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Before my husband and I had our son, we opted to fly to Disney World versus driving to Disney World. Being two adults, we didn’t have that much to bring with us. Plus, it was easy for the he and I to navigate the airport, relax on the plane, and take the Magical Express to the hotel. It wasn’t a big deal if our room was not ready. We just simply left for one of the parks after check in!
Things change after having a child, however! Once we decided to go to Disney World for our first family vacation, we quickly realized just how much we needed to bring! By driving, we were limited only by what would fit in our car, not by TSA or airline allowances. Thus, driving seemed like the better option for us. We successfully drove to Disney World three times with our little guy, so here are my tips for making your commute easier!
1. Have New Toys
Being stuck in a car seat can get old quickly, especially for a child that is usually on-the-go! Therefore, I always make sure to have plenty of new toys on hand. When looking for new toys, I tend to select ones that are either very flashy (lights, sounds, etc.) or along the lines of what my son currently finds interesting. For easy access, I keep them in a fabric storage bin at the foot of my son’s carseat. Click here for Best Selling Toys.
Pro tip: If your child is like mine, chances are you already have plenty of toys around the house. About a month or two before your trip, take some of those toys, put them in a box and hide them until you are ready to leave for vacation. The toys will be ready to go for the drive AND they will seem like new ones to you child. Yay for not having to buy anything!
2. Have Crafts (if age appropriate)
Since they can’t get up and explore the car, they’ll need something else to keep their hands and minds occupied. In come the crafts! My son was happiest when he was busy making and then showing off his masterpieces! However, there are some limitations since you’ll be in the car. You will need something that won’t take up a lot of room, can be used repeatedly, and will not make a mess in your backseat. Mess free coloring books are great options (plus, you may be able find some with your child’s favorite characters). I also like the dry erase and magnetic drawing boards (as pictured). I even purchased a travel tray from Amazon so that my son would have a place to create!
3. Keep Electronics Handy
I do my best to limit electronics when we are home, however, I am all for them to avoid meltdowns during the drive to Disney World. We always have our iPad full of favorite cartoons, movies, and YouTube videos. At the first sign of an impending meltdown, we put on the iPad and our son instantly calms down! Having the iPad helps keep everyone’s sanity in check!
4. Have Plenty of Food and Drinks
My son, like his father, gets hangry when he needs to eat! Therefore, I keep plenty of snacks and drinks on hand in the car to avoid any crankiness (from either of them). I particularly love any snacks that are individually wrapped. That way if there are any leftover, you take them easily into the parks at Disney World. When my son was on formula, I put the powder into plastic condiment cups and filled his bottles with filtered water. Whenever he was hungry, it was very easy to mix a bottle. Now that he is drinking whole milk, I get organic milk boxes that do not require refrigeration.
5. Keep Medicines Easily Accessible
You never know if a medication will be needed! I quickly learned to keep them within reach in the car if my son needs a dose. The name of the game is to keep your child as comfortable as possible in the car, so have those medicines handy in case they are needed!
6. Keep to the Same Sleep Schedule
This is a rule we follow during our entire vacation, but it is very important even before you reach Disney World. Keeping to the same sleep/wake schedule makes for a happy child! We make sure to have a “lovey” and a blanket. We even keep the lights dim to ensure he stays asleep.
7. Use Diaper Booster Pads or a TravelJohn
I cannot stress this one enough! If your child is not yet potty trained, use a diaper booster pad. The absolute last thing you want to happen is for leakage to occur in the car seat. There is no guarantee you can stop regularly to change a diaper when driving, so extend the life of one by using a booster pad. I did not use one during the last stretch of our ride home and, sure enough, I was stuck cleaning the car seat :/
If your child is potty trained, I recommend keeping some TravelJohns in the car in case you can’t make it to the bathroom fast enough. They are easy to use and can be thrown out at your next stop along the drive.
I hope these tips help you prepare for a drive to Disney World with your family! Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips!