Your easy reference guide on what to bring to the Disney parks!
A cursory search of the internet will yield hundreds of results on a Disney packing list: changes of clothes, types of shoes, airline restrictions, everything! What is harder to find, however, is a handy reference guide on what you can, and should bring into the parks, and in what kind of bag you should bring things! Here at Inside the Magic, we’ve got the tips, and tricks to maximize your fun, without weighing yourself down too much.
Why Should I Bring a Backpack to the Parks?
If you’re a local to the area surrounding a Disney park, and your trip is more likely to be a day trip, then a backpack probably wouldn’t make sense, but, for the rest of us who travel to the parks, and have to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth, especially with park prices being the way they are, a backpack is the way to go. A day pack, like the one we outline, will allow for a day with less slowing down, and much more fun, without sacrificing health, or comfort. This guide will tell you not only what to pack, but what kind of pack, best practice in the parks and security, and so forth.
What kind of pack should I bring?
The type of bad you’ll want to bring on your Disney trip is very dependent on the kind of activity you’re planning for the parks. If you’re planning to go from rope drop to close, or even just a full day of more than four hours, you’re going to want something a bit more substantial. Many outdoor companies make daypacks that have either waist or chest straps that help disperse the weight of a pack more evenly. These, along with space for water, souvenirs, and other items are ideal and don’t generally take up much space.
It’s important to have enough space for everything you plan to bring in, and that it’s readily accessible. For many people, if it isn’t accessible, it doesn’t get used, and when it comes to something like water, that can make or break a trip. A backpack like the one pictured has netting on each side to allow for two water bottles and makes them very easy to get to. It also improves the balance, having two bottles, making it so there’s not too much weight on one side, and hurting the back of the wearer.
What about the security checkpoints at the parks?
When considering the type of bag to bring to the park, one thing to remember is the security checkpoints before you enter. Disney security will need to check your bag and make sure you don’t have anything unsafe that you’re bringing into the park. To streamline this process, the best practice in our experience has been to make sure, while in line for the security checkpoint to unzip all pockets, and pouches on your bag, and make sure they’re ready to be checked. The checkpoint never takes too long if you’re prepared, and if you’re kind and courteous to the security personnel, they’ll be kind and courteous to you!
Where can I put my backpack on rides?
One of the biggest things to consider when selecting your Disney bag is rides. Rides are a huge part of any Disney Park, and you definitely don’t want to be slowed up by a cumbersome pack! A good rule of thumb is to make sure your pack is small enough that you can fit it on the floor of the ride, between your feet, to make sure it doesn’t go flying off the ride vehicle. Just make sure that all your items are secure before the ride starts, and, that when you exit, you bring them with you!
What sort of things should I bring to the parks?
This list, while not comprehensive, will cover the basics of what to bring to an average day at the Disney Parks, and is easy enough to add to, or amend if needs be. In addition to the items on this list, feel free to add your own, or cater to your own needs, but just keep in mind, anything you bring will add weight and possible fatigue for a long day at Disney.
While it may seem unnecessary in a place like Disneyland or Disneyworld that is just overflowing with tasty things to eat, small snacks are vital to keeping your day going, and, it can save you a chunk of change not having to buy snacks to keep going. Our recommendation would be to bring at least two different kinds of snacks: something sugary, and something for energy.
Your sweet treat should be something that won’t melt in the heat, or, melt together, in case you’re visiting in the on-season, and should be something that, in the event you need it, it’ll boost your blood sugar. Some hard candies often work best and will provide that needed boost of energy. The other snack should be something high in calories and in protein! You’re burning a lot of energy whether you know it or not, and that energy needs replacing! Almonds are a great small, and lightweight snack that you can bring into the parks that can help keep you going on the longest Disney day.
All Disney Parks have a first aid station somewhere central on the premises, and they do amazing work for the guests in their care. That being said, you don’t want to be caught in line for something small, when you could be in line for an attraction! Things like moleskin, a powdered electrolyte drink enhancer, some sort of pain reliever, and some motion sickness relief are a must in a Disney Theme Park, and can really streamline your day, without creating a medical emergency.
If you’ve been to the Parks recently, you’ve no doubt noticed that more and more water bottle-filling stations have been added in various lands and areas. In a post-pandemic world, these have become indispensable! Nothing will sour a trip quite as quickly as a cold, or flu, or something more serious. A water bottle, with custom stickers to make it recognizable, makes for a hydrated trip, without leaving the line, or your firework/parade spot to find a drinking fountain.
With how involved the Disneyland and Disney World apps have become as part of your day-to-day park experience, you will need some sort of external battery. While batteries like the one pictured are available for purchase at the parks, it’s not a bad idea to bring at least two or three with you into the parks.
Depending on when you go, you may want to bring with you a few different seasonal items like those pictured here. A fan can be a surprisingly effective way to cool down on those warm summer days in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, or wherever your Disney adventure takes you! Extra socks aren’t a bad idea either, especially, if you’re like us, and like to ride things like Splash Mountain, or Grizzly River Run in the winter months, and don’t want to walk around with wet shoes all day. Not pictured, but another useful item, depending on the forecast is a plastic rain poncho: small, portable, and very effective at keeping the water out and the dry in, ponchos are a must for the rainy season.
Bags and Sunscreen
If you plan on riding any water ride, you’ll definitely want some sort of watertight zipping plastic bag where you can put your phone, wallet, or other valuables you don’t want getting soaked in. This way you can enjoy Splash Mountain without worrying if your cell phone and electronic tickets will survive the next day! Don’t forget the sunscreen either, or you’ll be in for a world of hurt the next day at the park!
What should I leave in the Hotel?
There’s a lot that you would think wouldn’t be allowed into the Parks: outside food and drink for example, but, there’s also a lot that you’d think would be allowed that isn’t. Fortunately, a comprehensive list of each Park is available on its respective website. Included in this article, are the pages for the US Parks, Disneyland and Disney World. You’ll notice that both are fairly similar, and the same basics will apply worldwide.
The Disney Day Bag — An Indispensable Resource
There’s a lot more that could be said about the Disney backpack, but, suffice it to say, this is something you definitely want to bring on your next trip, especially if you’re looking to avoid paying extra for things like snacks, water bottles, and Disney Genie+. Try it out on your next trip, and see if it doesn’t save you some time!
What other things do you put in your Disney day bag? Let us know in the comments below!