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  • On Jan 12, 2023
    Jennifer from MD Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hi Mona Leigh! What are your recommendations to pack for a long weekend trip for myself and my 9yo in mid January? Trying to pack light and avoid baggage carousels! Thanks so much - Jen

    Hi Jen,

    Thank you so much for visiting planDisney with your question. I am happy to help you think about packing for your trip - it is coming up so soon, you must be getting very excited!

    I see that you are a fellow Marylander who will be traveling for a long weekend. This is a trip that I have made many times. First, I like your plan of packing light and avoiding baggage carousels. My family and I almost always pack in carry-on luggage, especially for our trip heading to Florida. This way, we do not waste time on our way to Walt Disney World waiting for our luggage at the airport, and it also avoids the possibility of lost luggage making for a not-so-magical start to the vacation.

    A tip that we use is to pack an empty bag into your carry-on luggage on the way down. We generally throw a tote or other bag that can lay flat at the top of each suitcase. Then, if you purchase some magical souvenirs, or just are not feeling quite as up to packing perfectly for your return home, you can pack that extra bag full, and then check either the bag or your suitcase for your return trip. We find that we are less concerned about time waiting for luggage or potentially lost bags on the way home since we would have extras of all of our things waiting for us at home.

    Packing only in carry-on luggage does mean that you will be limited in the amount of liquids that you can bring, which does mean a limit on many toiletries. I always use the hotel shampoo, body wash, and other toiletries that are provided to avoid having to travel with them. The Disney Resort Hotels, as well as most other hotels in the Orlando area, will provide these for you. 

    For a trip in January, I suggest that you consult your favorite weather app or website to see what the weather will be like in Orlando. The temperature can vary widely in Orlando in January! Because of this, I definitely suggest bringing clothes that can be layered. You can then choose how many layers to wear each day. I wear my bulkiest layers, typically jeans and a sweatshirt, onto the airplane. This both saves room in my suitcase as well as keeps me warm leaving Maryland! I also like to wear athletic sneakers into the theme park so I wear them on the airplane as they tend to be bulky. Then I only pack one other pair of shoes that would work in all other situations, such as a pair of black sandals or canvas sneakers.

    In addition to a carry-on suitcase, I would suggest that both you and your child take a backpack as your personal item on the plane. These can then be backpacks that you carry into the theme parks. You may discover that to go into the theme parks, you only need one backpack that you can take turns carrying. I would be sure, both for the airplane and for the theme parks, that these include snacks and water. 

    I hope that these thoughts are helpful for you, Jen! Have a wonderful time preparing for your trip, and please do be sure to come back and let us know here at planDisney if you have any further planning questions.

    - Mona Leigh
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Meet the Panelist: Mona Leigh, Maryland

I am a wife and mother who works in children's technology design and research. When I'm not at work or with my family, I'm often planning a Walt Disney World trip for my family or friends. I'm a Disney Vacation Club Member, and am excited to help you plan your Disney vacation!  Learn More About Mona Leigh

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