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What to pack?

Friday, June 20, 2008

I’m a seasoned business traveler, and middle age has made me a tad high-maintenance. Happily, though, I’m pretty well self-maintaining, and have settled into a comfortable packing routine. There’s my comfy neck pillow (I might nap), my inflatable lumbar pillow (don’t want that back problem acting up!), my quart-sized ziplock bag with 3oz containers of all my liquids and gels (don’t wanna check luggage if I can possibly help it). Noise-canceling headphones are de rigur. And being a middle-aged lady, I of course require a large variety of pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements.

And when I’m packing for Disney trips, the whole process just gets, well, a little different. Maybe even a little out of hand.

I’ve still gotta travel light, especially if I’m not using Magical Express. Why stand around waiting for my luggage at baggage claim when I could already be en route to the parks? And I’ve still gotta have those comfort items, plus more…I’m extra-sure to remember my water bottle (with carabiner clip for easy carrying!) and comfortable walking shoes. I need a good bit more Dramamine than usual, since I’ll be taking it every day of the trip (see above re: pharmaceuticals).

But now, there’s some other stuff I need, too. The basic black handbag can stay home, replaced instead by my UG-recommended lumbar pack. My kid needs a day bag too, and his choices change quite a bit over the years.  I don’t need any meeting agendas…but I sure do need the printout of my ADRs spreadsheet, which also tells me which parks I’m hitting each morning and evening.

It’s gonna be hot, so you know I can’t leave home without my mister spray, and I’d better make sure my son’s thrown his little fan into his own bag. I’d bring a big ol’ tube of sunscreen, but it’s way beyond the 3oz limit, so I guess I’ll pack this travel-size and pick up a larger one when I make a grocery stop (you did realize I was gonna make a grocery stop, right?).

Of course Pal Mickey needs to come too. It’s not just the little guy himself…it’s his wardrobe, which seems to grow with each trip. Thankfully, his fashion choices aren’t dependant on the weather. He didn’t complain a whit that I made his t-shirt out of fleece last July, though he does seem to appreciate my bringing his rain slicker for those summer afternoon downpours. I’ll need my own poncho too, of course.

I realize as I type this that there’s a certain joy that comes from packing my Disney things. And it’s not just the simple anticipation of yet another vacation, some special time with my kid…it’s also the memories that each item brings. The poncho, purchased at the Metro station outside of Disneyland Paris, as we headed through those gates for the first time. Pal Mickey’s pirate costume, hand-made for our first-ever excursion to a hard-ticket Disney event, last August’s Pirate and Princess Party. Even just sorting out the odds and ends I’d left in my lumbar pack can be amusing, finding it full of Fig-mints, wet naps, and Times Guides. And as I pack it all up for another trip to one of my favorite happy places, I trust that I’ll be building more sweet memories to look back to another day.