What’s in our park bag? A few essentials always make a Disney park day more enjoyable and can even save a day from turning, well, un-magical!

Our daily Disney park bag is filled only with essentials. I want the bag to be as light as possible and don’t want to be carrying around any more than necessary. These items only fill half the bag, so there’s plenty of room for gift purchases or space to shed lightweight jackets after a cool morning.

The Bag

First … The Bag! This Vera Bradley “Mickey and Minnie Medallion” backpack is a new purchase from our recent trip. The cotton straps are wide and comfortable, there are enough zipped pockets to keep our gear organized and easy to find (but not TOO many to slow down bag check!), and it has the all-important water bottle side pockets. And the pattern is gorgeous – so many tiny hidden Mickeys!

 Exterior Pockets

Our park backpack MUST have at least one exterior water bottle pocket and this one has two! We always carry a refillable water bottle into the parks and the exterior pocket provides everyone with quick access to grab the bottle anytime.

Outer Pocket – quick access items

iPhone // I’m constantly using the My Disney Experience app on my phone to check attraction wait times and make FastPass reservations after we’ve used our initial three. The small outer pocket on the backpack provides quick, easy access.

Pennies and Quarters // The pouch of pennies and quarters always comes out when we find a penny press machine.

Pen // I always carry a pen for jotting down notes, marking touring plan changes, or any other thoughts.

Camera // Not shown is my camera. It’s always hanging from my neck and I don’t switch lenses or run out of battery power so camera gear doesn’t require a specific place in the bag. It is, however, a temporary resident of this small outer pocket on rides like Space Mountain where I won’t be taking pictures and want the camera secured.

Laptop pocket – paper goods

The large, slim laptop pocket in the back is the perfect place to slip acquired items like maps, times guides, and brochures where they are easy to access and won’t get wrinkled. We also toss any festival passports and additional brochures we pick up. Our touring plan is on my phone, but I always print a copy just in case we can’t access the app for any reason. And all receipts get tossed into the pocket as well to be removed at the end of the day.

 Main Compartment – everything else

Emergency Ponchos // Never trust a weather forecast for a 0% chance of rain in Florida! We are always prepared with these $1 ponchos from Dollar Tree.

MagicBands // We always carry a pouch of all our MagicBands with us so that we never worry about losing the ones strapped to our wrists. Twice this has come in handy, first when one was lost in a park and again when one was forgotten at the hotel room. Always having our stash of MagicBands in the backpack gives us peace of mind.

Glow Sticks // Carts of magical glowing products materialize out of thin air at Disney World when the sun goes down. We have a package of our own from the Dollar Tree for the boys to wear which is fun for them and makes them easy for Mom and Dad to track!

Sunscreen // It’s Florida. Sunburns happen even on cloudy days in the winter. Never leave without sunscreen!

Sunglasses and case // My sunglasses are usually covering my eyes or propped on top of my head, but if we’re indoors for a while or on a ride where they can easily fly off (I’m looking at you, Space Mountain), I keep them safely tucked away in a case.

Clear pouch of littles // This clear pouch (to facilitate quick bag check) keeps all of our small items organized. I always carry hand cream and lip balm for moisturizing emergencies. Going inside and out between intense Florida humidity and dry A/C can wreak havoc on the skin. Bandaids for foot blisters and minor scrapes are always a good idea as is your favorite headache suppressor. Bandaids and Advil will solve 90% of our medical emergencies so we don’t carry around anything more for the rare possibilities since Disney has first aid at every shop and attraction. We can always ask a cast member for any other item we might unexpectedly need. We also carry pre-moistened hand wipes which clean our hands before meals better than hand sanitizer and can clean off a dirty table as well.

Character Autograph Books // With metallic bronze Sharpies, of course.

Wallet // I always strip all but the absolutely necessities from my wallet before any trip, but always want what’s left with me in case my MagicBand isn’t charging correctly or I need my ID.

Snacks // We love our Disney snacks, but there’s always one or two times per day when the boys get hungry while waiting in line or we’ve not yet arrived at our meal location. We always keep a few oatmeal bars and cracker bags for munchie crises.

Kid’s Outfit // We’re always prepared for a Splash Mountain drenching or stain emergency. We carry one complete outfit in a gallon zip-lock bag. Our boys are close enough in size that they can share clothing in a pinch.

Extra space // Since we usually visit in winter, mornings can be chilly. All of these items fill less than half of the backpack so the remaining space can be used to shed jackets and hold souvenirs. Always leave space for the unexpected!

The Full List

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phone (with My Disney Experience app)
  • Pennies and quarters for penny press machines
  • Printed touring plan
  • Ponchos
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Pen
  • Hand cream
  • Lip balm
  • Bandaids
  • Aspirin/headache medicine
  • Hand wipes
  • MagicBands
  • Character autograph books and Sharpies
  • Snacks
  • Glow sticks
  • Full spare kids outfit

So, what other items can’t you visit the parks without?