This past weekend, our family went to Disney World for the day to celebrate Bean’s fourth birthday. Since we are Orlando residents, we are fortunate enough to get to visit the theme parks pretty often. I used to carry a full diaper bag, a snack bag, my purse, the camera bag, and a whole mess of other items with us whenever we went to one. But after a couple years of regular park visits, I have narrowed down exactly what we need to surivive a day at the parks with little ones.
First, I take a large backpack now instead of various bags for different purposes. Everything we have for the day goes into this backpack. This is incredibly helpful because it lightens my load when I’m juggling two little ones. It is also helpful because at most parks, you have to park your stroller while you ride rides. With the one backpack, we can just grab this bag and go and not have to worry about loading and unloading every time we want to park our stroller somewhere.
Now, I even leave my wallet and purse at home so that I don’t have to worry about leaving our backpack somewhere while we go on a ride that won’t allow us to bring our backpack. We just use Chris’s wallet that day, and then there isn’t the hastle of trying to keep an eye on my purse or wallet while we’re on the go.
Inside this backpack are lot of pockets, and that makes it really nice when we’re packing for a full day out somewhere. I divide things up based on how often we’ll use them throughout the day. My cell phone (when it’s not in my pocket) and all our sunglasses go in the outside small pocket because those are things we will use all day.
In the next size pocket, I keep snacks and juice boxes. Most parks now will let you bring these items in, especially if you have little kids. We don’t pack them full lunches or anything, but I do bring little snacks for them to have throughout the day. Make sure that whatever snacks you pack can get hot, especially if you’re visiting during the summer months. Also, I freeze my juice boxes the night before. They are nice and thawed, but still really cold all throughout the next day and it is really refreshing for the kids.
The juice boxes are great to help the kids cool off at various points throughout the day, but primarily what they drink is water. I fill their cups with ice when we leave the house, and it usually has melted into cold water that lasts for the first few hours of the morning. At lunch, we buy everyone bottles of water (I don’t bring them only because I don’t want to carry them around – they are heavy!). We use the water bottles to refresh their sippy cups throughout the afternoon. I keep the sippy cups in the outside pockets of this backpack for easy reach.
In the next pocket size up, I keep my pack of diapers and a pack of clean clothes for both kids. In my diaper pack, I always make sure I have diaper cream because it is so hot and we usually take longer between diaper changes since we are so busy. Gracie is almost out of diapers, though, so this is getting ready to be booted from the backpack. Yay for more space!
I make sure to bring each child a complete change of clothes. (Hint: For girls, you can pack rompers because they take up less space but they are a complete outfit!) This isn’t just for potty accidents, either. Sometimes they might get wet on a water ride, or it might get so hot you just dunk their poor little heads in cold water! Having the extra clothes keeps you from panicking when they get wet or dirty. The kids can go to town because I know I have spare clothes for them.
Also in this larger pocket, I keep a Ziplock bag with two clean, dry washclothes. This is a tip I got from my mom, and it is brilliant! Throughout the day when it gets hot, you can duck into a bathroom and rinse these washclothes down with cold water, and then wipe the kids faces. Then, when you’re done, just throw the wet washcloth into the Ziplock again and you’re good to go. Repeat as necessary for wilting children (and parents!) on hot afternoons.
In the large pocket of the backpack, I keep all the bulkier things or items that we would only need in an emergency. First, I take a little first aid kit. Sea World gave us these awesome little plastic first aid boxes in some advertising packet a few years ago. I have three of them and keep them in my diaper bags. They are the perfect size for a few bandaids and some alcohol swabs. If you don’t have a little kit like this, I have also use those little soap boxes that you get in the travel section of the pharmacy. It keeps things from getting smooshed or lost in a big diaper bag. I also pack a Neosporin spray, and on this particular day I packed Tylenol and some Pepto pills for kids because we were just getting over a stomach bug and I didn’t want to be somewhere and have it rear up again. (Don’t forget your medicine dropper if you have wee ones!)
Also in this pocket, I keep hats for both kids in case their little faces start to look pinkish, and all of our sunscreen. Make sure you put it all in big Ziplock bags so that if the sunscreen leaks, it doesn’t get all over everything.
And that’s it, kids. We are good to go all day with those essentials. What about YOU? What can you not leave home without for a day trip?