As DVC Members, we’ve been to Disney dozens of times slinging our bag with us. Sometimes we pack it before taking off from Michigan when we know we’re going straight to the park after checking in at our resort. This way, we’re ready to go!
We often get asked about weekend getaways and Disney tips. This time we were asked about our MUST HAVE items for our Disney backpack on park day. Here are Our Top 20 items to Pack in Your Park Bag!
1. Bottle of water - You can get free refills at refill stations. I pack one bottle per person because I think sharing water bottles is gross. We pack the small ones we get free on Delta airlines and refill at refill stations throughout the day. This keeps the weight lighter.
2. Sunglasses - This seems like a no brained since you’re in sunny Florida but I’ve forgotten such an easy item to remember that it is on my packing list. Also, the weather is unpredictable and even on semi-cloudy days, I’ve found it can be quite bright. There are times I did not bring my sunglasses because of cloudy weather and wished I had because of the sun reflecting off the clouds from above or clouds breaking up.
3. Sunhat/baseball cap - I bring both my sunglasses and my hat. That sun beating on your head is not good for the scalp and even with a hat on, it can be really bright outside. I’ve often worn both together. After all, why accelerate aging and crows feet from squinting!
4. Rain Poncho(s) - Cheap ones. They always rip no matter how much you spend on one. Rain jackets are too heavy and bulky, in my opinion, and a rain poncho is easy enough to dry off, light enough to walk around with, and rolls up real small in your pack. Bring a cheap one from outside the park, otherwise you wI’ll spend up to $20 or more for a poncho purchased inside the park. I’ve been caught in the rain! I’ve been there. When you go with the fam, the cost of ponchos can really add up!
5. Sunblock - I carry a small 4 oz bottle with me so it can be an allowable TSA carryon size on my flights and a lightweight, small bottle in my pack at the park. I use 45 spf face sunscreen reapplying on my face and shoulders several times throughout the day. I’ve had spots removed from my face and scalp due to sun damage over the years so I’m very protective of my face. Sometimes I seem incognito; especially with wearing masks.
6. Driver's License, pass holder card, credit cards, and any discount cards in a zippered baggie - Keeping these items in a sealed baggie keeps them dry and together and in one location in your bag, making them easier to find. I first started out by throwing them into a side zipper compartment but everytime I went to use one, I risked one of them falling out.
Pro Tip: Small zippered baggies are way lighter than your wallet and provide sealed security. Every ounce counts when walking around the park all day.
7. Extra masks in a zippered baggie - Masks get wet in the rain and sweat soaked in the heat and possibly wet on water rides. I’ve been stuck with soaked masks before and it really sucks. Having extras or using disposables you can swap out or dispose of, will make your day way more comfortable. When I do foodie trips, it can be horrible to have certain smells from your breath stuck in your mask. I’ve had to swap out because of this.
8. Extra pair of socks in a zippered baggie if not going to the room for an afternoon nap and it is supposed to rain hard - Be prepared for rain. There are very few times I’ve been to Disney and it hasn’t rained. Prepare for a rain each afternoon and if riding a water ride, you may need it.
Pro Tip: Invest in a good pair of tennis shoes you’ve worn a few times and broken in before going to the park. Buy sweat wicking socks like merino wool.
9. Cheap snacks to tide you over - When I go solo I don’t do this but when I bring the grandkids it’s a given. Pack non perishable, easy to eat snacks; beef jerky, pretzels, fruit snacks. Kids can be picky eaters so it’s a good idea to bring some of their favorites from home. You can easily buy popcorn or a big pretzel to share from several stands throughout the parks with very little lines.
10. Medicine - It is very easy to get a heat headache. If you forget to bring the particular headache/allergy meds you need, there are first aid stations at each park and they have free meds they can give you if needed. I've had to use them before. I’ve also had to lay down inside them before. If you’re a migraine sufferer, know that this is available if you need to get out of the sun and lie down until your migraine passes. I’ve done this twice at Epcot.
Pro Tip: I have one small sealed zippered plastic container I refill every trip with the headache and pain meds I may need for the day. Don’t risk these getting wet!
11. Hand sanitizer and baby wipes - I have a sanitizer bottle clipped to the outside of my bag. This is super convenient when coming off of rides and bathrooms and after paying for purchases. You won’t have to wait in line after a ride to walk up to a sanitizer station with one conveniently clipped to your bag. I also keep wipes in a sealed baggie for cleaning hands after eating. You wouldn’t believe how many times you’ll be standing in line snacking wising you had these on you. Plus, if you’re super sanitary, you can wipe off the bars on rides before touching them. We try not to, but it happens.
12. Tissue in a sealed baggie - It completely sucks to sneeze and have nothing on you while walking around or standing in line. Ewe!
13. Keys- If you rent a car or are at a resort that still uses key cards, don’t forget to bring them with you! If staying on property you can use your phone or magic band to get in. Some Marriott properties and other properties have keyless entry options on your phone as well. Make sure your keyless option is working before going to the park. There is nothing worse then coming back from a long day at the park with kids in toe, having to go to the front desk if your phone dies or magic band doesn’t get you in the room.
14. Cash in a sealed baggie - There are only very few places that take cash anymore but just in case that is the only option, bring some cash in fives and ones. Kids love the penny press coin collector so bring some change for that unless you’re a hard no on that. It’s only .51 cents for a penny though! Small price for big smiles!
15. Wireless charger charged 100% - It is the worst when you’ve run out of battery for all those picture perfect, or less than perfect, magic moments. I take hundreds of photos and videos and have been there a few times too many with a drained battery. Disney has a portable phone charger you can purchase at one of many phone charger kiosks. You purchase the first one and then swap out the battery when needed. You can also charge the battery and bring it with you. It’s one of the best ‘in a pinch’ purchases I’ve made. I take it on every day trip with me anywhere I go.
16. Memory on Your Phone - Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have cleared up enough memory space to take all the photos and video you want without worry. I pay for cloud storage where I have over 50,000 photos and videos stored. Before I go to the park, I check that everything I want to delete from my phone is stored in the cloud before deleting. I also dump apps I don’t need while on the trip and turn off push notification. I also turn my automatic upload option for storing photos to the cloud off to save battery usage. I turn that back on once my day is done to load everything from that day. This will save precious battery usage.
17. Paper list of top things I want to eat and do - You’d be amazed once you get to the park, how your must do items can go to the wayside when you’re inundated with so many places to eat and things to do. I literally carry a list with me so I stay focused on my favs and make sure I do them. After hundreds of hours of planning, I want to at least make sure we hit our top to eat and to do items. Like, top 3 cannot live without trying items. We’ve been enough times to know our favorites. It’s the new ones we write down or ones we haven’t tried.
18. Chapstick with spf - Need I say more? I don’t share this item either. Gross!
19. Lightweight long sleeve hoodie or jacket if the temp hovers around 60 - 70 degrees. It can be cold inside restaurants and some of the indoor rides. Most of the time I’ve not had to take one but there have been many days it started off cold, like Michigan, and warmed up later. I've taken my hoodie off and on a thousand times enough to know I’m better with it than without. In the dead of summer, not needed so much.
20. Pony Tail Holders - Wear one, bring extra. If the only one you have breaks and that summer heat has got you sweating like crazy, you’ll be grateful you’ve got one. A spare is so minuscule in weight, you won’t notice it there but you will notice if it’s not and you need it. Summer days and nights can be brutally hot.
These our our MUST HAVE items we pack in our bag each time. This may be different for you and your family; especially if traveling with small children and babies.
Pro Tip: Every park has a first aid station. If you forget something like diapers or meds or need a bandaid, they have it.
Enjoy the parks and don’t sweat it! Comment below or reach out if you have questions. We love helping others have a magical day.