Continuing my blog on big decision making for the first time at Disney (or the first time in a long time at Disney), I am moving on to what to pack in your daily backpack. While there will be many travelers who won’t need a full backpack for their days in the parks, there will be just as many who will, and if you were anything like I was, I went to the internet searching for what the “essentials” were when trying to be prepared.
Before I begin with what to pack, it is just as important to first discuss geography. This was a key element in not only what to pack in my backpack but how much for each of my trips. For our trips in which we stayed at a value resort and a couple of the moderates we have stayed in, and we were a further bus ride away from “home” for the week, I would stuff our backpacks until I couldn’t even fit another penny inside. I wanted (and needed) everything to be inside because if we forgot something, we would either have to buy it (if possible) at the parks, or we would have to just be without it for the day. Especially for those days at our value resorts, for me, anyway, when I didn’t plan to return for several hours.
Now, for our trips when we stayed at the Polynesian, and were a short monorail ride away from being “home”, it wasn’t as much of a let down if we forgot something. We were a little closer should we “have” to go back. I also split my days up a little more as well when we stayed there, and didn’t have to pack my bags as full.
Finally, for days when we have traveled to Universal….since we have always been staying at Disney when we visit Universal, I usually just take a few “hip packs” with us and cram as much as we can in there. Universal has great travel lockers to store backpacks in, whereas Disney allows the backpacks on the rides. So, we had to be prepared for a different feel while at Universal, and we took just the absolute essentials with us on those days.
So, now that our geography lesson is over, we can jump right in. To make it a little easier to follow, I divided up my list into categories.
- Phones: make sure they are fully charged and storage ready to handle taking plenty of photos.
- Portable electronic chargers and cords
- Waterproof phone case/bag, for the water rides OR those pop up Florida showers….speaking of…..
- Ponchos: I can NOT stress enough that you must be prepared for a Florida shower. It will happen!!!
- Travel Umbrella
- Lip Sunscreen (a must for me)
- Water Misters
- Bug Spray
- Jacket: for those traveling during the slightly cooler days/nights
- Moleskin/Blister band-aids: This is about as important as having a poncho! Even the most prepared family (us) will have someone end up with a blister on the first day of the trip. We have now learned for our blister prone people, to begin our trips with these on as a preventative!
- First Aid Kit
- Wet Wipes
- Travel Deoderant
- Body Glide
- Hair brush/ponytail holder
- Baby powder (because your feet/body will stink after a bit and no one wants to sit next to you during a show when you smell of sweat!)
- Travel perfume/cologne
- Water/Water bottles: There are many water fountains available for a quick fill up.
- Snacks: Fruit snacks, granola bars, cheese crackers
- Gum: Disney does NOT sell gum in the parks so if you want it, you will need to bring your own inside!
- Some type of breath mint
- Flavor packets: A hit with my kiddos. I would bring a stash of sugar free lemonade or fruit punch to add to their waters.
- Park maps, even though you can look via your smartphone, it is always smart to have a backup, and sometimes easier.
- MagicBands, Park Tickets
- Bitbelts for your MagicBands: I have never had a Magic Band fall off, but this was just an extra added measure of safety. You definitely don’t want your MagicBand to fall off and lose it!
- Autograph books and pens (optional but SO fun!)
- Lanyards with trading pins (optional to wear/do)
- Ears to wear (optional, but again, when in Rome….)
- Cash/Credit Card: While you can have everything programmed to your MagicBand and pay that way, technology fails us sometimes and just like the park maps, it is good to have a backup.
- Hidden Mickey’s…..ok, so you can’t “carry” this. But there is a Hidden Mickey’s book you can buy AND an app you could download. We loved searching for them while waiting for a ride or while on our way to our next restaurant.
- Lots of Pennies! Pressed Pennies are the cheapest souvenir you can purchase at Disney! Take some shiny pennies with you and store them in an old medicine bottle. You can even do Pressed Quarters. Our kids have LOVED doing this and you can even purchase books to store them in permanently after you are home.
- Glow Sticks: Super fun for fireworks time. Glow bracelets and necklaces are even nice just to have around your kiddos during the evening hours.
- Towels: I always pack one with us, to dry things off or to sit down and watch a parade.
- Change of clothes/socks: This is truly optional. I, myself, have not done this for all of my trips. Socks, YES, but not clothes.
Now…..there were two backpacks pictured above…..one was mine, and one was my daughters. A lot of times, we will split up the items, so mine isn’t so heavy. Somedays, she would take her camera with her, so she could capture those great quality photos. She really loves taking pictures and is honestly, very good at it. So, she needs a bag with her to carry it around and a backpack helps.
Keep in mind, I don’t carry ALL of these things ALL day long. I spend some time each night before we go to bed getting our bags ready for our morning or our next day. It would be too heavy to lug ALL of this around all day long, however, as I mentioned before, I DID do this when we stayed at one of the value resorts, simply because I was stubborn and didn’t want to take the 30 minute bus ride back and then back again. Plus, waiting for the bus, both ways. I felt it would take too much of my day, and we had things to do. So, I hauled it around. I was honestly glad I did then, but I would do it differently now. Plus, I also have another child who wants to carry things with her, and we can split things up a bit.
Also….leave room for some souvenirs, unless you have time to have them sent back to your room.
I have two more thoughts for this series, and tomorrow, I will jump into Park Tickets. What to buy, how many days, what are the options, etc.
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