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Should you bring a backpack to Disney? It’s a common question and for good reason. If you’ve visited other theme parks, you may be worried bags aren’t allowed on some rides, but thankfully that is not the case with Disney.
Over my trips to Disney World and Disneyland, I have tried all sorts of bags (cross-body, tote, backpack, no bag). Here is what I have learned. Yes, you should bring a backpack to Disney, but less is more when it comes to what to put into it.
3 questions to ask yourself
Before you pack your Disney park bag, I have three questions I want you to ask yourself before putting an item in:
1.What is the Worst Case Scenario?
I know I just said not to prepare for the worst case scenario, but the truth is when I stopped to consider the worst case scenario, a lot of times it wasn’t that bad! For example, I’m always looking to save a few bucks at Disney so I bring snacks with us.
The problem was I brought enough for a small army. Most of them ended up crushed and inedible in the bottom of the bag. I still bring snacks, but a lot less of them. Because the worst case scenario is I have to buy an extra snack for only a couple of bucks.
2. Am I OK with buying it?
Let’s go back to bringing extra shoes. After I quit doing this, I had a pair of shoes rub my heels really bad. I’d had them for a year, but it rained all day. Something about them getting wet tore my feet up. I could hardly walk and we had to stop to buy a pair of flip-flops.
They were $20 which is more than I would like to spend, but I still have those flip-flops today. It’s not worth carrying 4 people’s shoes around all day because if it happened again, I would be ok with buying them again.
On the other hand, I’m likely to need a poncho at Disney. Since one in the park costs almost $10, I’m going to throw 4 Dollar Store ones in my Disney park bag and not feel bad about throwing them away at the end of the day!
3. Is it something I can’t live without?
We all have things we need to get through the day. For my daughter, it’s her Pooh Bear. For you, it may be medications, gum, or makeup. Always weigh your well being and comfort against how hard it is to carry. But at the end of the day it’s better to be happy.
What to put in your backpack
Now that you know what not to bring and what questions to ask before you deem something worthy of room in your bag, I’m going to tell you what should be in your Disney park bag.
Whenever possible get travel sizes for these items to keep the weight down. Even if you have to bring several travel size bottles to have enough for your trip, it will make a huge difference when you’re carrying it all day.
- Magic Bands– These are your park tickets, hotel room key, and payment method all wrapped up into one. You’re gonna want to make sure you have these! I left mine in my resort room once and it was not a happy moment. To prevent that from happening, hook magic bands to your bag’s strap if you take them off at the hotel.
- Phones, Cameras, and Portable Chargers- You’ll want to capture your memories so be sure to bring your phone or camera. If you opt for a camera, consider a neck strap to keep it handy. You’ll also need your phone for the My Disney Experience App to check wait times, order food, and book Fastpasses. Since all that can take a toll on your battery, bring a couple portable chargers to keep your phone going for as long as you do. If you get in a pinch, there are fuel rod stations in the parks, but not many so I don’t depend on them.
- Touring Plan- Be sure to bring your plan for the day. I like to print out our itinerary so it can be easily referenced, passed around, and saves my phone battery. If you need help making a touring plan go here.
- Wallet– Even though your Magic Band can do all things for you, I like to bring my wallet so that I have an ID, credit cards, and cash just in case. Take the time to clean out all those extra cards you won’t need like membership or library cards. It will slim down your wallet for the day.
- Sun Protection & Hydration- You’re going to be outside all day long so be sure to pack things to protect yourself. Sunscreen is a must. Even on a cloudy day, reapply often! I prefer a spray-on sunscreen because it’s fast and easy to apply on the go. Sunglasses, a hat, and SPF lip balm will also help. And don’t forget the importance of staying hydrated. A reusable water bottle will keep you hydrated and save you a ton of money! If you’re worried about getting tired of water, bring some flavorings to mix things up.
- Snacks- Nothing makes a family argue faster than being hungry! Prevent that and save yourself a little money by bringing some snacks with you. Choose individually packaged snacks to make it easier to munch on the go. Things like granola bars, trail mix, pretzels, and fruit snacks will pep you up without weighing you down. Don’t go overboard though. Ask yourself how much you really need per person and keep it to a minimum.
- Hygiene- You’ll be touching things that thousands of other people have touched. Make sure you pack a hand sanitizer to use before meals and periodically throughout the day to prevent illness. Consider throwing in a small package of baby wipes or wet naps even if you don’t have small kids. They can be used to wipe tables, faces, hands, or melted ice cream if your Dole Whip melts faster than you can eat it!
- Medicines- Of course, if you have any prescription medicines, bring those with you. Other medicines you may want to bring are motion sickness, allergy, heartburn, and pain relievers (adult & child). To avoid bringing a bottle of each of these, divide pills into a pill case that has a spot for each day of the week. Be sure to label well!
- Ziploc Bags- I pack everything listed above in Ziploc bags. Since they’re clear, I can find everything easily. Plus, it protects all my stuff from water. I always bring a few extra to store wet clothes, leftover food, and anything I may need to keep safe and organized along the way.
- Rain Jackets/Ponchos- This one really depends on how comfortable you are with getting wet. It doesn’t bother me a lot, but I usually take rain jackets with me. I like them more than ponchos because they also help if it gets cool at night. Ponchos have the advantage of being disposable though. So it’s really up to you.
- Entertainment- You may be wondering how your kids will do in line or waiting for shows. Some easy entertainment options include glow sticks, bubble blowers, and Hidden Mickey books. Always be courteous of other guests while using these items. Another option is the Disney Play App that has games that can only be played in the lines at Disney World!
- First Aid Supplies- To deal with minor scrapes, I pack a couple of band-aids and a piece of moleskin in case someone starts to develop a blister. If you need something you don’t have, there are First Aid Centers located at the front of every park.
Our Favorite Backpack to Bring to Disney
So we bought this backpack from Amazon a while back, and now take it on all our trips. I sometimes also take a small crossbody to keep my phone and wallet in, but the majority of our stuff goes in this bag.
Why we love this backpack
- Tons of pockets to keep everything organized
- Comfortable enough to wear all day
- RFID hidden pocket to keep valuables in
- Water resistant for rain and water rides
- Outside water bottle pocket
So are you going to bring a backpack to Disney?
So back to our question, ” Should you bring a backpack to Disney?” For most people, yes you will want a backpack. Disney’s rides always have a pocket in the seat to tuck it into or on some rides you can just put it at your feet.
Remember to keep it lightweight and you’ll be good to go. Did I miss something you think is a must-have for a Disney park bag? Let me know in the comments! And make sure to grab your copy of the Disney packing list above!