Walt Disney World and Disneyland have just about everything you could possibly need to make your days in the parks some of the best days of your life. From First Aid Stations, which can offer bandages and over-the-counter medications, to a wide range of merchandise options around the parks, Disney has almost everything covered. However, there are some items you should make sure you have packed in your park bag to ensure you have what you need when you need it and help keep the magic alive while exploring all Disney Parks have to offer.
First, you will need a bag to carry with you around the parks. You want to make sure the bag is large enough to carry all the items you need for your days at the park but also small enough to fit in the comparts on ride and attractions all while following the Rules and Restrictions of the Disney Property. Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland require your bags, backpacks, suitcases, and coolers – both with or without wheels – remain under 24 inches long x 15 inches wide x 18 inches high (61 cm x 38 cm x 46 cm). All persons and items will be subjected to inspection prior to heading into the parks, so to get you through the line and into the park quicker, have all zippers, buttons, snaps, straps, etc. undone before reaching the security officers.
Magic Bands, IDs, Credit/Debit Cards, and Cash
Keep your Magic Bands on your wrists before heading out to the parks. You will need to scan the bands, along with your fingerprints, before you can enter the parks. They also have vital information, such as all the FastPasses for the duration of your stay, meal reservations, hotel information, and your credit/debit information can be linked to make paying for meals and merchandise much easier. They are also your resort room key. If you order alcoholic beverages, you will asked to provide your ID, so make sure you have an updated driver’s license or state ID card with you.
Park Map and Showtime Schedules
Be sure to pick up a Park Map and a Showtime Schedule when you enter the park. These will provide you with a visual layout of the park, including stores, restaurant and snack locations, ride and attraction information, the times for special events and shows, as well as character meet locations.
Hand Sanitizer and Antibacterial Hand Wipes
Hand sanitizer and antibacterial hand wipes are musts for your park bag. You touch a lot of things while exploring the magic of Disney Parks. Hand sanitizer and wipes are great for keeping your hands relatively germ-free until you can properly wash your hands. They are also perfect for wiping off hands and faces after enjoying a delicious Mickey Ice Cream Bar!
Travel-Sized First Aid kit
Another essential for your park bag is a travel-sized first aid kit. There is a First Aid Station at each park that does offer bandages, over-the-counter medications, and other simple items however, there is only one per park. Speaking from experience, having to leave the stand-by line to walk from one side of the park to the other for a bandage, is not ideal. By bringing your own first aid kit, you have the added advantage of customizing your first aid kit based on the assumed needs of you and your family. My first aid kit is stocked with various-sized bandages, antibiotic ointment, moleskin bandages, pain medication, antihistamines, antacids, chapstick, tissues, and for riding Misson: SPACE, motion sickness medication. Be sure to double-check and/or restock your first aid kit after each day to guarantee you have everything you might need.
Even on overcast days at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the sun can cause some serious sunburn. Remember to carry, apply, and reapply sunscreen throughout your day in the parks. I also make sure to bring a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a sunglass strap for added sun protection. The parks are sprayed for bugs so you may not need to bring bug spray. Mosquitos love me so I always carry a small bottle with me in a resealable storage bag to prevent leaks.
Stay cool and hydrated by bringing a reusable water bottle with you into the park. I use a carabiner to attach my water bottle to my backpack, while my mom will carry hers in an over-the-shoulder carrier. There are a number of water fountains available to refill your water bottle and you can ask for a free cup of ice at many of the quick service or table service restaurants. Some people might not find Florida drinking fountain water to be very appetizing, so liquid drink mixers and water enhancers might be something to think about.
Be sure to pack your Mickey Ears or, if you are like me, buy a new pair (or two!) once you get into the park.
Change(s) of Clothes
Having an extra change of clothes in your park bag might be useful if you have young children. Spills and accidents are a common occurrence among young children, especially when they can be distracted by everything around them. I personally carry an extra pair of socks to change into after getting soaked on Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids. Many families will pack Disney character costumes for their children to wear for parades and character meets. Be sure to check out the Property Rules for more information on costumes for children and adults.
If you are at Walt Disney World, especially in the summer, there is usually a guarantee it will rain at least once a day during your trip. Pack a few rain ponchos in your park bag so you are prepared for the inevitable sudden storms. The ponchos will also come in handy on water rides to keep you and your belongings dry. Another great tip for staying dry is carrying a small hand towel in your park bag. You can use it to wipe down chairs, benches, and tables after storms or for sitting on during the parades. If it doesn’t rain, use it as a pillow for your little one in their stroller.
Resealable Storage Bags
Store your camera, phone, and other water-sensitive devices in a gallon- or quart-sized resealable storage bag to protect them from getting wet on water rides and from the rain. They can also prevent liquid items, such as bug spray or sunscreen, from leaking inside your bag. The bags have even more uses as they can give extra protection to fragile souvenirs, store extra lunch or dinner portions, and keep small toys or items in one place. Find some resealable bags with your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, or Star Wars characters for some extra magic!
A Way to Stay Cool
It’s no secret that summers at Disney can be extremely hot and humid so you want to make sure you are drinking plenty of water and staying cool. A cooling fan that sprays water is an easy and quick way to feel refreshed. Another option is purchasing a Frogg Togg Chilly Towel. Once wet, this neat towel absorbs sweat, cools up to 30 degrees, offers UPF 50+ protection, and is machine washable.
Trading Pins and Lanyard
Don’t forget to pack some Disney Trading Pins! There are countless boards around all the parks and plenty of cast members to trade with. You can wear your pins on a lanyard, attach them to a fun hat, make DIY Mickey Ears with some cork ears, or pick up this pin display bag from ShopDisney. Just make sure to bring official Disney Trading Pins!
Autograph Book and Clickable Permanent Marker
Autograph books are a great way to remember meeting your favorite characters and there are a ton of different options to explore. You can pick up an already-made autograph book from your Disney resort store, you can make your own by printing off pictures of the more visible characters and binding them together, or pick up a Disney character reference book filled with pictures of the many Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars characters. If you want a more unique way to collect autographs, try bringing a white or light-colored pillowcase, baseball cap, DIY canvas Mickey Ears, a picture frame mat, or sneakers for the characters to sign. Don’t forget your clickable permanent marker!
Quarters and Pennies
There are numerous pressed penny machines around the Disney Parks and the Disney resorts that offer cute and inexpensive souvenirs. You can simply keep your pre-pressed change in a small coin purse like this one or stack your coins (I stack mine: .25, .25, .01) in a mini candy container like this one. You can also purchase a pressed penny booklet to keep the finished pennies in one convenient place.
From monitoring ride and attraction wait times, double-checking restaurant and FastPass reservations, taking dozens of photos, updating and posting to social media, and receiving the latest Disney news from JustDisney, phone batteries never seem to last all day at Disney. A portable charger is a must for your park bag to ensure you never miss a single magical moment.
Most people use their cell phones for taking pictures and videos at Disney, but since phone batteries can quickly drain with continual use, bringing a portable camera might help your phone last a bit longer. And let’s be honest, sometimes portable cameras just give you better photos! Cameras range in both price and function, so you are sure to find one that fits both your needs and your budget. Another fun idea is to make or print off a list of objects, signs/landmarks, rides/attractions, characters, etc and challenge the members of your family to take pictures of as many of these listed things as they can before the end of the day. These photo scavenger hunts can be a fun way to pass time, reconnect, and share memories while waiting for rides, attractions, parades, or lunch.
Snacks are essential for your park bag. Granola or fruit bars, fruit snacks, small packages of crackers or pretzels, and to-go packs of tuna/chicken salad are perfect your pack bag and will help hold you over until your next meal reservation.
Depending on the time of year you visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you do be doing your fair share of waiting and keeping those in your party happy and entertained while doing so, could be challenging. There are always games like “I Spy,” “20 Questions,” and “The Alphabet Game” to keep everyone thinking and occupied. At times, you may need a bit more help, and packing some boredom busters in your park bag could be a lifesaver. Smaller sized coloring pages with a mini pack of crayons, playdough, pipe cleaners, brightly-colored embroidery threads, magnetic drawing tablets, light-up toys and accessories, Disney picture books, trivia questions, word searches, and playing cards are just some of the items worth considering.