Knowing what to pack when you go on holiday to Walt Disney World can be a challenge. For some people, it can also be quite stressful, particularly first time Disney guests who haven’t experienced how changeable the weather is out thereat times, and therefore are at a bit of a loss as know what to pack. With airline rules becoming stricter in regards to baggage allowance, you can also genuinely panic about whether all of your clothes and toiletries collectively weigh under what you are allowed to take on the plane. We’ve been stuck in that situation a couple of times, when we flew to Bergerac once one of our party had to pay a fee for being literally a couple of pounds over the weight limit – damn those hair straighteners! So we here at travelwiththetribe.blog thought it would be a useful idea to go through the key do’s and don’ts when packing for Orlando with your tribes, as we have learnt along the way (and sometimes the hard way!) that you really don’t have to take everything with you, including the kitchen sink – you can just go to the Beach Club for that!!! (Mooohasive ice cream big enough for a tribe, found at Disney’s Beach Club resort if you haven’t heard of it before – a bit of a must do, too!)
Do – take your hair straighteners if like us, your hair suffers with a bit of frizz. We have found it very difficult over the years to find many hair products which have worked to control our particularly flyaway frizz, which is problematic at times, and our hair certainly suffers from the humidity of the weather out in Florida. One thing we have used is a keratin smooth oil, which does seem to tame it a little bit, but our advice is to have a look before you leave at the information out there on Disney forums like The Dibb, or Facebook groups like It’s Orlando Time, where there is a lot of ongoing debate about what to do with frizzy hair, and something which works for one person will not necessarily work for another, so it can be tricky. What we would say is that definitely take your straighteners, straighten your hair as you usually would and try and keep it up as much as you can during the day when the heat is at it’s peak. You won’t necessarily want your hair around your face too much anyway, it just get’s in the way and makes you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t take a hairdryer. Following on from our previous post, you do not need to pack a hairdryer if you are staying on site at a Walt Disney World hotel, as one will be provided in your bathroom, plugged in and ready to go. Yes, at times it may feel as though it is as effective as someone gently blowing on your hair, but it will dry your hair – eventually, so you might just need to spend a bit more time on your blowdry! This frees up a bit of space in your suitcase for other things, so no need to pack your hairdryer (unless you really can’t live without your Dyson!)
Do order a poncho beforehand at home. It is certainly worth investing in a decent poncho before you go on holiday as the weather in Orlando is unpredictable, but also at times completely predictable! We’ve visited Walt Disney World at two different times of the year, Easter and Summer because we are completely restricted to those times because of our jobs and of course our children and school. The summer holiday months of July and August are notoriously hot and humid, but also are close in the year to when Florida reaches its Hurricane season, and therefore you have to expect at the very least a few showers throughout your holiday. Be prepared for some incredible downpours of rain at times, usually mid afternoon or early evening, when you are returning back into the parks for dinner in your smart duds and hair beautifully coiffed! This is very much expected by those who visit Florida regularly, in fact it can feel a bit strange if you’ve gone through the duration of your holiday without seeing any rain at all! Having said all of this, the rain (and accompanying thunder and lightning) can provide a welcome respite from the humidity, and sometimes you are almost willing it to rain when it gets so hot! If indoors (disclaimer – we are not advocating you stand outside during a thunderstorm), the thunder and lightning show you may well get alongside the rain showers are incredible, lighting up the sky ferociously and yet at the same time are stunning to watch nature in all of it’s glory. Just make sure you are in a safe place with your tribe when this happens. So, if the rain does catch you on the hop, just to be on the safe side when it does appear, and also invest in a decent poncho before you leave the UK. Yes you can buy the Disney Parks ponchos at approximately $14.99 each, but to be honest we’ve done this before, and they don’t last very long, even with our tribe being really sparing with them. Our advice is buy before you fly in a poncho that you can fold, carry and put on at the drop of a hat….or the drop of some very fast rain in Orlando! And, don’t forget to take it in the parks with you, you don’t want to be caught out in the rain for too long, you will get more soaked than being sat at the front on Splash Mountain, and that’s saying something!
Don’t take loads of toiletries. This can really pile the weight on in your suitcases, and when we were younger and not as savvy, we would spend a fortune on buying a whole host of new toiletries to take on holiday with us. In fact, it was an exciting pre-holiday thing to do! However, like many things over the years we have learnt this isn’t really necessary at all, as staying in a Walt Disney World hotel gives you the benefit of having Disney toiletries freely available in your hotel room. Granted, this has been improved during the past few years, but now you can expect to find shampoo, conditioner, soap, bath and shower gel ready for your use, and the brilliant thing is, is that it is replaced as soon as you use it. The Disney H20+ toiletries are available to buy in resort shops, and actually to buy on it’s own is quite expensive, so arguably you are getting these nice toiletries for free! Having used them now on many holidays, they are good quality, smell really nice, and you can also use as much as you want knowing that room service will just replace it with another one when you’ve finished with it. Now we acknowledge that not everyone will want to use just Disney toiletries, as if you want to take your own of course you must, but it certainly helps with the space in your cases if you’re not having to lug big bottles of shower gel (which also has the potential to leak in your case, as we have found out through our own experience) and you can just focus on the basics which you need to take with you. You might even find a few spare Disney toiletries in your case when you return back home – how did they get in there??!!!
Don’t pack loads of clothes when you can use the washing facilities on site easily enough. You will come back with clothes you haven’t even worn. Again, when you have a certain number of kg in your suitcase, a 2 or 3 week holiday naturally requires a fair amount of clothes for you and your tribe to take. We like to take a change of clothing for the evening, so when we come home after a morning in the parks for our planned chilled afternoon back at our resort, we head in for dinner later having showered and changed. Our husbands here at Travel with the Tribe used to moan incessantly at us every year about how many clothes we could fit in our suitcases, and yes, they did use to be absolutely full to capacity with about 20 maxi dresses, 10 pairs of shorts and numerous shorter dresses and tops just in case. It got to the point where we were literally having to sit on our suitcases to close them. Top tip we have learnt the hard way – streamline! In every Disney hotel resort, there are great washing and drying facilities on site, which are cheap to use, easy to find and will take no time to wash any of your or your tribe’s clothes in one or two of your free afternoons away from the parks. You could, like we do now take back a suitcase full of clean clothes, no post holiday blues doing the washing! For example, at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Yacht and Beach, Port Orleans Riverside and Animal Kingdom Lodge where we have stayed, they all have a number of laundry rooms dotted around their respective resorts, and when we’ve stayed in 2 Bedroom Villas at Saratoga, there is a washing machine and tumble dryer in your room with free washing powder. So order your washing powder via Garden Grocer as we’ve advised beforehand, and wash as you go, that way there will be no need to be taking clothes on holiday you aren’t even going to wear. It really does cut out a lot of hassle, but more importantly space.
Do take antibacterial wipes. Take a packet of Antibacterial Dettol Wipes for when you are out in Orlando. In all hotel rooms and DVC villas Disney will provide washing up liquid and dishwashing tablets, but for wiping around sinks, worktops, bathrooms and tables, it’s quite nice to have some wipes to hand to well, wipe! We’re not suggesting for one moment here that you spend your time on holiday cleaning, we would not advocate that kind of behaviour (!) but it’s always useful if you spill your coffee, knock something over, if you want to wipe down the patio furniture, or your worktop after you’ve made some breakfast, just having those wipes nearby will come in handy as useful
Don’t take really smart clothes. Disney isn’t really the type of place where people dress up. Generally it’s a fairly casual affair, particularly during the daytime where the general attire is shorts, t-shirts and vests with trainers or flipflops with swimwear at the water parks. We tend to take some smarter dresses for certain restaurants or dining experiences, for example the girlies in our tribe put on smarter dresses when dining at a Signature restaurant like Tiffins or California Grill, or perhaps when we go to watch the Hoop De Doo revue, or we might dress up to meet the Beast at Be Our Guest, and in the past when our tribe were smaller tribettes we would also dress up to meet the princesses at Akerhaus and Cinderella’s Royal Table.
This is obviously down to choice, we’re not saying it’s something you can’t do, and if you feel as though you would like to wear something a bit smarter, then go for it. Even for dinner, people keep it fairly casual, but check individual restaurants for any restrictions on dress, for example this year when going to California Grill (Signature Dining experience) we checked the dress code beforehand, and lucky we did as one of the rules of the restaurant was that men were not allowed to wear casual shorts, they had to be smart dress shorts. So our tip for this one is maybe take a couple of more dressier items, depending on where you are eating, people do dress up which is of course down to individual preference, but don’t feel as though you have to.
- Note: The Disney Springs area has some smart restaurants which you might like to dress up to go to, particularly Moromoto Asia, The Boathouse, The Edison, STK Orlando etc.