Since I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to visit Disney World several times, I’ve had the ability through trial and error to figure out exactly what I need to keep with me. At times, I’ve carried too much (as the proud, brand new owner of a DSLR camera, I may have taken the new camera plus every lens I own once) and carried too little (what do you mean we don’t have another diaper??!). I think I finally have it all figured out.
Let’s start with the bag itself. We’ve used a variety of bags in the past, including full backpacks, diaper bags, camera bags, purses, and over the shoulder totes. I have finally settled on what I think is the perfect bag.
This is the Thirty One Sling Back Bag. It’s worn over one shoulder, and has a roomy interior. It also boasts two mesh side pockets (perfect for water bottles) and two outside zipper pockets. It’s comfortable, easy to carry while keeping both hands free, and distributes the weight so you don’t have one aching shoulder the next day. Literally perfect.
So what do I keep in mine? Let’s take a look:
Ponchos – It’s going to rain. I’m fairly positive I haven’t been on a single trip where I haven’t gotten drenched at least one good time. See the picture below of my sister and I just this past January. Buying cheap ponchos before your trip saves you money, because the Disney ones in the park are crazy expensive. They can also be used for other things. For example, on a trip last year we ate a late dinner at the Polynesian, then camped out on their beach to watch the fireworks. I used one of our ponchos to spread out on the sand to keep us all a bit tidier. I’ve also used them to sit on after a shower and the seats on the tram were wet. They’re just great to have! You can buy the better ones on amazon, but I’ve also got my bag stocked with $1 ones from Dollar Tree and/or Walmart.
Sharpies – A mistake I made in the past was not being prepared with my own pen for character signatures. I was always asking the cast member who accompanied the characters for a pen, and it was a big hassle that took up too much time. I learned from that mistake! I have also found, through trial and error, that the retractable sharpies are much easier for the non-face characters to manipulate. Poor Stitch had to mime for a solid minute that he needed help getting the pen off before I realized he needed assistance!
Autograph book/photos – I like to use printed photograph images from here to take into the parks for autographs. I insert the signed page along with a picture of my child and the character into a photograph album when I get home. I started using these in 2014, and it’s been a great way to keep up with who we’ve met and who we haven’t. I just keep them all in a ziploc bag along with one of my sharpies, and throw them in my park bag on each trip. Super simple!
Snacks – Do you know the easiest way to have a toddler meltdown? Make them wait to eat. Seriously, it’s the hands down easiest way to have a terrible time in Disney World. I keep our bag stocked with a couple of bags of goldfish, a couple of fruit snacks and a granola bar or two. Then, while we’re inevitably waiting in a line somewhere, and my kids get whiny, I can keep them happy and their mouths occupied!
Water bottle – Did you know you can get water for free in the parks? At any quick service restaurant, simply ask for a cup of water and it will be provided free of charge. It’s nice to have a personal water bottle to pour it into (cleaner and less chance of spilling than when keeping it in the Disney cup) and you can add a Crystal Light, or any other brand, pack into it as well!
World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game – I have small children (5 and 2), so waiting is TORTURE for them. I like to keep this little game in the bag to keep us all occupied at restaurants and shows.
Portable Charger and charging cable- This is an absolute necessity! You will use your phone. A LOT. Are you taking pictures and videos? Are you uploading onto social media? Are you planning to Periscope Wishes or the Festival of Fantasy Parade? Disney will zap your power ridiculously fast. Yes, there are charging stations around the parks, but I don’t want to be tied down! My Disney time is valuable! Plug into your personal charger, and just keep going about your day.
Go Pro and Wrist Strap – We are lucky enough to have a Go Pro (it was a Christmas gift my husband and I bought together for ourselves), and we love to take ride videos with it. The wrist strap is approved by Disney and a great way to get videos of your favorite rides and attractions!
Wristlet – Confession time. My family is not a fan of the Dining Plan. You know, I’m a huge budget buff and I have never once found that it would save me money during our trips. So you know what, the Magic Band doesn’t always serve all of my needs. I keep some cash (for tips), a credit card (I know it’s not necessary, but I live in fear that the Magic Band system will be faulty just one time and I won’t have any other means to pay for my stuff) and my ID. It’s certainly not necessary, but I feel better with it all with me. I bought a Vera Bradley wristlet cheap a few years ago and it serves this purpose well.
Chapstick – I can’t be the only person addicted to chapstick, can I? I need this stuff! So I keep it for throughout the day.
Sunscreen – Throw a small tube in, especially if you’re visiting during peak/hot seasons. Your bare shoulders will thank you later.
Portable fan – Trust me on this one. Pick up a couple of cheap fans at Walmart and pack them with you. You will get hot. It will be miserable. The Disney water sprayer/fan combos will look like a drink of water in the middle of the desert. Disney knows this, and they are expensive! Save yourself the cash and have these on hand.
And that’s it! Do you have any must-haves that I’ve left off my list?