Planning a Disney trip is so fun and exciting! You get to schedule dinner reservations and Fast Passes, choose where you’ll stay, and plan your trek around the parks. But sometimes it’s easy to let the simplest things, like what to carry with you into the parks, slip your mind in all of the decision-making. I’m here to make it easy for you, because I’ve learned some hard lessons a time or two when it comes to forgetting the essentials (or carrying around heavy junk that we didn’t need). When visiting Disney World for the first time (or the 12th time), there’s a few things that I absolutely recommend you bring along – my Disney Parks Backpack Essentials!
Rain Jacket (or Extra Layer in General)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever visited Disney World and not experienced at least one rainy day. When we were there in January, it rained so hard on our first day that we were literally soaked through and it took the rest of the trip for our shoes to finally dry out. If you’re bringing a backpack along, I highly recommend bringing a rain jacket or poncho so you’re not stuck purchasing an overpriced Mickey Mouse poncho in the middle of the day. If you’re visiting in the winter months, I would also recommend bringing along an extra layer to prepare for cold weather, just in case. You’ll be thankful you have it, especially for Early Magic Hours when the sun hasn’t completely come out yet.
This goes along with the rain jacket up above, but I always, always bring extra Ziploc bags when visiting Disney World. Whether you get a full day of rain or you’re just hitting all of the water rides over and over, you’re going to need somewhere to keep your phone, wallet, and other important items safe. Disney doesn’t have cubbies on rides like some other theme parks do to keep your belongings in while you’re riding, so if you’re riding the Kali River Rapids, you better be prepared for your backpack to be soaked. When we got caught in Animal Kingdom in a torrential rainstorm, my phone stayed safe and dry in my backpack Ziploc bag. I also keep things like my portable charger and other electronics in there during the day.
I don’t know about you, but I take approximately one thousand photos a day in Disney World (maybe a little bit of an exaggeration), and that causes my phone to die quickly. Disney has also implemented some really neat features into the park that allow you to interact virtually as you travel through different themed areas from your phone. While you’re waiting in line, this can be a lifesaver (like in the Toy Story Midway Mania line), but this will definitely drain your battery life. I recommend bringing an external charger with you – fully charged – to keep your phone alive during the day. Being able to track the buses, make and alter dinner reservations, and view ride wait times from your phone is important.
Water and Snacks
If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, bringing along snacks and drinks will save you so much money. Snack kiosks can take all of your money if you’re not careful, so packing your own is genius. Individually packaged snacks are perfect for while you’re waiting in line, and so much cheaper than anything you can find inside the parks.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm
You are going to be outside for a majority of your day, so stay protected with a good SPF! Even when it’s cloudy you’d be surprised how much sun you’re getting. Most rides will have indoor/covered areas to wait, but if you’re trying to get into a really popular attraction or waiting outside of a restaurant, you’ll more than likely find yourself in direct sunlight most of the time.
A fun little thing that I love to bring along is my Instax Camera. Getting to snap some little polaroid pictures throughout the day – in front of the castle, with characters, and of all the insane scenery – can make your memories even more special. If you are traveling with small children, these cameras are perfect for character meet and greets, because you can get your photo taken and then have the character autograph straight onto the picture.
What are your MUST HAVES for Disney travel? Let me know!