2 Sept 2015

Disney World packing and prepping - my Florida holiday essentials

I may have mentioned once or twice... that I'm going to Florida this month!  I've been to Florida and all of the theme parks quite a few times, as it was our favourite family holiday when I was growing up, and this will be my fourth time going back as an adult, and third trip with my boyfriend.  I'm slowing bringing him around to the idea of loving Florida holidays too!

I'll admit that I'm an obsessive over-planner and worrier right off the bat, but in my defence, I think a Florida holiday demands more planning than any other, particularly because part of our holiday is staying in Disney.  Not only do you now have the option to book dining 180 days in advance, you can now book ride fast passes 60 days in advance too, and there are just so many parks and attractions to pack in, 14 nights just doesn't feel like enough!

We booked our holiday in January, and on and off since then, I've been making plans, pinning pins, generally researching, watching youtube videos, making lists, and of course, shopping for essentials!  So I thought I'd be a little indulgent today and take the opportunity to share a few of my essential items and for a Florida holiday, as well as rambling a little about our plans, because the excitement is so real right now! I hope this helps you if you might also be planning a trip to Orlando some time soon.

First let's talk tech.  My iphone 6+ is an essential piece of kit for this holiday - I'll be using it to check my plans and notes, as well as using apps such as maps, and the My Disney Experience and Universal Orlando Resort apps.  The My Disney Experience app is amazing - I can access and view all of my ride and dining reservations on there, and you can get up to date queue time information for rides too.  I'm less familiar with the Universal app as I've only just downloaded it, and I don't have to book passes or check queues for the Universal parks as we'll be staying on site for the first five days or our holiday at Loews Royal Pacific, and that will get us express ride passes.  I'll be using a Three simcard while I'm in Florida, because they seem to have the best deals for data abroad and it's only going to cost me £20.

As you can see, my phone is Disney ready with this cute Disney tsum tsum iphone case from ebay, and I've also prepped it with a tempered glass full screen protector which I'm really pleased with.  I've been using the flimsy matte screen protectors which just help avoid scratches, but this one is really tough, and it looks just like the real iphone screen.  Hopefully if my phone were to take a little tumble in one of the parks, this will keep the screen protected.  I've also bought a powerbank portable iphone charger which I'll be using to keep my phone's battery topped up when I'm out and about.  It's a bit heavier than I expected, which is slightly annoying, but not half as annoying as an iphone that's run out of battery!

I'll be snapping a few instagrams on my iphone no doubt, but for capturing my main holiday snaps, and maybe even a few video snippits, I'm going to be using my boyfriend's GoPro, and the 200GB SanDisk ultra micro SD card.  I've never owned a memory card with such a high capacity before, so I won't need to worry about space at all, and can happily snap away.  Dan has ideas about strapping the GoPro to his head and getting some point-of-view ride footage - I'm not so keen! I've already been road testing the micro SD card with my DSLR, and it's really easy to use.  It has an adaptor, so for something like the GoPro the SD card fits directly, whereas for my DSLR I pop it into the little adaptor that comes with it first so that it can also work with that type of camera.  I can happily take photos on the highest quality settings, knowing that I have tonnes of memory, and the speed at which the images are written back to the card is amazing, so you can just keep on shooting.  I'm toying with the idea of taking my DSLR on holiday.  Originally I wasn't going to, and was just going to stick with the GoPro, but Dan wants to use the DSLR for things like the safari at Animal Kingdom, so we'll see what we decide.

Onto more practical necessities, and if you've ever been to an Orlando theme park, you won't be surprised that I'm about to talk shoes.  The walking - oh my God the walking!  Some estimates say you can walk up to 10 miles when you spend all day at a theme park, and the painful, achey, tired feet I've had in the past tell me that's probably not far from the truth.  Theme parks are not the place for heels of flimsy flip flops that can fall off your feet on rides, but as much as I accept that practicality comes first, you still wouldn't catch me in a pair of these Tevas which seem to be a theme park favourite for many!  Instead I've gone for possibly the most joked about shoe of all time - the Croc - but in what I think is a perfectly socially acceptable style, and bright pink colour - and no, I won't be wearing them with socks!  These are the Crocs rio flat, and I'm hoping they'll be my best friends in the parks.  I also have these Disney plimsoles from Primark, which I think will be comfy, but really I just bought them because they have Minnie and Mickey on the front.  I also have a pair of trusty Converse and I've ordered some Havaianas Freedom flip flops because they have a strap at the back of the foot to keep them on.  They're not in the photo because I had a bit of trouble with the first ones I ordered - they come up huge, so you may want to size-down.

And now onto the slightly more random choices.  The Mickey socks were another Primark purchase that I just had to have, but I genuinely did need some trainer socks for when I wear my Converse.  After a little online stalking I managed to get hold of the Quay Australia My Girl sunglasses, and although I thought I'd end up returning them because they'd look ridiculous, I actually love them and can see them being my main holiday eyewear.  This is how they look on if you're curious.  Sunglasses are obviously an essential, because it's extremely sunny in Florida at pretty much any time of the year.  

I've also bought a little pocket Orlando map, because despite having apps on my phone and a GPS in our hire car, sometimes I just like to look at a good old fashioned paper map.  Plus I'll annotate a few important locations on here, like Sephora, Walgreens, CVS...  

And yes, those are Disney princess nail decals.  I also have a sheet of minions and one of Toy Story characters, and I intend to wear them with pride around the parks, because if you can't look a fool at Disney, when can you?  My intention is to go for pale pink glossy shellac nails, and then hopefully I can apply the decals over the top and switch the designs while I'm away using non-acetone remover.  Somebody shout if this is a bad idea and won't work! 

And finally, to cart around all my crap essentials, I have this black leather rucksack from Urban Outfitters (it's not in stock anymore, but they have similar ones, and so do asos).  I've not owned a rucksack probably since I was about 10, so this feels a little unnatural to me, but they've made a real come back, and they're clearly the most practical kind of bag for theme park adventures.  I've already used this on a few days out since I bought it in the Spring, and it's very functional, although I do have a constant irrational fear that someone's trying to rob me from behind.

Some other Disney essentials at the top of my packing list - 
  • Water shoes for the water parks (I have these sexy little numbers from Sports Direct)
  • Rain poncho because Florida is wet! 
  • Disney character pyjamas (Primark always have an excellent selection!)
  • Coupons and store loyalty cards (can't wait to put my Sephora VIB to good use again)
  • Lots of sunscreen 
  • USA power adaptors 
  • Copies of insurance documents and ESTAs, and printed confirmation of tickets for flights, hotels, theme parks etc
  • An extra suitcase for my holiday makeup shopping!
I hope you like this little insight into my Florida prepping, and that it goes some way to explain why I've been a bit on the quiet side lately!  Let me know if you're interested in hearing more about where I'm staying, what I'm doing and how I planned and booked eveything for the holiday - I can feel maybe a series of posts coming on, and I'll definitely want to share lots of photos when I come back.  While I'm away I'm going to be updating my blog facebook page with photos and snippit videos of all things Universal and Disney, so go give me a like on facebook if you want to get those updates :) 



  1. All your Disney themed things are so cute!! Especially the Mickey and Minnie shoes :) Have fun in Florida!


  2. I'm living vicariously through your blog/trip as well as a couple of others due to mine being so far off (I go in Jan for the marathon - which is my brother is running not me!). I do love reading about peoples trips, especially somewhere like Disney. It's so interesting for me this year as I'm fully absorbed in the blogs and forums and seeing how much planning has to go into it which I've never really experienced before.

    Victoria x

    1. Oh amazing! The planning and build up is half the fun! xx

  3. I can't believe those flats are from Primark. They look so much more expensive. I hope you have an amazing time... so jealous!! xx

    Kate | A British Sparkle

  4. Really enjoyed this post Gemma! We just returned from Orlando 2 weeks ago and have post holiday blues :-( So excited for you! I always think the planning, preparation and packing is part of the fun. Have an amazing time and make sure you do lots of shopping! Looking forward to seeing what you pick up while you are there! Elle x

  5. Nice blog, thanks for sharing the information. I will come to look for update. Keep up the good work. Cool holiday essentials..


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