Disney World and Dollar Tree? Yep. I know, we've heard all the complaints about dollar stores - how they can be a little dirty and messy, and how sometimes it is impossible to find what you are looking for.
But have you been to 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.
Here are some ideas...
Before your trip
Whether your vacation is just a few weeks away or a few months (or more!), you can find lots of stuff at Dollar Tree to help build anticipation for your trip.
Things like stickers and construction paper can be used to make countdown calendars and chains. Or, if you have a child working towards earning something special for a trip (like souvenir money), stickers can also be handy to use on homemade behavior or chore charts.
One of our favorite countdown calendars is quick and easy to make and uses a frame like these...
Take a frame, add some Disney flair (we used a piece of Disney-themed scrapbook paper), and then use a dry erase marker to easily keep track of how many days left until your trip. Here's an example of a finished version...
Want more countdown ideas? Make sure you're following the WDW Prep School Counting Down to Disney World board on Pinterest.
Disney-themed movie nights
Another fun thing to do before your trip is to have Disney-themed movie nights, and you can find all sorts of cute things at Dollar Tree that you could use for that, like these items in the party section...
Even something as simple as adding a themed napkin or a $1 color-coordinating tablecloth can make it feel more festive, and if you want to go all out, try theming a meal or snack around the movie (for example, you could serve spaghetti and watch Lady and the Tramp or serve something with apples and watch Snow White).
Disney-fy your PB&J
These little bags are 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 several different varieties and in both snack and sandwich size. These are perfect for lunches or snacks or to hold crayons, etc. As an added treat, if you're using these cute bags for lunches consider adding in one of these fun Disney trivia lunchbox notes, too.
These little cups are cute, too, and could be used for lots of different things like drinking incredibly small amounts of liquid. Or you could use them for...hmm. Ok, maybe they can't be used for lots of different things but they ARE cute.
Keeping kids occupied on the journey
Whether you are driving or flying, when it comes to Disney World and Dollar Tree, you'll find lots to keep your kids occupied.
Travel friendly craft supplies
Depending on your child's age, pipe cleaners can be fun and will keep kids occupied while they twist and shape the fuzzy wires into shapes.
Activity books & coloring books
Activity books and coloring books are another great find at Dollar Tree.
Crayons aren't always car-friendly (speaking from experience of having to clean up melted wax more than once), but if you're flying, they usually don't cause much of a problem.
Stickers and things like these activity packs would be good options for both cars and planes. Never underestimate the amount of time a toddler can be kept occupied with a simple notebook and a pack of stickers.
Movie theater-sized boxes of candy
Fun to put in a backpack to enjoy on the trip to Disney World.
Tinker Bell Gift ideas
Looking for items to use as Tinker Bell Gifts? Look no further!
If you want something to put your little gifts in, you can find all sorts of gift bags in a variety of sizes and colors...
These little figurines are cute and would be great for kids 3+...
Stickers, activity books & crayons
Stickers and activity books, crayons - they all make great Tinker Bell Gifts.
These flashcards are fun!
Most of the resorts have areas where kids can play in the sand. Beach toys like this are great because you can bring a couple to play with, but if you don't have room to bring them home you aren't out a bunch of money.
Magic Towels are always a lot of fun. It's a towel. That's magic.
How about some pirate gear? Perfect for both Disney World trips AND for cruises on Disney Cruise Line!
Kids love them. Buying glow toys at Disney World costs about a bajillion times as much (rough estimate).
Is this where people shop before going to a rave?
Are raves still a thing?
Maybe not the smartest for when traveling, but at $1 each if you lose a piece (or 3) it isn't a huge financial loss.
Fun twist: if you have older kids that find these puzzles too easy, to make it more challenging try buying several puzzles and mixing up the pieces. This is also a fun activity to do while at home and watching Disney movies in preparation for your trip!
Disney-themed yo-yos, tops, paddle balls, stamps...
Chalkboards and paddle balls. People on the plane would LOVE it if you were paddle balling in your seat I bet.
Useful ideas if traveling with babies or toddlers
Pre-soaped disposable dish cloths
If you travel with a supply of sippy cups and child-sized silverware or if you always have your lucky coffee mug with you, then you have probably spent some time washing things out in hotel sinks.
At Disney World, lots of people get the cute reusable mugs, but if you toss yours into a backpack or into the basket on the bottom of a stroller you may wish you had a way to wash the dust and grime (and milk - yuck!) off.
To make it easier on yourself, take some of the towels like the ones below, cut it into smaller pieces (big enough to wash a cup out with, for example. You could also do this with a sponge, if you prefer), and then add some dish detergent to the pieces you've cut and let them dry completely.
Once dry, stick the pre-soaped pieces in a baggie (like one of the Disney ones above!) and you'll have everything you need to wash that sippy cup without having to pack a bottle of soap.
If you can find white disposable towels (white works better so you don't have to worry about colors transferring), you can also make your own stain wipes to use on clothes. Just make sure you use heavily diluted laundry soap or something gentle like Woolite.
If you have a stroller but you don't have a cover for it, a shower curtain and some heavy clips like the ones below work very well!
Bandanas for strollers
Another great idea for strollers are bandanas like this one. Tying something on your stroller handle can help make yours stand out in a sea of identical strollers.
Post-its for automatic flush toilets
The automatic flush toilets can wreak havoc on the nerves of little ones. Toss a pack of these post-it notes in your purse to cover the sensors on the toilets.
Hotel room organization & everything else
Keeping organized in a hotel room is always a challenge, but things like these pop-up hampers can help keep things neat. Plus, they fold up flat and take up little to no room in a suitcase.
Liquid soap is a good idea for your hotel room since only bar soap is provided.
Many people asked why this is 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
Shower puffs are handy to take and at $1 each you can toss it when it is time to come home.
Wipes. All sorts of wipes. Wipes for your hands. Wipes for the nasty TV remote...
When this gigantic packing list was created, some people suggested that these should be on it for hanging up wet things to dry.
The ones from Dollar Tree are fantastic for rides where you might get wet because you can use them once and toss them. If you are going during the summer when it rains a lot, check out our post on how to handle the weather and our recommendations for ponchos to use during the rainy season.
Finally, don't forget to pick up some classy ocean-themed home decor while you're finishing up your Disney World shopping.
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.
See! We told you Disney World and Dollar Tree go well together! Have you discovered any great finds for Disney World trips at your local Dollar Tree? Tell us about it in the comments.