DISNEY WORLD: Travel Essentials

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hello everyone! I'm back with another travel essentials haul and this time I'll be sharing with you some tips and a few tricks I learned during our recent trip to Disney World in Orlando. We've been to Disneyland in Hong Kong a couple of years back but I tell you, Disney World is a whole new jungle (at least for me and Sam). I'll be mentioning essential things to bring with you and a few tips on how to save time and money while on tour. So if you're interested in making the most out of your Disney World adventure, sit back and read on. 

1. Sun protection
Of course sunscreen is the ultimate skincare product to bring with you in any outdoor activity especially in Disney where you're out in the parks all day. Pack a good sunscreen for both your face and body so you can just bring one tube with you. I suggest you choose one with an SPF 30 or more. I personally use Armada Sport 70 by VMV Hypoallergenics. It's a lightweight sunblock that doesn't feel sticky on your skin or reeks of chemical when applied. Just remember to apply every 2 to 4 hours throughout the day. To know more about Sun Protection Factor or SPF, click here to see my post on skin facts.

In addition to a good sunscreen, I bring with me an umbrella which I guess may not seem useful for you if you hate carrying more stuff. Still, I feel the need to include it here because it gives added protection from the sun and rain. Since my melasma is triggered by prolonged sun exposure, I carry with me an umbrella that opens and closes with just a click of a button. Want to amp up your sun protection? Try an umbrella that offers UV defense like that of Fibrella. 

2. Hydrate!
We were once told that Disney parks don't allow bottled water from outside which is why we didn't bring our own water in Disney Hong Kong but it's a myth that has to stop. Disney World Orlando allows you to bring water and sealed snacks. Just in case you run out, most of the park restaurants we saw had water dispensers so you can refill your empty bottle anytime.

An added tip that applies for those staying in the Disney Resorts, I highly recommend for you to purchase the Disney refillable mugs. They're sold for $17.99 each and you get unlimited free refills on fountain sodas, coffee, tea and hot chocolate from the self-service stations in ALL Disney Resorts for your entire length of stay. To me, these mugs look like regular keepsakes on display at the Disney gift shops but what makes them extra special is they're enhanced with a bar code activated upon purchase.

This bar code is detected by the vendo machines hence allowing you to refill your drink. I saw another tourist (thankfully not Pinoy) trying to get drinks using her own glass and it didn't work. Sam and I also thought of getting just one mug to share but we decided to have one each so we can refill to our own liking. After all, it's like getting separate keepsakes with an added bonus of free drinks. If you're not so much of a soda, coffee, tea or chocolate drinker then you can skip getting the refillable mugs altogether and just bring an empty water bottle in your bag.

3. Love your feet
A piece of advice, never ever wear new shoes even if they claim to be comfortable. If you want to anyway, just break them in or better yet use them several times before taking them to Disney. Another good tip is bring a light pair of flip flops you can change into towards the end of the day. Emphasis on the word light so it won't add weight to your growing number of essentials. Wearing well cushioned socks can also help, just make sure they're not too thick that your shoes can hardly fit.

4. Juice up!
There's nothing worse than going to Disney and have your phone die on you especially before the magical finale! This almost happened to me in Disney Hong Kong. I was using my Samsung Galaxy S5 back then and the battery life was horrible! I was already using my power bank before noon came. I didn't have a choice then but to cut on taking videos so my phone could make it to the parade and fireworks. This is why I prepared for the worst during our Disney World visit in Orlando. I made sure to fully charge my ever reliable iPhone6 Plus, took with me a back-up phone for taking pictures and two power banks. Good thing I went overboard because this time we used up twice the battery life compared to when we were in HK since we were navigating through the parks using the Disney App.

Speaking of which, Disney World has an app you can download on your phone. Having this made it easier for us to go around the parks because it's like having waze on foot. I love that it detects where you are so you'd know which way to go. It also gives you real time schedule of each ride with estimated waiting time so you can plan ahead which rides to take. I also like knowing which way to the restrooms so I we won't be wasting time looking for one or stopping to ask. Another thing worth mentioning about the Disney app is you can get your fast pass on any ride that allows it just by using the app. 

5. Eye protection
My Sociology professor in college once told us that it's not enough to cover your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, we also need to protect our eyes from its glare. This is why sunglasses are a must. It doesn't have to be the fancy type, but go for something that's comfortable and won't be too painful to lose just in case you drop it during a ride or misplace it in the park. If you wear prescription contacts under those shades like I do, don't forget to bring your lubricating eye drops too.

6. Nap sack
This is my second time in a Disney park and a nap sack was the best thing I brought with me. I love having both hands free and not struggle with a purse when taking pictures or having snacks. Mine is a medium-sized floral back pack by Jansport that holds a lot of stuff like the other essentials I mentioned. Don't worry about taking it with you during a ride, just put it on the floor or between your legs if you're on a roller coaster. You can probably bring a cross body bag if your companion is already carrying a nap sack. This way, you can take turns in carrying the heavier bag throughout the day. 

7. Tummy care
Our accommodation at Disney's Pop Century Resort included entrance tickets to the different parks but we didn't have free meals. It was only appropriate not to get meal deals since we wanted to spend the entire day at the parks and eat our meals there instead. One excellent advice we got from my husband's friend is to book a character meal ahead of time. These are hard to just walk into like the "Be Our Guest" character meal featuring Beauty and the Beast, to which we didn't get a reservation.

What's great is we successfully reserved "Breakfast with Stitch" at the Polynesian Hotel. My husband and I are both crazy about Stitch and getting a reservation was a blessing indeed. We got to take pictures with Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey! Aside from the deliciously served sit-down buffet, I love that everyone in the restaurant is given ample time to interact with the characters. They go from table to table and they even have official photographers with them to take photos.

8. Invest on memories
Disney offers what they call  "Memory Maker", a photography service you can avail during your stay. All you need to do is to purchase it online and have your pictures taken by official Disney Photo Pass Photographers stationed at iconic places in the parks. Then you can access all pictures taken everywhere within the park, even the ones taken during rides. You can access these photos and videos online and download no matter how many of them for one price.

I find this offer really helpful especially for couples like us without other companions to take our photos during the tour. If you're in a group then this might not be too necessary since you can take turns taking pictures. By the way, selfie sticks aren't allowed in the park. I confirmed it first hand when a marshal mistook my tripod for a selfie stick and approached me saying that it's prohibited. After showing him that it's a tripod and works nothing like a selfie stick, he gave his okay signal.

There goes my unsolicited advice, they may not sound new to you nor are they groundbreaking but trust me when I say that these will make your Disney adventure a little more enjoyable. Do you have additional tips to share? Please let us know on the comments section below and we'll be glad to consider them next time we go to Disney. Thank you for your time and have a fun week!

👉 Personal pictures taken using iPhone6 Plus 

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