Last week’s auntie tip covered five things you’ll wish you had remembered to bring on your Walt Disney World vacation. That list focused on keeping kids entertained and tantrum-free. Today, I’ve got another list for you, but it’s more about the kids’ safety and your own sanity.
1. Some Way to Label Small Children
I’ve heard there are no lost children in Disney World, only lost adults. Either way, it’s pretty terrifying when little ones wander off. We once lost my 18-month-old niece in the Once Upon a Toy store in Downtown Disney. She was missing for all of 90 seconds, but I will always remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when we noticed she was gone. A few years later, when my parents and I took my sister’s kids to WDW while my sister and her husband were on an anniversary cruise, we made the kids wear luggage tags. I’m not kidding: we put our names and phone numbers on the tags and looped them through the kids’ belt loops. Other options include stick-on labels, custom dog tags, and Safe Shoes Child ID.
2. Adhesive Bandages and First Aid Kit
I’ve yet to have a trip that didn’t require at least one Band-aid. There is a first aid station in each park, but if it’s a small cut or scrap, it saves time if you can just take care of it yourself on the spot. I like the Nexcare Tattoo Waterproof Bandages because they stay on so well. They used to come decorated with Disney characters but don’t seem to any more. You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to violate brand loyalty by wearing a non-Disney-character bandage inside the parks.
Useful for kids who are afraid of the dark or nervous in unfamiliar hotel rooms . . . or to keep you from stubbing your toe while moving about in the room after the kids are asleep. Get a cheap one (I’ve found Disney ones at Dollar Tree) so it’s no big deal if you forget it there.
4. Kids-Sized Earplugs (or other means of noise reduction)
All of my nieces and nephews have gone through a phase of being terrified of fireworks (some of them are still in it). And for good reason: kids’ ears are much more sensitive to loud noises than adults’ are. We typically cover their ears (which requires a one-adult-per-child ratio, which we don’t always have), or we take them into a shop and try to watch the show from inside. Neither works particularly well. So, next time, I want to try earplugs, although I’m not sure the kids will go for it. Another option is noise-reduction headphones. (Update: Noise-reduction headphones it is! See Enjoying Fireworks While Protecting Children’s Ears.)
5. Rain Ponchos
It seems you rarely have an entire Florida day without at least a brief period of rain. Before your trip, get ponchos at the dollar store and bring them with you, saving yourself something like $5-10 each. They’re also helpful on water rides like Splash Mountain. The first time my niece, then 4, was tall enough to ride it, she was a little nervous, so I put her in my poncho, which covered her from head to toe. The fact that she wouldn’t get wet gave her the confidence to give it a try.
6. Sandwich, Quart, and Gallon-Sized Zipper Bags
These bags have an infinite assortment of uses, like:
- Taking snacks into the park (We always bring things like pretzels and crackers for when the kids get antsy or need a quiet break.)
- Keeping your electronics dry on water rides (I actually put all the contents of my backpack in a gallon-sized bag.)
- Storing food your child refuses to eat while sitting in the restaurant but will while standing in line (not that we’ve ever done that . . .)
- Keeping the Mickey-shaped confetti the kids just had to pick up after the Magic Kingdom welcome show (haven’t done that either . . .)
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So what’s your most unusual must-bring item for your Disney trips?