What to pack in your Disney Backpack
“What should I bring in my backpack when I go to Disney World?”
I have seen this question on the internet more times than I can count. It’s a great question because if you bring too little you’ll probably regret it, and if you bring too much you’ll end up having a hard time carrying all that junk around and dragging it onto every ride. So to help you bring only what you need, and to ensure you have all the necessities, I have compiled a list of the most important supplies that everyone should have in their bags!
First let’s start with the bag itself. Whatever stuff you need for a trip to your local Target you are going to need for a full day at a Disney Park. So if you have a diaper bag you’ll probably need to bring that diaper bag. I know they’re heavy and unwieldy, so leave it on the stroller if it becomes a burden, but you’ll regret not having it when poopageddon happens outside Ariel’s Grotto.
Next, you’ll also want a backpack on you at all times if you have children. Even when I go without my daughter I almost always bring my bag. My favorite bag is from REI (mine is gray) but you could get something similar at Target or Amazon. They are usually called something like “travel bag” or “day bag” or “shoulder bag”. You just want something super lightweight with lots of space and not too many pockets. The thinner the better. The reason you don’t want too many pockets is because Disney security has to go through every. single. pocket. everytime you go through one of their checkpoints. So if you are going to the parks for several days, or are park hopping, you’ll get your bag checked a lot. And that is just more time spent in the security line and not in the magic. And the reason you want it to be thin is because it has to fit on rides with you, usually in the front with your feet. You don’t want to be stuffed into every ride having to wedge the backpack onto the ride with you.
Here’s a list of recommending things to bring:
Portable Charger: I have an Anker and it has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. No one wants to stare down 1% battery when you’re separated from the family. Sure, you can rent a charger in the park. But I personally would rather have one of my own that holds more charge. I feel like it pays for itself in no time.
Charging Cable: Don’t forget the cable so you can actually charge your phone or camera with that portable charge you brought.
Magic Bands and Tickets: You really want to have both. If you don’t know about Magic Bands, read up here on how to buy and use them. They’re incredibly convenient! And even if you have your bands, bring the tickets too. That way if you have any problems with, or lose, your Magic Bands you still have your tickets to use your FastPasses and make things easier.
ID, Money, Gift Cards and Wallet Stuff: People often don’t bring an ID to Disney because they don’t think they’ll need it. Or they’re excited that by staying on property they can use their MagicBands instead of credit cards. Well, there are still plenty of reasons to have your ID and one of them is alcohol. Especially if you are at Epcot. There are a lot of cool drinks there and they WILL ask for your ID - most of the time. And if you have an Annual Pass and want that sweet 20% discount, most stored will ask to see your ID to ensure you aren’t borrowing a friend’s pass.
Phone and or Camera: Pretty self explanatory, everyone wants pictures. Just no Selfie Sticks. They will not let those into the parks.
Sunglasses: The weather here in Orlando can shift so quickly that an overcast, rainy day can turn too sunny to see straight. I would bring the sunglasses to be safe, they don’t take up that much space.
Sunscreen: Again, the Florida sun will try to melt you. It is always sunny, even if it appears to not be sunny. Sunscreen up.
Tiny Umbrella: I wrote about the importance of a dark colored umbrella in my Beating the Heat blog. I highly suggest not only a dark colored one, but also try to get something small and lightweight for most days. Rain is a common thing. And if you know it’s going to be a downpour today then bring the large umbrella.
Snacks: A small bag of nuts or fruit goes a long way. Same with those travel applesauce pouches for the younger park goers.
Hair Clips and Bands: If anyone in your group ever wears their hair tied back then you’ll need to bring something. Even when it’s cold (2 weeks out of the year) some of the rides go very fast and you’ll be happy to have your hair up. Extras never hurt.
Water Bottle: Only you can prevent heat stroke, with water!
Mickey Ears and other accessories: Having enough space in your bag that if you get tired of wearing your super cute Mickey Ears you could put them somewhere is amazing. Especially on rides where you need to take them off. It is really easy to forget them on a ride, much harder to forget a backpack (but not impossible). So put them in your backpack when you are not wearing them and you won’t lose them.
If you have children, or if you are an adult-sized child like me, I feel these next few things are also must have items in your backpack:
Pennies and Quarters: One of the best souvenirs at Disney World are the pressed pennies. There are machines all over the place that will turn your ordinary penny into a piece of rolled copper adorned with a Disney character, ride logo, or other memento. To use them you will need one penny and two quarters. They’re fun to collect, and the little ones love them, so make sure you have some spare change!
Autograph Book and Pen: Homemade or bought, you will want your autograph book on you all the time. You never know when a character will round a corner and you’ll wish you had your book. Most of the time there is no chance to run back to the stroller unless you are getting in a line for a meet and greet. If you forget your pen meet and greet characters will have more, but the random characters you may meet out of the blue don’t always have one. So I suggest keeping both on you at all times.
Extra Underwear (or Diapers): Even if you have a bunch in your diaper bag you still want to carry one spare with you at all times. You don’t want to be running around trying to find your stroller with a blow out, poop splattered, or pee soaked kid. Keep the spare on you, rather safe than sorry.
Entertainment: I highly suggest having something entertaining for when a line suddenly takes longer than planned. This can happen for all kinds of reasons so you want to be prepared. I keep two toy matchbox cars in my backpack at all times. This is a quick floor game Abigail can play while we wait in line, and the second ensures that if she makes a friend in line they can join too. I used to carry playdough, but I have since learned never keep anything that can get stuck in hair or on walls. Even if your kid is great with it they might share with another kid in line, and now you have a new mom or dad giving you death glares for the remained of the time you’re stuck in line next to them.
Swiss Army Scissors (very small): There are many rules about what you can, and cannot, bring into the Disney parks so check before you pack your tiny scissors. But I highly suggest having a pair that is allowed for opening packaging. If you ask a cashier they will probably have scissors and be able to help you - but not always. Everything my daughter buys at Disney is always challenging to open, and I cannot tell you how often I’ve needed those silly tiny scissors to pry open some princess doll because she needs to play with it right now.
So that’s my list! If you think I missed something please let me know in a comment below. I know I missed the poncho, and a lot of people love the poncho, but it’s just not for me. I feel like after one use it is just forever wet. And people are always accidentally putting them back on inside out, wet side inwards, negating the entire point of the poncho! Either way I hope this list will help you do Disney fully prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Good luck and have fun out there!