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So, you’re headed to Walt Disney world. Awesome. You’ve picked out the perfect resort, made all of your advanced dining reservations, and even secured that hard to get fast pass! You’re on your way to having the most magical vacation ever! Now it’s time to pack and this is where so many people go wrong, mostly women.

Photo courtesy Tom Bricker

Photo courtesy Tom Bricker

I’m sure you know by now that Walt Disney World is located near Orlando, FL. As a south Florida resident, only 2.5 hours from Walt Disney World, I can tell you, it’s pretty hot here – most of the time. Our day temps usually reach into the 80’s, with higher temps May – September. The humidity here is usually pretty intense making 80 degrees feel one degree shy of temperatures in proverbial hell.

Breaking News! It gets HOT here!

Breaking News! It gets HOT here!

However, the high heat and humidity don’t stop people from packing things they are used to at home. Others seem to forget how rough a theme park can be on their body and in trying to look great for that Cinderella photo are miserable because they didn’t prepare correctly. I’ve watched these poor souls on my Disney trips and wish I could have given them some friendly advice before they headed down to this part of the world. So, in case you would have been that person I wished I could give advice, this article is for you.

1. Do Not Wear Foundation

I know; you need your “face” on before you can leave the room/house. As a woman in her 30’s, I get it. Have you ever accidentally left your makeup in a bag in the sun and subsequently tried to put on some skin pigmented colored lava? Me too neither, but I imagine this would be quite uncomfortable. Truth is, foundation makeup melts in the heat and yours will too. When you left your room everything was perfect, 15 minutes later, you’ll look like this:

Instead, wear a tinted moisturizer. Jergens sells an excellent one called BB Body. It’s about $12 in your local drug store and can be used all over. It comes in varying shades to match lighter and darkest skin tones. I’ll wear this and then use a sheer sunscreen if I plan on being out in the sun.

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

2. Leave the lipstick at home

A lip gloss with a sunscreen is all you really need. Lipstick dries out your lips, even the type that says “hydrating” and then sticks to everything. Also, just like foundation, it melts – easily. Can you imagine posing for a picture looking like the Joker from Batman? Find a really nice shade of lip gloss that compliments your natural skin tones. If it has a sunscreen, then even better.

3. Use waterproof mascara and eyeliner

Just like our friends foundation and lip-stick, eyeliner melts so don’t carry it in your bag. If you get a good waterproof eyeliner and put it on in the morning, it should last you all day; the same with mascara. The reason you want it to be waterproof is because you WILL sweat. You don’t want black lines running down your face.

4. Wear sensible clothing

I love people watching as much as the next person, but when I see someone dressed to the 9’s walking around a theme park, I can’t help but wonder why. I know that some people have early morning ADR’s and again, they want to look really nice for that picture with the princesses, but then they spend all day wandering around Epcot in a cocktail dress. If you have to dress really spiffy for your dining meal, then please, grab an extra outfit to bring into the parks with you. Wear light, breathable fabrics. Even in the winter temps can get up into the 80’s during the peak of the day. Also, try and stay away from denim. This doesn’t really breathe well and takes a long time to dry. If you sweat, it collects in the material making it heavy.

Disney Parks Authentic Vera Bradley Bag

Disney Parks Authentic Vera Bradley Bag

You can bring a messenger bag to store your park clothing and then after the meal, change into something comfy, including footwear. This brings me to my next point:

5. Wear sensible shoes!!

This has to be the biggest theme park offense. I’ve seen all types of footwear that makes me do a double take, but I cannot understand why someone would want to wear 3 inch (or higher) stiletto heels to a theme park and yes, I’ve seen it. Buy a really comfy pair of flat sandals for dress up moments. You’d be amazed how the right outfit can dress up a pair of shoes. If you follow the tip above by bringing a bag and a change of clothes, it’s easy to squish a pair of sandals into a bag and trade them out for sneakers. If you really feel the need for some height, opt for a wedge heel sandal.

6. DO Pack a sewing kit and safety pins

I had the most bizarre accident happen to me at Walt Disney World. I was exiting out of an attraction, and somehow my pants got caught on the locking mechanism of the ride vehicle. Before I knew it, I had already ripped a huge hole in the seat of my pants. They do not sell emergency kits in the theme parks. Believe it or not, it was a gentleman cast member who had safety pins on him that helped me keep my dignity until I could get back to the resort. I now pin a few safety pins to the inside of my park bag. If you are flying, be sure to pack your sewing kit in your checked luggage. It will not make the trip if you stow it in your carry on bags.

7. Keep your hair-styling products to a minimum

All Disney resorts have hair dryers. I know they’re your typical hotel hair dryer, but they’ll do the trick. Also, if you have long hair, you’re likely going to want to keep it up anyway. Forgo the fancy straighteners and hair appliances; they’ll just take up weight in your suitcase and instead opt to pack some cute hair clips. Buy travel size hair gel, mousse, and hair spray. You may be able to skip packing shampoo and conditioner altogether. Your villa will be stocked with Disney’s H2O+ Collection hair and bath products which may meet your needs.

Disney Resorts H20+ Collection Hair and Bath Products

Disney Resorts H20+ Collection Hair and Bath Products

8. Pack capris instead of jeans

It does not get really cold here very often. A lot of times, people will pack both shorts and a pair of jeans for “just in case” weather. Consider packing capris instead. This one pair of pants can serve a dual purpose. In fact, I never pack shorts or jeans. I only pack capris and for two reasons:

1. Shorts ride up when you sit and can make certain seating areas uncomfortable such as a metal bench.

2. They are cool enough for high temps, yet, can keep you comfortable after a chilling rain shower.

By not having to pack jeans and shorts, you save space in the suitcase. Speaking of saving space:

9. All of the Disney resorts have laundry facilities

If you’re going for an extended stay, instead of packing dozens of suitcases, remember that all resorts have laundry facilities. While people might not think doing laundry on vacation is fun, most of the facilities are located near a pool. So, take a break, put on your bathing suit and throw your stuff in the washer. It will cost far less to purchase a few boxes of detergent than trying to over pack or pay for additional suitcases. It will also make less work when you get home from vacation.

Guest Laundry at Disneys Wilderness Lodge

Guest Laundry at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Keep in mind that one of the great benefits to renting a Disney Vacation Club villa through the DVC Rental Store is that the 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and the 3-bedroom Grand Villas all have a washer and dryer in the villa for your use. You’ll even gain free use of the community laundry room (detergent is extra) when you rent a Deluxe Studio Villa.

10. Pack only one extra versatile outfit

There is no need to pack anything more than one outfit in case of an emergency. Bring an extra pair of underwear, socks, plain pants, and a plain, neutral colored t-shirt. This way, if you spill fruit juice all over your white shirt, you have a backup that won’t ruin the rest of your week’s match-ups. Also, remember, this is Walt Disney World. You can buy a new shirt! If you’re a plus size person, you’ll find the best selection of plus size clothing in either your resort or MouseGears in Epcot. The Emporium in Magic Kingdom carries larger sizes for men. However, just outside the Disney bubble there exist all sorts of national retail stores and pharmacies.


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Paul Little is the founder and president of the DVC Rental Store

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