Monday, January 14, 2013

Disney and Diabetes Part 3 – Packing Your Duds for Disney

This is one blog post of a multi- part series on Disney and Diabetes- Yes, You Can!!!
Once you have an idea of where you are staying and when/what you will be eating, you can start to plan on obtaining the things that you need for a successful trip with your family.  Besides bathing suits, summer clothes and comfortable walking shoes, there should be a running list of things to acquire for your trip.  I like to get a head start on packing as soon as we make our reservation because sometimes, it ends up taking me several weeks to find everything.
To do this, I first create a central spot (kind of like a packing triage) to house everything that I am taking.  Usually, a big plastic tub located in our spare bedroom is the best place.  I tend to place things into the tub and then secure the lid so that no little fingers will discover and remove my items. 
Then, I create a checklist and I start marking things off one by one until I feel safe in knowing that no man will be left behind.
Disney and Diabetes Tip:  Plan on taking double or even triple what you would normally use for a day trip.  We have had moments where three site changes were considered typical due to sweating and swimming.  Bringing more than you need is a great way to combat this issue.
A few items to plan on taking on your trip are (and you can print this off to use as a guide for your own packing):

INSULIN!!! – I know, I know…. But this is one of the most easily overlooked items on the packing list, since it is often kept in the out of sight/ out of mind refrigerator.

Medication (prescriptions) – Another easily overlooked item that is absolutely invaluable to pack.
Disney and Diabetes Tip:  If you know you will be on vacation out of state and might need to have access to your prescription refills, consider transferring all of your prescriptions to a well known pharmacy such as Walgreens, Target or Walmart.  Double check to see if your pharmacy will be in the area you are visiting and if not, plan ahead.
Endocrinologist Doctor’s Note – This is great for traveling on airlines and explaining medication needs to security or for obtaining  a Guest Assistance Pass (GAP) at Walt Disney World, to help alleviate standing in long lines. 
Disney and Diabetes Tip:  Our experience with the Guest Assistance Pass (GAP), offered at Guest Relations in Walt Disney World, is that it works on rides that do not offer Fast Passes.  Any ride with a Fast Pass means that you will need to wait just like anyone else.  Your mileage may vary and if you have had different experiences, post them in our comment section.  We would love to hear what works for you.
Backpack – Typically, since my kids are older, we all take our own backpacks into the park.  When they need to test blood sugars, I want to be sure that they have their supplies handy.  Not to mention with four of us toting around supplies, even if one set is lost, we are still good to go having three others. 
Diabetes Test Kits – I won’t bother going into too much detail here.  I pack double for what I would normally use and each night, I replenish back in the hotel room.
Cell Phones – Charge them up and keep them on LOUD.  These are indispensable.  I have also heard of families that use walkie-talkies.  However you can, you NEED to have an easy way to talk to each other.
Glucagon – We bring it and have yet to use it.  Maybe because we bring it?
Glucose – Triple what you would normally bring.  Just sayin’.  After a long day, things can be a touch wonky and being prepared is AWESOME.  Make sure the glucose you pack can be sustained by hot temperatures in the park.  This is not the time to pack anything that might melt.  Instead, think of durable items like Smarties (USA BRAND), Glucose Tablets, Juice Boxes, Skittles, Pixie Stix, etc..
Calorie King Book or App – Disney does not supply carbohydrate counts for their food items, so you have to have a way to look up comparable items.  Get the smaller purse size (not large print) or download on your smartphone!
Syringes/Pen – Triple what you would normally use.  Syringes get dropped, needles bend, all sorts of fun things happen. 
Insulin Pump – Sure, you are probably wearing it as you read this, but just in case you are on a pump break and plan on restarting for vacation, pack it!
DexCom CGM – I find this to be the perfect time to wear a CGM!
Plastic Sandwich Bags - They hold everything, including a pump that is removed for a rollercoaster or water ride.
Icepacks – I start off our trip with nice frozen packs.  Half way through, my ice packs can’t be frozen because I don’t typically have access to a freezer.  Since we stick with the mini refrigerator plan, this isn’t usually a problem.  But if you do really need them, consider purchasing the one-time use instant icepacks and buy several.
Cooler – Disney does allow for soft-sided coolers to be brought into the park.  If you choose to do this, make sure your cooler is small enough to fit into a locker or you will be stuck carrying it around the parks all day.  For this reason, I LOVE the cooler backpacks.  Food stays cool and you remain hands free.  Target carries a nice selection near lunch boxes.
Neosporin – The wonder medicine of boo-boos and owies.  Be sure to buy the one with pain reliever. 
Band-Aids – The girls have both taken a tumble on Disney asphalt on various trips.  Plus, it feels great to be the prepared family that can help someone else experiencing the same tumble. 
Anti-Itch Cream – Bee stings, mosquito bites and Florida’s No-See Ums all happen on vacation too.
Cough Medicine and Headache Medicine – By the end of the day, just as you are sitting down to watch the night parade, someone will realize they have a headache.  I swear that headaches go away faster if the ailing person knows relief is on the way.
Extra Infusion Sets - Sometimes they come out and if you aren’t wanting to do injections, pack ‘em!
Batteries, batteries, batteries – Think big!  Any kind that you might possibly use, throw them in.  A Lithium AA battery at the park costs $21.95.  That’s one battery people.  And yes, I had to buy it.
Chargers – A lot of our gadgets use a micro mini usb.  That helps to keep electronics charged and ready. 
Cash – Sometimes, I just want to sit and sometimes, the girls want a slushie.  I love being able to hand them some cash while keeping them in eye-sight and allowing them to make their own purchase.  It is a win-win.
Debit Card – Well, sometimes that Disney item is a bit more big ticket. 
Insurance Card – Safety first.
Endocrinologist Contact Information – Never used it but always carry it.
Spare Insulin Pump – Call your insulin pump company to order ahead of time.
Those Disney Maps That You Ordered Ahead of Time- J
Copy of Dining Reservations and Locations Marked on Disney Maps- J
Kid’s ID Tags – Somewhere on your child, you should pin a note with a parent contact AND identify your child as having type 1 diabetes.  Some parents do this with a sharpie on their hands and some parents use Mabel’s Labels.  You can also use shoe lace tags or even diabetes bracelets but it has to be part of your child.
Snacks And/Or Lunches – Pack whatever will keep your family happy. 
Sun Umbrella – The tiny umbrella comes in handy while stuck waiting for Dumbo in zero shade.
Inexpensive Sunglasses – This is the number one thing that becomes lost or broken.  Buy cheapos.
Sun Hats – I dole these out every morning as part of the Disney Park uniform. 
Sun Block – See a theme here for protection from the hot Florida sun????
Aloe Lotion – Because no matter how good you are, burns still happen.
SPF Chap stick – Burnt lips stink. 
Wet wipes – I have a lot of oops moments, especially with chocolate ice-cream.
Hand Sanitizer – Everything is touch-friendly at Disney, so whenever you can, wash your hands!
Disposable Ponchos – Florida is known for quick showers in the middle of the day.
Water Bottles and Crystal Light – You will be so thankful for this at the end of the day. 
Small Portable Battery Fan or Misting Spray Fan – Dollar stores carry these.
Umbrella Stroller – Cheaper than renting at the park.
Glow Sticks  - For the night parades or fireworks, best to buy ahead to save $$ and waiting in lines.
Beach Towels – The hotels will often supply a towel but nothing seems to comfortably fit my 6’3” husband.  Plus, ours are easy to identify and help keep our chairs from being inadvertently occupied while we are swimming around the pool.
Swim Toys or small arm floats – Not to be crazy big in the pool, but this is a great idea for families with small children.
Swim Goggles – Same idea, but bigger kids REALLY love these!
Lanyard With Pouch – Use this wonderful gadget to hold ID, money, debit/credit cards and Fast Passes. 
Disney Character Autograph Books – Or whatever you want to have a character sign and that you can buy away from the parks, saving some extra money.  Just know that Cast Members are not allowed to sign anything that you are currently wearing, ie, a t-shirt.  If you go that route, just bring an extra shirt in your back pack.
Disney Pins  - Check out Ebay for better prices.  Once you have your lanyard (on the list to pack), you can attach the pins to the lanyard and trade other cast members.

And Of course, Disney Family T-shirts – I’ll have a post on how to make your own tomorrow.  In a nutshell, these are adorable, easy to spot in a crowd and something the entire family can do together.

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