One of Orlando’s biggest selling points is its mild weather. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll never hit a snowstorm, but any Floridian will tell you that the weather of the Sunshine State fluctuates frequently. It’s mostly hot and muggy here but with all-too-common rain showers and cold seasons, you’ll want to pack accordingly.
Start with one pair of underwear, one pair of socks, and a bra for each day. While we fully recommend buying souvenirs in the parks, it’s a good idea to bring some themed t-shirts, hats and other apparel along with you. Regardless of what you wear, though, it’s always smart to dress in layers—especially during the winter months when bright sunshine can make the midday warm enough for t-shirts and shorts but when the nights get chilly enough for long sleeves and pants. For most months, though, shorts, sandals, and light tops are perfect for daytime. Speaking of, shorts with pockets that secure with a zipper or cargo pants are great to wear at the parks. The more things you can put in your pockets, the fewer things you need to put in your backpack or purse.
If you plan on swimming every day, pack two swimsuits and two cover-ups so you’re not putting on a cold, wet bathing suit. Also, bring arm floats, goggles and earplugs as needed. They’re a high-dollar purchase when bought at a hotel or within a water park. If dresses are a part of your wardrobe, you may want to pack one for a fancy dinner or to experience the nightlife. A nice pair of sandals or flats will work with most dressy outfits in the hot weather. Be sure to also bring a couple of sets of pajamas.
Florida’s tropical climate means that you could be enjoying the hot Orlando sun one minute and be drenched in rain the next. Instead of finding yourself stuck inside an attraction waiting for the rain to subside, pack a rain jacket or poncho. They’re also great for water rides! A lightweight umbrella that won’t weigh down your luggage is another good option and worth the extra weight it takes up in your day bag. Additionally, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes you don’t mind getting wet since no raincoat or poncho will be able to keep your feet dry and you’ll likely walk between six to nine miles per day at every park.
Traveling with children or seniors means you’ll definitely want to take a daypack of some sort along as you visit the parks. It’ll come in handy to hold camera equipment, sunscreen and other personal items. A backpack, fanny pack, diaper bag, tote bag or large purse will get the job done. Don’t forget to also take a smaller purse for when you’re not visiting the parks or just going out to dinner.
As it’s very sunny in Orlando, you’ll definitely be outdoors a lot. Be sure you’re prepared to deal with the Florida sunshine and pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bandanas, aloe gel or whatever else you may need to keep the sun from ruining your enjoyable vacation. Oh, and lots of deodorant!
Like any vacation, along with deodorant, certain toiletries are a must. Most hotels offer complimentary bath amenities, hairdryers, and other useful items. However, it’s best not to leave home without packing toothpaste, toothbrushes, skincare products, lip balm, make-up, hairbrushes, and products/stylers, shaving cream and razors, insect repellant, bandages, and feminine hygiene products. Also, be sure to take any eyewear necessities and medications and vitamins with you.
As your phone is probably something you won’t be forgetting, a portable phone charger (alongside your regular charger) can be a lifesaver. From checking theme park ride wait times on an app to browsing for restaurants and using Maps for navigation, your phone’s battery will no doubt drain quickly. Not to mention all the photos you’ll want to take! You don’t want to be slowed down looking for outlets to charge up. For the trip there and back and those relaxing moments in your hotel room or by the pool, you might want to take a tablet, e-reader or laptop and headphones. (Be sure to bring the chargers for these, as well.) Magazines, books, and card games are also fun ways to pass the time.
Absolute essentials that you should not leave without include your wallet (with your ID, credit card, extra cash, medical insurance card and any applicable gift cards), keys, and passport, if necessary. It’s also smart to print out tickets, reservations and/or boarding passes in case phone or Internet issues arise.
With so many thrilling activities from which to choose, you’ll need to stay energized and ready for an adventure at a moment’s notice. Instead of breaking the bank with food inside of a park or attraction, consider packing healthy snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts to keep your mind alert and body healthy. They’re also great to have for road trips and flights to and from Orlando (as are travel pillows and blankets). Plastic zip-top bags are also helpful for storing snacks to finish later. Our full-size kitchens at Vista Cay make it easy to prepare meals and pack lunches to take to the parks.
Hydration is also important, especially when you’re doing a lot of walking in the heat. Think ahead and pack a refillable water bottle (not made of glass) that won’t easily be crushed as it’s transported from suitcase to bag or from bag to hand. You can fill it up at water fountains throughout the theme parks or ask to fill it up at any food and beverage location. It also saves you the expense of purchasing bottled water.
Lastly, after spending an entire day at a water attraction, your soggy clothes and damp bathing suits are going to need packing. Protect the rest of your clothes by packing a foldable laundry bag for your trip to Central Florida. Your remaining articles of clothing will thank you. Here at Vista Cay, each of our resort condos has washers and dryers, so you can keep your clothes clean and fresh while on vacation.
Keep in mind that Orlando is just like any other town in that we have our fair share of Walmarts, Targets, CVS stores, Walgreens—you name it. There’s a Publix grocery store and a Walgreens within easy walking distance from Vista Cay. Don’t stress yourself out worrying about every last item. While your packing will be unique to your family, we hope with this list, you’ll have almost everything covered for a great family vacation. All that’s left to do now is perfect your itinerary and book any attraction tickets you haven’t already. We can’t wait to have you!