The idea for this post came to me the other day when we went to Universal Studios after 4pm on a very hot and humid Fall day. Living in Orlando and being annual pasholders at both Disney and Universal, I know it is a luxury that we are able to pop into these amazing theme parks for a couple of hours when it's convenient for us. In all honesty, Disney World was the main reason I moved here in the first place but I absolutely despise the weather here most days.
The heat, the prices and the crowd volume have steadily increased since I first came here back in 2007. So if I could give one recommendation to people visiting Orlando, it would be to come in January. With that being said, I do realize that many people save and sacrifice for the opportunity to come here even once if at all. So I totally get that a Summer or major holiday trip may be the only option. I would never discourage anyone from visiting if they have the opportunity. Unfortunately, it does get super hot and humid, rains unpredictably, and is very busy many days out of the year. So my recommendation for people coming during these peak times is to come prepared. Or as Scar from the Lion King would say, ”BE preparrrrrreeeeeeddddddd!”
Whenever I go to the parks, I normally see a plethora of people whose bodies and brains are completely fried. It's totally understandable considering the circumstances; it happens to us too! However, being uncomfortable can potentially lead to a decrease in fun. After my latest trip (which I just want to point out was not even during a peak Summer time,) I went to look at my Amazon orders to see all the things I have bought over the years for the sake of surviving and thriving in Orlando. I wanted to share them because there is so much information out there about the snacks, the rides, the restaurants, the merch and the attractions, but there's not as much info on ways you can prepare for fun before you get here.
So here is a list of the things that I keep on hand pretty much year round when I go to either Disney or Universal. This list is not all inclusive, however, it was getting pretty long. There are just so many helpful things that can be bought ahead of time, so I had to narrow it down somehow. Let me know if you would be interested in Part 2 of this post.
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1. This is probably going to be the most obvious item on this list, but I had to include it because it’s just that important. I’m talking about Sunscreen. I think we all know about the importance of wearing sunscreen nowadays, but you would be surprised how many people at all times of the year are walking around Orlando with sunburn. This is also a good time to mention to reapply, reapply, reapply, and last but not least reapply that sunscreen. I personally always forget to pack sunscreen when I'm visiting other places, and having to buy this necessity on property is just more expensive for not a lot of options. These two are my faves, because they smell good, work good and don't have the bad stuff that we now know can be harmful: Pacifica & Coola.
2. I have tried my fair share of portable personal fan options, and this Handheld Fan is the one that I choose to bring with me. It's compact, lasts a decent amount of time, is rechargeable and works well especially considering the size. Now the fans with the water sprayers are fun and can be refreshing, however I haven't found one where the fan works well and doesn't take up too much space. I also have yet to find a neck fan that can work as well and as long as this Handheld Fan.
3. I had mentioned these Cooling Towels in my last post as something you can give as a physical gift to surprise someone with an experience gift. While any of the items on the list would be great to give to someone who is going on a trip to Orlando, I think these towels are the kind of thing that people don't think of buying for themselves. They are a lot more effective at keeping you cool than spraying yourself with water because they draw sweat away, stay cool for up to three hours, and can be rinsed and reused throughout the day. They also come in a carrying pouch that you can clip onto your bag.
4. I can't imagine walking around the parks without Sunglasses. I would definitely be blinded by the bright sun and bumping into people all over Main St. USA. I love these sunglasses because they are polarized and work really well. They're good quality yet inexpensive, so if you end up losing them then it's not the end of the world.
If you are like me and get motion sickness on rides that use virtual reality or go backwards (I'm looking at you - Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure and Expedition Everest,) here are some items that can help make those rides possible to enjoy. I try to remember to bring all of these when I plan on going on any wild rides. However, I don't think they allow me to be completely carefree and go on everything I would normally feel sick on. I do think they allow me to enjoy some attractions that I otherwise wouldn't even feel comfortable going on.
If you can ride all of the rides and still feel amazing afterwards, then congrats! I am happy for you even if I am kinda jealous of your abilities. You can probably just disregard this section, unless you want to be prepared for the unexpected or for a family member who may not feel amazing after certain rides.
5. If I could only bring one thing from this section, it would be these Motion Sickness Patches. They are definitely effective at preventing nausea and are really easy to use. You just stick them behind your ears, and they stay in place and last up to 3 days! They are a natural herbal treatment with no side effects, and have glowing reviews from people who have used them in all kinds of situations including theme parks, vertigo, sea, air and car travel.
6. Just like the companies that make the products listed before and after these Anti-Nausea Sweets, this brand Pink Stork, is a small business as well! I love that Pink Stork is faith-based and women-owned. They make a variety of products from trusted ingredients to support women's health at every stage. These peppermint "candies" taste pretty decent and are individually wrapped. So I can just pop a couple in my bag and have them before and after going on the nauseating rides, and I find them to be pretty helpful!
7. I don't use essential oils too much, but I definitely believe in aromatherapy and appreciate good smelling things. There is something about lemon that really helps to ease the effects of motion sickness for me. I like to roll some of this Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil on my wrists and under my nose before I go on the attraction, so that I am prepared with all the lemon smells when it is over. If times are tough, I will also get a lemonade. The description of the listing and the reviewers don't really mention using the Lemongrass Roller for nausea relief, however my Mom suggested having lemonade a long time ago when I first started experiencing motion sickness and I personally have found the power of lemon to be helpful for this. A lot of the reviewers do mention using this as a mosquito deterrent, which is a really great benefit here in Florida where we have many mosquitoes.
This last section of survival items for Orlando are notable mentions. Even though I personally find them to be essential, they may not be necessary depending on where you go and what you do here while you are visiting. I think they are still worth mentioning because they are not the typical things that people would think of.
8. Since I just mentioned repelling mosquitoes, I think it's a good time to talk about the Bug Bite thing. When I first saw this product on Shark Tank, I knew I had to have it. If you use it as instructed shortly after getting a mosquito bite, it provides pretty instant relief from itchiness. All of the Orlando theme parks do a really good job of keeping mosquitoes at bay, so if you are not venturing away from their property then you really may not need relief from bug bites. If you plan on going anywhere else, especially at night, you will find that mosquitoes can be a nuisance here. There are times when I have gotten so many bites that it looks like I have chicken pox (just keepin' it real here,) and those are the times that I am very thankful to have access to the Bug Bite Thing.
9. Now if you plan on only spending your time in Orlando at Disney and Universal you may not need bug bite relief, but you may want relief from paper straws. While I love that these major companies are taking steps towards sustainability and discontinuing the use of single-use plastic straws, I do find that a paper straw will dissolve in an icy drink in a matter of a hot second. So if you don't enjoy paper sprinkles with your frappuccino, you will most likely want one of these portable and reusable Stainless Steel Straws.
10. I don’t really need to explain Tylenol, but I want to explain why I like to carry these little packets of Tylenol with me. If you are sensitive like me to the heat and humidity, you may find that you get a headache just from being outside. I’ve been there, and having to find your way to a gift store that will sell you one of these packets for a couple of dollars just makes it worse. It’s nice and convenient to have these on hand, and they are easier to travel with than a bottle that sounds like a maraca in your bag. Obviously this box of 50 packets is going to be cheaper than the single packets at the gift shops, and you may be thankful for having 50 packets of extra strength pain relief when you’re going on day five of uninterrupted quality time with your fam.
11. No one wants to walk around all day with a stain baking into your shirt. Stains are more likely to happen at the theme parks, because you are more likely to find yourself in a situation where you need to eat standing up. For example, if you plan on wining and dining at the world showcase in Epcot you may find that there are no tables available to enjoy your Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce. If you’re picking up what I’m putting down, then you know that a Shout Wipe can potentially save your dignity and the treasured shirt you specifically bought for this trip. I also use the Tide Pens, and take full responsibility for completely wasting some of them by not putting the lids back on correctly. For this reason, I’m suggesting the individually wrapped Shout Wipes for theme park visits. Nobody got time for a dried up stain pen when they are worried about the $15 cocktail they spilt all over their fave top.
12. These Waterproof Phone Pouches are particularly useful if you’re going to the water parks. They are inexpensive enough that I think they are worth getting even if you don’t go to a water park, because you never know when a regular ride can turn into a water ride (e.g. Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.) They can also give you peace of mind if you plan on going to the hotel pool.
If you stuck with me this far then you are the real MVP here! Even I was surprised at all of the purchases in my Amazon order history that are for the sake of surviving in Central Florida. There are a lot more things that I would have liked to include, but these are the ones that get brought with me to the parks the most. Again, if you want me to tell you about the others please let me know. I would love to share them, I will just need some time to recover from making this post. I promise, I am working on trying to get these posts shorter