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The Ultimate Park Bag Checklist: What to Bring to Walt Disney World

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Are you planning on visiting Walt Disney World soon? If so, I recommend that you bring a park bag with you! This blog post will provide a comprehensive list of items to pack in your park bag. I’ve been going to Walt Disney World for years and have learned what essentials I need to make my trip more enjoyable. So, without further ado, here is my ultimate park bag checklist!

The first thing to think about is the bag itself. This is an essential step since you’ll be carrying it with you all day, from on-and-off rides to accessing and closing for stuff you need throughout the day.

I’ve tried everything from a shoulder cross-body bag to a full-on hiking backpack. Each has its pros and cons for the parks.

When shopping for a backpack for the parks, these are the things I look for…

  • side pockets for a water bottle and umbrella
  • strap hooks or loops for hand sanitizer on clips
  • two separate compartments, one for smaller items like autograph books and pins, the other for ponchos, wipes, and a small first aid kit

Here are the backpacks I have tried:

The Eddie Bauer shoulder sling bag was my least favorite. This sling bag does allow you to switch the strap from left to right. But, by the night’s end, it didn’t matter which side I wore this bag on or front or back; it was killing my shoulders.

Least Favorite Park Bag

The number of pockets on a backpack is one aspect to consider. If you have anything that sets off metal detectors (usually an extended battery or umbrella), you’ll need to open all those pockets for security screening.

My favorite bags! The Columbia backpack and Disney Parks Disneyland backpack.

There are two bags I have come to love, one is a slim Columbia trail backpack, and the other is a Disney parks backpack. Each has its own reasons for being a favorite, including pockets, clips, comfortable straps, and easy to clean.

Preferred Backpacks


Columbia Unisex Atlas Explorer 25L Backpack, Black, One Size

This is similar to one of the backpacks I take to the parks. This backpack is lightweight, dries quickly, and has ample storage and comfortable straps. A bonus is that it also has clips on the straps for hand sanitizer and my camera case.

Disney Parks Backpack

A themed Disney backpack is one of my other favorites. I love that my backpack has side pockets for easy access to a water bottle and umbrella when needed.

Now for the items I keep in my park bag. While you may not need all of these things, you may need most of them.

  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • hand sanitizer
  • extra Bitbelts
  • neck fan
  • cooling towels
  • wet wipes or Lysol wipes
  • stainless steel water bottle
  • reusable straws
  • snacks
  • phone charger extended battery
  • phone charging wire
  • first aid kit
  • UV umbrella
  • rain poncho or jacket
  • gallon size Ziploc bag(s)
  • permanent marker

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential for a Walt Disney World trip because you will spend a lot of time outdoors. The sun can be very harsh, especially in the summer, and you want to avoid sunburn. I always pack sunscreen in my park bag to reapply throughout the day. Now, the great debate is sunscreen bar, lotion, or spray.

Personally, we prefer the spray as it’s easier to apply.

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray 

Sun Bum’s Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray is the perfect choice for those who love spending time in the sun. This oil-free, water-resistant sunscreen is reef friendly and packed with Vitamin E, delivering UVA/UVB protection for all skin types.

Check it out on Amazon >

Sunglasses

An absolute must at Walt Disney World. That hot Florida sun sometimes shines brightly, making it almost impossible to see without sunglasses. I bring my Costas with the little wire strap that fits onto the arms so I can quickly take them off to wear around my neck on rides without losing them!

Cast Member Tip: We had an issue one early morning getting castle shots at Magic Kingdom Park. A cast member asked if we minded the photos having us wearing sunglasses, and we said it didn’t matter. She then shared that the kids wear sunglasses, tell them to smile, and shut their eyes, so they are shielded from the sun by the sunglasses, and their eyes are closed. That made it SO much easier to get photos throughout the day!

Hand Sanitizer

We’ve been to Walt Disney World both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, and one thing remains, there are a lot of touch points in the parks. While the cast members do a fantastic job of wiping off tables and cleaning touch points, we come prepared with ways to clean our hands and wipe down tables.

Hand sanitizer is necessary, whether pushing the turn style bar to enter a ride or touching the lap bar in your Doom Buggy on Haunted Mansion. Everyone in my family carries a smaller hand sanitizer clipped to their backpack and a spare.

We are fortunate to live close to a Tanger Outlet with a Bath & Body Works Outlet store. That’s where we stock up on the hand sanitizer lanyards and smaller sanitizers. My favorite is the eucalyptus-scented sanitizer. You can occasionally catch hand sanitizer on sale when Bath & Body Works runs clearance sales.

Bath and Body Works 10-Pack PocketBac Hand Sanitizers Eucalyptus and Spearmint

Keep your hands clean on the go with these PocketBac Hand Sanitizers. Each sanitizer is infused with a different essential oil to provide a unique fragrance and benefit. The Eucalyptus Essential Oil clears the mind, while the Spearmint Essential Oil soothes and uplifts.

Check it out on Amazon>

Extra Bitbelts

The Bitbelt is a simple and effective accessory for our favorite Magic Bands. I remember when my daughter lost her customized Magic Band between two rides at Disney World – it taught us the importance of securing these bands properly! These little belts are so easy to put on. Just slip one end over your magic band, then fasten using snaps while moving them onto overlapping sections with enough tension that they’ll stay in place without being too tight or loose.

Bitbelts

These handy little Magic Band belts help keep your bands secure so they don’t get lost. Easy to put on and use while wearing your Magic Band in the parks.

Check it out on Amazon>

Neck Fans

Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them. I desperately needed some sort of air blowing on my face in that hot Florida sun, even if it were hot air. A neck fan does the trick and surprisingly helps cool you down.

I got the rechargeable kind, so the phone charger we bring in the park doubles as a neck fan charger. We got the extended battery with a USB-C and Micro USB connector.

scurry Upgraded Version Portable Neck Fan

This upgraded Scurry portable neck fan version comes with a color-changing LED and aromatherapy. The fan is hands-free and is rechargeable via USB. It has three adjustable speed levels, making it perfect for use while sporting or reading at night.

Check it out on Amazon>

Cooling Towels

Another must. I remember seeing guests walking throughout Magic Kingdom Park wearing the Disney Parks cooling towels and wondering if these things offered any relief at all.

My honest opinion is that not all cooling towels are made the same. You can get them in a rubber-like material, a cloth material, and then a mesh material. The cooling towels we use the most are cloth-like materials because they are soft to the touch. On average, when you use ice-cold water, I’d estimate you’ll get about an hour’s worth of cooling benefits from a cooling towel.

U-pick 4 Packs Cooling Towel (40″x 12″)

Looking for a quick way to cool down? U-Pick’s Cooling Towel is perfect for the job! Made of soft, comfortable microfiber, this towel can be used as a cooling pad, ice towel, or general-purpose towel. It’s easy to use and folds up small enough to fit in your pocket or bag.

Check it out on Amazon >

Wet Wipes or Lysol Wipes

I’ve used wipes for everything from wiping down tables to cleaning sticky fingers after eating caramel popcorn. Wet wipes are another must in our park backpack.

The storage method matters too. We’ve done the plastic flat pouch-style wipes and the plastic round containers. The pouch-style wipes are good because they take up less room. But put them inside a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in case it leaks. That happened to us in 2020; the bottom of our backpack was soaking wet.

Lysol Disinfectant Handi-Pack Wipes, Multi-Surface Antibacterial Cleaning Wipes

Lysol Disinfecting Handi-Pack Wipes kill cold and flu viruses, bacteria, and more. They’re 3X stronger than a paper towel, so you can clean with less wipes. Use them on multiple surfaces throughout your home to help keep germs away.

Check it out on amazon >

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

We’ve tested almost every water bottle on the market. We’ve tried the collapsible water bottles for camping, sports bottles for school, Tervis plastic bottles, frozen water bottles, and stainless steel water bottles. The one water bottle type that holds up every time without fail is a stainless steel water bottle. I’ve put loose ice in a stainless steel water bottle, opened and closed it multiple times during the day, and walked out of the park at night with ice still in it.

A quality stainless steel water bottle is worth its weight in gold when it’s hot and you just want something cold to drink. I’ve also used ice-cold water from my stainless steel water bottle to wet a cooling towel in the middle of the day. Warning, it is ice cold but gets the job done!

I’d recommend a flip-top lid over the twist lid that you can get for a Hydro Flask. Our twist lid came open unexpectedly a few times, and got the side of my backpack wet during a ride.

Sending praise to the many cast members who have reminded us to hydrate in the parks over the years! They know the value of staying hydrated and having to work in the parks every day! I remember a cast member at Epcot reminding my son to replace his Sprite with water once as we walked by, and I wished I had stopped to thank her for the reminder.

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid – Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottle

The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid is the perfect accessory for your Hydro Flask water bottle. The leakproof design ensures that your drink stays in the bottle, and the carry loop makes it easy to transport and comfortable to carry. The Honeycomb Insulated cap helps keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours, and the Color Last powder coat is dishwasher safe, keeping your bottle slip-free and colorful.

Check it out on amazon >

Reusable Straws

Disney has switched from plastic to paper straws. In some locations, you can find agave straws that don’t disintegrate as fast as paper straws. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through your margarita, and the paper straw literally falls apart. Bring reusable straws, preferably silicone, over metal straws so you don’t set off the metal detectors.

Walfos Reusable Silicone Straws – 2 Size Flexible Drinking Bendy Straws

Made of 100% food-grade platinum silicone, these straws are bendable and flexible for easy use. The length of the straw is 10 inches, with TWO diameters (0.4″+0.2″), 4 large bendable silicone straws + 4 regular bendable silicone straws + 2 size cleaning brushes, and an eco-friendly storage bag included. Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Check it out on amazon >

Snacks

On our first trips to Walt Disney World, I remember calling the customer service line to ask if outside food was permitted in the Disney parks. The cast members’ response is something I’ll never forget.

“Ma’am, if you can fit a bucket of chicken in your backpack, you can bring it into the Magic Kingdom Park!”. Noted. Snacks and food are permitted in the parks!

My kids often take most of my snacks while waiting in ride lines. Our favorite small snacks to take are snacks like Goldfish crackers, beef jerky sticks, fruit snacks, and small veggie snacks. I like to pack carrots and celery with a small container of Ranch to eat because a carrot tastes the same whether hot or cold.

Phone Charger Extended Battery

A good extended battery is always worth the investment. We have both the kind that charges via a USB-C wire and a wind-up charger, thanks to living in a hurricane-prone area in North Carolina.

I charge both my phone and neck fans with our extended battery while we are sitting down for lunch or dinner in the parks.

2-Pack Miady 20000mAh Portable Charger Power Bank

This 2-pack of Miady 20000mAh portable chargers is perfect for keeping your devices powered up while on the go. These chargers feature a USB output, a USB C input, micro USB input, and USB output.

Check it out on Amazon >

Phone Charging Wire

Speaking from experience, wrap your charging cord around the extended battery so you don’t forget it. This method ensures you don’t forget the charging cord compatible between your phone and the extended battery for charging.

First Aid Kit

We were at Disney Springs when my daughter’s toe met the unfortunate fate of getting caught under the door as she opened it. I won’t go into details, but I will tell you there was a lot of crying, blood, and a messed-up toenail.

My husband grabbed her, and I ran to the nearest desk with cast members to ask for bandaids to be told I had to walk to a different desk. From then on, we always have a first aid kit with bacterial wipes, antibiotic ointment, and bandaids. Disney offers first aid centers for the items you might need, but a first aid kit with the more common items is easier to pack, so you can grab it when needed.

First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit

First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit is a compact kit containing all the essentials you need to treat minor injuries. This first aid kit includes bandages, burn cream, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment packets, and more. The clear plastic pockets make it easy to find what you need when you need it most. The case is soft-sided, so it’s easy to carry with you wherever your travels take you.

Check it out on amazon >

UV Umbrella

With frequent Florida mid-day rain storms, an umbrella of any type at the Disney parks is a good idea. Ponchos are OK, but umbrellas can be used to keep you out of direct sunlight and dry in a pop-up rain storm.

We have the G4Free umbrella and have used it twice at Disney. I recommend opening it up and letting it sit in the sun for a while before you take it to Disney. The reason is that it had a slight smell from the coating that was noticeable from the packaging. Since we’ve used it, there has been no lingering smell.

This umbrella was tested while standing in the afternoon with direct sunlight in line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster. We were able to create our own shade, which was noticeably cooler than even under the shade of a tree.

G4Free UPF 50+ UV Protection Travel Umbrella

Looking for a protective umbrella to shield you from the sun? G4Free’s UPF 50+ UV protection umbrella is perfect for travelers, with a fiberglass frame and double-layered, ventilated mesh canopy. The automatic open and close function makes it easy to use, and at just 42/46 inches, it’s the perfect size to take with you on the go.

Check it out on amazon >

Rain Poncho or Jacket

A rain poncho or jacket is recommended, along with an umbrella to offer additional coverage if you get caught in a mid-day rainstorm. We got caught in a heavy storm one night leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios and while the travel umbrella kept us dry, our backpacks were exposed to the rain. One of the wide ponchos will cover both you and your backpack in this instance, and it’s what we did to keep the camera and other items in our backpack dry.

A few other reasons to carry extra ponchos would be to cover a stroller or ECV while inside dining. You can also put it on the floor of the resort room to keep wet shoes or towels before mouse keeping comes to get the towels.

Hagon PRO Disposable Rain Ponchos for Adults (5 Pack)

A good-quality poncho should be comfortable, weatherproof, and stylish. It should keep you dry in the rain. It should also be easy to take on and off, so you can wear it whenever necessary.

Check it out on amazon>

Gallon Size Ziploc Bags

Remember those ponchos mentioned above? Chances are you won’t be able to fold them up as small as they come brand new in the packaging. A gallon-size Ziploc bag comes in handy for storing wet ponchos. You could also use it to store snacks, packages of wet wipes, cell phones you won’t want to get wet on water rides, and more.

Permanent Marker

I use permanent markers to label our Ziploc bags, as an extra marker if we can’t get to our pen for a character autograph, and to label other things at our resort-like drink cups.

There you have it, my complete list of items we prioritize bringing in our park bag when visiting Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World is a magical place, and I hope this checklist helps you have an even more amazing time! If you have any other park bag essentials that I didn’t mention, please share them in the comments below. Happy packing! 🙂

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