Load up the Minivan, we’re heading to Mickey World

| April 2, 2008

We started making our annual pilgrimage to Disney 20 years ago when the kids were 2, 4 and 5. Our earlier visits included the mandatory visit to Boca Raton where my father-in-law had migrated after marrying a lady he met when visiting his brother in Florida.

At the time we had a minivan. They didn’t let you leave the maternity ward without one after you had 2.3 children.

YAY!! Let’s drive to Florida!! What fun that will be. We can look for out of state license plates for 20 hours!! Oh boy!!

I begin hoarding cereal prizes. Nothing like a Lucky Charms keychain to keep the kids occupied for hours on end. I buy puzzle and coloring books and trays for the kids to work on.

Let’s do the math. For a two week trip with three kids, that’s 42 outfits. But wait, it’s November. What if it gets chilly? Let’s throw in 15 pairs of long pants and 9 sweatshirts. Socks, we need lots of socks. For the girls there are socks that match their outfits, for everyone there are extras just in case it rains and their shoes get wet. Let’s toss in 60 pairs of socks, and while we’re at it, 12 pairs of shoes. Must not forget undies and jammies, a couple of dress-up outfits, bathing suits, hats, hair ribbons and barrettes.  I run around like a madwoman, making sure that everyone has a complete ensemble for every occasion and for all kinds of weather.

After carefully packing 237+ articles of clothing for the kids, it’s time to pack for myself. This starts the “does this still fit and/or does it make me look fat” ritual. After weeding out the clothes that someone shrunk while I was sleeping, I pick out a few stunning outfits with Dynasty era shoulder pads. Mustn’t forget my fanny pack. I’m a Mom, it’s required.

Snacks, gotta have snacks. We’ll drive through New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC, Virginia (could that state possibly be any longer), North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and finally Florida. The thought that we could stop for food crosses my mind, but what if a famine strikes the minute we leave our driveway?  I don’t want to risk starvation so I stock up on cookies, crackers and juice.

Let’s move onto Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol, toothbrushes, toothpaste, maps, tissues, flashlight, umbrellas, paper towels, maps, hotel confirmations, wet wipes and sunscreen. I bring the minivan to the car wash and make sure it’s clean inside and out. I stop the mail and newspapers and bring the pooch to the kennel.

All of the kid’s clothes are packed, each has an activity bag and the cooler is ready to go. My hair is sticking out in all directions and I’m now a stinky, sweaty, wrinkled mess.

Ladies, you know where this is heading. My husband goes into the bedroom and five minutes later proudly declares that he’s packed and ready to go.  To this day he doesn’t understand why I punched him.

Category: Disney World

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  • UrsulasShadow


  • hayanyujah847

    Ugh…men! DBf is the same way. I can’t imagine doing all of the packing for children, too. Fun times to look forward to.

  • http://community.webshots.com/user/G0Lfstar kimstar

    Regina, my boyfriend is the same way.. i can spend a week preparing and packing with my checklist and he will rush home after work and throw stuff in a bag and be ready within 10 minutes, and somehow not be missing anything.

  • Ken In Atlanta

    I was the same way when I packed for my first trip to WDW. Part of me still is, plus I pack weeks early.

  • DVCsince02

    We’ve been debating if we should drive to WDW from Delaware in about 46 days.
    I pack the same way, so it’s nice to know that I’ll have lots of friends in the looney bin. :)

  • cocowum

    LOL! so true!!!

  • dpuck1998

    LOL, I’m a man…I do the same thing. Ohh and then I complain to my wife if there is something I need that wasn’t packed. She often hits me….

  • daneenm

    Ooohh, so true! But in my house, the packing is topped off with a smart comment about how quickly he can get done and why does it take me so darn long?!?!

  • tinkbutt

    LOL can’t relate to the kids but when my DBF and I last went tell me why he forgot to pack SHIRTS! how can you forget that????

  • Masonic Mouse

    Ok I am a DH and DF we drove the Mini Van to the World from Connecticut with the two kids 13 and 16 this past January and will be heading to Daytona Beach on the 12th. We do this at least once a year and more often then not twice a year so here is our ritual.

    I get the oil change and the van washed, I wash all the clothes in the house, I get the kids to pack there clothes DW checks them, I ensure that all the electronic are set and have adapters, I go to Sams Club and get food and Poland Spring water, I pack myself, I put the clam on the Mini Van, I pack the car, I clean the house so we come back to a clean house, I get everyone up a 3:00 AM and bring DW coffee and get us out of the door and on the road by 3:30 AM, I drive until Georgia.

    If you Dear Ladies have not trained your DH well that is your problem LOL.


  • dpuck1998

    Jeff..do all men a favor….and never speak a word of that again!!

  • http://www.wdwinfo.com WebmasterRegina

    You mean to say you’re actually trainable? (I’m not counting mastering the complexities of a remote control.)

  • annette_va

    I am a big over-packer as it is and we always fly down and I manage to keep it to 3 suitcases. I can’t imagine if I had a whole minivan to fill…I’d be dangerous!!

  • Masonic Mouse

    The best part of a Mini Van is that you can fill it with what ever you want for the trip back. I bring a couble of empty duffle bags to fill. Oh by the way in the park I carry the water, the cameras, firt aide kit, ponchos (sp), extra batteries, advil, sunglasses, gum, and other stuff.


  • ladydanger

    I’m so glad my parents never tried to drive us down to Florida. I’m not sure we could have survived the drive as a family!

    We still had all the packing neurosis you described Regina. We can’t get on the plane with anything under the maximum the airline allows we carry so much with us. But the most memorable incident regarding packing and WDW came when I was 5, and my parents decided to take my brother and I down to Florida as a surprise. They packed our suitcase in advance and hid it somewhere so the two of us wouldn’t know a vacation was coming. Apparently they hid the suitcase so well they forgot about it completely, because we left the house that day without it. My brother and I arrived in Orlando for a week long trip with no more clothes than what we had wore on the plane. I don’t remember much of my Disney experience from that trip, but I remember LOTS about arriving in Florida without any stuff. Perhaps that’s why even the idea of packing makes me anxious and jittery as an adult!

  • disneybridein2k3

    The snack part cracked me up – reminds me of my husband when we take any trip longer than 1 1/2 hrs! What? A drive to Richmond, VA from Frederick, MD is 3 hours!! We need SNACKS!!! I think that is his favorite part of traveling. I actually take the cost of the snacks into consideration when doing the driving vs. flying determination.

  • robertgp124

    Snacks are a very important and little understood addendum to the four food groups. DW and I don’t drive from Fairmont, WV (just south of the Mason-Dixon line) to Pittsburgh, PA (just north of the Mason-Dixon line without a snack stop.

    Speaking of fanny packs, DW and I have lovely Disney photos of ourselves all over the parks posed (you guessed it) with fanny packs. Our families are ashamed of us.

  • http://www.wdwinfo.com WebmasterRegina

    So far we have a guy who went to Disney shirtless, two kids who started attracting flies by day 4 of wearing the same clothes, Jeff being escorted out of the “Man Club” for breaking the code and two members of the Fanny Pack Fraternity outing themselves. (I turned in FPF card when I realized I was on the verge of needing a FPF extender.)

    My husband thinks every drive is a trek through the Sahara. He always has to bring a drink along which I swear he polishes off before we’ve driven a mile.

  • Roxy217

    OMG!!! This is my life! Regina, I cannot believe how much we have in common. Although my kids are still little, well sort of, 13,9 &5, I am a conscious packer none the less. We have only driven twice. The first time was nuts! We left our home in Dumont, NJ (Northern NJ near NY border)at 9 pm on a Friday night. We were having lunch in the Yacht Club Galley by 2 pm on Saturday afternoon! If that is not obsession, I don’t know what is!All the cup holders in our minivan were filled with Red Bull & Starbucks Double Shots; we were prepared!!! My husband has graduated from fanny pack to backpack. He couldn’t take the abuse! Also I believe that my husband may have been a squirel in a past life because we can supply a bus load of park goers with a snack and a drink. . .round trip! So we share a common thing, he packs too much food & I pack too many clothes. Regardless we have a great vacation and that’s all that matters.

  • carelo

    All I can say is been there done that. My DH doesn’t understand why he’s all bruised up either.

  • DisneyWorld Delight

    Yes. Yes. And, Well- Yes.