If you’re anything like me, you probably think a lot about what to pack for your vacation, but don’t necessarily always bring the items you actually need into the parks. I have a thorough Disney packing list saved in my phone and rarely forget something we need for vacation. On the other hand, I often find myself hustling out of the resort room in the morning, unsure of whether the things I stuffed in my mini backpack are the things I need.
Minimizing what you carry in a theme park is great, don’t get me wrong. But, sometimes the convenience of having “just in case” items can be worth it. Your backpack may weigh a bit more, but if you’re bringing a bag into the park anyway, it may be worth adding some of these items to it. Consider packing these lifesavers in your Disney park bag on your next trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort!
Your Own Poncho/Rain Gear
Anyone who has been to Walt Disney World resort before will tell you- it rains almost every day! Though the rain storms are short, getting drenched to the bone can put a damper on the rest of your day. While I happen to actually like the thicker Disney rain poncho, they’re a real pain to deal with when you take them off and they’re covered in water. Consider buying some disposable, single-use rain ponchos at Walmart or a camping store before you travel and keep them in your bag for those pop-up storms.
In a downpour, even a hefty poncho doesn’t quite cut it. You may prefer to have an umbrella for a more substantial storm. That said, a thunder and lightning storm may not make you want to pop open your umbrella- but they are infinitely useful for another purpose, too: the Summer heat. I have found that having an umbrella to shade myself from the sun is much better at keeping me cool than wearing a hat. Bonus: it also enforces physical distancing and gives you a little personal space. Just be extra careful of the Guests around you and be a courteous fellow park-goer.
Comfortable shoes are a must for a theme park trip. Personally, I prefer supportive sandals to sneakers/tennis shoes for my long park days in the Spring and Summer. Even if you’re more likely to wear walking shoes than sandals, you might want to pack a pair of flip flops in your bag for those days when your sneakers get wet from a rain shower or a water ride. There’s almost nothing worse than walking around a theme park with wet shoes and socks!
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Your Own Snacks
Some Guests don’t know that you can actually bring your own snacks into the parks, but you can! There are a few reasons why you might want to consider doing this. First, you can save a nice chunk of change bringing your own goodies. You might also have some picky eaters in your group or a young child who has go-to snack like goldfish, applesauce pouches, etc. It’s painful to have your child declare his or her hunger, only to have them take 2 bites and be “full.” Some of this can be avoided by bringing some tried and true options.
Snacks can double as breakfast, too. For both kids and adults, granola bars are great grab-and-go breakfasts that you can eat throughout the morning. Saving that precious morning time can be a game-changer, especially if it allows you to rope-drop the park opening.
Related: 10 Packing Tips for Walt Disney World
Along the same lines as bringing your own snacks, you might consider also bringing your own water bottle. In addition to being able to fill it at water filling stations (those are few and far between, however), you can also get free cups of ice water at most counter service locations throughout the parks.
If you’re particular about the taste of your water, get a bottle with a built-in filter. It makes a difference! Another option is to get a case of water for your resort room- you can bring bottled water into the parks that way, too.
There’s no substitute for a solid hand-washing, but hand sanitizer is a convenient way to keep the germs at bay. Especially now, we’re even more conscious of keeping our hands clean. While Disney has done a good job of placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the parks, they are often empty or not working properly. Bringing your own small sanitizer will ensure that you can clean your hands whenever you want to.
Portable Battery Chargers
If you’re using My Disney Experience and taking photos on your phone, the battery may not make it past lunchtime. Disney has Fuel Rod portable chargers for sale in the parks, but you’ll save some money and hassle by buying your own backup charger from Amazon before you go on vacation. My family has always done well with the Anker brand. Fuel Rods are convenient- just buy one charged up, use it until it is depleted, and exchange it for a fully charged one (plus a fee). But, they hold much less charge than other options you can buy yourself, and are much less cost effective. Bring your own and you’ll never have to worry about battery life on your vacation.
I must admit, I have a bit of an obsession with Ziploc bags and their endless utility. Ziploc bags are useful on vacation and theme park visits in so many ways. Going on a water ride? Put your technology in a Ziploc bag. Kid snacks half eaten? Throw the rest in a Ziploc. Trading pins in the park? Put your traders in a Ziploc bag. Have wet clothes you need to stow away? Well, you get the idea.
Some savvy parents even swear by packing outfits for the kiddos in Ziploc bags- just pull one out each morning and you’ve got a shirt, shorts, underwear, and socks all in one neat little pack. Anything that gets you out of the resort a few minutes earlier in the morning is a winning idea in my book!
What’s in Your Park Bag?
We’d love to hear about your “must-haves” for a busy day in the Disney theme parks! Did you pick up any new ones reading our list today? Let us know!
Related: Packing and Planning for Disney 101