Packing for a day in the parks can be tricky. Everyone has different needs throughout the day that will determine what needs to be packed in addition to just the basics. I like to take the minimalist approach to my Disney bag while still making sure I’m fully prepared. I see so many posts/park goers that pack a crazy amount of items that only bog you down! While it’s good to be prepared for peace of mind, you really don’t need to pack like you are going camping! Keep in mind I don’t have kids in tow so I can get away with a little less than the average park goer. Although, one of my MUST HAVE items might surprise you 😉
I decided to break this post down into 3 sections: my essentials, my “like to haves” and item’s that may or may not apply to you. Lengthy packing lists don’t can come off as overwhelming so I wanted to simplify this list as much as possible. I hope this helps!
These are my non negotiables. No matter what type of park day I am planning on having, these are the items I bring with me:
- BABY WIPES– Yes, I know I mentioned I don’t have kids, but this is an absolute must have item in my bag. I buy this pack because the door actually stays closed while rolling around in your backpack AND it’s refillable so you can reload it easily. The toilet paper in Disney World is less than desirable, no wait, it’s almost non existent it’s so thin. Most of the time I can’t even pull it out of the dispenser without it ripping 6 times… This may be TMI but on a hot day of walking around for hours, you are going to want those wipes. These are also great to have to freshen up from being sweaty all day and having sticky hands from snacking. Pack the wipes, thank me later 😉
- Excedrin- I get extremely bad headaches that ibuprofen and Tylenol can’t remedy. Unfortunately the parks First Aid centers did not have any Excedrin on hand when I needed it. However, they do carry most over the counter medications and bandaids so you don’t have to go crazy and bring the entire bottle of Tylenol with you. Pack a few to avoid wasting time looking for the First Aid center and if you need more you can always get it.
- Reusable Water Bottle– Water can be expensive in the parks. I like to bring my own water bottle for easy (and cheap) fill ups. This is the bottle I use because of the handle and it keeps my drinks cool. The handle also helps if you are running low on space and need it to hang off the stroller or backpack. If I’m using my smaller bag or I’m only doing a half day in the parks I’ll skip out on this. If you have a stroller, take advantage and bring more than one!
- Phone Charger and Battery Back Up- If you plan on being in the parks all day, definitely bring one, especially if your kids are using your phone while waiting in lines. This has saved me a few times!
- Hand Sanitizer- A small bottle can go a long way, these ones with the clips are great to hang off the side of your bag and not have to fish for it every time you need it.
- Sunglasses- They’ll probably be on your head all day but it’s easy to forget them when leaving your hotel in the morning so throw them in your bag the night before.
- Chapstick with SPF- Sun blisters are a thing and they can make you uncomfortable and ruin those prized family photos!
- Wallet- I need to pay for all my pins somehow!
- Dramamine- I never had a problem with motion sickness until I was in my 20’s, GAH!
The “Like to Haves”
Depending on what type of day I am having/what backpack I am wearing, these are the items I carry on occasion. If I am doing a full day from rope drop to park close I may not want to lug all of these items around. If I am doing a more casual day where I go back to the hotel to be by the pool mid day I may skip out on a few of these items as well.
- Camera– Sometimes I bring it, sometimes I don’t. Lugging around my DSLR is not always the funnest, besides iPhones have excellent cameras on them now and they are so much easier to snap pics and go. I usually bring my Canon to Magic Kingdom or during park events/the holidays.
- GoPro– Great for filming on rides!
- Travel sized sunscreen- Rides like Splash Mountain will make you need to reapply.
- Hat– The sun beating down on my face/eyes always gives me a headache. If it’s going to be a really hot day I like to bring/wear a hat
Items That May or May Not Apply:
- Medications- Inhalers, Insulin, EpiPens etc.
- Contact Lens- Solution/Supplies
- Chewing Gum/Mints
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Diapers/Formula Etc- These items can also be found at the Baby Centers if you need extra
- Extra Hair Ties
- Make Up
- Blanket for Parades/Fireworks – sitting on cement in shorts isn’t the best feeling and having a blanket can help save your area while waiting for the show to start!
- Snacks– Granola Bars, Fruit Snacks and these Apple Sauce pouches are the BEST for on the go snacks.
- Sweatshirt- or an extra layer if chilly weather is in the forecast.
- Camera Equipment– Extra lenses, chargers, back up batteries, memory cards etc.
Things to Consider When Packing
You Have to Carry it ALL Day
It’s hard to not pack everything you think you may need when packing your disney bag. Much like packing for the vacation itself, it is easy to get carried away and overpack. I get it, the last thing you want is to be saying “I should have packed that!!!”, but keep in mind unless you have a stroller to put your bag in, you will be carrying that extra weight on your back all. day. long. I average about 8-10 miles of walking during park days and a heavy bag will really slow you down.
It Comes with You on All of the Rides
Another thing to keep in mind is that unless you have a stroller with you, that bag has to go with you on every ride, typically right between your knees or at your feet. I found it difficult and annoying to shove my backpack between my legs while getting on every ride and sometimes it took me longer to get up out of the ride seat because of this. If you are planning on riding the Tower of Terror or Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, prepare to keep one arm on your bag at all times as mine was catching some air between my legs!!
I would love to hear what’s in your Disney bag! What is one item you can’t visit the parks without?