Over the years I’ve tried to perfect our WDW packing list to bring only the basics and have come up with the best 7 essentials to pack for toddlers at Disney, without overpacking our car.
I know I always talk about the fun side of Disney vacations, but have I ever told you there’s a dark side?
Most people call it packing. I call it battle. I tend to underestimate the amount of work that goes into packing every single time. And even though I know I do this and that I could go into it better prepared, I don’t. I just keep looking for help in Alderran places. 😂 (I’m a sucker for a good Star Wars pun!)
The ONLY good thing to come out of this constant battle is that Chris and I have gotten pretty good at figuring out what essentials we need to pack for toddlers at Disney. But honestly, it came with lots of trial and error.
The first time we took our toddler to Disney we had so much stuff in the car that we barely fit. Chris had to work some of his voodoo magic to get everything to fit in our trunk and the backseat.
But it’s gotten better. With at least 5 trips with a toddler behind us we now have a better idea as to what he’ll need and what we can do without.
I still stand behind whomever said kids come with a lot of stuff. It’s insane. But at least we now know to leave the “nice to have” things at home and only bring what we really need.
7 Essentials to Pack for Toddler’s at Disney
Lightweight Travel Stroller
We’ve pretty much taken every single type of stroller to the parks for our child, the worst one being an umbrella stroller. I hate them. Because there is basically no cover to protect your kids from the sun.
Finally Chris and I found this hybrid. It’s a little heavier than an umbrella stroller, it has an underneath basket for storage (that was a MUST for us!), it RECLINES (whaaaatttt?!), and it’s pretty compact when it folds up. It also drives SO MUCH SMOOTHER than an umbrella stroller. The only con is that the push bar is a little low for taller people. But for someone like me who is short, it’s the perfect height!
Car Seat Travel Tray
For Chris and I it is cheaper to drive to Disney than to fly which makes it easier to bring everything we need with us. On our last trip back in February our child was getting bigger and therefor more restless in the car for long periods of time. This travel tray is AH-MAZING because it has a place for his sippy cup, a tray to eat off of, AND he can color, read books, or play with legos on it. It’s a great way to keep him entertained until we stop for the next bathroom break.
Backpack Diaper Bag
When I was first looking for a diaper bag before the toddler was born, I fell for the Ju Ju Bee over-the-shoulder bag. It was huge, had insulated drink holders, and was easy to clean.
Two years later and I don’t use it at all now. Instead I use the backpack we bought specifically for our Disney trips. I love that it’s a backpack so that the weight is evenly distributed when wearing it. It was also so much cheaper than the other bag and it’s still easy to carry and easy to pack/unpack. AND….you can attach it to your stroller. I have to buy attachments for the Ju Ju Bee (and I honestly never took the time to do that).
No-Leak Sippy Cups
You guys, the amount of cups I’ve bought that my son hates is seriously a problem.
But I think I’ve found cups that solve my no-leak rule AND that my son loves. Now I just need to get him to stop spitting out his water when he eats, then we’d really be leak proof. He still doesn’t quite get why picking him up with a sopping wet diaper and soggy mushed food stuck to his legs grosses me out. I.REALLY.CAN’T.DEAL.
My toddler isn’t walking or running around yet but I always get nervous when I see younger kids running towards characters or rides with parents frantically trying to follow them. Honestly, my worst nightmare would be losing my child in a massive crowd like that!
I highly suggest making your own tattoos with your Silhouette machine, so that if you do get separated the person that finds your child has a way to reach you. (or you could bring one of those child leashes so that when they want to get down and walk they’re never far away!)
I love using bins similar to these to organize the toddler’s toys, our snacks, and even a change of clothes (and/or diapers and wipes for the toddler) in the backseat. It makes it really easy to find what we need AND it’s easy to carry all the stuff into the hotel once we get to Florida.
The sheer genius of it makes me feel like a boss walking into our resort. 💁🏻
For whatever reason our toddler isn’t a huge fan of being in the car when it’s dark. He’ll fuss and fuss until we turn on the flashlight on one of our cell phones and place it in the back with him. Chris and I bought him this light up turtle toy last year and it’s been great for late night car rides!
You can also grab glow sticks and other light up toys from the Dollar Tree before your trip and use them as treats to hand out when you’re in the parks after dark.
This is an extra, you don’t need but it’s nice to have, item on our list. Chris likes sleeping with a fan in his face so this cool little USB fan does double duty. We bring it in our room at night from him and then during the day we attach it to the toddler’s stroller to keep him cool. I cannot tell you how many people stopped us to ask where we got it. We keep it charged during the day with this portable charger (the charge on it lasts all day with the fan and both of our phones plugged in to it!) and bought extra large clips to keep it attached to the stroller.
If you want one that already comes with a clip, I suggest this one!
I still think packing for kids is a battle that I’ve yet to win. I mean, one time I forgot diapers. DIAPERS. How did I forget something so essential?!
But I’m trying. Though I’ve kind of convinced myself that I won’t master this skill any time soon.
If you can’t fit some of this stuff in your car or suitcase, my absolute favorite tip that you should definitely look in to is shipping stuff to your resort with Amazon Prime. Especially if you’re flying or don’t have room in your car. Disney now charges $5 to hold a package behind the desk for you, but we always feel like it’s worth it to have essentials (like diapers or wipes) at our hotel waiting for us when we check in than having to go off property to pick stuff up!
If you’re looking for other helpful packing tips for Disney, check out these posts!
- Five Packing Tips to Keep You Organized (plus a FREE packing printable!)
- How to Pack a Minimalist Diaper Bag
- Traveling with an Infant to Disney World
More Disney Posts!
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