You know by now that I seriously love traveling. Our travels have landed us all over this fabulous country, including of course, Disney World on more than one occasion! I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I love planning for trips almost as much as I love the actual trip. There’s something about the anticipation of a trip that excites me so much!
As I gather supplies for an upcoming trip, I usually make a mega packing list in my life planner. If necessary, I place an order for supplies with Amazon and then I usually stop at ALDI for food/snacks and ALWAYS make a trip to the Dollar Tree for random particulars. The dollar store tends to be overlooked by some for vacation necessities, but I am here to tell you: DON’T OVERLOOK THE DOLLAR STORE. Whether you’re heading to a beach, a theme park, going by plane or by car, the dollar store is a traveler’s best friend.
Pssst… going on a Disney Cruise? I now have a 25 things to buy at the Dollar Store for a Disney Cruise post!!
Check out the 14 items that I always stock up on at the dollar store before we head to Disney World.
1. Ponchos – We have yet to take a trip to Florida and not get rained out at least one afternoon during our stay. Rain showers and storms blow up over the theme parks frequently. Sometimes they literally build on top of the parks and you have little-to-no-warning to take cover. You can absolutely find ponchos in every theme park gift shop or hotel store. And I guaranteed you that you will absolutely NOT find them for $1. Stock up at the dollar store before you leave town. Get one for every member of your family and also consider picking up extras to throw over strollers, luggage, etc.
2. Toothbrushes – Unless you’re a couponer and you work the drugstore and/or coupon deals to get free toothbrushes, you know that buying toothbrushes for the whole family can add up. I tend to replace our travel toothbrushes after most trips because the thought of them rolling around the toiletry bag for months grosses me out. Pick up toothbrushes on the cheap at the dollar store for trips. You won’t feel terrible throwing them out at the end of vacation because they didn’t cost much. Save the costlier toothbrushes for your home bathroom. For a week or so away most of us can settle for a simplistic model.
3. Sandwich Bags – Don’t forget that Disney allows guest to bring food and drinks inside the parks! This can add up to huge savings. Sandwich bags are great for packing sandwiches and other snacks that you bring with you into smaller portioned sizes.
I also use plastic bags throughout my packing routine. I use gallon sized bags for packing individual outfits, toiletries that I am worried might leak, etc. I ALWAYS pack an extra gallon bag into the diaper bag for holding dirty diapers, clothes that diapers have leaked on, wet clothes and bathing suits, emergency barf bags, you get the idea. Bumps and bruises can be soothed with instant ice packs – just put ice from your cooler into a sandwich bag. I pack individual road trip activities in different sized bags as well.
I recommend buying a box or two in sandwich, quart and gallon sizes.
4. Trash Bags – While I’m touting the benefits of plastic bags, don’t forget to pick up a box or two of trash bags as well. These will come in handy as you try to keep your car and/or hotel room a little cleaner throughout your trip. They also work great for collecting dirty clothes either to bring home or wash at your hotel. (I’m obsessed with doing wash on vacation so that we come home with mostly clean clothes! LOL)
I like to get a couple big packs of the smaller travel packs. I stick the smaller packs EVERYWHERE – one in the diaper bag, purse, car, different luggage pieces, etc.
6. Mesh Laundry Bags – While I tend to use trash bags to gather my dirty laundry on vacation, mesh laundry bags work wonderfully too. ALSO – if you are going on a BEACH trip… grab a mesh bag or two. Use it to toss the sandy toys in at the end of the day. Much of the sand will fall off the toys and out of the bag BEFORE you get to your car, keeping the majority of the sand OUT of your car.
7. Pill Organizer – Great for vitamins and other medications, but think beyond that! These little boxes are wonderful for things like safety pins, travel sewing kit pieces, etc. They also come in handy for kids’ crafts you might be packing for boredom busters. Rainbow loom bands, beads, Shopkins and other little novelties will fit in these compartments.
8. GLOW STICKS – Have you ever been to a theme park when the sun starts to set? Almost perfectly timed with the setting sun, vendor after vendor will start to appear selling very overpriced glowing and light-up novelties. The dollar store has some seriously cool glow sticks at a fraction of the price! We picked up glowing wands, bracelets and other accessories before our trip. The kids also had fun with these on our Disney Cruise during Pirate Night!
9. Nightlights and Flashlights – Maybe you have a kid who is afraid of the dark, maybe you don’t. If you do, pick up a little nightlight before you head out on vacation so you’re not scrambling at bedtime in the hotel. If you DON’T have a kid who is afraid of the dark, consider picking up a small flashlight. These are nice to leave on the nightstand in the event that your kid wakes up and needs to get to the bathroom, etc. in the middle of the night. Unfamiliar surroundings and furniture can lead to bumps and stubbed toes!
10. Batteries – You probably make sure that you have packed your eleventy billion charging cords for everything from phones to tablets to Kindle Readers. But don’t forget to throw some extra batteries in your bag for any random electronics that you might want to run and not be near an outlet.
11. Water Bottles – Keep everyone hydrated with their own water bottles! The dollar store has water bottles in many different colors and designs. I love the sports sipper bottles pictured below because I can dump a bottle of spring water into one and the lids helps to eliminate spilling.
12. Hand Sanitizer – Because, well, germs! While I refrain from slathering the kids in hand sanitizer too often, sometimes when you’re in a pinch for soap, it’s nice to have on hand.
13. Earplugs – Think beyond the airplane ride… earplugs also come in handy for fireworks and other pyrotechnic shows that you might want to watch at the parks. For those with sensitive hearing, these shows can really rattle the ear drums. It’s better to be safe than sorry – and at $1 for a multi-pack it’s smart to grab a pack just in case they are needed.
14. Souvenirs – It’s so easy to fall prey to pricey Disney gift shops. They are around EVERY corner and many rides actually spit you out right into a gift shop. Souvenir prices run steep so I like to bring souvenirs with us that I have gathered at clearance sales, consignment sales, etc in the months leading up to our trip! Saves at TON of money and the kids are every bit as excited. I found little figurines at Dollar Tree, along with a bunch of other character-laden merch.
Tell me! What would you add to my list of Dollar Store MUST HAVES for a Disney Parks trip?