21 Things Every Parent Needs in a Travel Bag

Every parent knows there are certain things that you absolutely must have when traveling with kids. Here are our top picks that make any vacation easier.

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Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly

You're guaranteed a sugar-high on the 45-minute tour through Jelly Belly's main factory in Fairfield, CA. Guides lead visitors over glass-enclosed catwalks that provide a bird's-eye view of how workers process, flavor, color, sort and package these jewel-like candies (not surprisingly, sugar is a key ingredient every step of the way). The tour also includes a detailed explanation of how Jelly Belly comes up with such authentic flavors (hint: some of the flavors are real). The factory is dormant on weekends, so be sure to go during the week. All tours include a free 2-oz. bag of jelly beans and conclude in the factory store (where it is nearly impossible not to buy more beans for the road).
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Hershey's Chocolate World

Hershey's Chocolate World

Part theme park, part insider tour, Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA, is one of the best ways to see how Hershey's Kisses (and just about every other Hershey's brand) come to life. While there is no actual walkabout on the factory floor, visitors are invited to take a virtual tour that explains how Hershey's chocolate is made -- from bean to bar. The tour is so realistic that at one point, the smell of fresh chocolate wafts through the room. Guests are able to create their own chocolate treats by topping (very real) traditional Hershey's bars with whatever they fancy. There's also a 3-D movie, and the opportunity to help package fresh-off-the-line Kisses. 960 1280

Sharon Dominick  

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

From the moment you glimpse the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY, you know what's made there: A giant sculpture of a bat rests against the building facade. The 25-minute tour leads visitors through the bat production line, giving them an inside-baseball perspective on how maple bats are carved from log-like hunks of wood. Guests can also explore the on-site museum, which tells the story of wooden bats from the late 1800s until today. All visitors (yes, even you, Mom and Dad) receive a miniature souvenir bat at the end of the tour. There is no bat production on Sundays, holidays or Saturdays between December and April, so be sure to avoid visiting then. 960 1280

  

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

You'd be hard-pressed to find a sweet-tooth who doesn't like Ben & Jerry's ice cream; that's why the factory tour at the company's Waterbury, VT, headquarters is so much fun. The tour gives visitors an elevated view of the factory floor. All the while, guides explain how ice cream goes from milk and sugar into frozen goodness in a pint. Thirty-minute tours begin with a video that documents how Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield became friends in the 7th grade; they end with a taste-test of fresh-off-the-line samples. Another fun aspect of the experience is the "Flavor Graveyard" behind the plant -- a place where tombstones mark the untimely end to some of the company's ill-fated flavors. 960 1280

  

American Whistle Corporation

American Whistle Corporation

Metal whistles are as American as baseball and apple pie, which means a factory tour at the American Whistle Corporation in Columbus, OH, is a noble exercise in patriotism. AWC is the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the U.S., and the 45-minute tour takes visitors behind the scenes to see precisely how these musical instruments are made (and how that tiny ball gets inside). Along the way, guides point out one-of-a-kind machinery crafted specifically for AWC, and they share interesting tidbits about whistles throughout time (the instruments date back hundreds of years). At the conclusion of the tour, guests whet their whistles with shiny new instruments they can keep. 960 1280

  

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Kids between 4-12 years old can sign up to train under a Jedi Knight and master the force before taking on the dark side and wielding a lightsaber against some popular Star Wars villains in a show for parents. There’s no FastPass+ for this one and signup is on a first come, first served basis so get to the park early and make a beeline to the registration outpost between the Indiana Jones stage show and the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. 960 1280

David Roark  

Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay

Jedis of all ages will love seeing rare Star Wars movie artwork and artifacts. Don’t skip the 10-minute behind-the-scenes video with exclusive interviews with filmmakers. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane  

Meet Chewbacca

Meet Chewbacca

Every good Rebel Alliance family needs a holiday card with Chewie. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane  

Meet Kylo Ren

Meet Kylo Ren

For those on the dark side, a selfie with Kylo is a must. If you’re wearing a Disney MagicBand, have the photographer scan so you can easily download your photo and share to Facebook. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane  

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular

Fireworks themed and timed to the original Star Wars score? It’s truly magical. But loud. Bring earplugs for the little Jedis. 960 1280

Chloe Rice  

Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

The new stage show recreates popular moments from the films with Darth Vadar, BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewie and more. Arrive 15-20 minutes before the show starts for a good spot to see. 960 1280

Todd Anderson  

Star Tours

Star Tours

The iconic Hollywood Studios ride has been revamped with new storylines from Star Wars: The Force Awakens plus throwback stories from the prequels. The storylines are randomly generated so you never know what combination of characters you’ll see. 960 1280

  

Stormtroopers March

Stormtroopers March

Captain Phasma leads a legion of Stormtroopers from Star Wars Launch Bay periodically throughout the day. Check specific times before you go and don’t miss the photo op. 960 1280

Preston Mack  

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