This is the age-old Disney question – how much and what to bring with you to the Disney parks. As you have read often at Chip and Co, the answer is… it depends. There are three main factors to consider – who you are traveling with, your budget, and how prepared you like to be for every eventuality.
In my book, it is only necessary to bring four things to the park for a successful day of touring. Must-haves are your “documents,” sunscreen, water or other beverages, and a touring plan.
Documents will vary for each guest but include your Key to the World, park pass, DVC membership card (for discounts), Tables in Wonderland card (for a dining discount), Photopass card, and ADR numbers. I learned the hard way that you should also bring your driver’s license if having an adult beverage is on your agenda. Although I am closer than forty than thirty, I was carded on my last trip and didn’t have appropriate identification so don’t assume you’re too old to be asked for ID! Note: Magic Kingdom is a dry park.
Convenience is at the top of my list when choosing a way to keep my documents secure. Because I use my park pass often to get a FASTPASS, I don’t want to fumble around trying to find it when there are attractions to ride and characters to meet! A lanyard with a cardholder is a great solution to keep everything together and handy. As Brenda points out, be sure the cardholder closes at the top.
No matter what time of the year you travel to Disney, sunscreen is not optional. The dilemma of how to reapply sunscreen often without carrying a bulky bottle of sunscreen to the parks emerges. Luckily, almost everything today is available in a smaller, travel version and sunscreen is no exception. Travel sizes of sunscreen or sunscreen wipes that come in a sealed pouch can be slipped into a pocket.
Water is a must during a day of touring the Walt Disney World theme parks. However, whether you bring it with you to the parks or not really depends on budget; you can purchase beverages in the park or use a snack credit from your Disney Dining Plan. Because most families prefer to use their snack credit on an actual snack and purchasing enough bottled water in the parks for a family can be very expensive, I’m adding water to a list of must-brings to the parks.
Having a touring plan isn’t just a convenience; it gives you more value for your vacation dollar. View your Disney World vacation in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). Spending less time waiting in line means your family will make more memories and experience more magic. That’s where a touring plan comes in. A good touring plan will maximize the attractions your family wants to experience based on crowd levels. Touring Plans and its app, Lines, are well-respected sources of Disney World touring plans and wait time information.
Your Travel Party
In most cases, an adult couple will need to bring far less to the parks than a family traveling with little ones or someone with special needs.
- Items for Little Ones
- Healthy, non-perishable snacks
- Diapers / Wipes / Pull-Ups
- Small Toys
- Autograph Book and Pen
- Toddler Utensils / Bibs / Sippy Cups / Bottles
- Wet Wipes
- Portable High Chair Cover
Almost anything you would need during a day of touring can be purchased in the parks – for a price and sometimes it is a steep one. My approach is to bring items that I’m most likely to use in the parks and that are fairly expensive to purchase at Walt Disney World.
- Items to Bring to Save Money
- Common over-the-counter medications and Band-Aids
- Spare memory card for camera
- Sweatshirt during cooler months
If I have room in our theme park bag, I’ll add items that are not a necessity for my family but a convenience.
- Convenience Items
- Camera (with Disney’s PhotoPass service, a camera is not a necessity for my family but it is for some families)
- Battery-powered fan or fan / spray bottle combo
- Favorite guidebook
What do you bring with you to the theme parks?
- D23′s Great Scavenger Hunt Details at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
- The Magic Behind the ‘Company’ getting to know Lisa Battista (chipandco.com)