First things first, this is our first co-blog blog… we are writing this one together. It’s a first for us, but I promise not the last.
So, let’s start with some assumptions. You know the very basic of basic information… Like, you are going to need a park bag. The size of that park bag will vary based on many things such as, age of children, no children, and, well… how you Disney. But, we aren’t going to assume to tell you great secrets of life here, we are going to tell you what we bring in OUR Disney park bag… p.s. there is a handy dandy bulleted list at the end of the post, if you don’t want to read through our reasoning behind what we bring.
First, I will say, mine has changed drastically over the years (we have been going since my girls were 2 and 4) but, as of today…. I carry a small crossbody backpack.
I have in mine: headache meds in a ziplock, tums in a ziplock, pins in a ziplock, my wallet (more details later), sunglasses, phone charger.
Katie here! I have a few different park bags, but lately the one I bring the most is a Vera Bradly hipster bag (Disney patterned, of course). It is small and flat, easy to stow on thrill rides… and most importantly it has a zippered top – I like the security! If I don’t carry that one, I take a small backpack. I pack both and decide in the morning which bag to take to the park that day.
So, what is typically in mine? Chapstick, wallet, pins* in a small makeup bag, first aid kit including medicines (more on the kit later), a small folding hairbrush, sunblock, extra hair ties, sunglasses, and phone chargers – both a wall cube and a portable battery pack.
*by pins, we mean Disney trading pins (look for our upcoming post all about pins!) that we collect and trade.
H again: OH! I forgot chapstick. Yes, chapstick. Always have the chapstick. And a sharpie. I guess I can describe my bag, since Katie did. Mine is a Disney Parks TAG with a side zippered compartment, a small front zipper compartment, and a pouch under the small zippered area. With a sunglass holder.
My current phone charger of choice for Disney is the Mophie Powerstation. No, we don’t get royalties from them, so I’m not saying buy it now! But, it comes with an attached charging lightning cable and an attached usb charging cable. It also has an auxiliary usb for another cord if you need to charge 2 phones at once. Now – we are a family of 5, with 5 iphones. All taking pictures, some playing pokemon, me checking MDE every 5 minutes… we go thru a phone battery. So, this one will fully charge an iPhone 8 times. So, plenty of juice for us to go park open to close.
Back to Katie: Chargers, man. Chargers. There are so many out there. I have a smaller Powergen one that is perfect when I’m on a solo trip – I can take all the pictures, catch all the Pokémon, check MDE constantly, and social media it up all day long, and this charger gets me to the end of the day with power. It would not be enough for my family though, so Michael brings his Intocircuit charger. It has two ports so can charge multiple devices, and it stores enough power that we can actually recharge it only every other day. It is heavy though.
I want to go over my first aid kit for a minute. First off, I don’t always carry the full kit, especially if its just me. I keep the medicines contained where I can just pull out the pillbox and leave the rest behind. But in the kit I carry a small length of self adhesive wrap, a little bit of moleskin, various sized bandages, some antibacterial wipes, BioFreeze, and a little pot of Vaseline. Blisters are probably our most common Disney injuries, but falling down and getting some scrapes happen a lot too… Every park does have a well-stocked first aid station, but I like being able to handle minor booboos on my own anywhere.
Back to H: Wow, you are waaaay more prepared than me. I have about 6 Advil, and Tums. Advil because headaches happen, Tums because it settles my stomach when I ride a ride that I might should have skipped (read Star Tours or Teacups). That’s my whole first aid kit. And… I have only recently started carrying the Advil, because every store sells it – it is just pretty expensive for 2 tablets.
Ok, my next thought is… what ISN’T in my bag. Either that is in hers, or not in either of ours. No water bottles. I used to, but now that the parks have free water at every QS or TS location, plus water fountains? Yeah, they are heavy and I like being light. I also recently took baby wipes or antibacterial wipes off my “must park” list… I credit this to the kids getting older. Either I don’t worry about sticky hands as much – or I think they are all old enough to deal with that problem without me. I also don’t carry sunscreen into the parks. I know, yell at me. Bad mom. But… we are not of the pale variety, so, we don’t burn. We may apply in the room before we leave, but even that borders on unlikely.
Neither of us do changes of clothes anymore… Even with Little J at 6, he’s past the need for immediate change of clothes… And, well, come on, there’s stores everywhere and you CANNOT have enough Disney shirts. Just buy another. Says the person who didn’t think it would get chilly on Spring Break several years back and ended up buying a Disney fleece.
Katie again: Big J is almost an Eagle Scout. I guess that whole “Be Prepared” thing has rubbed off on me… It helps that I can pack it all into tiny little kits! If it was a big, giant, full-sized first aid kit of course I wouldn’t haul it around.
Sunblock. Dude, I can walk across the mall parking lot and get a sunburn. Little J is even worse – he can be in a windowless room at 2am and think about the sun, and he gets a sunburn. Well, maybe it isn’t that bad, but he burns. BADLY. When my packing game is on point, I remember to pack little travel bottles of sunblock that I can carry in my bag for reapplications throughout the day. I bring a big bottle too, but that stays in the hotel room. Pro tip: If you get celebration buttons and write on them, and you will be using sunblock (especially the spray on kind), make sure you put a piece of tape over whatever you write! Otherwise, that permanent marker won’t be so permanent – turns out sunblock wipes it off. Who knew?
This post is about what we bring, but I want to add something that my mom always brings: a poncho. They fold up pretty small, but still take up valuable space so I don’t tend to bother, but my mom refuses to go on any water ride without a poncho… not to mention that Florida weather is crazy and afternoon showers are practically a daily occurrence! Michael and Big J like to tease her that “ponchos are for wimps” but in reality they are super handy. The parks all sell Disney ponchos, but you can also hit up the dollar store before your trip for a much cheaper poncho.
H: Ok – deeper dive into the park bag… my wallet. What is in it? Well, my AP card and my DVC card with my ID. I mean, I hafta have my discounts!! I also carry my Disney gift cards here, and usually any cash I have stashed for the trip. I carry pennies and a few quarters. We aren’t hard core penny press fans, but EVERY ONCE in a while I see one I really want. Also are insurance cards, although, admittedly, they are probably old ones and aren’t valid, but, I’m bad about that kind of thing… Also is my Chase Disney Visa (no, I don’t get paid for saying this – but, you know, if you’re listening out there… ahem, we are reppin’ here) because, there are several benefits to having one of these in general, but in the parks, you can get special character greetings, entrance to the Chase Visa lounges to rest, recharge, etc, and you get special seating at concert events with it.
K: Everything Heather just said about her wallet, repeat here. We don’t need to carry the physical card for the AP to get into the parks (a Magic Band really does handle that!), but you do still need to carry the actual card for the discounts. I have a bunch of Disney wallets… its a weakness!
Speaking of pressed pennies… Disney sells these cute little things that they call Pieces of Magic. They’re just coin sizes bits of metal in cute shapes with little words or phrases on them. I like to buy a bunch, and I hand them out. When someone is having a meltdown or something, having little treats can really perk them up, and I like to believe that I’m contributing to that family’s Disney magic. Of course, I always ask the parents first if I’m wanting to hand it over to a child!
Handy Dandy Bulleted List
- Wallet (with ID, cash & credit cards, Disney cards, etc)
- First aid (medicines, bandages, etc.)