Another common question I hear is “what should I bring with me into the parks?”. The answer to this depends a lot on your personality style and whether or not you are traveling with children. This list will focus on traveling with kids, as that seems to be the most common scenario, and really, how many of us are lucky enough to score a trip alone? Some people pack several bags and even a cooler to take with them. Others might bring a wallet and sunglasses and just buy anything else they might need. I’ve done it both ways, but in the end, these are what I consider my park essentials.
A cross body bag- It’s best if this bag is small enough to take with you on the rides. I recommend the Baggallini bags as they have multiple compartments and are super comfortable to carry around. I have theBaggallini Messenger Bag, which is a mid-size cross body messenger.
My family calls this “the magic bag”. You’d be amazed at how much you can fit inside one of these. I keep the valuables inside this bag and leave everything else inside the stroller. Some people prefer a backpack or even a full-on diaper bag. Just be mindful of size, as you need something you can carry with you on the attractions. You definitely do NOT want to leave your camera, wallet, credit cards in an unattended stroller.
Snacks (goldfish, peanut butter crackers, nothing perishable or easily squished)
Dum dum suckers or some other special treat for long waits.
Camera- need I say more?
Smart Phone- For using in park apps like “Touring Plans”. Also make sure your spouse/husband/travel partner brings their phone into the parks. If you have to split up, as you often do when you have children of different ages with you, a phone is invaluable for helping to stay in touch and organize meet times. My husband is NOTORIOUS for leaving his phone in the hotel room. It drives me crazy.
Sippy cups/bottled water/Sigg bottle - Staying hydrated is important, and to purchase bottled water inside the parks is very expensive. The quick service restaurants will give you ice water for free and you can use it to fill your own containers.
Stroller and Sunshade(if you don’t have a good one on your stroller)- My City Mini stroller is invaluable. It has a great sunshade, folds up in a pinch and maneuvers beautifully through the parks. I have a single and a double City Mini, which we used when all three of our kids were in strollers. Now I wish I had two singles, because pushing the double makes it harder to maneuver through the stores and crowds, and it makes it more difficult for our family to split up.
This sunshade, pictured below, was my savior when we took our youngest with us at 3 months of age. We visited WDW in late July and not surprisingly, it was scorching hot that week. I had this sunshade over the infant seat and then clipped a stroller fan to it. The baby stayed cool as a cucumber, while the rest of us were sweating like football players.
Headphones/ear plugs- My kids are very noise sensitive, so watching the fireworks from anywhere near the castle in the Magic Kingdom is just not an option for us. I’m thinking of buying these headphones for our next trip. They are made to use at concerts, air shows, and yes, even fireworks shows. These have been on my Amazon “wish list” for a while. I may just have to purchase them in the name of research. ;)
Sunscreen- don’t forget to reapply throughout the day
Diapers- enough said
Wipes- even for my older children, I always have wet wipes on hand.
Hand Sanitizer- a MUST!
Tickets/ID/Photopass card/credit card
Disney pins and Lanyard- (if your children plan to pin trade)
Autograph books and Sharpies- the clickable sharpies are easiest for the characters to hold.
ID wristbands for the kids- Since we’ve been using these Vital ID wristbands, I have much more peace of mind. We still constantly drill into the kids about what to do if they get separated from us, but these bands provide us extra insurance should one of the little younglings wander off.
Rain Poncho and Stroller Rain Cover- I really only bring these if there is definitely rain predicted for the day. You can always buy them in the parks if needed, and two will cover your stroller.
Change of clothes - essential if you plan to ride any water rides or if your kids are drawn to the splash pads, like mine are.
That’s about it for my list. What are your park essentials? I’d love to hear any other tips and tricks!