Smart Packing for the Parks

This post is about what to bring in your bag for the parks. There are some items that really must be packed. You don’t want to have to buy sunscreen at Disney World, or run back to the resort halfway though the day, do you? A little smart packing will help you have your best day at the parks.

Ponchos or small umbrella. I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you it rains in Florida. If you go in the spring, summer or early fall it will rain almost daily. Don’t let that ruin the magic for your visit. Just be prepared. A dollar store will carry cheap plastic ponchos for, well, about a dollar. We invested in some IKEA ponchos that breathe a bit, but they are bulky and we don’t use them as much as we thought we would. Ponchos are also good if you don’t care to get wet on Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids. A small umbrella fits nicely and can shield you from rain or the unrelenting sun. Just be careful if you’re there on a crowded day or you could end up poking someone.

Snacks. Sure you could pay $2.79 for some apple slices at Prince Eric’s Village Market, or you could just bring an apple. Hopefully you will have brought a small arsenal of snacks on your vacation. Trying some of the signature snacks at the parks is great (yes, Dole Whip float,) but for avoiding crabby toddlers, tweens and adults, please bring a little something. Hummus and crackers, pretzels, grapes and jerky all make great eat-on-the-run snacks. You are allowed to bring food into the parks, so don’t fret that security will pat you down, confiscate your Sun Maid raisins and throw you into Disney jail.

Sunscreen. Not much to say on this. It’s Florida, when it’s not raining, the sun is scorching. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the horror that is sunburn while on vacation.

Baby wipes. No, it doesn’t matter if you have a baby, just trust me, you’ll be glad you have these. Comes in extremely handy for wiping all manner of stuff of hands, faces, and freshening up halfway through a long day.

Sunglasses and/or hats. Anything to protect your eyes. It’s bright down there, folks.

Smart phone and camera. Hopefully you have downloaded the “My Disney Experience” app on to your phone. Keep your phone in a handy outside pocket because you will be referring to that app often throughout your day. It has your Fastpass+ times, dining reservations, maps, and characters nearby. Keep the camera in an easily accessible pocket too, You really never know when something magical will happen and you will want to capture it. Cast Members will kindly use your camera to take your picture at character meet and greets, so have it out and ready to go. An extra charger is a good idea too.

A set of extra clothes (or at least undies) for the kids in a ziploc bag. Yep, it happens. You know what I mean by “it.” Kids get very excited. They don’t want to stop having fun. They wait too long to tell you they have to go. It’s good to be prepared and not have to stop your day just because of a little accident.IMAG0237

Autograph book and pen. Getting the characters’ autographs is fun. It’s a great souvenir of your trip and something to help kids interact with the characters if they’re feeling shy. My daughter wanted an official Disney autograph book, but any small notebook or sketchpad will do. Make sure the pen is easy to hold, like a sharpie. Imagine how tough it is for Pluto or Mickey to sign autographs with those giant hands. Help a mouse out.

Yes, this seems like a lot of stuff. Please make sure you have a bag that is comfortable to carry for hours on end. I recommend a day pack-style backpack with padded straps, or a cross-body bag. This is my personal favorite bag. Lots of pockets and very comfortable. We usually don’t bother with water bottles because they get very heavy and free cups of water are available at any Disney counter-service restaurant. Obviously add to this list any items-you-can’t-do-without. For me, it’s lip balm. Yes, I am an addict, but that’s for another blog. Anyway, for you it might be gum, or Pepsi (neither are available in any Disney parks.) This blog has a very detailed listing of every little thing you might want to bring with you. I like keeping it light so I can move around the parks quickly. See what works for you. Happy travels!

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