Packing Tips for Disney Dads

Are you a Disney dad and planning your next trip?

A Disney trip for a dad can be an unforgettable experience: from watching your kids’ eyes light up when they see Mickey and friends, to riding your favorite rides with your spouse, to staying up late to watch the fireworks. But, it can also be a challenging and exhausting experience, too. Dads often bear the brunt of carrying around loads of luggage and souvenirs, so here are a few tips to save your back on your next trip:

💪🏼 Get a lightweight stroller. A good stroller is a jack of all trades: it needs to safely hold your children, have enough storage for diaper bags and miscellaneous items, be compact enough to fit in your car and through doorways, and it needs to be easy to steer and navigate your surroundings. Oh, and it needs to look good, too. For our most-recent Disney trip, after careful research, I tried the Zoe Strollers Twin+ Luxe (not sponsored), and I loved it. It’s lightweight, collapsible, fits through all doorways, and feels sturdy. I must reiterate the need to fit through doorways, which can make a huge difference on your ability to traverse certain areas. If you are a Disney park goer you know how some resorts, gifts shops, and park areas can be harder to navigate, and this stroller fit everywhere we needed to go. Also, you’d be surprised at how often you load and unload a stroller—into and out of the car, on the monorail, at your resort—and a bulky stroller will weigh you down. The last thing you need to be dealing with after a long day at the parks is a heavy, cumbersome stroller.

Timing. Most families travel at certain times: park opening/closing, breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours. So, to avoid long lines when trying to do anything, move during “off periods”: basically outside of any of those popular periods. Wake up early (or stay up later) to load or unload your car so you can avoid crowds—this is especially helpful if you’re staying on a higher floor where an elevator ride is required to go to and fro (this is especially important for resorts shaped like towers–think Grand Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, Disney’s Riviera, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, to name a few). When planning dining reservations, aim for earlier hours; think, 7:00am breakfast, 11am lunch, or 4:30 dinner. While it may seem strange to eat during those periods, note that there are often short waits to be seated (even if you have a reservation), and there is also usually a small wait to order and receive your meal. If timed right, you likely to actually be eating at time very close to when you or your kids normally eat their meal. These hours are easier to book, and getting ahead of crowds helps with unexpected diaper changes or earlier bedtimes. Avoiding crowds and staying close to bedtime will help your kids stay on schedule, and help you get more rest.

🛎Bell Services. This may be a post-COVID problem, but on my recent visits I have been unable to reserve a bell cart to be delivered to my room, at several different resorts. Dads often need to load many things—luggage, cars seats, strollers, diapers, toys, pack-n-plays, and more—either super late as the kids sleep, or very early so you can hit the road (or get to the airport). To avoid delays, call ahead to check bell cart availability before you head to the lobby. Then, take as much as you can to your car before retrieving the bell cart. A cast member may be able to help you once you’ve retrieved a bell cart, but of course, be prepared to tip.

Are you planning a Disney trip soon? Let me know if you want to know more travel tips, or if you want a list suggesting things to pack.

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