• Casey Leone

"Darling. Luck favors the prepared..." Prepping for our 9 day Walt Disney World vacation

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

So this trip we were booked originally at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside with a Royal Princess Room, but had to switch our resort plans due to the fact that the Port Orleans resorts were not going to be open yet. We switched our resort reservations to the Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, where we have stayed previously and enjoyed very much.

In preparing my family for any Disney trip, I have lists and lists and lists inside of lists of all the things I need to do, buy, pack, clean, cook, and pay for. And it all boils down to what i like to call "D Day", which is the day before we leave. I have two small children that grow rapidly, and stain clothes rapidly, so I always go through their wardrobe to make sure I have what they need depending on the season and temperatures in Florida.

As far as my husband and I go, we like to make sure we both have a good pair of walking/running shoes, enough toiletries, and maybe a couple of shirts if something strikes our fancy.

Since we drive from New Jersey to Florida, we pack as many things as we want or need without sweating it if we over pack because that is one of the benefits of driving and having a pick-up with a full cab. It was great when the girls still needed baby gear. I was THAT mom. I used to pack the pack and play, highchair, walker, portable tub...the kitchen sink..... Let me tell you a little something about traveling over 1,000 miles from home in a truck to with a baby who has allergies and still needed to eat her medically prescribed formula every three hours and an almost 3 year old who gets car sick but so badly wanted to watch Finding Nemo on the iPad.

Anyway, because we were traveling in early November, I knew that the weather was a gamble, could have some chilly mornings or evenings, or it could be fairly warm and humid. That means pack for ALL weather. Which also means, ALL THE SUITCASES. Two weeks out from our trip, I finalize my lists and grab whatever clothes and/or shoes that we need. I grab my Ziplock bags (I reuse the same ones until they become too worn or damaged) because they are crucial to packing for the girls and the toiletries.

The Ziplock bags are my savior. My best friend. My spirit guide. My everything. Wait what?

So I use one Ziplock per day per child. Each bag gets two day outfits, an evening change of clothes, and a pair of socks. If you do the math, thats 18 day outfits, 9 night outfits, 9 pairs of socks... it sounds excessive but with two non-potty users eating any delicious and messy snacks, sweating, sitting on and running through whatever mess they see fit, it makes a lot of sense. Once I get the park day Ziplocks sorted, I move on to the the travel days. I do the same exact set up (weather dependent) and add a couple of extra pairs of pants (non-potty users and 18 hour car rides can be intense with leaks and such). After the travel day and park day ziplocks are figured out, I dive into the PJ department. I pack a pair of pajamas for every night we are gone with maybe 3 extra pairs just to play it safe, and you guessed it! They go into their very own Ziplock.

As queen of Travelore, I separate my kingdom of Ziplocks into their sub categories. Travel day outfits and the appropriate amount of PJs go into the girls small travel suitcase, and the park outfits go into the big suitcase. Some other things that go into the big suitcase are of course the girls' princess dresses, jean jackets for cooler mornings or evenings, bathing suits and swim diapers, a variety of shoes, and I like to throw in a zip up or pull over hoodie just to have for them.

All the Ziplocking and math is really worth it in the end. While on vacation, I don't have to worry about matching, losing anything, forgetting anything, and I have the option of not doing laundry on vacation because I'll know I have enough to get us through the week. All I do, is grab a bag for each girl, get them dressed in one of the day outfits, and throw the rest of that ziplock into our backpack that we bring with us to the park.

When it comes to me and the hub, I am way more laid back! I just pack my favorites, some joggers, some shorts, a pair of jeans or two, and my favorite tees and tanks. We both like to buy shirts while we are down there as souvenirs and to make our lives a little easier when it comes to getting dressed in the mornings.

Packing usually starts about a week out from our trip. We also hit the grocery store a few days before we go to grab car snacks, diapers and wipes, mini bags of chips and juice boxes to bring to the parks, a case or two of bottled water, and maybe some breakfast stuff. A big part of our enjoyment in Disney is living it up with the snacks that they offer so we don't go too crazy with bringing food.

As far as prepping our house before we leave, I make sure every piece of laundry is clean, folded and put away, the fridge is cleared out of anything that will spoil, clean the microwave, empty the dishwasher, empty the garbages, sweep and mop the floors, wipe the counters, charge the iPad, and clean the bathrooms. If I get all of that done, then coming home is a little easier because you will have a ton of trip laundry to do (unless you make time to do some while you are away) and you will have the Disney blues!

"D Day" is the day I usually reserve for last minute laundry, all the cleaning, and last minute packing. We usually order a pizza, then pack the truck with all of the things. I finally take a deep breath, have a hot shower and a tall glass of wine. We try to go to bed decently early, wake up at 2:30 am, brush our teeth, check our lists, get the girls into the truck in their pajamas, hit Wawa for a ginormous coffee, put on my Walt Disney World soundtrack and begin our trek to the happiest place on earth.

As a travel agent, I can help construct packing list suggestions catered to who is traveling and when, and hotel accommodations for your journey down, flight timing suggestions and length of stay, as well as what drink is most beneficial and delicious at your resort once you arrive there.

Chef Gusteau from Disney Pixar's Ratatouille says, “If you focus on what you left behind, you will never see what lies ahead.” Anything you forget can be picked up, ordered, or mailed to you. So don't fret. Your Walt Disney World Resort is there to help you if you should need anything and I assure you that they are extremely helpful and dedicated to making your stay truly magical.

-Casey, The Travelorian