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Disney World is truly a
little big world all by itself and once you’re in a park, there is no “quickly running back to the car or hotel room”. In fact, my husband recently, accidentally, left his phone in the car when we went to Magic Kingdom. I laughed because I knew there was no way he would be getting back on the monorail, catching a tram, walking to the car, and then doing it all the way back to the park – just for his phone.
Sometimes we don’t take a backpack at all (hey, we don’t have kids yet!). When I know it will be a shorter day in just one of the parks, I pack my wristlet as full as possible, throw my phone in my back pocket, and carry in a bottle of water with me. It saves us so much time to skip the bag-check line and we just feel lighter throughout the day.
But for those trips with all-day magic? I need my backpack. So when we pack for a day at Disney, we want to be sure that we have a bag prepared for a long day. However, my biggest pet peeve is carrying something around all day that we never use! The lighter the backpack, the better. After years of visiting the parks, I’ve finally narrowed down the items I always bring with me and actually use! This list is also a perfect base list for any family visiting the parks.
Must-Have Items to Pack for a Day at Disney World
1. MagicBand/Admission Card
This might seem obvious, but it’s truly on my packing list for every time we visit the parks because we’ve forgotten them one too many times. While we can wear our MagicBands, having our physical annual pass card is important, too! This is how we get discounts in the stores and restaurants or pick up our exclusive passholder items. For those that don’t have a MagicBand, the card is also your FastPass entry.
2. Wristlet/Card Holder
I bring a wristlet with me instead of my full wallet. Inside the wristlet, I slip in some cash, my card holder (it holds my ID, credit card, and annual pass), and chapstick.
TWF Tip: If you’re like me and you wear contacts, pack an extra pair in your wristlet! The last thing you want is to somehow lose a contact and not be able to see the rest of the day. 👀
While I love my new iPhone for pictures, sometimes I need my “nice” camera to capture all of the magic. If I’m packing lighter, my iPhone will count as my phone and camera, but if I have the backpack, I’ll always pack my Sony a6000. Taking videos of our day trips has become my new favorite thing!
Having access to your phone throughout the entire day is really important because the Disney app, alone, will be your go-to assistant. If you’re snapping photos, sending videos to friends, and hitting up social media all day long, your battery will be running low before you know it. And you don’t want to miss out on photo-ops by the bubblegum wall!
Having my charger in the backpack is a life-saver. I don’t have to stop and try to find an outlet and it charges pretty quickly. My next investment might be a wristlet that includes a phone charger because that is a win-win!
5. Water! You’ll Sweat More Than Expected at Disney World.
Florida is hot and humid the majority of the year and our typical Disney day will have us walking anywhere from 6 – 12 miles. Getting dehydrated can ruin the entire experience, so we always go prepared with our own bottled water. We can easily fill it up at water fountains or inside a Starbucks (they usually have out ice water dispensers) throughout the day.
Make a difference in the world, and your pockets, by investing in a reusable stainless steel bottle. You won’t be disappointed.
TWF Tip: If you forget the water as you pack for a day at Disney, or you don’t want to take up room in the backpack, stop by any Starbucks and ask for a
Venti Trenta ice water! It’s free. 💧
The Sunshine State hosts an average of more than 100 clear-sky weather days and that means lots of sunlight! Protect yourself from the harmful, and strong, UV rays with a travel-size sunscreen. Even if the day is gloomy, the sun can damage your skin. Many tourists get burnt the most on days where the sun isn’t blasting down on them.
This is a good spot to remind you to always wear your sunglasses in the park! You don’t want to be squinting all day. It’s uncomfortable, bad for your eyes, and can cause headaches.
7. Medicine Box
This is the one item we pack that we hope we don’t need, but we’re always happy we have it when we do need it! Battling a bad headache, upset stomach, allergies, or other symptoms does not equal fun, even if you’re at the Happiest Place on Earth. In the medicine box that I pack for a day at Disney, I keep a few Ibuprofen, Tums/Pepto, and Allegra (for those Florida allergies). I also throw in a couple of band-aids in the box! This is my pill organizer, and I absolutely love it.
If you choose to not bring your own medicine, Disney World does sell items like Advil, Band-Aids, and Tums, but you’ll certainly pay the Disney price tag. 💰
8. Cooling towel/ Extra layer/ Poncho
Depending on the time of year, at least one of these items will probably be needed! In the summer and hotter months, our Disney cooling towel is a life-saver. We were desperate, and unprepared, one summer day so we purchased one at Epcot. However, this one has great reviews and is half the price.
I almost always carry an extra layer with me because I get cold easily. This can be something as simple as a little flannel or light sweater. Think about getting off Splash Mountain, soaking wet, and then standing in the shade or a nice breeze hitting you. Brrrr. It’s also nice to have an extra layer as Disney does tend to keep the restaurants and stores much cooler.
If you’re forecast is predicting rain, go prepared with your own poncho! You can always buy one at the parks, but save yourself a lot of money and purchase one beforehand.
Just like getting dehydrated, if you get hungry or your blood sugar levels drop suddenly (hello, hangry!), you’ll be so happy you have a few snacks in your backpack. Personally, I like to have a healthy option (Kind bar or nuts) and the “I’m-starving-and-need-something-now” option (Cheez-Its). Bringing your own snacks will save you time and money, but hey, I get it if you need that Mickey Mouse ice cream!
10. Hand Sanitizer
This post was written wayyyy before a global pandemic, but sanitizer has always been on my list of things to pack for a day at Disney World!
This is simple. Never forget the hand sanitizer! As much as I love Disney World, it’s simply impossible to keep the place free of germs. From the fingerprint scanner at the entrance of each park to the rides and door handles, germs are crawling everywhere. And be kind to others, stay at the hotel if you’re fighting a fever or illness! 😷
- Add a little “Disney” to your outfit for the day. My favorite accessory will always be my Minnie Mouse ears!
- Disney provides complimentary insect repellent. Ask any cast member for the nearest location in each park.
- Always wear your most comfortable shoes to the parks.
- Meeting the characters? Bring an autograph book and Sharpie!
- If you have something in your bag that shouldn’t get wet on water rides, bring a Ziploc bag. (But remember, a lot of Smartphones are water-resistant now!)
- Ladies, if it’s an extra-long day at the parks, you may want to pack a travel-size mascara or powder to freshen up during the day. (You know, for all those Instagram photos.) 😉
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What’s one thing you always pack for a big day-trip?!