Wondering what gear you need to have the absolute best Orlando getaway? Here is the ABC round-up of everything you need on your family escape.
A is for APPLES… or any other tasty snack. Your tummy and your wallet will thank you for packing some nutritious snacks (granola bars, trail mix) to nibble on while waiting in theme park lines
B is for BATHING SUIT… with fabulous water parks, stellar resort pools, and sandy beaches within an hour’s drive, you actually might consider packing two or three bathing suits.
C is for CAMERA… and lucky for you, most of the theme parks actually have signs directing you to the best Kodak moments (such as right in front of Cinderella’s Castle)
E is for ELEGANT ATTIRE… Not all restaurants are vacation casual. In fact, you’re going to need a dinner jacket if you plan on eating at Victoria and Albert’s
F is for FLIP FLOPS… but make sure to bring a good pair of walking or running shoes too. Trust me, you do not want to walk miles through theme parks in flimsy flip flops… your feet and back will be awfully sore.
G is for GPS… bring one or rent one but MAKE SURE to keep it out of sight when you park; these things get stolen all the time, especially from rental cars. Be warned, the outlet malls are major hotspots for car break-ins, so don’t leave anything valuable in the car – put these things in the trunk.
H is for HAT… even on cooler winter days, when the sun beats down on your head for hours you’ll get a sunburn and a headache.
I is for iPHONE APPS... there are dozens of fabulous Orlando apps such as this official Disney World app which can be downloaded for free HERE
J is for JACKET… visitors are often surprised (and disappointed) to discover how cold Orlando can actually get in the winter months. It’s rare, but it can get downright cold here in January and February so make sure to bring a light coat or sweater and maybe even some mittens if it looks like the temperature might drop to the 40’s or 50’s
K is for KID’S HEART… leave your mature, adult self at home and completely surrender to one of the most imaginative and colorful places on the planet. Sure, you’ll spend a lot of money and stand in a lot of lines, but you can giggle your way through it.
L is for Local MEDIA.. before you depart, check out Orlando’s local media outlets (such as our newspaper the Orlando Sentinel) where you’ll find info on great local events and local news that might affect your travels (road closures etc). Here’s a round-up of our local media
M is for MOVIES… to watch on your laptop or portable DVD player in your hotel room at night; it’s the ideal way to wind down the kids at the end of a long day.
N is for NILEGUIDE… you can create and download your own personalized travel planner complete with awesome insider tips from local experts (like me!) at www.NileGuide.com
O is for ONLINE COUPONS… join Groupon or visit Half Off Depot before you arrive to get some unbelievable deals on Orlando-area restaurants and attractions
P is for PATIENCE and POLITENESS… you’re hot, tired, and hungry (and so are your kids, eeek). It’s a recipe from some serious rudeness. Take a chill pill and be nice, please :)
Q is for QUIZ… pack a pocket-sized deck of trivia cards (or grab a stack from your Trivia Pursuit Disney Edition) for an fun way to pass the time together on the airplane and while waiting in lines.
R is for RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES… there’s a chance (especially in the summer months) that you might have a rain day during your vacay. Be prepared with some travel-sized board games, coloring books, and reading material.
S is for SIGNATURE BOOK... to keep all the autographs from character you’ll meet in one place. The autograph books they sell in the park usually cost around $10 but you’re bound to find one at your local dollar store for a fraction of that price.
T is for TATTOOS… this is one of the best inventions ever! Child ID Temporary Safety Tattoos allow you to temporarily tattoo your contact information directly on your child’s arm so you’ll be found immediately should your tiny tot stray away. It happens more often that you want to imagine.
U is for UNDERWATER CAMERA… especially if you plan on spending a day at Discovery Cove (which you should absolutely do!)
V is for VISITOR’S GUIDE.. or just download your own personalized trip planner at www.NileGuide.com
W is for WALKIE TALKIE… a set of two-way radios will really come in handy when you’re sitting by your resort pool and want to let your brood know that Donald Duck just showed up for a meet and greet
X is for XTRA TIME… if there is any chance you can stay an extra couple of days, plan on it. Then you can squeeze in a couple of relaxing days by the pool without feeling like you’re missing something.
Y is for YELLOW T-SHIRTS… or any other very brightly colored apparel you own. Why? Because it will be much easier to spot each other in a crowd if you stand out wearing a neon yellow shirt versus blending in wearing a white t-shirt like everyone else
Z is for ZEN ATTITUDE… an Orlando vacation is usually not a relaxing one. There’s so much to do and see that you’ll probably find yourselves on the move from morning (character breakfasts) ’til night (spectacular fireworks shows). In fact, you’ll probably need a vacation after this vacation. So, pack a peaceful attitude and remember that an Orlando vacation is all about making great memories that will last a lifetime.