The first rule is never let your kids pack for a Disney trip.
The second rule is never let them know you won’t let them pack for a Disney trip.
I’m sure there are some kids that won’t ever open a dresser drawer or their closet to help pack for a vacation, while others are so excited to go to Disney they would pack their bedroom furniture if it would fit in their suitcase!
If you have little ones to children approximately age 10, here’s my advice. Let them pack what ever they want any way they want. Don’t argue with them, don’t fight over anything they want to bring, and don’t say a word to them. Once the kids are asleep, go through the suitcase, pull out what they won’t need and pack the items they will need. Make sure you close the suitcase and keep it a safe distance from their room. Also, keep the items removed in a safe place where your child won’t find them. If your child comes to you with something they forgot but don’t need to bring tell them you’ll take care of it and then place it with the other items you removed from the suitcase. Depending on your children, you may want to keep their suitcase locked to avoid any unnecessary tantrums. My suggestion once you get to Disney and your children discover the missing items is to tell them Tinker Bell came at night and re-packed the suitcase. When that excuse doesn’t work, try bribing them with a Mickey bar or some other Disney snack. Usually kids are so excited to be at Disney they won’t remember (or care) what’s not in their suitcase.
When your children are a little older, tweens and teens, it can become more challenging, as you’ll likely notice differences in how a boy packs and how a girl packs. My 17 year old son tends to take the bare essentials, while my 14 year old daughter packs every scrap of clothing and all the toiletries she has. My son is also more likely to ask my wife and I what he needs to bring, while my daughter will take the initiative and empty her closet and dresser into her suitcase and then sneak what doesn’t fit in hers into mine and my wife’s.
If your tween or teen wants to pack too much, I say let them then repeat as above. The trick here, though, is to know what clothes and items your tween or teen can’t do without and then remove the excess. If your tween or teen only packs the basic necessities, thank them! If your child under packs, simply add the items you believe are necessary to get them through the vacation. Remember, you can always do a load or two of laundry, as all Disney resorts have the facilities to accommodate your needs.
Sometimes packing can be the toughest part when preparing to depart for your Disney World vacation, but it doesn’t have to be!
Contributed by: Stuart S. (NDD #47). Stuart is our resident Disney geek and creator of Disney Geek Dad.