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Disney Park Bag Essentials: What to Bring into the Parks

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Disney Park Bag Essentials: What to Bring into the Parks

Disney World days can be long, so what are the essential items you should you pack in your Disney World park bag to make sure you’re prepared?

Trust us: even the most minimalist of packers will have times when having an indispensable item or two on hand will make their days much more enjoyable.

The trick is figuring out what items are essential for you and your traveling party, and which ones you really don’t need.

In this post, we’re going to show you exactly what we carry in our bags to help you plan for yours…

Some of the links below are affiliate links, and we may receive commissions for purchases made through the links in this post. These are all products that we have personally tried out and highly recommend.

Some Disney Park Bag basics

In our experience, there are 2 different types of packers:

  • People who are totally fine going into the parks with the bare minimum.

And

  • People who feel more comfortable being prepared for most anything.
disney park bag essentials

In fact, in our travel group, we are usually split 50/50: Shannon and I are usually carrying larger sized bags or backpacks while Felicia and Allyson are often only using fanny packs or nothing at all.

You probably already know which type of packer you are, and depending on your circumstances, you may not have any choice what size bag you bring or even what items you *have* to bring into the parks.

Keep in mind that we truly don’t think everyone will or should pack every item on the list down below.

Instead, use our lists and recommendations as a guide, and then put together your own set of essentials that are customized for you and your family.

What to put in your Disney World park bag

Here are the items you may want to consider packing…

Disney Park Bag Essentials graphic

Weather-related items

Heat, rain, and sun are huge factors on most Disney World trips.

During some months, chilly morning/evening temps could also be an issue.

Park Bag weather related items

To deal with that, we’d suggest packing:

  • Ponchos and/or a travel umbrella. Ponchos are more convenient and can easily cover up you, your bag and a stroller (if they’re big enough) but umbrellas with UV protection can also be used as a sunshade.
  • Spray misters. When it’s hot, something to keep you cool can come in really handy. If it’s not summertime where you live, you might want to order these online or they’re available to buy at Disney World.
  • Folding fans. Inexpensive, lightweight and lifesavers, especially when you’re in a queue with lots of other people.
  • Handheld fan. The folding ones are great if you want something that you can just pack and forget, but the electric ones that are either battery powered or rechargeable are more powerful and can move more air.
  • Sunglasses. We’d also recommend a sunglass strap, just in case.
  • Light jacket. Recommended for mornings/evenings for people traveling October – March. Something you stuff in a bag or tie around your waist is best.

Health-related items

It is often handy to have at least 1 dose of common over-the-counter meds with you, but don’t forget any prescription meds you may also need.

disney park bags item to pack
  • Mini-first aid kit. You can make your own little kit with some Band-Aids, blister patches, itch/burn cream, ibuprofen, etc. There are also first aid stations in the parks with some of these items available.
  • Sunscreen. Even if you put some on in the morning before you leave, you’ll often need to reapply during the day. Small, travel sized bottles that you can refill work well, as do sunscreen sticks.
  • Anti-bacterial gel. People can and do get sick at WDW. Make sure you are keeping your hands clean before you eat!
  • Wet wipes. Useful for hands, wiping down tables, or cleaning up after a Mickey Bar.
  • Bug spray. Although bug bites are relatively rare at Disney World, if you know you are sensitive, you might want to consider it.
  • Tissues. A small pack will do, but you can also grab napkins at any of the restaurants if you’re ever in a pinch.
  • Prescription meds. Make sure you have anything you might need during the day with you.
  • Masks. Masks aren’t required in the parks, but if you prefer to wear them, make sure you bring a couple of fresh ones to swap out with during the day.

Gadgets

Many or most people rely on gadgets for their trip, especially since so many of the details are managed through the app.

Disney Park Bag Essentials gadgets

Don’t forget to pack:

  • Cell phone. Read more about how to get your phone ready for a Disney World trip
  • An external battery charger with charging cords. Phone batteries drain so, so quickly at Disney World, so bring an external charger, just in case.
  • Fitness band or smartwatch. You’ll be shocked at how many miles you walk each day.

Park touring items

Without these, you won’t make it very far in the parks.

park touring items

Some items to remember in your Disney World park bag:

  • Park maps. You can pick these up at the park if you don’t have any of your own ahead of time, or download them from our Disney World Maps page.
  • MagicBands/park tickets. On-site guests will likely use their MagicBands. Off-site guests will use their park tickets, unless they choose to purchase MagicBands at Disney World.
  • Lanyards. For off-site guests who will need to regularly use their park tickets and credit cards, we suggest a lanyard for easy access.
  • Credit card. Although you can charge things to MagicBands, I always bring a little cash and a credit card just in case.
  • Photo ID. Especially if you want to purchase alcohol, make sure you bring a photo ID from a U.S. state or territory or a passport.
  • Autograph book. You could also bring other items to autograph, such as a photo mat or pillow case, but if you would like to capture autographs, make sure you bring them with you into the parks.
  • Autograph pen. The characters prefer larger pens or Sharpies (bonus points for retractable Sharpies which are an excellent option).

Entertainment for kids

Although we hope that you won’t end up waiting much, it’s always helpful to have things for kids to do while waiting for the parks to open, in line at an attraction, or for food to arrive.

Entertainment for kids park bag items to pack

Some ideas:

  • Games. A deck of cards or game apps work well.
  • Bubbles. Kids love bubbles, and it is easy to carry little, party-sized bottles to blow while waiting. Disney also sells popular bubble wands that kids love.
  • Coins for pressing. It is one of the cheapest souvenirs ever, and it’s fun for kids to look for machines.
  • Glow sticks. Glow sticks are inexpensive and fun to use at night. Bring extras to hand out to other kids who are waiting for a parade or nighttime show to begin.

Pantry items

Make sure you stay hydrated and have some snacks handy for between meals.

Pantry items stuff to pack in park bag

Don’t forget to pack:

  • Bottled water. We used to carry 1 around per family member, but that can be very heavy. You can also bring 1 and refill it during the day (you can get free cups of water from Quick Service locations).
  • Snacks. Make sure it is things that can handle the heat. We like bringing fruit, granola bars, and whatever we’re having for breakfast on-the-go that day.
  • Gum. Gum is not sold at Disney World, so bring it with you if you’d like some during your trip.

Miscellaneous items

Some other things we’d suggest:

Disney Park Bag Essentials pantry items
  • Towel. This may sound silly but they can come in very handy. You can use it to wipe off a seat after the rain, to sit on during parades, etc.
  • Spare outfit for kids. If you think your child may play in the Epcot fountains, in the water area in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, or get wet on Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids, you might want to pack a dry, spare set of clothes for them.
  • Extra Ziplocs. You never know what you might want to keep dry or when you could use some extra storage.

What is the best bag for Disney World?

Backpack

We have tried just about every type of bag under the sun. Big backpacks. Small crossbody purses. You name it, we’ve purchased it and drug it to the parks, only to find it wasn’t quite right.

designer park bag company

And then one day we got an email about a new bag that was being designed especially for theme parks, and we were intrigued enough to shell out our own money to purchase a couple of them.

And folks, I think we have found a new favorite.

Yes, this sounds a lot little like an infomercial, but we truly do love these bags *that* much.

And, if you’ve read this website for very long, you’ll know that we are very particular about what we endorse.

But after years and years of bags that were either cute but not functional, or functional but not cute, we’re excited to talk about these.

The style we purchased is called the “Rope Drop”, and here are the highlights:

  • vegan leather with gorgeous lining (color depends on the color of the bag)
  • laser-cut pinholes on the front pocket to display pins
  • a strap to hold your ears when you’re ready to take them off
  • a storage area that is big, but not too big
  • double zippers for extra security
  • interior pockets the perfect size for your phone
  • two interior elastic storage pockets for disposable 16 ounce water bottles
  • this cool, hidden storage net that attaches to the bottom for carrying additional items like wet umbrellas, jackets, or even souvenirs
  • two exterior side pockets
Park bag interior

As for the size, for comparison it is bigger than a Loungefly (if you are familiar with those), but smaller than a standard backpack.

  • If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can check them out on the Designer Park Co website. WDW Prep School readers can get 10% off by using the code WDWPREP.

Note: if you choose to use our code above, we’ll also receive a small commission on each purchase.

Fanny Pack

We know that not everyone is a fan of wearing a backpack. So, we polled our 2 *most* favorite fanny pack wearers (Allyson and Felicia) to see what brands or styles of fanny packs they prefer.

Here’s what they said:

Allyson:

Allison fanny pack pride mural

Allyson said that she really loves the old Vera Bradley style, like the one in the photo above. Sadly, they don’t sell them anymore, but you can pick them up second-hand sometimes.

Her other favorite is the one in the photo below:

allison in fanny pack with pluto

That one is from SoJourner Bags and here’s what Allyson says about it:

I need a fanny pack with lots of pockets. I hate the small ones with one zipper. More pockets to fit credit cards/IDs, my phone, battery pack, charger, and all of the other essentials.

Felicia:

Felicia is known for doing heavy research before purchases – which is great because we can often benefit from all her legwork!

felicia wearing a fanny pack

Here’s what she found when she went on the hunt for the one she’s wearing in the picture above:

I have no suggestions when it comes to cute or fashionable fanny packs, but I did a lot of research to find the one I got. It’s relatively inexpensive and it’s durable. But it mostly met all of my criteria. These are the things that were important to me:

  • It needed to fit my phone.
  • It needed to have multiple zippered areas to keep things organized. This one has a small zippered pocket that fits ID/Credit cards/receipts/AP, etc. and then a bigger pocket I can fit my phone and small external charger in.
  • I wanted the straps and such to be cushioned, so it wouldn’t be uncomfortable to wear all day.
  • Most importantly, I wanted to be able to carry a water bottle.

And what I wanted overall was a way to carry the necessities and a water bottle without having to use my hands and without having straps and bags and such touching the top half of my body and smothering me in the heat. Backpacks on my back all-day feel terrible and heavy and like a burden. I forget I’m even wearing the fanny pack.

Park bag items on Amazon

Many/most of the items listed above are available in the WDW Prep Amazon Shop, so be sure to check that out to save yourself time running around to different stores.

Disney World park bag

Park Bag FAQs

Does Disney World use metal detectors?

Like arenas and stadiums, Walt Disney World also utilizes metal detectors.

For the past couple of years, Disney has been switching up their security procedures, using magnetometers that allow you to walk through without having to stop and open every last zipper on your bag for inspection.

The caveat is that some (but not all) metal items will still cause the metal detectors to go off.

disney world security metal detectors

As you approach the checkpoints, Disney Security will ask you to remove umbrellas and metal water bottles and hold them in front of you as you walk through, but we found that other items, like our large external chargers, eyeglass cases, and portable fans also set the alarm off. 

To avoid that, we started separating out all of our metal items into their own clear bag that we could easily hold in front of us to be visibly inspected instead, and that nearly always works like a charm.

Anything (and everything) we had that was metal goes in it: external batteries, inhaler, Altoid tins, etc.

Does Disney World allow bags on rides?

Yes! Disney allows you to bring your bags on all rides, so you don’t need to worry about what to do with it while you are on an attraction.

However, Universal provides free lockers that they require you to use at many of their rides which means an extra stop going in and out of those rides, and it’s kind of a pain.

Can you bring your own food to Disney World parks?

You definitely can. Pack a whole lunch, if you’d like. Just don’t bring alcohol or anything made of glass.

Video: What’s in my Disney World park bag


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What other items would you put into your Disney World park bag?

Related News
Heather Thomas

Stacey

Friday 11th of June 2021

Have you used the body glide foot anti blister balm? If so did you find it helpful? My husband and I are going in October for the 50th and we ALWAYS get blisters at the ball of our feet and in between the toe area. I would love to try it but i also don't want to spend unnecessary money on things that wont work because we are on a kind of tight budget. But on another note on our last two trips to Disney we actually froze some water bottles and wrapped a wash rag around it and stuck in our park bag and it was really helpful.

tariq Usman

Friday 11th of June 2021

Our ultimate Disney secret is CamelBak water backpacks. Our first trip to Disney in 8/2005, we took water bottles, which were inconvenient to carry around and warm by the time we hit the bus stop. When we went with our son when he was 2, we brought a CamelBak for us, and a little one for him, which we hung on the back of the stroller and threaded the drinking tube into him. We had a well-hydrated toddler who wasn’t having July heat meltdowns like everyone else’s and cold water all day for ourselves. Now we have appropriately sized ones for all of us (the 2yo is now 11, and has an 8yo little bro), and they also hold the snacks and other sundries we consider important enough to lug around for 20K steps. *And a new 2020 Covid era benefit, you can sip water from the tube without removing your mask!*

Tabitha

Saturday 12th of September 2020

Every time I’ve gone to Disney I’ve packed a very similar bag to what you have listed the best thing for security is to pack in a see through pouch/ziploc of some sort that way when they look at your bags contents during security checks they take out a pouch look at the contents through the outside and move on. Saves a TON of time trying to repack your bag and security will thank you for it!

Laura

Thursday 25th of April 2019

love this. i get so annoyed with the sites that say don't bring a park bag, it just wastes time. those people obviously don't have children. but even before kids, i always wind up needing something and i'd rather have it with me than have to buy it and spend a fortune, or go without and have disastrous results.

Charity

Monday 20th of August 2018

In your video you show your Haunted Mansion folding fan. I am having trouble trying to find where to order one for my friend who really liked yours. Can you point me in the right direction? Thank you. ?

Shannon Albert

Monday 20th of August 2018

I had it made. They aren't for sale (yet). :)