I've been on the hunt for a blog that talks about successful cloth diapering at Disney and I haven’t found much other than negativity. It can be done! Cloth diapering, just like at home, only takes a few extra steps that don’t intrude on your magical vacation, especially if you are accustomed to a regular wash routine at home. I'll post our vacation wash routine later, but until then, here are ten tips to help you out!
#10: When you make your reservations, no matter where you decide to stay, request a room near laundry facilities, usually a preferred room. We often reserve standard and add the note to our reservation, or ask for a complimentary upgrade upon check in. This will make sure you aren't carrying that load of wet diapers clear across the resort. An added bonus is that those laundry facilities are usually near the pool. Better yet, stay in many of the villas and there will be a washer and dryer right in your room. Don’t forget to bring a large wet bag with a handle so it’s easier to carry.
#9: While there are a lot of items available for purchase, I have yet to find diaper safe laundry detergent at any of the resorts or in the Baby Care Centers. If you plan to ship all of your non-perishable consumables to your resort ahead of time (which is a great tip to save space in your luggage), be sure to include your diaper safe laundry detergent and a box of baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda inside the wet bag daily to keep odors at bay, especially in the heat. Don’t ship the entire package of laundry soap, just send what you need. A small wet bag works great for this. If you have a HE (high efficiency) washer, like we do, remember that the laundry facilities at Disney are not HE. You’ll need standard, diaper safe soap. I love Eco Nuts for cloth diaper laundry while on vacation. We use them at home, too.
#8: Bring lots of change. All of the washing machines and dryers are coin operated for a whopping $2.00 per load. ($4.00 per load of laundry) Hey, that’s still cheaper than buying disposables for your entire trip. You’ll pay extra if you do a cold rinse cycle first, before your hot wash. The dryers aren’t very efficient, so plan on an extra $2.00 for a second dryer run if you don’t want to air dry your diapers. Disney Vacation Club members don’t have to pay to use their laundry facilities. We aren't members yet, so we save a couple bucks and skip the cold rinse on vacation because we…
#7: Use flushable liners and toss the really dirty diaper contents in the toilet. Normally, I wouldn’t use these at all, but with the absence of a diaper sprayer, and having to spend an extra $2.00 for a cold rinse before the standard wash cycle, they are a good idea to have. Using these would also fall under the category of “love thy neighbor,” since someone has to use the washing machine after you. Be considerate! (Note: Some people switch hybrids while on vacation, but we don’t have any and I’m not willing to invest in another system right now.)
#6: When we are at the parks, we attach a medium sized wet bag on the side of the stroller that also has a luggage tag with our names & phone numbers on it. This keeps your diaper bag from being super full, and also helps you to easily identify your stroller when you’ve got to park it. We've never had a problem with people stealing our wet bag; if they did take it, I’m sure it would get returned pretty quickly.
#5: You know what the magic number is for your family, so take as many diapers as you need for a day and a half, plus a couple extra. As much as we fluff heads enjoy admiring our stash, you don’t need the entire stash while on vacation, unless you like paying baggage fees. When you head back to your room for mid day naps (highly recommended, especially travelling with little ones), do your laundry then, every other day. I've never run into anyone using the laundry rooms mid-day. Empty your medium wet bag into the large one before you head back to the parks, if you don't plan to wash during the children(s) afternoon nap.
#4: Make sure the diapers and supplies you pack are in tip top shape before you leave home. There’s nothing worse than looking for another Snappi because you’ve broken yours, or finding you have that one cover with the busted snap in the bag, or your favorite Fuzzibunz Elite needed the leg elastic replaced before you left. Mishaps mean you are one diaper short and forced to do laundry that much sooner.
#3: Consider packing a few extra prefolds or hemp inserts to use as doublers inside your pocket or AIO diapers. (FYI: AIOs or pockets are my favorite on vacation, no need to bring covers) Time gets away from you while on vacation and you may not get to change baby until you realize it too late. DH ended up with a wet arm right before Kilimanjaro Safaris, but the Cast Members were kind enough to send us through the Fast Pass line when we returned after a quick diaper change. I’m not saying you should leave your child in a diaper for an extended period of time, but things happen…be prepared.
#2: Take advantage of the Baby Care Centers. They are awesome! As soon as you get to the parks, make a note of where there are. They are great places to change your little one, get some rest from the sun, feed your baby in the private nursing rooms (I nurse anywhere, check my list of favorite places to nurse), or give them a snack in the high chairs. While they do have many baby supplies for sale, it is very expensive and none of it falls into the crunchy category. I’ve even heard a rumor that the centers at Disneyland have a toilet specifically for swishing cloth diapers. (We haven’t checked the ones at Disney World…we don’t swish in public.)
#1: Along with everything else you have, make an inventory list of the diapers you bring with you. They are not cheap and it would be awful to lose one while on vacation. Check your list as you stuff or fold your freshly washed diapers. If you’ve lost one, you’ll know right away.
We’re headed back to Disney World this fall, with another addition to our family. I’ll add pictures to this post and revise it when we return. I’m sure there will be more things for us to learn about cloth diapering at Disney; especially with a newborn! If you've got extra tips, post 'em below. Stay crunchy, friends!