The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 6 months be kept out of the sun. So hold off on theme park visits until after this period if possible. For kids older than 6 months, apply kid-friendly sunscreen with an SPF over 15 every 2 hours. Take a travel-size bottle or stick of sunscreen with you and have extra at the hotel so you can restock daily.
Anti-bacterial wet wipes – Theme parks are gross. Wash kids’ hands with soap and water as often as possible. When you can’t get to a bathroom, have lots of anti-bacterial wet wipes in your bag for a quick wipe-down.
Complete change of clothes – Plan a mix-and-match wardrobe for your vacation and have an extra shirt and shorts in your bag that will work interchangeably with what your child is already wearing. There’s a good chance you’ll need to change one – or both – and maybe not at the same time. Nothing is worse than being forced to pay for theme park clothing you don’t want because what you were wearing got ruined.
Comfortable, broken-in shoes – Right before a vacation is not the time to buy new shoes. For walkers, select a well-fitting pair and make sure they’re worn for at least a couple weeks before you leave so they’re comfy for your trip with no chafing. Toss some extra socks in your bag too, to freshen those feetsies from time to time.
Spray fan – Cool, misty air. ‘Nuff said.
Mesh stroller canopy – It’s important to keep the harsh sun off of little ones as much as possible, but a heavy blanket draped over the stroller will only make it hotter. Look for a summer-friendly mesh canopy that keeps sun out but lets air in.
Baby Tylenol – In the event of a little sunburn you will be very happy to have this along to help sooth the sting.
Washcloth – When kids start to get a little over heated, a damp washcloth on the forehead or back of the neck can help cool things down. Keep one on hand and you can wet it in a restroom or drinking fountain.
Cornstarch baby powder – Heat rash can be quickly soothed with a light dusting of cornstarch baby powder. This is also handy for any unexpected chafing.
Kid-friendly cup – Keep a favorite cup on hand that you know your child will drink from and fill it with cold water continuously throughout the day. Don’t insist that she drink straight from a water bottle or cup if she isn’t already used to it.
Baby snacks – If your little one doesn’t eat standard kids meals yet, make sure you’ve got plenty of baby food, puffs, toddler cookies, freeze-dried yogurt drops and other munchies along. Meal options can be limited at times, so having some familiar favorites available will stave off starvation. Keep in mind that foods requiring heating or refrigeration are not permitted at Universal Studios Orlando.
Stroller lock - Stolen strollers aren't generally a problem at theme parks, but in kid-friendly areas there can be big clusters of similar-looking wheels. A small stroller lock around the wheels will quickly remind others that - oops! - that one's not theirs. Lacking a stroller lock, consider writing your family name on the stroller in a prominent place or giving it some other distinct decoration.
If You Plan to Get Wet
Splash pads and water play areas are big hits for little kids who can’t ride many of the other attractions. If you want to really enjoy these spots, you need to be prepared.
Swim diapers – Grab at least 2 or 3.
Water shoes – Flip flops can be a major falling hazard for toddlers who are still unsteady on their feet, but tennis shoes get soggy and uncomfortable when wet, so water shoes are the perfect middle ground. Don’t send the kids out barefoot. The concrete can get dangerously hot and you never know what other guests will drop that children could step on.
Baby-size towel – After your playtime in the water areas, drip dry as much as possible. Then towel off lightly and lay the small towel on the stroller to soak up the rest of the water.