Today we are talking about what to pack for Spring break at Walt Disney World. You know its one of my favorite places on Earth ~ if not my favorite of all! Years ago I served my Walt Disney World College Program for a Spring semester and Spring break season definitely presents a unique set of packing needs that are worth keeping in mind. In particular if you are taking tweens or teens, this particular trip can be a game changer for how you approach their independence in the parks.
Early this March I was blessed to visit Walt Disney World with my tween and there were definitely some fun “ah-ha” moments about her participation ~ and independence ~ in the packing process before we left AND how she managed her things while at the park. And its time to share them with you!
GO MOM!®’s What to Pack for Disney Checklist
First, hop over to the FREE Printables section of GOMOMINC.com and get your copy of our “What to Pack for Disney” Checklist. There are two pages to this fabulous form ~ the first page that is designed for all the things you as the trip coordinator need to be responsible for and the second that is designed for each family member traveling along. The form has a blank square for you to put in the child’s name so you can hand them the form, let them pack, check their process, and then zip up that luggage and go!
Provide each tween with their own cinch sak.
Gone are the days of Mom having to carry the backpack and stock it to the gills. Your tweens and teens are plenty old enough to carry their own things and manage them throughout the day.
Pack personal water bottles.
Spring break is often the first time your family is encountering any kind of truly hot weather, especially if you are traveling from up north. Bring a water bottle or buy one once there that you can refill for free at water fountains all day. Make sure your kids have their water bottles in that cinch ask.
Pack a favorite baseball cap.
Again back to that heat ~ the parks may not be fully in bloom just yet and that translates to less shade. Depending on when you travel and in March specifically, you can easily get a 90 degree day and if you are waiting in line without a break in the shade, that means your people will be hot. No question Disney does a magical job making sure all of the cues are as covered as they can be. However there is also a lot of walking ~ the average person walks between 7 and 8 miles A DAY at Disney. That’s a lot of walking! So pack a hat.
Pack layers for changing temperatures.
As a rule of thumb, I don’t tend to purchase clothing in the parks. But this time oh did we need to buy sweatshirts in the park! We had colder than forecasted weather and on that first day, it never broke 55 degrees, it was cloudy, no sun, and windy! There’s nothing worse than cranky tweens because they are physically uncomfortable so make sure they have a layer of some kind just in case they need it. And if you are planning to stay in the parks until closing, you want to be sure they have something on hand so that your people aren’t both cold AND tired giving them reason to complain. Don’t forget to toss in a poncho too ~ not only for those passing rain showers they come in super handy on water rides if everyone isn’t so interested in getting wet.
Pack favorite park souvenirs.
Whatever they want to bring, it goes in the cinch sak. Now in my case and that of my kids we’d all be wearing our lanyards full of pins. But if your child still wants to carry and autograph book, its all about carrying it in the cinch ask so they can grab it when the character moments happen.
Pack an iPod Touch for photos and music.
Notice I didn’t say for texting? The last think I want my children doing in the parks is spending time online. However they love to take pictures and if a tween mood comes to visit, sometimes having some down time with music on the trip can go a very long way. My daughter loved taking her own collections of photos throughout our trip so she can make her own storybook once back home too.
Rely on Magic Bands.
When you have Magic Bands, it enables you to offer your tween greater independence throughout their visit at the parks. It enables them to navigate the Fast Pass + system without needing to have an actual ticket to keep in hand. If you are splitting to ride different rides at the same time ~ roller coasters are a great example ~ this lets your child navigate that easily without you. For guests staying at Disney Resorts, it enables your tween to purchase food and merchandise and charge it directly to your room. Of course there needs to be conversation about budget and what’s okay but it helps let the leash out without handing over the wallet. It also lets them use the PhotoPass system to take professional pictures throughout the parks while claiming the special ride pictures too, just in case you purchase that serves.
Independence is really what this post is all about. When you are spending Spring Break at Disney and it involves older kids, independence is now part of your planning process. There are park rules about how your children can experience the parks apart from you, how old they must be before they can enter the parks without adult supervision. But like most families, this is about how you split up in groups within your family while visiting the parks and what positive things for personal responsibility that can happen when you do. You want to give your kids a sense of ownership for how they can start to take charge of their experience within your family unit.
If you follow our packing tips for Spring break at Disney, that will help get you there! Tell me…
Have you visited Disney for Spring break?
What was the most helpful thing that you packed for your tween to be more responsible while at the parks?
Thanks so much to the Disney Public Relations Team for including me on the #WDWBigFun Tween Media Event and helping me think more about the tween and teen perspective. Visiting Walt Disney World with my family is always a joy and I am blessed to make memories that will last a lifetime with each visit that comes. Let us know if you are visiting soon and how it goes!
Thanks for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!