My family & I LOVE to travel, especially to Disney! Our favorite thing to do is wake up early and head to the park before it opens to get the best view of the park opening show. Then we spend all morning and most of the afternoon at the parks. We usually will break in the late afternoon and head back to our resort for a swim and some dinner. Then back to the parks we go, for the evening and for the fireworks! It’s not unusual for us to spend ten hours a day in the parks. In our past trips our park bag used to have everything but the kitchen sink in it! However, over the years we have downsized a bit and only carry the must need essentials. I thought I’d take a minute and share with you what we carry in our park bag!
1. Ponchos- This is a must have if you are traveling to the South where a chance of rain can make Niagara falls look like a leaky faucet. We bought these Disney ponchos at a Target outside of Disney World for less than $5! The quality is great and more than half the price you will pay in park.
2. Sunscreen & Hand Sanitizer- Living in the South I have learned not to leave the house without these! Let’s face it… It’s Florida. It’s called the Sunshine State for a reason. It gets super hot (even in the shade!) so make sure you protect your skin! The best time to reapply is while you are waiting in line for rides or shows. It kills two birds with one stone! Not only are you killing time, but you are protecting yourself from a sunburn! Trust me, nothing ruins a vacation like a bad sunburn! Now Disney may be one of the cleanest vacation spots I’ve ever been to but let’s face it.. Germs are everywhere and you can’t always get to a sink to wash your hands. That’s why I never leave the house without packing some hand sanitizer. Trust me, you will thank me later!
3. Water Bottles- In Disney you will easily walk an average of six to eight miles a day so make sure to keep hydrated! One of the great things about Disney is that you can go to any Quick Service restaurants and ask for a cup of ice water for FREE! Yeah you read that right, I said FREE!! How awesome is that!? My family and I like to fill our water bottles up with ice before we head out to the park so it can melt all morning & when you are ready to rehydrate it has melted into ice-cold water. If you don’t care for tap water, you can buy a water bottle with a built-in filter at your local Target or Wal-Mart.
4. Head phones- Anytime we go some place where there may be loud noises, loud music or fireworks these are a must for our kiddos. We carry these small compact Kids Noise Canceling Headphones in our bag. I bought them on Amazon and they were a steal ($15) for how much we use them! My son even prefers to wear them on airplanes too!
5. Post-lts- Post-it notes are not only great for writing down notes and reminders but also a lifesaver when you are at a public restroom with automatic toilets. If you place a post-it over the sensor it won’t flush while your little one is trying to use the potty. This little trick was a life saver since our daughter was terrified of automatic toilets! Post-its are also great for kids to draw or write on when you’re at a restaurant or waiting in the long line. My kids & I love to kill time by playing tic tac toe on them!
6. Portable Fan- We got this particular fan as a gift but you can find them in the parks for about $20. Once again that Florida sun can be brutal! These come in handy to help cool our kiddos down, so we can keep truckin’ along through the parks. There is nothing worse than your kiddos melting down because they are literally melting! If you are looking to spend a little less, I also found a similar fan at Babies R Us for half the price. The best part about these fans is that they can clip onto anything!
7. First Aid Kit- This is a must especially for long park days. I bought this at target for $1 but you can make your own at home with a ziplock bag, band aids, blister band aids, & some Neosporin. Even though you’re on vacation… accidents happen, so I like to be prepared! On a few occasions now I have made the mistake of wearing the wrong park shoes and boy was I glad I had blister band aids on hand! Another pro tip is to throw in a few extra ziplock bags so you can take home any left over snacks you might not finish in the parks.
8. Portable charger- I bought this one at Target for $5 but Disney now has portable charger stations throughout the park. For $30 you can buy a similar charger and once the battery dies you just bring it to one of these charging stations and Disney will replace it for free! Disney also has designated charging locations where you can just bring your phone charger and plug it in to charge while you rest your feet and enjoy some good ole people watching! One of my new favorite spots is in Magic Kingdom next to Rapunzel’s Tower in Fantasyland. There is an area next to the bathrooms with benches and tables to relax, grab a snack and charge your phone. While you are relaxing you can also try to find all the Hidden Pascals!
9. Trading Pins & Lanyard- My kids love to trade pins with cast members in Disney. They usually start off the day wearing their lanyards but end up taking them off pretty early in the day. I keep them in our park bag so if they decide to do an impromptu trade with a cast member we already have them on hand! A great tip is to buy used pins on eBay before your trip for a fraction of the price! Fair warning though: If you are going to trade pins bought outside of the park then make sure they are authentic Disney pins or cast members won’t trade with you!
10. Pen & Autograph Book- Getting character autographs at Disney is a must! Every trip we take to Disney we make a special book and fill it with autographs. It is a nice souvenir for each trip! A great tip is to pack a larger pen or Sharpie since some characters can’t hold the smaller thinner pens with their big awkward character hands. We bought this Mickey pen on our very first trip! My husband couldn’t believe I spent almost $10 on a pen but we have used it for every trip and it works the best for characters of all types to use.
I know what you must be thinking…. Our park bag is not very pretty! However, it is the most comfortable bag to carry on your back all day and night. I recommend finding a bag that is not only comfortable, but one that has plenty of pockets and storage space as well as one that is durable enough to handle the hustle and bustle of park days and the crazy Florida weather. Hope these tips will help you pack a great park bag for a magical trip!