Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree

by Shannon Albert · 62 comments · Like the Facebook page

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from WDWPrepSchool.comI once had a friend who said she had never been inside a dollar store. I’m not even sure how we stayed friends.

OK, some of the dollar stores are a little dirty. A little trashy.

But have you been to The Dollar Tree? It’s like the Neiman Marcus of the dollar stores. They’re usually clean, organized and they have lots of great stuff to pick up before your Disney World trip.

I recently visited and here’s what I found…

One of their newest items is these Disney sandwich bags.

Super cute to put some snacks into or maybe some crayons to throw into a backpack for the plane. There’s a space to write on the bag (“personalize your bag” the box says) and they come in 3 different varieties.

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

This is what the bags look like…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Then we have glow stick palooza over here.

I buy a LOT of these and give some out along the Magic Kingdom parade route in the evening. They don’t cost much but kids love them. Buying glow toys at Disney World costs about a bajillion times as much (rough estimate).

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

When you’re looking for some things to put into the kids’ backpacks to keep them busy, here are some fun ideas for things you might include…

Disney-themed yo-yos, tops, paddle balls, stamps…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

I bet you can’t guess what these are…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

2 headed crayons…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Chalkboards and paddle balls. People on the plane would LOVE it if you were paddle balling in your seat I bet…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Even more glow sticks. Is this where people shop before going to a rave?

Are raves still a thing?

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Pop up hampers. They fold flat in your suitcase but then they, uhhh, pop up. Great way to collect dirty clothes in your room and stay organized.

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

When I created the gigantic packing list, I had some people suggest that these should be on it for hanging up wet things to dry….

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

And, of course, rain ponchos for the daily rains and riding Kali River Rapids…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Brightly colored bandanas to tie onto your rental stroller to make it stand out in the sea of strollers…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Liquid soap for your hotel room since only bar soap is provided.

Many people asked why I put this on the packing list. Bar soap doesn’t work well when you wear contacts, plus you can use liquid soap for washing dishes, swimsuits in the sink, etc.

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

A Disney-themed nightlight for little ones (and me) who like having a light on….

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Movie theater-sized boxes of candy. Fun to put in a backpack to enjoy on the trip to Disney World…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

And then there’s the magic towels which expand into small washcloth-ish towels. Available in lots of characters…

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

And pick up some classy ocean-themed home decor while you’re at it.

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from

Or not.

Dollar Tree also sells even more Disney stuff online. You can have it shipped for cheap plus you can have stuff sent to the store closest to you for free.

Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from WDWPrepSchool.comPrepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from WDWPrepSchool.comPrepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from WDWPrepSchool.comPrepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from
Prepping for a Disney trip at The Dollar Tree from
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Tracey July 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Thanks for all the great pictures and tips!


Tracey July 1, 2014 at 7:33 pm

We also do some sort of chip clip or clothespin to keep the curtains closed tight when needed.

April Driggers June 29, 2014 at 9:15 pm

YOU ARE HILARIOUS! Seriously, this was so refreshing! :)

Melody June 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

Love the dollar stores. I buy the portable battery powered fans. We have 2 and they have lasted a year now. A great toy and great for Disney summers and for the beach. I also buy the generic huge ziplock bags. When going through security at Disney I usually put all our stuff in them and security can just see through the bag instead of opening a backpack and searching the inside. Of course this depends on the person. Some will still open it and search it. And they are just great for packing outfits
And toiletries in the suitcase. Because they have a handle, I can
Pack toiletries and hang it up on a hook in the bathroom or even on the door knob.

And of course for the toys and coloring books. Great prices for little toys to keep kids occupied.
Don’t forget about the band aids. Sometimes they have Disney characters for booboos or just to play with like my kids do.

Ruthann June 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I have done a couple of Dollar Tree runs since seeing this post on pinterest. I’ve picks up some great things for our trip. Glow wands with Disney Junior characters, plastic silverware for my toddlers, foldable water bottles with princesses and Minnie, hand wipes with characters on the outside, and magic towels! I couldn’t fund the pop up hampers either but will be getting some at another store because I like the idea of having them. Thanks for the info!!!

Amanda June 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

These are ideas! I am definitely going to go get a hamper and ponchos for our week long visit in August! I still have 72 days but I want to start shopping now. Another place fire cheap stuff is Michael’s and sometimes Joann craft stores. They have the character stuff and glow sticks. Thanks for the great tips!

Jennifer May 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Thank you for posting this. We leave for Disney on June 2nd. Im so glad I seen ur blog. I went to Dollar Tree and bought stuff today while the kids were at school. You are awesome.

Isabell May 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

Love this idea and ran with it! Went to the dollar tree and made the kids a goodie bag to give to them before we leave on the trip. It’s a surprise! They don’t know we are going! So I bought all kinds of Disney stuff… puzzles, glow sticks, stickers, crayons, Disney antibacterial wipes, and even a Mickey puzzle they can color! This will be perfect for the plane ride. I also bought them Mickey shirts online, so they can wear it while we are there and that will be there soviegner and it will be a fraction of the price!

Lisa @ Sorority Life to Army Wife May 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

So I stumbled here via Pinterest and kind of love the Dollar Tree. Depending on your location, you can find name brand toiletries. So grab a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for the parents. It’ll be loads cheaper than your Wal-Marts or Targets. They tend to have the kid friendly toiletries (like Spiderman toothpaste or princess soap), too.

Angie C April 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

OMG!!! It’s almost 9 o’clock on Sunday evening and I want more than anything is to go to DT! I love all the great ideas. We have a trip coming up and it’s our 4th with our kids. Definitely looking for more ways to save that $$.

Donna Sullivan April 6, 2014 at 4:31 am

After waiting a long time for the fireworks, the children sitting next to us work quite cranky after a long day in the park. Just sitting with nothing to do, they managed to create a little chaos without much effort. I will makes trip to the DT and p/u a few tubes of glow items. It will make them happy (and calmer), in turn making our wait a little more pleasant. As annual pass holders, we are there quite often and see the tired & bored kids quite often! TY for the reminder DT sells these items!

Nicole March 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Another inexpensive place to get LED and glow stuff is I got light up mickey necklaces, Light up Minnie Bow, LED glow wands and LED light and sound swords and light up pirate hats for our Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise for pretty cheap. The kids were all decked out for the nighttime entertainment and we didn’t spend a fortune!

LeAnn March 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Nicole, thanks for sharing that glow stuff website!!

Kat Marshall February 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Walgreens – every holiday/season has Disney themed do-dads. I have gotten great light up whirly toys, bubbles, etc. My favorite was one summer they had AWESOME Cars pool stuff. They had this Lightening McQueen float for my 2 year old. I had him in the pool at the Grand Floridan and multiple moms asked me where I got it. I just smiled and internally laughed my tush off. Not nice I know but those ladies had on swimsuits that would have made one of my car payments. That trip was a 40th birthday gift that took multiple years saving money.

Abigail February 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Have you seen the plastic water bottle with the snack cup screwed on? People are selling them with names and characters painted on for $40 for 5 :/ To me that too much when the cup is from the dollar tree and the paint/sharpie isn’t that much! So instead make your own~! It will be a nice treat and suprise for anyone and it holds a decent amount of water and snacks to me.

Dawn Johnson February 16, 2014 at 7:13 am

We used a few of these ideas on our trip and it was great. The girls loved that I surprised them with glow sticks and bracelets every night and it saved us the
“I want one”. In addition we used the pop up hamper and ponchos (one single packs at our store).

Clara February 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

I got super excited about the option to order online, but if you got to the dollar tree website via the link you posted, you have to buy items by the case. The exception seems to be the washclothes, but you need to buy 4 of those. But unless you want 24 cinderella puzzles, going into the store is going to make a lot more sense. The Dollar Tree tips are still great but they are pretty much limited to in the store.

Beverly January 30, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I love this information! I also bought tons of glow sticks at the Dollar Tree and took them to Disney with us. We had glow sticks, necklaces, and even Magic Wands in our backpack to pull out at Magic Kingdom fireworks, Epcot Illuminations, and Hollywood Studios Fantasmic.

Another tip – the best kind of candy to keep in a backpack is anything that is not covered in chocolate. Chocolate candy bars of any kind usually melt and just make a mess. M&Ms are our favorite. I buy the small multipacks – that saves us from having to share (or as it often is with children, fight) over the candy. These can be purchased from either Wal-Mart or any Dollar General, Family Dollar type store for between $1 and $1.50 for anywhere from 6-8 fun size packs. Other things that fare well in backpacks that can get very hot in the sun (and we use individual bags of everything): Cheetos, popcorn, Reeses Pieces, Skittles, Payday candy bars.

Kristin January 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

I have just downloaded ALLLLLL of your disney files for my disney binder and now reading each post you have made by disney. Sadly, I go to the Dollar Tree at least 4 times a week. LOVE that store. SUCH GREAT DEALS. LOVE YOUR IDEAS. I actually use the pop up hampers in our home. As I am folding clothes, I have one for each family member. Their clean clothes go in there and then when they clothes are put away, guess what I DON’T HAVE, LARGE hampers to find a spot for. LOVE THEM and LOVE the idea to bring them to disney. PERFECT IDEA. Your blog and is incredible.

Krista (Playdate Crashers) January 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I found some great little hardcover “journals” with Mickey on them that will be PERFECT for autograph books!

Susan January 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Another SuPER Idea – I love our Dollar Stores!

Krista December 31, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I just did a dollar tree run for our upcoming trip in May. Purchased some glow items for our little girl and some extra to hand out. They actually had some Disney wands, Sofia the first, Princesses, Mickey & Minnie. They had also restocked the magic towels so I picked up some of those. They had packs of anitbac. wipes in Ariel, Monsters INC, Toy Story & Minnie. Picked up a couple packs of those. Oh and I got 3 of the Play packs, the include a small color book 3-4 crayons and stickers. I thought these would be great for her while mom & dad are finishing up our meal. She loves to color and these come in a resealable zip-loc on the top. ALso a princess hairbrush (we put in her Minnie suitcase from Christmas) And they finally had a princess 4×6 magnetic photo frame yay! We already picked one up with the Mickey Mouse clubhouse décor. Oh and a tip I read was instead of an autograph book I picked up a couple different board books from dollar tree that we are going to have the princesses sign with a sharpie. She will be almost 2 for our trip so I thought she would get more use out of these than the autograph book at this age and its a keepsake for her. Love this site and all the great tips I’m finding! This will be my 5th trip to Disney, hubby’s & daughters first trip. I have done Disney ‘adult style’ but I want to make sure this one goes as smoothly as I can. :) Now…..hoping I can talk my hubby into pre-purchasing memory maker lol

Julie December 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Instead of buying and packing liquid soap, I use the hotel’s shampoo as hand and dish soap. :)

Sharon November 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm

A warning about the glow stuff: I bought 16 22-inch necklaces, 2 kids, 1 for each night, +2 extra. Thinking I would save money over getting sucked into the Disney glow stuff on the parade cart! …well, just about all of them cracked in the suitcase, which activated them, and they ended up lasting exactly 1 day!
So I guess, next time I will wrap them up inside packed clothes as though they were fine China, or else skip it and cave on the Buzz Lightyear, spinny, glowy, noisy thing at the parade, that will at least last!
LOVE all the other tips, though… 2 headed crayons? Who knew!

mary -lynne October 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Another thing that’s helpful is one of those shoe bags that hang on the door – great for shampoos, other hair care products, cosmetics, etc. They save a lot of counter space when traveling with one or more princesses.

Sharon November 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Ooh, I love this idea! Is that at the dollar store, too?

Krista (Playdate Crashers) January 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm

That is a FABULOUS idea.

Randie October 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

You are absolutely hilarious!!
And most of the things you mentioned are really good ideas!

Mrs. Erven September 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm

The longer I frolic about your website (and not clean my kitchen) the more I realize…you’re my hero. :)

I have learned so much today!!

Stephanie October 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

HAHA!! you crack me up I am totally the same way should be doing something else but instead I am stalking this website finding out tons of helpful info :-) I agree Shannon you are my HERO!!

Christine August 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I went searching for the pop up hampers I went to 3 different stores none of them had them I was really disappointed bc this is such a good idea! All they had were mesh laundry bags with huge holes in them

Leigh May 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

If you can’t find a pop up hamper, use a recyclable grocery tote bag. I find they hold one full load of laundry and fold completely flat so they take up very little room in your suitcase.

Tracey July 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

If you have a big lots near by, they have really nice ones for about $5. We use them for regular laundry ourselves and I always buy them for any of our older relatives. A lot easier for them to bring it down a flight of stairs than a basket.

They fit perfectly in a suitcase just regular folded up.

Robin August 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

I’ve found Disney themed toys at Tuesday Morning. I pick them up as soon as I see them (even if trip is months away) since their selection rotates quickly. I’ve found small toys like puzzels; little princess and fairy doll sets (Polly-Pocket-sized); Barbie sized princess and fairy dolls; and school sets (crayons, note book, sharpener, ruler, etc) with various Disney characters.

stephanie July 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I usually pack all the dollar tree items discussed & also: instant oatmeal packets & crystal light lemonade powder/Kool-Aid powder packs (also @ target $1 section) for water bottles in parks.
Some other things I pack are things you use up… like motion pills, band-aids sun screen & glow lights, only I mail the medium sized box (approx.$25, less than checking bag???) to the hotel 2 weeks prior to arrival with confirmation # on front. About 5 days after mailing, I call hotel to confirm arrival of parcel & they store it for me. When I arrive… I tell them about parcel & they have it sent to our room. I always fly & use their transportation…this works great for that reason :)

kathie smallwood July 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm
richelle beard July 18, 2013 at 3:38 am

omg so where is your dollar store i live in Alaska we have absolutely no dollar stores and when i went online they didn’t have half the stuff i saw in your pics i need a designated shopper ?????????????

Kathie July 14, 2013 at 4:50 am

Bought a bunch of glow necklaces and bracelets a few weeks ago. They also have to small packs of moist handi wipes in disney princess and Mickey Mouses packs.

AMy Cribbs July 14, 2013 at 12:27 am

you think of everything!

Aley July 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

This made me laugh pretty hard. And I also live the dollar tree… For just about 86% of my daily needs lol. Great tips Ty!

cara July 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Leaving for our trip in a few weeks-love all these ideas! I toyally agree about Walmart as well; we always buy the majority of our souveniers there for a fraction of the cost. We do Disney on a super budget (it can be done for so much less than people imagine!) And all these ideas are always great! Thanks!

Cathy July 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

If you have a car at WDW and are willing to drive off property to Walmart, they have a huge assortment of Disney-themed stuff. I went to the one near Vineland Rd (for a prescription) and was amazed.

Shelli September 27, 2013 at 8:37 am

I have a daughter doing her second college program at WDW and she says the WalMarts and Publix stores have so much great Disney merchandise. A great way to satisfy the “need” without going broke!

Tracey July 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

We totally scored at our own Walmart and got an awesome Disney nightgown before hand. I think it was only $10!

Suzanne June 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

Agree Dollar Tree is the Neiman’s of dollar stores! We’re adults-only for our Disney trip, but wouldn’t dream of going without rain ponchos, pop-up hamper, etc. that you list. We have also found luck with Disney items at the $1 section of Target, including a Mickey wipe-off board that would be great to leave messages on in your room or Disney cruise door.

My question to you, Shannon, is how do you pack all this stuff plus your personal items/clothing, and keep it under the luggage weight limit? :)

Shannon Albert June 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

We have 4 people and get 8 checked bags and 4 carry-on bags. Never had an issue.

Tracey July 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

My friend warned me to get the ponchos before hand. I LOVE water, I love rain, I love getting wet, so totally skipped out on those.

Rained BIG time from the time we got there until the time we left on night, so like 6 hours. Ended up having to get our daughter one, we sucked it up, but by the end of the time we were really raw and uncomfortable and ended up leaving earlier than we would have otherwise.

Jay April 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

For the ponchos, my kids took coloured sharpies and drew all sorts of stuff on them (although we kept names off). Besides not being “Disney Opaque”, it was a bit easier to spot manga mouse ears in a crowd.

Sharpies – always have a couple – before and during the trip. Very useful for so many things. Labeling, autographs, temporary tattoos…we have some real artists in the family, so they were pretty cool.

Grab extra bandanas…for more than just marking the stroller. Impromptu napkins, tourniquets, signalling devices, disguises (okay, maybe not disguises).

Glow ‘things’ – been doing this one for years. Great for kids nervous of the dark without disrupting other guests. Super-amazing-awesome for night events. We’ve made all sorts of stuff with them, and if it breaks, gets lost, etc…you can make a new one with very few tears. The only tears we’ve ever had was when another child saw the classic ‘hidden’ Mickeys we put on an umbrella…that poor child HAD TO HAVE a Mickey Glow Umbrella too.

Erica April 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm

When our whole family went to Disney a few years ago (my sisters, parents, grandparents, and my son and nephew– ages 9 months and 2 1/2 years) we picked up random Disney souveniers before our trip. We bought $5 mickey tshirts and sippy cups for the boys at walmart rather than spending an arm and a leg at the park. :-)

Gina June 24, 2013 at 8:54 am

Erica, do you remember where you found the t-shirts?

Kelsey March 20, 2013 at 9:05 am

Have to say, I have seen most of this stuff before. Since
right now I only go with adults, most of this stuff we don’t use
(at least, we won’t admit to it!) Although, we do take snacks into
the park, so those adorable ziploc baggies could be awesome.
Recently, I have also seen a lot of Disney stuff in the Dollar
Section at our local Target. Before that, they had some neat Star
Wars things. Target rotates this section pretty often, but they
currently have pencils, bags, notepads, activity books, and some
other similar things.

Betsy March 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Are raves even a thing any more? You are hilarious!!

Marla Hitchens March 16, 2013 at 4:28 am

What a great article! I wouldnt even think of half these things! Thank you! I LOVE dollar tree! One is opening around the corner from me! I cant wait!

hanna March 12, 2013 at 10:50 am

For the record…Yes, i totally used to go dollar store shopping with my friends before and after raves/parties!

Shannon Albert March 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

Ha! Good to know.

Gina June 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hanna, you crack me up!

Jaunna March 11, 2013 at 2:03 am

Party City is my only other go-to store before a Disney trip, I always find Disney themed stuff I can’t pass up!

carla February 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I found a Phineas and Ferb picture frame at my Dollar Tree.

dee brun February 15, 2013 at 6:57 am

Now normally I despise the dollar store…But these ideas
are FABOOSH…and we are leaving for disney in 2 days so guess
where I am going today !!! Thanks for the great

Jessica January 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

At our DT I saw Disney note books (for autographs) they
were smaller (maybe 4×6 size)

Memory January 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Our Dollar Tree had the little Disney Characters- McDonalds toy size!

misie August 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm

These are great to make ornaments for Christmas.

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