This is by no means a packing list – I think people can mainly figure out for themselves that they need soap, sunscreen and shorts etc. Just remember that it is usually very hot and very humid most of the year, and a little cooler December through to February and pack accordingly (and don’t forget the sunscreen!) But I did think that it might be helpful to share two specific types of things that you might want to pack – those things that I sometimes forget and those that I had questions about whether I’d need the first time we went:
1. Towels. If you’re staying at a Disney resort you might want to take ‘swimming towels’ with you. The main pools all have towels available for you to use so you don’t need your own for these. However the quiet pools at the resorts do not provide towels and nor do the water parks, so you need to either take the ones from your room or bring your own for either of these options. We prefer to bring our own for two reasons. Firstly, it saves us using our room towels (which I don’t think you’re technically meant to use but many do) so they’re still available for regular use in the bathroom. Secondly, even at the main pool, the towels are not ‘beach towels’ – they’re smaller and we find beach towels much more comfortable to lie on, on the sun loungers – especially at the water parks.
2. Clothing for restaurants. The vast majority of the restaurants are very relaxed and will just be park-wear, even those in the hotels. We do tend to go back to the hotel late afternoon so we can cool off, which also means that even if we’re just eating at the parks we get changed, so I personally usually end up wearing shorts in the day and skirts in the evening, but really, anything goes. There is however a dress code for if you’re eating at any of the signature restaurants, although again it is actually very relaxed, with the exception of Victoria and Albert’s. For the signature restaurants you can’t wear tank tops, swimwear, hats for gentleman, cut offs, or torn clothing. T-shirts are ok as long as they don’t have offensive language or graphics. We always tend to dress up a little for the signature restaurants – we’re paying for a nice meal and want to look and feel the part. You’ll see some people doing the same and some that look a little more casual – either is fine. However I find that you’ll rarely see jackets and ties on the men – it is more relaxed than that. Victoria and Albert’s however is much smarter, so if you’re lucky enough to have a reservation there, make sure you take the right attire with you. Dinner jackets are compulsory for gents, although ties are optional. Women will need cocktail or nice dresses, trouser suits etc – i.e. dress up a little.
However my best advice in terms of clothing for all table-service restaurants is to bring a ‘layer’. The air conditioning in these places is fierce! When you first go in it is very welcome but by the time you’ve sat at a table for half an hour, it has usually gone past comfortable into freezing cold! One thing about being a Brit in Orlando – we’re not used to the heat but we’re equally not used to that level of air conditioning! As you’ll usually be going back out into the heat afterwards, make sure it is something that’s easy to carry around.
3. Paracetamol. Generally I don’t really think about taking most first aid stuff with me – I hope I won’t need it and if I do, they sell the basics in all the stores. However, if your pain killer of choice is paracetamol, you might want to take some with you as it isn’t available in Florida (I don’t think even via prescription I’m not sure, but certainly not over the counter). You can get ibuprofen and also something called Tylenol – but if you specifically want/need paracetamol, take it with you. In addition to any regular medication, obviously.
4. TEA BAGS! If you’re a tea drinker, I’d suggest taking some with you – you won’t easily find a decent cuppa in Disney World. You won’t have a kettle in your room, but you will have a coffee maker and that can be used to get boiling water.
5. Sharp knife. We eat out for every meal – I don’t prepare anything at all. However I always find that I miss having a knife with me if I don’t take one. The only knives you can generally get hold of (other than within a table service restaurant) are the plastic ones which quite frankly, won’t cut butter. I find it handy to have a sharper knife in the room for things like cutting fruit, sharing snacks etc.
6. Plasters. Even with your most comfortable shoes, if you come back without one blister you’re lucky with the vast amount of walking you’ll be doing!
7. Travel adapters – don’t forget that the electric points won’t take our plugs, so you’ll need some adaptors.
8. Sandwich bags – these are ideal for protecting your stuff when you go on water rides. We like the medium sized zip-lock bags, but any sandwich bag will work. Everyone has some electronics with them in the parks – whether that’s a camera, mobile or ipod. Your bags come with you on the Disney rides – and you can usually protect them from getting wet (or certainly drenched) but we use these bags for a little extra protection for the stuff that needs it. Some people also choose to bring bin liners and/or plastic shopping bags with them to put your entire bags in on these rides, but we’ve never personally bothered.
This seems to be quite a random little list of things to know and remember but I hope someone finds one of these tips useful!
BRiTMiCK is a blog aimed at British visitors to Walt Disney World, helping you to make the most of your holiday. Follow @Britmickuk for the latest on whats going on at BRiTMiCK and other Disney sites.