I am an over packer. I live by the motto: Better to have and not need than need and not have! I pride myself with carrying a bag that will rival Mary Poppins carpet-bag, where I can pull out whatever is needed, in any situation, at any time. When on vacation, Hubs comically makes camel noises as he trails behind, lugging whatever I have deemed necessary to bring along in our Walt Disney World day bag.
When we return to The World this year, I have challenged myself to bring only what is absolutely necessary in our park day bag. I have limited myself to ONE cross body bag and the parent console attached to the stroller.
So, what is necessary to carry with you into the Disney Parks? Every guest who visits will have a different answer. Some will say nothing but your phone, magic band, and identification; others will bring in multiple bags – most will fall somewhere in the middle.
First of all – the bag: this is a backpack style cross body bag. I recommend either a cross body bag or backpack (or any sort of hybrid). They are easier to carry than a shoulder bag.
Here is what will go inside:
The basics –
- Sunscreen – we will sunscreen up before leaving the resort, but reapplication in the Florida sun is almost always necessary for everyone.
- First Aid Items – We carry just a few items. Each park has a designated First Aid location that any guest can visit, but having a few basic items on hand can save a trip to First Aid for a little scrape or other small “ouch”.
- Small first aid kit – most drug and big box stores have these for a dollar or two. Generally, these contain: a few Band-Aids (I replace the generic ones with Disney character ones), an alcohol wipe or two, an insect bite wipe, and some sort of healing cream. I add in a couple of blister Band-Aids, with all the walking, blisters will happen in even the best shoes.
- Basic medication – pain reliever, allergy medication, and various digestion or stomach settling aids. Having an upset tummy on vacay is never fun – we tend to over indulge at WDW. I put medications in little zip top bags and put all the little bags in a larger locking pill bottle.
- Liquid Allergy Medication – None of us have bad reactions to insect bites or stings, but I find getting allergy medication into the kiddos as quickly as possible really helps keep a bite or sting as a non-issue. First Aid in the parks can also help out with bites and stings.
- Lotion, lip balm – Not everyone deems these items necessary, but I always have them nearby.
- Hand Sanitizer – Lots of people, lots of germs. An illness souvenir is not a fun one to bring home
Diapers and a changing pad. Always bring one more diaper than you will need, just in case. Diapers are available for purchase at the Baby Care location in each park but there is no guarantee they will have your brand or size. I usually take 4-5 diapers each day and a small package of wipes. I pre-pack these in a zip top type plastic bag prior to leaving home so I can just throw a pack in for each day. The zip top bag is key here – it often rains daily in Florida and you don’t want your diapers to get soaked in your bag. I wrap the package in a changing pad. The changing pad is completely unnecessary, the restrooms have ample platforms to change diapers – however, I’m not exactly a germophobe, but I like to avoid germs when possible. The changing pad also makes for a softer more comfortable surface for baby.
A change of clothes for the kiddos. Even if they are past the potty training stage, spills can still happen, rain storms will happen, don’t forget the water attractions, (Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids anyone?) and finally there are splash areas in the parks. When it is hot outside, Disney blasts the air conditioning inside – you will spend a lot of time outside at the parks, you will also spend a lot of time inside. Cold, wet, whiney kiddos are no fun on vacation. Put one full outfit in a zip top bag for each kiddo. Don’t forget to include a diaper or necessary under garments. No one enjoys dry clothes on top of wet undies.
Autograph books and pens. Tip: take a marker or permanent marker, pens will work just fine, but the markers show up really well. Many of the characters have big paws or hands so please leave the golf pencils at home! There are awesome autograph books and pens for sale inside the parks – we have our own custom-made by Lil’ Bit and Baby Bug’s awesome Aunt.
We also pack:
Case (or two) for sunglasses – safe place for them while on attractions, watching shows or when dining, Cooling (Snap-type) Towels – these are nice for the back of your neck when the afternoon heat sets in – in the cooler months you can swap these out for a compact wind breaker, Disposable Bibs if your kiddo is a messy eater.
A portable phone charger – especially if you are relying on the My Disney Experience App and your phone is your camera. Quarters and pennies for the penny and quarter press machines. Pressed pennies and quarters are a fun and different type of souvenir. We use two prescription bottles that share one cap. I read this suggestion many years ago somewhere (I can no longer remember where) and it has worked so well. Purchase a couple of rolls of pennies and quarters before you leave and refill each day.
Snacks! I throw in just a few very small snacks. Honestly, we would rather indulge ourselves on treats available at Walt Disney World than our usual snacks, but it is nice to have something familiar in a pinch. I suggest small crackers and/or granola type bars.
Other items you might want to include:
- Filtered water bottle – any food location (not the carts though) will happily supply you with cups of ice water. A lot of WDW guests however, do not like the taste of the Orlando tap water. In order to get rid of the taste, many guests will pour the cup of water into a bottle with a filter or add flavor packets. The taste doesn’t bother any of us though, and we will have our resort mugs in the stroller console.
- Hand held fans with a sprayer attachment – you can pick one up in the park or at any big box or sporting goods store before you leave. We had one last time and I found it to be bulky, battery eating, and provide minimal breeze. We prefer the cooling towels pictured above.
- Umbrellas or ponchos – I will likely purchase a couple of ponchos when we arrive for the bag. We rent a stroller (there will be another post on that later) and they provide a rain cover – the ponchos will allow us to keep going even if it is raining.
Here is our bag packed and ready to go on Hubs back, It weighs about 5 pounds.
We will all wear our Magic Bands and Hubs and I will have our identification, cash or cards, and phones on us.
So what is your absolutely necessary item to bring along in your Walt Disney Word day bag?