We took a family trip to Orlando last week where we wrung out every ounce of the experience, from Universal Studios, to all four Disney parks, and the resort pool to boot! With the guidance of my best friend who is a Disney pro, visiting a couple times a year, we were able to navigate the parks and ride all the rides we wanted to while avoiding the majority of lines. I am going to share our rope drop strategies for each day in hopes that it is as helpful for you as it was for me. However, let’s start off with a post with the nitty gritty details.
I am not a natural packing expert but it’s a skill I’ve worked hard to develop, especially after having kids and needing to pack for a family. I get a little better each trip and for this one, I knocked it out of the park with meeting all our needs without overpacking and having everything organized incredibly well. This was hands down the best I’ve ever packed for any trip, so let’s take a look.
Pack List for Disney
I started the packing process a week before we left in an upstairs hallway that the dog couldn’t access. I put out labels for each day, ie: Sunday/Universal Studios, then placed an entire folded outfit, underwear, socks, shorts, and top, for Kaitlyn, Hailey, and myself under each day. Then I packed all three outfits into a compression packing cube with its label. This meant each morning of the trip, I simply pulled out the cube of the day and had all three of our outfits ready to go. For our early morning starts, this was essential!
We each had one packing cube with extras- two bathing suits, two extra pairs of underwear, extra socks, pajamas, a dinner outfit, and an extra play outfit. Packing this way kept things ultra organized and we were able to only pack what we needed. The girls wore their sneakers, I packed their Keens (essential for rainy days), and each had a pair of flip flops for the pool.
The girls and I fit into two suitcases, David had one suitcase, then we packed a single bin with all the other necessities. Since I knew we’d have early mornings, I wanted to pack breakfast essentials and snacks to put in the cooler bag for the parks. Everything we needed fit neatly into the bin, which packed easily into the car and transferred smoothly into the hotel closet. Here’s the items that were the biggest successes for our trip:
- Cooling towels
- 4 different color Hydroflasks (I bought 2 two packs from Costco)
- Food (split between bin and a cooler): bagels, cream cheese, oatmeal cups, pretzels, mandarin oranges, apples, sandwich thins, peanut butter, jelly, guacamole snack packs, beef jerky, Annie’s snack packs, tea, Instant coffee, LMNT packs
- Electric tea kettle – this was FABULOUS for morning tea, coffee, and oatmeal
- Hearty disposable coffee cups, plastic spoons, plastic knives, extra ziplocks, trash bags
- Sunscreen and goggles
- Small spray bottle to fill with water to make braiding morning hair easier
- Vitamin and medicine bag- immunity chews, Wellness pills, Genexa fever, cough, allergy, Advil, ginger chews for motion sickness, peppermint oil hand sanitizer
- Ribbon to tie around stroller handle
- Tequila and bourbon, insulated cups (to save money on cocktails)
- Travel chess board and Monopoly Deal
- Laundry detergent
Disney Beach Club Resort
This was our first time staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort and it was wonderful. The location is stellar, as it’s a 10 minute walk to Hollywood Studios and a 5 minute walk to Epcot. It has an incredible pool area with a water slide, a lazy river, a sand-bottom pool, including a volleyball area. They also have a large marketplace store with grab and go food, medicine, souvenirs, drinks, and other necessities.
We were given a handicap accessible room which was wonderful and roomy, but I had seen a room option with a couch that folded down into a bed on a review that I had my heart set on for easier sleeping for the kids. The front desk was wonderful and quickly checked to see if there was a couch room available and there was. Tip: they usually reserve the couch bed rooms for families of 5 (understandably), but if you ask upon check in, they can see if one is available for you.
This makes a big difference for my kids because Kaitlyn is a sleep snuggler and Hailey is not and having them share a queen always gets exciting. We were really grateful for the extra sleeping spot!
Disney’s Beach Club Resort Perks and Final Tips
At ages 10 and 8, I know how silly it sounds to say we rented a stroller, but just like at Halloween and on our first Disney trip, I’m SO glad we did. We rented a single BOB from Kingdom Strollers. They delivered it to us at the hotel and it was in excellent shape. The stroller was easy to maneuver, incredibly helpful to carry snacks and waters, and was invaluable when our kids hit a wall from heat and exhaustion and needed a break. Don’t forget to bring a bright ribbon to wrap around the handle to make your stroller easy to spot in the masses of stroller parking.
I opted for the rain cover (didn’t use) and the cooler bag with our stroller package. The cooler bag was the perfect size to fit a ziplock full of ice (no loose ice is allowed in the parks, but in a ziplock was allowed and necessary since the mini fridges at the hotel are “cool” at best and do not have freezers for ice packs). The best snacks we brought were mandarin oranges (drink the juice, eat the snack) and apples in the cooler bag- so refreshing!
The Beach Club is located on the Boardwalk which makes for a fun stroll to dinner and entertainment. We walked to Big River Grille & Brewing Works our first night for dinner. It was loud but the server was wonderful and very accommodating. We enjoyed dinner and the girls enjoyed the magic show and other entertainment on the Boardwalk. It made for a fun evening and an easy commute back to our rooms afterwards.
If you have any questions about our stay or packing list, please ask. I’m happy to help give any tips I can, as I know planning for a Disney trip is exciting but quite a task!