Disney World in June – It’s Going to Rain

It’s almost here!  The Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip is nearly upon us.  Megan and I are in the homestretch, bags are being packed and frequently checking the Orlando weather is our favorite pastime.  It’s going to rain.  Everyday probably.  That’s Florida in the summer.  Acceptance and preparation are key to powering on through the rain and still having a fun vacation.

Disney World in June – It’s Going to RainDisney World in June - It's Going to Rain

Shoes – The beauty of driving to Walt Disney World is practically unlimited packing space.  We’re taking lots of shoes especially.  If it’s not raining in the morning, we’ll start off in sneakers (a.k.a. tennis shoes, running shoes, trainers) and switch to rain-friendly footwear we can carry with us.  I like Croc’s ballet flats and any type of comfortable flip-flops with a textured food bed for safe and comfortable rain-survival.  In the Florida humidity, if our sneakers get wet they’ll take forever to dry, so we’re bringing multiple pairs.

Ponchos – Like wet sneakers, ponchos take a long time to dry and can quickly get moldy and unpleasant if wadded up wet and shoved back into a bag.  The key is to make like a boy scout and be prepared.  We’ll take along a few for each of us.  I’ve got leftovers from previous trips to bring along that were purchased at places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walt Disney World – like a mini poncho wardrobe. Disney World in June - It's Going to RainPark Bags – Normally, I’m a minimalist when it comes to park bags and have even been known to go bag-free from time to time.  Being prepared for the expected torrential downpour will require more supplies and a larger bag.  Megan and I can fit everything in one backpack and take turns carrying it.  Extra shoes, first aid stuff, ponchos, some hairaphernalia for repairing our ‘do’s, snacks and drinks – we’ll be set for anything!  I got a new Mickey Mouse backpack a few months back as a purchase with a purchase…totes adorbs as the young folks say, isn’t it?Comfort and, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t care, appearance.  I appreciate the value of a good cap or visor.  In particular, I’m a fan of Headsweats visors.  They come in a bunch of colors and are excellent at wicking moisture then drying out quickly.  I especially like that the underside of mine is black to reduce sun glare.  They’re comfortable rain or shine and look nice too.  Wet weather and humidity are no match for any hairstyle on me other than a ponytail or bun which work well with my favorite visor. 

We’re planning to get wet.  The weather forecast says 60% chance of scattered showers everyday we’ll be there except one (when the chance is 40%).  Sometimes being prepared makes the difference between a good time and a GREAT time.  Who knows when Megan and I will get another chance to take a Disney vacation alone together – let the fun begin!  We are ready!

What are you favorite items to pack for the rainy summer days at Disney World?

Walt Disney World – Vacation Day Checklist

Wristlet for WDWWhen I’m packing for a Disney vacation, I never worry about forgetting clothes, shoes, or shampoo and the like.  If I forget hairspray or sunscreen – I’m okay with just buying a replacement at Disney World (I’m going to do the resort loop shop tour anyway, right?).  I’m a big picture kind of person and for me, the devil really IS in the details.  It’s the little, but super important things I’m most likely to forget.  Now that a Disney vacation has become a little bit more complex than it used to be, I rely heavily on what I call a Vacation Day Checklist.  This is the list I use at the very last minute before I leave home to make sure that when the plane lands and my sandals hit the ground, I am completely ready to get right down to vacationing.

Since I’m going to use this list tomorrow (woohoo!!!), I’ve been tweaking it here and there.  I thought maybe if I shared it with you, you might find it useful for your own future Disney vacation or (let’s make this all about me for a sec, okay?) YOU might offer me some suggestions on how you organize all the listed items.  If you think I’ve forgotten anything, shout it out immediately!  Time is of the essence!

THE Vacation Day Checklist:Printed Reservations

1. Printed proof of all resort reservation numbers, Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs), and FastPass+ selections.  I’ve heard horror stories about relying solely on the MyDisneyExperience app for this.  I’m not willing to chance it….are you?

2. Airline boarding passes (if flying) – Raymond is really great about remembering to do online check-in at the earliest available moment.  And he keeps up with the boarding passes.  I’m in charge of worrying about it.

3. Magical Express Luggage Tags in PLACE – I wait until I’m completely packed (in theory) before placing the Magical Express tag on my suitcase…I also then weigh my bag to make sure I’m not over the weight limit.  I don’t mean to brag, but on more than one occasion I’ve been complimented by the airline’s skycaps at curbside check-in for my packing skills when my bag weighed in with a full one-half-pound to spare.

4. Magic Bands in carryon.  At least one band will need to be scanned for boarding the Magical Express motor coach.  ALL Magic Bands will need to be available for resort check-in if adding charging privileges to each band (and selecting a PIN for charging).

Walt Disney World Annual Pass5. CARDS!  This may include any/all of the following:  Drivers’ License, Credit card for resort charges, Annual Pass (or voucher) to be linked to Magic Bands at the first park after arrival, Tables in Wonderland (dining discount card), DVC membership.  NOTE:  If you purchased a special event ticket you will be picking up at the will-call window, you will need to have the credit card with you that was used to purchase the tickets.

6. Chargers, cords, batteries.  I take three digital cameras, a GoPro video camera, my cell phone, and my laptop with me.  I’d be pretty sad if I forgot their associated charging cords and extra batteries.

7. Rain Prep – I check that 10 day forecast up until the last minute.  If there’s a significant chanceDisney Parks Poncho of rain on arrival day, I’m wearing my rain-friendly shoes and carrying my rain ponchos with me.  Rain will not keep me from enjoying my arrival day!

8. Park Bag – We always head straight to a park!  It may not always be the same park every time, but once we’ve checked in at the resort, we are off!  I make sure I have my cameras, charger, small medical kit, rain gear, pins to trade…whatever we’ll need.  In a bag, ready to go.  Need suggestions for bags?  Check here.

9. Empty Zip Lock Bags – Part rain gear, part miscellaneous supplies.  If it rains, I can quickly stow electronics in a bag for protection.  Gallon-sized bags are always good for separating dirty socks and underwear from everything else in the suitcases.  Toiletries that might potentially leak can be sealed up tight inside their own bags.  Wet rain ponchos can be stored in a zip lock, inside a park bag without shedding water on everything.

10.  Snacks.  I tend to think of food only when I’m hungry.  Traveling is dicey – might not get to eat at regular times.  After one horrible food-poisoning incident on our way to Walt Disney World in 2012, I’m not inclined to trust airport food all that much anymore.  Trouble is, when I’m TOO hungry, I tend to get pretty cranky.  I actually have to remind myself on this list to bring along some nibbles – just in case.

Okay – My Earhat-wearing friends – what did I miss????  This is my last minute checklist….what’s on yours?


Walt Disney World for Adults – Choosing a Bag

Medium Backpack for WDWI felt I needed to add a qualifier to this post’s title.  If you’ve got little one’s (especially of the diaper-wearing variety), this article won’t be very helpful – in the end, you’re going to need a bigger bag than any of the ones I’m about to recommend.  I’m also not recommending a specific brand – the three bags featured today ranged from cheap (discount store) to not-so-cheap (upscale outlet mall) to pretty-darned-expensive (major department store).  You can find the perfect bag or bags for your next Walt Disney World vacation at a multitude of stores – brand doesn’t matter.

When choosing a bag for a day of park touring, I take a few things into consideration:

  • What size camera will I be carrying?Wristlet for WDW
  • Will I be going back to the resort mid-day or to dress for dinner or not at all?
  • Will I be toting anything for gathering character autographs?

Once I know the answers to those questions, I can choose from among the three bags I bring along.  They are: the small backpack, the smaller hipster, and the teeny, tiny wristlet.  I know what you’re thinking:  THREE bags?  This chick is bonkers!

All I can say is that after a dozen trips to Walt Disney World, I know what I like.  I like choices!  I don’t carry the same stuff everyday and I don’t want to tote around a larger bag than absolutely necessary.  WDW Park Touring NecessitiesAlso – I want my bag to always fit in the “stuff holder” provided on many rides and attractions.  If I’m not going to be collecting autographs, I don’t want to carry those supplies.  If I’m carrying my super-small camera, I don’t need a big bag.  If I’m not going back to the resort before dinner, I may need supplies for a little hair or make-up refresher.  I like to travel as light as possible and still have everything I need.  See how that works?  You don’t have to have multiple bags, one or two of the perfect size will do.

In EVERY bag, I need to carry:

  • Travel-sized sunscreen
  • Emergency medical supplies (ibuprofen, antacid, band-aids)
  • Smartphone and portable charger
  • Camera

Optional things I may WANT to carry:Small Hipster Bag for WDW

  • Extra pins for trading
  • Photo mats / ornaments / pens (for autographs)
  • Visor and/or hair utensils (I refer to as hairaphernalia, ’cause I’m clever that way)
  • Touch-up supplies like lipstick, oil blotting papers, pressed powder, etc.
  • Rain jacket or poncho (folded tightly)

When packing, I put the unused bags inside each other and they don’t take up much room or weight in my suitcase.  For touring without a bag, see my tips here.

What’s your favorite bag like?  Do you bring multiple options with you?  Do you have any tips to share that I haven’t mentioned?





Disney Trip Planning – Granola Crumbs in My Suitcase

2013 iphoneIf there’s one thing our family agrees on, it’s how we spend our time on a Disney vacation and it’s not sleeping!  We hit the parks early – I’m talking get there before they open and be ready to make the most of the day.  There’s a reason our vacation motto is “We’ll rest when we’re dead.”.  Honestly, once the kids stopped needing naps, it became common for us to leave our resort at dawn and drag back in 15+ hours later.

I’m not going to lie – getting everyone up and out the door super early is challenging – and gets harder over the course of a week-long trip.  I have discovered one simple trick that helps a bunch.  It’s this:  Have a portable breakfast ready to go every day!  For us, this means that we pack granola bars and Pop Tarts – but if you need honey buns and mini doughnuts, no problem, those’ll work the same for this purpose.  Just fyi….if you take the Pop Tarts out of the boxes, they’re easier to pack but you cannot tell what kind they are.  I have actually gotten to expert level in detecting Pop Tart flavors strictly by feeling them in their shiny silver packages – a necessity when one child eats only strawberry frosted and the other only chocolate fudge.  But I digress…

DWR2009 033

Waiting for the Bus, Breakfast in Hand

Here’s how it goes:  Mickey wake-up call comes in, everyone’s up, washed and dressed.  Then we check to make sure we each have the necessities (keys-to-the-world, lanyard, breakfast foods, pins for trading, camera, etc.) and we are out the door, headed for the bus or monorail stop.  Seldom does our ride show up immediately when we get there, thus allowing time to consume our portable breakfasts, dispose of the wrappers, and get ready to board.  By no means am I suggesting that mere breakfast-bar-type items keep our tummies happy until lunch, but it gets us to the park in time (with no hungry whining) to catch a couple of our favorite attractions before they get too crowded and that’s the whole idea!

What’s your strategy for getting a jump on the day at your favorite Disney park?