Top 3 Items You MUST Have for a Disney Parks Day

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More than once, I’ve run into a fellow TouringPlans writer in the parks, and their question is always the same–where’s your stuff? As an avid minimalist when it comes to day-to-day life, I carry very little with me at the parks. Part of it is I hate the idea of going through bag check. There’s something nice about wandering through the no-bag line instead of standing behind a mass of people who have a Mary Poppins-like satchel that carries every item in the known universe. (Am I the only person who always gets stuck behind that person?) But even with carrying just what fits in my pocket, there are a few items that are absolutely necessary. Here’s my top three list of what you MUST have for a Disney Parks Day.

A Ticket or MagicBand.

Unless you’re going to have the Tiny Toons “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” experience of driving to the theme park and then leaving, you’re going to need a way to get in. Your theme park ticket or MagicBand is a must. For me personally, I like the clip-on MagicBand puck holders more than wearing an AppleWatch on one hand and MagicBand on the other for the world’s most ridiculous Wonder Woman impression (or worse, trying to fit them both on the same wrist!), but that’s just personal preference.

Cash and Cards.

Even if I don’t plan to spend any money in a day at the parks, I’ve found that it’s always a good idea to carry a couple methods of payment. Even if you have a credit card linked to a MagicBand, systems can go down. Credit card companies can have outages. Having multiple way to pay for things is extremely important because you’ll always need to spend money when you don’t have it on you.

Good Walking Shoes.

Nothing will turn a good day bad faster than wearing shoes that just don’t work for a day in the parks. Check the weather and plan accordingly, and make sure your shoes are broken in before you put 10 miles on them in a park day. If you find that your shoes are starting to rub a bit, stop at first aid right away to get bandaged up before you develop blisters.

And one extra…

And although this is a top 3, list, there is one other item that I put in my pockets because of the era that we live in–my cellphone. From checking wait times and menus on the Lines app to snapping pictures (and “occasionally” catching Pokemon in the parks), my phone is now an indispensable tool for park days. In theory, it’s the one item I could leave behind, and it is getting to the point where I hope someday that it will replace both my need to carry a park ticket and perhaps my need to carry credit cards in the park. It certainly will never replace good walking shoes, however.

How about you? What’s the least amount of stuff that you bring with you to the parks? Do you have an essential item that isn’t on my list? Let me know in the comments.

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited nine-year-old daughter.

9 thoughts on “Top 3 Items You MUST Have for a Disney Parks Day

  • July 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm
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    I’ve done this for a <3 hour tour, but I don't think I could risk a full day without sunscreen or a water bottle (no $11,000,000 Dasanis for this girl, thanks). OTOH, rests in the shade and water breaks where they give it away in ice cold dispensers could alleviate that. I suppose I could be persuaded. Touring hands-free is very liberating.

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  • July 31, 2019 at 12:30 pm
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    I am a minimalist as well, but end up with a purse for hearing aid batteries, car keys, lipstick, sunscreen stick, and the aforementioned money and cards. I too prefer the MagicKeeper rather than the bracelet but wished they marketed more than the ungainly big Mickey-ear one in multiple colours. I have the navigator/compass looking one, but why not more simple frames with perhaps art on the back side, not bigger-sized ones? (I know they exist on Etsy or I could 3D print one. Just sell me one in the gift shop, no futzing with mail order or making.)

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    • July 31, 2019 at 1:04 pm
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      Plus one on the MagicKeeper. I have the simple carabiner which is perfect for me. I HATE how the MagicBand sticks to my wrist on super hot days LOL.

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  • July 31, 2019 at 2:25 pm
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    Also need to pack a good attitude, with room for flexibility.

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    • August 2, 2019 at 10:24 am
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      Sue is very right about this!!!! (Plus I’d also add a water bottle, but the good attitude is more important.)

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  • July 31, 2019 at 6:32 pm
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    A rain poncho! We were in DW in June and we it was a lifesaver every day. We carried one backpack between the three of us, we each took turns lugging it.

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  • July 31, 2019 at 6:35 pm
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    You can do without the credit cards or cash. Have done this the past several trips with kids ages 5-7 (at least 20 park days without issues).

    You can go it the no bag line with a stroller, so long as you have no bags, which honestly is for me the driving factor in packing light, or in my case only a magic band and phone.

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  • July 31, 2019 at 10:51 pm
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    Hhmmm. Magic Band; Water bottle, sunscreen, a folding fan (all on a carabiner); small wipes, meds, lip balm, a small collapsible bag for possible purchases, wallet (all in a small crossbody). Instead of a poncho I carry an extra pair of ankle socks in the crossbody. I don’t mind getting wet but there’s nothing worse than trying to do the parks after your socks and shoes have gotten wet. My feet will nope right back to the hotel otherwise. Finally, I am one of those parasol/umbrella people. Aside from keeping the sun at bay, its a great icebreaker when you share it with strangers during an afternoon shower 😀

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  • August 7, 2019 at 4:55 pm
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    I frequently hear that it’s impossible to do a full day in the parks in sandals, but this is simply not true. I know because my wife, Robin, almost exclusively wears Vionics sandals in the parks. And nary a foot problem. This is probably because she wears these every day at home, even in winter.

    I think the appropriate advice on shoes is that people should wear what they wear for casual shoes (obviously not dress shoes) daily at home. After all, that’s what your feet are most used to. Changing to what someone else considers “great walking shoes” right before your trip is bound to lead to trouble.

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