Top 10 Must-Have Items for a Day in the Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Planning for a day in the theme parks at Walt Disney World goes beyond picking out your FastPass+ selections and deciding where you want to eat. There are also certain items that you'll want to consider packing in a backpack or totebag just in case you need them.

Now we know that no one wants to lug around a heavy bag filled with unnecessary stuff (especially when it's hot and humid) but these "must-have" items might help you save the day.

10. MagicBands: This is the ultimate must-have item for your day at the Walt Disney World Theme parks. It is your resort room key, your park ticket, your FastPass+, and quite possibly your credit card (if you have added that option to charge to your resort room). You must wear your MagicBand.

Always wear your MagicBand!Always wear your MagicBand!

9. Sunscreen:
The last thing you want to deal with on your Walt Disney World vacation is sunburn. So, the best way to prevent that is to bring sunscreen with you to the parks. Apply sunscreen before you leave the room and reapply throughout the day. And since you're in Florida, it's smart to think about sunscreen at all times of the year, even on cloudy days.

8. Bottles of water and snacks: We've mentioned this before, but spending money or snack credits on bottles of water is just silly. We suggest packing a few bottles of water in your bag (or even bringing a couple refillable water bottles). This will save you money and keep you hydrated. And if you have little ones who like to snack we also suggest packing some snacks for the day, such as the individual packages of crackers or popcorn. This too will save you money and/or snack credits.

7. Rain ponchos: It rains at Walt Disney World. Sometimes, especially in the summer months, it might rain every afternoon for a short period of time. Rather than running for the exits, just pack a poncho for everyone in your group. You can save money by purchasing rain ponchos at your local dollar store rather than paying a whole lot more for Disney Parks ponchos.

Always pack your rain ponchos!Always pack your rain ponchos!

6. Sensible shoes: A vacation at Walt Disney World is not the time to try out a brand new pair of shoes. You are going to be walking a lot and wearing sensible and comfortable shoes is very important. We aren't going to tell you "don't wear flip flops" or "you must wear walking shoes and not running shoes" because you know what's comfortable for you. Whatever shoe you choose, make sure they're broken in and don't rub your feet the wrong way.

5. Your smartphone: You don't leave home without your smartphone (presumably) so why would you head to the theme parks without it? Everyone in your group who has a phone should bring it with them, this way you can stay in touch if you get separated (by choice or by accident). Plus, you can always access the My Disney Experience app on your phone and check wait times for shows and fireworks, make dining reservations, update your FastPass+ selections, use the GPS-enabled map, and more.

Use the My Disney Experience app on your smartphoneUse the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone

4. Bring a camera: While this might seem like a silly suggestion since your smartphone has a camera, some people still enjoy taking pictures the "old fashioned way" with a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera. So pack your camera but if you're bringing a camera with interchangeable lenses, keep in mind that you'll be carrying the camera and lenses all day long and that can get heavy.

Say cheese...and always bring your camera!Say cheese...and always bring your camera!

3. Hand sanitizer: Germaphobes unite! We always have at least one bottle of hand sanitizer in our bag or purse. Think about how many railings, seatbelts, safety bars, and other surfaces you're going to touch in one day at the theme parks. And then think about how many other people are touching those same surfaces. You don't want to spend the day ducking in the restroom to wash your hands, so bring along some hand sanitizer or hand wipes. It's a quick and easy way to refresh your hands.

2. Band-aids and blister treatment: Even if you wear the most sensible shoes you own, you might still end up with a blister or two. Having Band-Aids and moleskin in your bag is a good plan. As soon as you feel a blister forming use the moleskin. You might even want to consider carrying a small first aid kid. You never know when you might need it. And check out this post on first aid for blisters!

1. Autograph books and pens: If you are planning on visiting any of the character meet and greets at the parks be sure to pack the autograph book and a pen. The best pens (in our humble opinion) are retractable Sharpie markers, as those tend to be easier for some of the characters to hold. You can purchase an autograph book at the theme parks or your resort hotel, or you can save a few dollars and make one at home. Collecting character autographs is a great way for the kids (and even the grownups) to interact with the characters!

Don't forget to pack the autograph book and pen!Don't forget to pack the autograph book and pen!

Perhaps the most important thing to pack on any given day in the theme parks is your patience. Walt Disney World can be the most magical vacation destination but it can also be the most frustrating if you leave your patience back in the hotel room.

What are your must-have items for a day in the theme parks? Leave us a comment and let us know.

LouisianaMike wrote on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 08:02:

LouisianaMike's picture

Three things we pack, not already mentioned are:

1. Wet wipes. We have spill prone kids, okay the adults too;)

2. A pill box with Advil, Tums, and allergy relief pills.

3. Sunglasses for entire family. Florida=SUN!!

Katherine P wrote on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:49:

Katherine P's picture

I always pack at least 1 or 2 washcloths. Just grab them from the room or ask housekeeping. When you get off Splash Mountain it helps to dry you off and you can also take one and wet it in the ice water buckets and put the cold wet washcloth on your neck to keep cool.

Maria Pereira wrote on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:51:

Maria Pereira's picture

And don't forget hats or visors!!!

Lisa C. wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 00:43:

Lisa C.'s picture

I always pack earplugs for the louder attractions (and parades and fireworks). It can save the day for members of your party who are sensitive to loud noises.

Donna wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 01:19:

Donna's picture

Bring wipes- good for hands, face, spills on clothes. Pack a second pair of sneakers or sandals in case of rain. Pack large and small ziplock bags for ANYTHING and everything!

alicemouse wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 02:26:

alicemouse's picture

Another great article, Traci! We've really been trying to scale back out park packing with the goal of going "bag free". We haven't quite made it yet, though! I have a small pin case that I have to carry because, you know, pins. There's a pocket in the back that my phone fits into and my point & shoot camera case strings right onto the strap of my pin bag. Of course, my MagicBand is on my wrist. If DH carries the water in the cargo pockets of his shorts and the discount cards and ID in his wallet, we can go with just the pin bag. If we're staying all day, I have to bring my cross body bag along to haul the extra water.

Crystal Bic wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 02:26:

Crystal Bic's picture

I don''t like the magic bands and don't want one

#1 plenty of water and some powdered Gatorade in a snaplock bag to make it up on the go (hydration is the key) relying on the fountain doesnt help if your in a cue for a ride for a long time

#2 sensible walking shoes and clothing

#3 rain ponchos

#4 sunhats and glasses

#5 jacket or warm top for being in a show or event with aircon it gets cold after a while

#6 camera for the magic moments

#7 healthy snacks like trail mix or a few apples

#8 pillow and a blanket for sleeping on the ground overnight for certain events like star wars weekends autographs or pins/ merchandise

#9 always have our bathers packed in the trunk for a water park drop in

#10 plenty of big smiles

Steve wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 05:28:

Steve's picture

External battery pack and / or phone charger, portable lemonade / KoolAid mix (you can get free ice water at counter service restaurants), patience

Adam wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:36:

Adam 's picture

Dont forget, bring a portable battery charger specifically for your smartphone. If, like me, you use your phone as your primary camera, the battery will drain quickly.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:24:

Kristen K.'s picture

Fantastic additions all!

Curtis Stone wrote on Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:02:

Curtis Stone's picture

I would suggest a point and shoot camera and purchase the Memory Maker photo package ahead of time. This way, you can have your point and shoot ready in hand for taking lots of quick pictures. You don't want to miss a moment that could pop up quickly. Then, for the full family pictures or the pictures that are in great spots in the parks, you can use the Disney photographers to capture those moments. We had almost 150 pictures from Memory Maker making the cost about $1 per professional picture. Lindsay and I review this in our podcast episode 19.

Joann wrote on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 00:52:

Joann's picture

Another great idea given to me by a Podiatrist is take a 2nd pair of shoes. When your feet start to hurt change your shoes because all shoes rest on different pressure points of the foot & your feet will stop hurting because the pressure will be off the sore parts!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options