Suggestions for Packing Light at Walt Disney World
Do you know what differentiates the pros from amateurs at Disney theme parks? The shocking answer is how much people pack for their Disney day. Anyone who has too much to carry and looks encumbered is doing it wrong. Here are seven suggestions for packing light on a day at Walt Disney World.
1) Trust the Magic Band
Let’s start with the tone-setter. When you spend time at Walt Disney World, your Magic Band is your best friend. It’s there for you whenever you need it. This stylish accessory is the digital equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife. It does a little bit of everything.
Your Magic Band can unlock your hotel room door, pay for your meals and merchandise, and enable admission to the theme parks. Despite its utility and efficiency, many inexperienced Disney visitors don’t trust the technology enough. They still pack huge wallets stuffed with cash and credits plus a paper trail of essential documents.
You just don’t need to do this. Your credit card of choice gets added to your Magic Band account. So, you have a form of payment. And a wallet is overkill in this day and age. Here’s why…
2) Remember That Your Phone Does Tricks
Your phone is, if anything, more useful than your Magic Band, especially when you choose the right accessory. Smart companies sell protective cases that double as mini-wallets. These products can store cash, identification, and credit cards in an insignificant space.
Then again, you really don’t need to carry a credit card. Your phone has payment technology, too. Whether you have an Android or iPhone device, you can set up a digital wallet that will work in the parks. So, your Magic Band becomes your default method of payment while your phone is the backup in case of emergency.
3) A Smaller Charger Is Better
Of course, the catch with relying on your phone this much is that you need to keep it charged. Some people – and I mean me – are total idiots about this, carrying around oversized rechargeable batteries. These clunky devices can keep your phone charged for four or five days. But…why?
I had this epiphany the last time that I was in the park. I never go multiple days between charges at Disney parks. To the contrary, the first thing that I do when I get back to my hotel room is to plug the phone into the USB port. By the morning, I’m at 100 percent battery life again. Large batteries are total overkill.
Instead, you should take a smarter approach. Pack a USB cable and splurge for a FuelRod in the parks. You’ll be able to switch it out “for free” whenever the FuelRod runs out of juice. These devices are tiny compared to large chargers, and the ability to resupply guarantees that you never run out of charge on your phone.
Even when you don’t buy a FuelRod, you’ll still have ample opportunity to keep your phone charged. Disney’s added USB stations across the parks. Better yet, the new line of Disney buses includes USB ports under the seats. Each time you ride a bus to a new location, you can regain your juice.
4) Don’t Bring Water into the Parks
Okay, I just lost some of you. Yes, hydration is vital in the parks. I’m an evangelist about this subject. Whenever friends ask me about rookie mistakes at the parks, dehydration is one of the first things that I say.
The flaw with bringing water into the parks is that any bottle or canister is heavy. You won’t drink enough to justify the aggravation. And if you do, you’ll quickly run out of water. At that point, you’ll have to – wait for it – track down a water fountain in the park and resupply your bottle or canteen or whatever.
Hey, if you’re going to do that anyway, why don’t you just plan to drink out of the water fountains? It’ll be the same result, only without the need to tote water everywhere until you need it.
5) Remember the Disney Dining Plan
This strategy blends nicely with the one just mentioned. The Disney Dining Plan entitles you to at least two meals a day plus one or two snacks. Bottled water is one of these snacks, which works well for those of you who don’t like drinking out of public water fountains.
The real reason why I’m bringing up the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) isn’t about water, though. I actually view bottled water as a poor use of snack credits. You’ll get better bang for your buck with actual food. When you have the DDP, you won’t need to lug around snacks, either. You can just exchange a snack credit for something tasty.
Best of all, the DDP is sometimes free. MickeyBlog has even set up a notification page to alert you the next time Disney offers this package.
6) Check the Weather
On many park days, you’ll need to carry around either sunscreen or a poncho/umbrella. Due to the quirks of Florida weather, you’ll even have some days when you need both. It’s an unavoidable kind of packing…unless the weather forecast says otherwise.
When you start your day, pull up your favorite weather app and check the predictions for Walt Disney World. If there’s no rain in the forecast, you can leave the poncho/umbrella at home.
As for sunscreen, you can pack a small tube that doesn’t take much space in your bag. Everyone, please think safety first. Not every idea for packing light is a good one.
7) Have Merchandise Sent to Your Hotel
Okay, this is a button of mine. The final tip is to remember the advantages of staying at an official Disney resort. One of them is that you can have your merchandise purchases shipped to your hotel.
The process is simple. You tell the cast member that you don’t want to carry around your new bag of goodies. They’ll pull out a green form for you to fill out. You’ll list your hotel and room number. The following day, your items will be available for pick-up at your hotel, usually in the general store. The only catch is that you can’t be checking out that day for obvious reasons.
Simply stated, you have no good reason to carry around all of the clothes, trinkets, and memorabilia that you buy during your park day. Have it sent to your hotel instead.