Packing for a visit to the park? Here's some tips on what to bring.
I wish I could bypass those security lines at the theme parks with no bag or fanny pack in hand, but that's just not possible when spending a long day (with kids) in a usually hot, often rainy Florida theme park. I try to keep it to the basics and you may want to add or omit things that do or don't work for you.
Here's what I pack in my theme park bag:
Items to Keep Me Cool
Shade, misting fans and neck fans make a huge difference when the Florida sun hits you!
Hat- A good hat with a brim will keep you cooler when standing in unshaded lines or walking through the parks.
Misting Fan- The misting fans are great at cooling you down and the kids love to take turns misting everyone. You can find these online at http://bit.ly/mistifan or buy them in the theme parks. Pro tip: add ice to the water to make it extra cool!
Personal Fan- These are cooling and hands free. I found mine in target, or you can buy online at http://bit.ly/personalfan
Fun Stuff for Kids
Quarters/Dimes/Pennies- There are pressed coin machines throughout the theme parks and in the resort hotels. These make great, inexpensive souvenirs for the kids. I bring a ziplock bag full of quarters and pennies. There are some machines that press dimes and require quarters for payment and of course a dime to press.
Lanyard and Disney Pins- My kids love to trade pins while at Disney World and Disneyland. Most Cast Members and sometimes other theme park goers wear and trade pins. The Cast Members* will trade any pin you want that they are displaying (on their lanyard or apron) with any Disney trademarked pin you own. They sometimes turn 1 or 2 of their pins backwards which means you have to make a "blind" trade for that pin. In my bag I carry a lanyard with pins, extra pins and locking pin backs (you can purchase these at the pin trading shops in the parks). The locking pin backs prevent the pins from falling off the lanyard and getting lost (this has happened many times!). You can purchase a "lot" of 25-50 or more random authentic disney pins through Ebay, here: http://bit.ly/ebaydisneypins or you can buy the pins at www.shopdisney.com or inside the parks and resort hotels. Lanyards can be purchased here: http://bit.ly/disneylanyards, on www.shopdisney.com or in the parks and resort hotels.
Epcot Passport- This is a fun way for kids to stay entertained while making your way through Epcot's World Showcase. They can stop at each country's Kidcot stop and have their passport stamped and written in by a Cast Member from that country. Find this one inside Epcot or here: http://bit.ly/epcotpassport. You can also find different versions of this concept on Etsy, here: http://bit.ly/etsypassport
Autograph Book and Retractable Sharpie- I buy my autograph books at www.shopdisney.com, here is the link http://bit.ly/autographbooks. You can find retractable sharpies here: http://bit.ly/retractablesharpie.
Water and Flavoring
Water is essential in the Florida heat and humidity, you must stay hydrated! This is especially true in the summer. You don't need to pack your bag with a ton of water bottles, just bring 1 (or 1 reusable bottle) and refill it in the parks. There are plenty of free water stations throughout the parks in the restaurants and water fountains by the restrooms. Florida water can have a strange taste to it, so I bring water flavor packets. You can find these in any grocery store.
It can rain suddenly and heavily in Florida! If you don't want to get drenched in seconds, it's good to have a poncho for everyone in your party. I find the small Coleman ponchos at Walmart or Target in their camping section for $1.50 each.
You can also find them online here: Ponchos.
You can buy the Disney Parks ponchos, which are heavier weight, inside the parks.
Pro tip: Ponchos are also great for wearing on water rides when you don't want to get wet!
Ziploc Bags and Small Rag
Ziploc bags are great to put wet/dirty clothes, trash or anything else that needs to be separated in your bag.
I like to use a small rag or microfiber towel to wipe wet seats off before sitting down (like on Splash Mountain).
A lot of people visit theme parks, so it makes sense to keep yourself protected from getting sick on your vacation by sanitizing often! I bring antibacterial wipes for dirty messes and wiping down tables before we sit to eat. Hand sanitizer is a must! I also bring non antibacterial wipes to clean my kids faces.
A small first aid kit will save you from hunting down a first aid station for a minor cut or scratch, advil for pain or headaches, Kleenex and sunscreen. Don't forget to apply the sunscreen, you don't want to ruin your vacation with a burn from the hot Florida sun!
I purchase all of these items at Target or Walmart in the trial size section of the Health and Beauty Departments.
My Park Bag
This is my favorite park bag right now. It's cute, medium sized and lightweight. I purchased it about a year ago at the Disney Store in Disney Springs. I'm the family guide, so everyone follows me around the theme parks. They all say this is easy to keep an on! This is not sold online and I'm not sure if it's in the parks anymore.
Here is a similar sized, and brightly colored backpack that all your essentials will fit in: Check Out This Bag
This is a bag I also like to use. It's lightweight, medium sized, has a mesh back panel and is easy to swing around without taking off to access my stuff. You can find something similar here: Check Out This Bag.
I'd love to hear what you all pack in your park bags, please feel free to leave a comment below.