Packing a toddler can be tricky. They don’t need as much as an infant, but they’re messy little tornadoes with a whole set of unique needs.
Things to Consider
Before you even start thinking about packing, ask yourself these questions.
- How are you getting to Disney? Driving or flying?
- Are you staying on or off property?
- Are you potty training your toddler?
- Does your child have any medical conditions?
- Will you bring your own stroller?
- Where does your toddler sleep?
Making a Packing List
You know your toddler best, but here’s my finely tuned packing list for my own three year old!
- Spill-proof cups or water bottles (We always bring a couple of our own, even though Ruby regularly drinks out of normal cups.)
- Drying rack, bottle brush, and dish soap (These come in handy, even after the bottle phase has passed for cleaning sippy cups and water bottles, along with souvenir cups.)
- Snacks and snack cups (Our kids are all-day snackers, so it’s nice to have things like bananas and Goldfish in our bag.)
- Pull-Ups (On our first trip with a toddler, she was still in Pull-Ups full time. She had just gotten the hang of potty training on our second trip, but we still kept them with us.)
- Tons of underwear, if potty training
- Wipes, wipes, and more wipes (Toddlers and wipes are a happy union.)
- Disposable diaper sacks (These especially come in handy in the room, where you don’t have a lidded trash can to contain smelly diapers! I think Mousekeeping probably appreciates it too.)
- Swim diapers, if you plan to visit the pool
- Folding stool (If you’re potty training, have the space to pack it, and want them to be able to get on the hotel room potty by themselves!)
- Post-it notes (That’s not a typo. Ruby was afraid of auto-flushing toilets, so I kept a pack of sticky notes in my bag to cover the sensor when she sat down.)
Bath + Hygiene:
- Bath time entertainment (We always throw in a couple of her favorite bath toys, but this is totally not necessary.)
- Baby body wash and shampoo (Disney’s H2O products sting little eyes. Trust me.)
- Nail trimmers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Baby monitor (We often stay in villas and suites, where the kids are sleeping in another room while we’re still awake. We like having an inexpensive monitor with us, so we can enjoy time on our patio in the evenings, without worrying about missing a cry!)
- Pack & Play sheets, if they’ll be sleeping in one (Disney will provide bedding for their Pack & Plays, but we liked to have an extra sheet with us, in case of leaks.)
- Blankets, nightlight, or any other nighttime comfort items
Health + Wellness
- Thermometer (We have an ear thermometer that we love and trust. In a pinch, the resort should be able to provide one, but it’s easier to have our own!)
- OTC medications (We bring Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl with us, along with the syringes or droppers)
- Any prescription medications (We like to bring our Zofran with us, in case of a sudden stomach bug during the trip.)
- Your pediatrician’s info (Disney is great about treating sick guests, but in nonemergent situations, we’d prefer to call our own pediatrician and ask for advice!)
- Outfits (I generally pack 2 outfits per day, plus a couple of extra mix and match pieces, because toddlers are messy.)
- Socks (Pack all the socks.)
- Shoes (Depending on how much your toddler will be walking, really think about comfort here. Ruby lives in her jelly sandals at home, but gets blisters in them quickly at Disney! I have found great deals on toddler sneakers on eBay!)
- Hair accessories, like hair ties and barrettes, if your toddler has long hair that’ll get in their face
- A light jacket (If you’ll be in the parks during the “cooler” months, you might find that they want one in the evening, after being sweaty and active all day.)
- Swimsuit, if you plan to swim
- Stroller (or make plans to rent one)
- Stroller fan, misting fan, or other cooling devices (It can get really hot, even if it’s not the middle of summer. A little circulation is always nice, especially if you have the stroller shade pulled mostly shut at nap time!)
- Giant hooks (We don’t use these every time, but depending on your stroller storage capacity, they may come in handy to hang a shopping bag from!)
- iPad or other tech gadgets (We rarely, if ever, use these during our trip, but they’re lifesavers on the way there!)
- A couple of small coloring packs from the dollar store or Target dollar spot
- Favorite plush toy, if they have one
- Glow sticks and other blinky things, if you don’t want to get talked into buying them at night
How to Pack
Like I said in my post about packing an infant for Disney, we drive and are always grateful to have a little more space to pack. If you’re driving too, you might want to consider packing all their miscellaneous stuff in a plastic bin, so it’s organized and convenient.
If you’re flying, don’t get seduced by the cute little luggage. A checked bag is a checked bag to the airlines, so maximize your value and pack a big suitcase for your tiny person! If your airline offers free carry-ons and your toddler requires a ticket, take advantage of that too.
My favorite space and sanity saver are gallon ziplock bags. I pack everything in them, but especially clothing! Each outfit is packed in its own ziplock and labelled with the day it’ll be worn and shoes or accessories that go with it. I love that my husband can help get the kids ready and that I can sleep in a little longer, not digging for outfits each morning!
Managing What You Can’t Bring
If you just can’t seem to streamline your list enough to fit your luggage, that’s okay! There are awesome stores across Disney property, including in your resort, where you can purchase all kinds of things. You can also always Uber to the grocery or big box store or place an online order to be delivered to your hotel.