If you’re headed to Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida, you’re probably asking, “What things should I bring to Disney?”
I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World, and I always pack these 15 items in my backpack.
Backpacks may not be uber fashionable, but they’re very functional. I opt to take a small one with me whenever I visit an amusement park.
There are two main reasons I opt for a backpack on every trip:
- It saves time (no trips to a locker or vehicle)
- It saves money (snacks, water, rain ponchos…they all add up, and these items are EXTRA expensive in the park!)
Use this checklist to pack a perfect backpack on every trip to Disney!
1. Cell Phone
Your cell phone is one of the most important things to bring to Disney. I like keeping my phone in my backpack as much as possible.
I use my phone too frequently to keep it in the backpack all of the time, but it’s a great place to store it during rides or when you’re not using it.
Random Story: Once, after riding Matterhorn, I realized I no longer had my phone. I had it in my back pocket during the ride and didn’t realize it had fallen out during the ride (those bobsleds are crazy bumpy!).
I stood there while the cast members checked each bobsled that came in, and I got lucky. There it was, lying on the floor of one of the bobsleds!
Before You Visit Disney Download the App on Your Phone
Each park has its own app! These apps are absolutely essential when visiting the park. You can use it to purchase tickets, get FastPasses, order food, check wait times, find restrooms, locate characters, and so much more.
For Disney World, download My Disney Experience, and for Disneyland, download the Disneyland app from the Apple or Google store.
2. External Phone Charger
Even if you have a great battery, after a long, 12+ hour day at Disney, you might need a recharge. My phone is older than dirt, so it usually needs a pick-me-up by late afternoon or evening.
While they have external chargers that you can rent in the park, I like having my own (it saves time and money–are you noticing a pattern?), so I use a charger that I got on Amazon.
3. Credit Cards/Cash/Wallet
Thanks to the ingenuity of the Disney app creators, you can link your Disney gift card, credit card, rewards card, or debit card in the app to pay for any in-app purchases like food, drinks, tickets, MaxPass, or Memory Maker.
However, I usually throw in one card, or some cash, just in case!
4. Identification (Driver’s License)
You’ll need your ID to get into the park or to purchase any alcoholic beverages.
One time, when we were waiting to get into Disneyland Park, Allan realized he had forgotten his ID. Or maybe I forgot mine. I conveniently don’t remember which one of us was the guilty party.
He had to run all the way back to the hotel to grab the ID. Ooops. It was a little over a mile roundtrip. I think he felt like he was in middle school P.E. all over again, although I don’t think he was able to muster up a 6-minute mile. Such an invigorating way to start the day.
It’s always nice to have a little something in your backpack, just in case. If you have young kids, extra (cheap) food is one of the most important things to bring to Disney.
Keep those blood sugar levels stable and keep everyone happy. Nobody wants to have a hanger melt-down at “The Happiest Place on Earth”.
6. Refillable Water Bottle
Disney is wonderful about letting guests bring in outside food and drinks, provided it meets their requirements. Refillable water bottles are great for your wallet and our planet!
There are refilling stations located throughout the parks or you can get a free cup of water from any quick-service restaurant!
7. Rain Poncho
I always like taking a rain poncho to Disney. In California, we don’t really need to for the rain (it’s more sunny than rainy), but it’s certainly handy if you’re expecting some afternoon thunderstorms in Florida at Disney World.
The main reason I pack a rain poncho in California is for the water-based rides. If it’s not a blazing hot day, it’s not terribly fun to walk around in dripping wet clothes that don’t dry. It’s nice to have for Splash Mountain, Grizzly River Run, or Kali River Rapids.
You can grab one for $1 at the dollar store or get them in bulk online.
8. Flip Flops or extra Socks
I also like wearing flip-flops on water-based rides. Walking around with wet socks and shoes is a good way to get blisters. When you’re walking 8+ miles per day, you want your feet to be happy.
For that reason, I like to have a pair of flip-flops in my backpack or a dry pair of socks.
9. Zipped Plastic Bag for Wet Items
If you have a wet poncho or socks, you can place them in a zipped plastic bag so that everything else stays dry!
If it’s dark when you head to the park, be sure to pack your sunglasses in your backpack! Did you know that you can get melanoma in your eyes? It’s also nice to not be squinting all day long.
You’ll especially want a sweatshirt if you’re headed to Disneyland. Even when daytime temps are high, it almost always cools off at night. It’s not uncommon to have a 40-50 degree change between day and night. Add it to your list of things to bring to Disney!
Pavement can reflect sun rays and increase the chance of sunburn. I like carrying a small bottle or stick of sunscreen in my backpack to use in the parks.
13. Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
Honestly, I never carry either of these items. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer and wipes makes my skin go crazy. If I’m desperate, I’d rather use a little water from my water bottle, but mostly I use the sinks in the restroom.
But, I would guess that most people would want this in their backpack, so I’m adding it to the list.
I truly have nothing to say about this one other than it’s always a good idea to keep some chapstick nearby.
15. Extra Mask
A year ago, this wouldn’t be in my backpack, but things have changed. Having an extra in your backpack just in case one falls on the ground–or (heaven forbid) in the toilet–is a wise choice.
There may be a few other items you may want to bring to Disney in your backpack (like make-up, medications, trading pins, or autograph books), but this list will get you started!
Being prepared gives you more time to do what’s important—rides, attractions, and snacking! If you want to learn more about Disney tips and tricks, check out 11 Hacks To Help You Save Money on Food at Disney or How Many Rides Can You ride in One Day at Disneyland? (more than 18 if you follow these tips).
Do you typically take a backpack to the parks? Is there anything in your backpack that’s not in mine? Tell me about it in the comments section!