Spending a whole day in the Disney Parks is fun, exhausting and full of moments where you wish you’d brought something along with you. I hardly ever go into the parks without my trusty backpack full of items to get me through the day. In this post, we’ll go through all of the essentials that we think you should pack for a day in a Disney Theme Park!
Before we get to the list, we should say that we’re going to keep this generic. I tend to bring a good amount of camera equipment with me and if anyone’s curious about what I bring then leave a comment and I’ll do a separate post. I’m well aware that lugging around 30+ pounds of gear isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and, you know what, I don’t blame you! With that in mind, this list will just look at what a normal person would bring, not someone who takes way too many photos of riverboats, light fixtures and Disneyland ducks.
Along with that generic-ness (that should be a word), we’re covering Disney Parks as a whole instead of each resort separately. There are a few differences, mainly pertaining to weather at these. Disneyland Resort gets much cooler at night than Walt Disney World, especially in the non-summer months. On the reverse side of that, WDW will see way more rain than the west coast alternative. It’s good to be prepared for all of that, regardless of where you’re going but those differences are important to note.
Most of what we recommend in this post is linked with the product name, connecting to the website (which is usually Amazon). That should make it easy to click and check it out! If you have questions about a specific item then let us know in the comments! We’re trying to not go overboard here, making everything on the list fit inside of one backpack, or maybe two if you’re going with a family. Let’s get to it!
Before we actually can start with the stuff in the bag, let’s go with the bag itself. There’s a number of different options here. I bring in a camera backpack, and Melissa recently bought and loves this Northface Mini Borealis Backpack. It’s big enough to fit in the essentials but small and light enough to not make it overly hot or heavy. We’re both surprised at how much you can fit in there.
If you’ve been in the parks in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that mini Loungefly backpacks are all the rage. While we don’t personally own one, I am partial to this simple Mickey edition. They seem to be of good quality and you could hold about the same amount as the Mini Northface one I posted above. Unfortunately, they do cost a good amount of money.
Finally, I carry a fairly hefty camera backpack around. In my last few backpacks, I’ve gone with the LowerPro brand and have had a good experience. The Tahoe BP 150 is more affordable, generally cheaper than the other two backpacks I’ve linked, and fairly lightweight while being conditioned for weather. If all else fails, just go to that trusty JanSport backpack you had in middle school that’s somehow still surviving!
Inside the Backpack!
I put this first on the list because it is genuinely one of the most useful things. Long, hot days in theme parks can get uncomfortable and chafing happens. Body Glide makes it not happen. There’s also Foot Glide which saves you from any blister annoyances. I do think you can probably just use the Body Glide on your feet though, as they do the same thing.
Anker Portable External Phone Charger
Now that the parks are fairly reliant on using your phone for Genie+, looking at wait times or getting a dining reservation, having an external phone charge is of the utmost importance. You don’t want to park hop with a dead phone! I linked my favorite one above, which is cost effective and powerful. Yes, the Disney Parks do have FuelRod stations throughout them and it’s not a bad deal. That said, the Anker charger is far more powerful and, as long as you don’t lose it, is a better investment.
20-Pack of Emergency Rain Ponchos
We’re going best bang for your buck. Regardless of which Disney Resort you’re visiting, ponchos are necessary. It downpours frequently at Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s Splash Mountain brings a solid wave of water over the front of the log, making for some moist clothing. Buy some ponchos and, at the very least, protect the stuff in the backpack as well as your comfort for the rest of the day. If you don’t use them, it’s fun to pass them on to the strangers who look extra scared before getting on a water ride.
I’m not going to link anything here as you likely know what kind of sunglasses you want. I prefer the dollar store ones because they are incredibly stylish and I will inevitably lose them within a few weeks. Heartache avoided while looking like a movie star.
We aren’t picky here, any sunscreen will do. The sunscreen sticks are preferable as they are easy to apply without the otherwise grossness that comes with not getting sunburnt. Sprays are good and easy too but less effective. The one linked above is for body and face, which is some nice versatility!
Sweatshirt/Jacket and hat/beanie
As I mentioned earlier in the post, it can get chilly at night. Bring your favorite sweatshirt or jacket with you especially in the non-summer months. If you’re in Disney World, a light rain jacket might be the way to go! Likewise, at times the sun can be a little overpowering and you may want a hat or a beanie once the temperatures drop down.
Athletic, Wicking Socks (Bring an Extra Pair)
While shoes are maybe the most important choice of the day (seriously, wear comfortable shoes. It’s not on the list because you don’t pack them for a park day but do it!), socks are a close second. A pair of well-ventilated, wicking socks can save you from blistering and keep your feet feeling fresh for a while longer! The linked pair does the trick but there are plenty similar. Like the masks, bring an extra pair in case disaster strikes.
We’ve gotta protect those lips too! Chapstick with SPF is a good way to go. I’m a Burt’s Bees fan but there are plenty of different routes to go here.
Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Sanitizer Spray
Yes, the parks do have hand sanitizing stations throughout them and if you’re good with that then save the money! I am not a big fan of the gloopiness (wait, that’s not a word??) of those so having a spray hand sanitizer is a nice, convenient way to go. There’s also the option of just going to the bathroom and washing your hands!
Froggy Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel
Yes, this is just an incredible name and that alone should have you considering whether to buy it or not. If you get a little overheated at times, this cooling towel works wonders and can be used throughout the day. I used my first one after a half marathon and it’s amazing how quickly they can cool you off.
Okay, I’ll be fully transparent. I have never tried the Skittles water flavoring I linked. I don’t use water flavoring and you’ll notice there’s no water bottle on this list because I always just get ice water from counter-service restaurants for free. That said, some of the water does taste bad. I do have a long history with Skittles. Me and them go way back. Do I know if there water flavoring tastes good? No. But their candy does.
You’re gonna need it. The 500 count should suffice but consider the 1,000 if you aren’t used to putting in 20,000 steps a day 😉
These aren’t for the faint of heart. I was turned on to these suckers while on a trip to Japan where I averaged about 4 hours of sleep per night. If you’re planning a rigorous Disney trip full of long days then these Caffeine Mints are a good value as they will keep you from buying overpriced soda or coffee. Instead you’ll get that energy boost from a little mint!
Along with all of these things, it’s smart to have a little pack of essentials. Band-Aids, deodorant, eye drops, any medication, etc. Having a little first aid kit is never a bad way to go!
There’s our list for now! I’m sure we’ve missed something so please let us know in the comments, along with any questions you might have. Planning a Disney trip? Check out our Travel Guides to help get you there! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog via email or WordPress and like our social media pages. You can find all of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you very much for reading, we appreciate it!
Categories: Vacation Tips
OMG I really appreciate this post thank you! Now I need to get a new backpack, chapstick, rain ponchos, and a portable charger (which I needed a new one anyways). Well, I better do a double check to see what I already have before I spend more money than I need to lol! I was not aware there was such thing as a cooling towel though, wow! By the way, I heard that you could bring your own food (like sandwiches) and drinks into Disney and Universal Studios under certain circumstances. Have you done that before?
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Yes, bringing in food isn’t a problem at all! We’ve done it numerous times. I don’t think cans or glass bottles are allowed, I should double check that, otherwise bringing in food is an excellent way to save money!
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Oh so what containers do you use to bring sandwiches and keep them cold throughout the day?
Usually just ziplock bags. It doesn’t stay super cool but if you eat it for lunch then it’s fine. They do have cooling lockers but that kind of defeats the purpose of saving money. I’m sure there are smaller cooling bags that could fit in the backpack though!
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Oh yeah, cooling bags would work! I used to pack my sandwich for lunch in a ziplock bag and put it in my cooling bag, so that I could take it with me to college. Thanks for the suggestion!
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This is so helpful! I already added to my Amazon cart.
Thanks for another great post!
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