Anyone that knows me might find it funny that I’m tackling the subject of what to bring for a day in the parks. When I’m heading just up the street to Disney World I normally travel very light in an attempt to skip the bag line. (Unless I’m carrying my camera bag – but that is a whole different article!) However, when I travel all the way to Disneyland I turn into an Eagle Scout, ready for any possible situation! I don’t want to have our trip interrupted by any little thing that comes up. So today I’m sharing my long perfected list of everything that you might need.
Park tickets, ID, Cash, and Credit Cards
It’s implied that you won’t get far without these items but I included them anyway to cover the basics. It’s a good idea to clean out your wallet before you leave home and only bring the essentials to the park with you. That way you won’t lose everything if it goes missing. Besides, why bring cards you can’t use at Disney?
Especially with the My Disney Experience App it’s becoming more important to have your phone with you in the parks. Who am I kidding? I never go anywhere without my cell phone! That brings me to another thing that is always good to have on hand – Ziploc bags. They are good for 1,000 purposes. In this case, that purpose is keeping your cell phone dry on water rides or downpours.
Even on a cloudy day sunscreen is very important. Nothing will ruin the rest of your trip like a nasty sunburn. Applying regularly throughout the day is just as important. My favorite kind to bring to Disney are sunscreen sticks. You get all the protection without risking an extra liquid in your bag that could potentially become a sticky mess.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of bringing water bottles. You can get free ice water at any counter service restaurant so I guess I don’t see the sense in carrying a bottle. But then I’m used to drinking the smelly, Florida water! 🙂 If you aren’t it might be a good idea to bring filtered water bottles or flavor packs to add taste.
Anytime I’m really going to Disney as a “tourist” I pack snacks. They’re the perfect use of space as they save money and leave me extra room in my bag as they are eaten! Some good ideas are: jerky, goldfish crackers, nuts, granola bars, and dried fruit. Another added bonus… it keeps my husband occupied in long lines!
I have recently started leaving the Band-aids at home. They are offered for free at the first aid stations so the one time I’ve needed one I just stopped in and asked. In their place I now bring moleskin and a small pair of scissors. If you haven’t heard of moleskin it’s a thick, adhesive backed bandage type material. It’s a life saver if you find yourself with a blister but still need to walk for a few more days!
I used to wear a lanyard, but lately I’ve had a camera around my neck! In place of it I just throw a few pins in my pack. I was never one to trade much more than that anyway and it’s much lighter (and cooler!) than wearing a full lanyard.
Autograph Books & Pens
This is another one that I don’t bring anymore. I have several completely blank autograph books that I really meant to get filled up at some point. The pens still have a place in my bag, though! If I’m heading to Disneyland I bring some neat pens that are highlighters on one side. It’s handy to be able to highlight the times guide with a rough plan.
More specifically, I mean quarters and pennies! I’m a big fan of pressed pennies. They are a cheap and unique souvenir. I tend to start collecting change when we book our vacation so I have quite a bit saved up by the time we leave.
When I say ponchos I mean the dollar store variety. Normally, they are two for a dollar. In my opinion that makes them disposable! They come in tiny packages and the quality is just good enough to last one storm. If you are visiting during a cooler time it might make sense to get a good waterproof jacket instead. I’m a huge fan of Columbia and have had great luck with this jacket. I was able to get it at a fraction of the price at our local outlet here in Orlando.
Even if I’m not traveling with the full “rig” I always have a camera with me. In most cases a mirrorless but I’ve also carried a small point & shoot. However, take a look at the quality on your small camera and make sure it’s better than the camera on your phone. These days your phone might be just as good so there is no sense adding the extra weight to your pack.
I could extend this to the whole medicine cabinet because I normally bring treatment for upset tummies, gas, allergies, and other ailments. However, I think the pain reliever is the most important as muscles tend to ache after a couple days of steady walking. I normally forget messing around with the travel size and just throw a bottle in my bag. The little 10 count travel size always runs out at the worst time!
Not necessarily in the bag, but likely hanging off in a cute holder is this little trick. Let’s face it – it’s a dirty, dirty world out there. Especially if I’m grabbing a snack out of my bag it’s nice to be able to clean up while I’m at it. Plus this hand sanitizer is available it yummy flavors! Just think how dirty those menus are at the restaurant. All the more reason to use this stuff liberally!
This is a miserable thing to forget during a long day at the parks! Chapped lips are almost as bad as a sunburn. Bonus points for a lip balm that includes SPF!
Schedules / ADRs
Most guests can now access this information in the My Disney Experience App but it’s ssssslllllooooowwww. Did I mention it’s slow? I still bring printed copies of anything important with me to the parks. Better safe than stuck waiting!
The argument could be made that napkins are available for free all throughout the parks but for my delicate nose, tissues are required. Even on my light packing days I normally have some with me. They also come in handy if you get caught in a bathroom stall that has run out of potty paper. (Yucky – but it happens!)
I’m sure anyone reading here knows that gum isn’t sold on Disney property or at the Orlando airport. If you want it while you’re here and don’t want to trek off property somewhere to get it, then plan to bring it with you.
I know it might seem a little overboard but I find this very handy in the parks! I carry a tiny but super bright key chain that I use all the time. You’d be surprised how often a little light is needed when touring after dark.
Whenever I’m traveling I normally have a small pack of these in my bag. They are great in the parks to cleanup after super messy snacks like turkey legs or funnel cakes (that sugar gets on everything). But they also serve double duty removing makeup in the evenings. Wet wipes are a versatile and worth lugging around.
Finally, I always keep a luggage tag on my bag when I’m traveling. I include all my personal information and also my cell phone number. So far I haven’t lost my bag at Disney but I always fear it could happen. Hopefully, if it ever happened someone would send some pixie dust my way and return my bag since the info is clearly marked on it!
So now that I’ve shown you what’s in my bag I want to know – what’s in yours? Do you have a great idea I should add to my list? Please let me know in the comments below and as always thanks so much for reading!