I really like to pack light when it comes to walking around the parks all day. Living in Boston, my trips to Disney aren’t nearly as frequent as I wish they could be, so when I go, I like to make the absolute most of my trip. When the trips are only weekend trips, that means no visits back to the hotel — we’re going strong from rope drop to park close. There’s no way I want to carry a massive bag like a pack mule without a break in sight. At the same time, I want to make sure I have what I need for a great park visit! Since I’ve got a trip to Florida coming up very soon, I wanted to share what I always carry with me.
Some people, like Ben, prefer to go bagless, but I’m convinced the only way he’s able to do this is by having other people (i.e., me) carry larger necessities. Also, dude pockets play a very different game than pockets in women’s clothes (assuming they exist at all — I cannot express how strongly I feel about this injustice).
I look forward to the days when I get to wander through Disney with children so I can stick all my junk into the stroller — oh, also because children are wonderful and magical…and stuff like that. (In all seriousness, I can’t wait to introduce my future children to Disney, but there’s still a good amount of time before I’m ready to be thinking about that step.) Going without children also means I need a lot less stuff throughout the day.
Here are the things I can’t be without:
- MagicBand – and sometimes I carry an extra because I have had problems before!
- ID / Insurance Card / Credit Card / DVC Card / Annual Pass
- Poncho(s) – I told you…I carry Ben’s too
- Pen and Paper – I just feel weird without it!
- My camera – it’s just a small, digital camera; nothing fancy
- Pins for trading – gotta get my trade on
- Hand sanitizer – sometimes a snack is closer than a sink to wash my hands
- Advil / Benadryl – Benadryl is especially needed during Flower and Garden (achoo!)
- Extra contacts – ever gotten something in your eye with a contact and been trapped? It’s basically the worst. Also, I always make sure to use dailies when I go to the parks
- Scissors – I have an amazing pair that is collapsible and you’d be SHOCKED to learn how often they come in handy (opening newly-purchased items, cutting tags off items, stray strings,…)
- Hair tie and pins – for when I surrender to the Florida heat and put my hair up
- A little bit of make up – lipstick and a blush stick
- Two portable chargers for my phone – one is a Fuel Rod, which I cannot recommend enough for the parks. Once you purchase a Fuel Rod, you can swap out your used Fuel Rod for a fully-charged one for FREE at kiosks all across the parks and resorts
- A wall outlet phone charger and cord – for places where I don’t need to use my portable chargers, so I can save the juice for when I really need it
- Sunscreen and travel-size deodorant – Florida is hot, bro.
- An extra tank top – mostly just for the dead of summer. I won’t always carry this
- Ears – and a carribeaner to clip my ears to the strap of my bag when I’m not wearing them! If you slip the carribeaner around the headband between an ear and the bow and then clip them to your bag, your ears aren’t going anywhere.
- A Disney-themed drink coozy – ok, this one isn’t strictly necessary, but they’re so small that they don’t take up much space and they make me happy. (Also, including it made my list a neat 20-item shindig!)
Honest to goodness, I fit all of these essentials in a small cross-body bag or a draw-string backpack. I prefer the cross-body because it minimizes back sweat (I know…ewwwww), but when I use the backpack, Ben and I share custody. I won’t go so far as to ask him to help carry my purse.
There are definitely some trade-offs I make when I take a smaller bag, and some items that are useful that don’t quite make the cut. You’ll notice, for example, that I don’t carry a water bottle. With how accessible free cups of water are around the parks, I haven’t found this to be too bad, but I’ll admit that there are moments (in long lines, for example) when I wish I had water on me. A small bag also means I usually only get to bring one pair of ears with me on a given day, so I must choose wisely. For a fully comprehensive Disney vacation packing list, make sure to check out Nicole’s printable list here!
I’m sure there will be some contention here, so let me know what you think I’m missing, or what you have in your park bag! I’m always looking for ways to improve my park experience!
A special thanks to @magicalshannonmarie, @mickeys_photographer, and @thezipadeedoocrew for the use of their photography in this post!