It goes without saying that when in the Disney Parks, you are probably going to need that sweater, those ears or maybe even that giant replica of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Today in the third installment of Packing Champions, we are going to help you work out how to get everything you purchased home!
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
Ditch the Packaging
I know that it can be tempting to keep all those Disney shopping bags. They are cute; you think you will use them, you might even want to give the gifts you bought for others in them. The truth is, they are a waste of space, and they are weighing you down. If you are reading this before you go, consider taking a reusable bag that you can fold up into a little pouch and clip onto your backpack. It’s handy, and it helps to save the environment.
Cardboard Is Evil
Ban yourself from tags, boxes and any sort of cardboard that can be discarded. But the packaging is protecting the Cinderella Castle replica alarm clock you bought? No, that is what your undies and socks are for. Wrap that baby up and take it home nestled safely in your undergarments.
Unless you are working with something that is incredibly delicate like glass or crystal, the cardboard can go. Just make sure you are respectful to housekeeping and do your best to collapse the boxes before neatly leaving them in a safe place. Leaving rubbish all over the room is never cool.
One exception to the cardboard rule is when transporting a Disney photo frame that has fragile characters extending from it. It doesn’t take much for Mickey to lose an ear of Goofy to lose a nose. Keep them tightly packed in their original packaging.
Check Baggage Requirements in Advance
If your journey includes a flight, then check beforehand what you are able to bring home with you. Just because it will fit in your oversized suitcase doesn’t mean it won’t be over the weight limit included with your ticket. Some airlines have a lower weight limit but allow for a second bag at the same weight; so just check what you are working with before you leave. If your airline charges by the bag and you plan on doing a bit of shopping, pack your belongings into a smaller suitcase and then place it inside an empty larger one, so you only have to take one bag on the first flight.
Wear Heavy Home
Find your heaviest shoes, jeans, and jacket and wear them home on the plane. If you have purchased any heavy jewelry or watches, belts or accessories then wear them back as well. Airlines take the weight of their baggage seriously. Any extra weight you are carrying on your body is not being weighed in your suitcase or your carry-on and can make the difference between you breezing through check-in or being that family that is spread out all over the floor trying to rearrange the weight distribution in your bags. No one wants to be that family.
Roll It on Up
If you are having trouble fitting clothes into your bag, ditch the packing squares and go with the old-fashioned roll-up method. Roll your clothing into long, tightly compressed logs and you will be able to fit much more in your bag. I also find this is handy for packaging around fragile objects you would like to protect.
Utilize that Carry-On
Are you bringing home heavy souvenirs for family and friends? Consider packing them in your carry-on bag. The little things all add up and make a huge difference. Collect all the key chains, anything metal or even any books you might have and see how much they weigh by themselves. If you are desperate to get a few pounds out of the suitcase so it is within the allocated range, give this a go. Just don’t look like your carry-on appears too strenuous to lift; it might flag you for having that weighed as well.
When You Are Desperate
As a last ditch effort to condense your packing into its smallest, lightest footprint possible, discard your toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, deodorant (use it before you go) — anything that has some size and weight to it that can easily be replaced at home — get rid of it. It will be cheaper to replace there than paying for overweight luggage.
That’s all folks. If you still have too much to bring home even after all of these tricks then contemplate buying another bag, resign yourself to the additional fee and save the stress of freaking out about it the whole way to the check-in counter. After all, that peace of mind is worth something too.
If you did buy that castle or that $500 Harry Potter Lego Set, you are on your own with those.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.