the plastic bags are one line of defense in the icky factor/possible bed bug problem. I don’t know what the guests had in those drawers before us. This way, any thing we’re wearing is protected from any thing they may have had in there. OCD…yes. But remember, we already established that I was weird.

  • Let your freak flag fly Jessica! Love it!!!

    I’m a big proponent of zip lock bags as well. Keep them with me in my man-bag so I can keep my camera and wallet safe in rain storms and on water rides. They really come in handy.

  • Code101

    Sharpies! (to sign those park tickets + label water bottles etc), a zip lock bag with 4 straws and 10 napkins, box of granola bars (great when in line and the little one suddenly has to eat), wetones in individual packs, antibacterial gel (smallest bottles a drug store sells), extra pin backs, and what you don’t take counts to. Go through your wallet and remove any things you don’t need: costco cards, gas cards, membership cards etc. That way if you lose your wallet you have less to replace. Be sure to sync your Iphone before you leave (my oldest killed her’s at Disneyland and she lost 4 months worth of contacts and pictures) the parks are very dangerous to your cell phones. Throw one of those address labels on the back too. When we go I am the “backpack mule” everyone gives dad stuff to carry.

    • Code101

      oh yeah… For the hotel room we bring at least a couple votive candles (for the same reason as your #5), plastic forks and spoons,

    • Heck yeah, Sharpies!! The kids’ each have a 12-pack of clickables so their autograph books will be color-coordinated. 😉 They do come in handy for all of those other things, too. We usually loop our luggage tags on the bags since address labels don’t seem to stick too well. You’re definitely right, though, we label EVERYTHING!

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    I do the ziplock bags to store my makeup for touchups (because though it’s water-resistant, it starts to melt off with the sweat throughout the day). I know… you might say, “Just don’t wear makeup then!” Well… I can’t. I have to wear at least foundation because my skin has a lot of unevenness and blotches and stuff. I won’t even go out to get the mail unless I have at least my foundation on. Yes I’m vain and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 😉

    As for the filtered water bottle… that’s a good idea, but in my experience, only the water from the fountains at the Magic Kingdom is disgusting. The water from the fountains at Epcot aren’t bad at all. Haven’t tried the fountains at the other parks.

    • You’re just making the world a prettier place! 🙂 I don’t wear much make-up, but I refuse to go anywhere without lip shine and powder liner! Where else do you take as many pictures as you do on vacation at Disney? Haha!

  • ChrisNJ

    Definitely always bring ziplock bags for cash and camera when it rains or on water rides.

    regarding water – I normally ask for cups of water and then use a product called True Orange. It’s a power that adds a hint of natural flavor and scent. I figure the Orlando wasn’t isn’t bad for me, just doesn’t taste/smell right. As an Iced tea fan – I can’t even order that in the parks as the water ruins it.

    • May have to try that. We carried around those little powder packets one trip and never used them. Haha! Regular water just seemed much more refreshing, but I do love orange!

  • holierthanthoutx

    I was really with you for the first three — zip-top baggies are used for so many different things, and I always keep a few empties in one of the outside pockets on my suitcase. Ditto on the address labels and a folder that can close.

    You lost me on the last two, though. For one, I kind of like the taste of Orlando water, with its slight sulfur-y flavor. I know that’s strange, but I think it reminds me of childhood trips to Florida. I’ve never even heard of the last product.

    I think the thing people find most “weird” that we always take to WDW is an empty suitcase. Admittedly, we don’t pay for luggage fees (we fly American where we’re “gold” status and are exempt from luggage fees, or we fly Southwest), but we always bring an empty, smaller suitcase to make sure we can accommodate any purchases we make. Our only “rule” for purchases is that they must be fairly flat or small, and our family’s purchases are usually along the lines of clothing, pins, picture frames, small toys and Christmas ornaments.

    Another “weird” thing we always carry is laundry detergent. Of course, we aren’t the typical WDW visitor, as we’re always staying in a DVC resort and have a washer/dryer in our suite, but we bring half the amount of clothing we need for our length of stay and do laundry at the halfway point.

    Something we bring that is probably “weirder” than an accordion folder is our own wi-fi router. Until recently, most WDW resorts didn’t have in-room wi-fi, so it was a necessity, but we’ve found that our own router is still more reliable than the ones Disney put in, because we can plug it directly into the high-speed Internet and all our devices recognize it instantly.

    • Great additions! We always buy empty suitcases. Not on purpose. But it seems to happen a lot. Hahaha!

  • Tielo

    A word of causion on using address labels!!!
    Don’t have your adres visible to anyone. There are people scouting airports, hotel lobby’s and probably theme parks looking for addresses of folks that aren’t home for an easy break in.

    Yep Ziplocks are a must for me. I always put my wallet and camera in them when going on a water ride.

    • Interesting thought. Thanks for sharing. Luckily we always have a house sitter!!

  • DobbysCloset

    Why is it human females apologize for being smart and well-organized by calling themselves “weird?” As a Trained Service Chihuahua I have absolutely no humility. I make my human put my treats in a ziploc bag, my kibble in another ziploc bag and, when I am through eating and nature takes its course, that goes in a plastic bag as well. If I had to ride Splash Mountain I would ask to be put in a plastic bag as well, along with her extra socks and her dry sneakers and her camera. We little desert creatures HATE getting wet!

    • Weird is totally in the eye of the beholder!! And it may not necessarily have a negative connotation.

  • waymire01

    I strongly second the filtered water bottles.

  • Leofoenget

    I don’t think your list is all that weird, even the Poo-pourii (It’s POO not LOO btw I see them hocking it on QVC)

  • Tracey Mallaby

    Jessica I love you! I thought I was organised, but I will be borrowing some ideas. I already used ziplock bags for the water rides, but I love the idea of keeping clothes in the drawers in them! The accordian folder is genius!!!

    • Haha! Right back atcha! Us crazy planners have to stick together. Glad you found a couple helpful tips!