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Let’s talk bags — specifically, the bags that you carry with you into the Magic Kingdom and other Disney parks.
What bag is best? Do you need a backpack, or will a crossbody bag do? Does Disney World have any kind of “bag policy”? And perhaps most importantly, what do you need to put in them?
Let’s find out …
What is Disney World’s Bag Policy?
There are a lot of common question about what is and isn’t allowed to be brought into Disney World, and if there are constraints concerning bags. Let’s address them first.
Can I bring a backpack into Disney World?
Yes. Bags are fine, even backpacks, as long as they are no larger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high.
You’re not allowed to bring suitcases into the parks, which for some reason, I find kind of funny. I guess because it whenever I heard that, I picture an image of of hordes of people hauling huge suitcases into the Magic Kingdom. I guess I’m easily amused.
Can I take my own food and drinks into Disney World?
Yup, that’s fine too. (And I would highly recommend it as a way to save money during your vacation.)
You cannot bring alcoholic beverages or glass containers into the parks, though. (Glass baby food jars are allowed.) Also, you cannot bring juice boxes or anything else with straws into Animal Kingdom, for the safety of the animals.
Great! I’ll load up a ton of food in our cooler.
I have prescription medicine I need to bring. Is that a problem?
No problem at all. If your medication is in a glass bottle, or if it involves needles, just explain the situation to the security guard during bag check. Also, the The first-aid stations at the parks can help you with any refrigeration or storage needs you might have.
What do I need to know about the Disney security check?
If you have a bag, you’ll to go through the line to have it checked at the entrance of any Disney park.
Try to make bag check quicker and easier for everybody by taking bags out of your strollers and opening and unzipping all compartments. And when your “turn” is over, get out of the way as quickly as possible instead of standing there blocking everybody when you zip twelve compartments back up.
It probably (hopefully?) won’t surprise you that you can’t bring weapons or marijuana into the parks, but it may possibly be surprising that you can’t bring remote control toys, water pistols, or selfie sticks. Also, remember that balloons and plastic straws are not allowed inside Animal Kingdom for the safety of the animals.
Why are selfie sticks banned at Disney World?
Because they’re annoying and obnoxious. Oh, and because there was an incident in the summer of 2015 where a roller coaster at Disney California Adventure got stuck for just under an hour, thanks to a passenger using a selfie stick during the ride.
What do we do with our bags on the rides? Can we bring them on?
Yes, you just bring them on the rides with you. That may sound a little weird at first, but it’s not a problem at all. For the vast majority of rides, you’ll keep in on the seat next to you or on the floor in front of you. Some rides, like Mission Space, have a dedicated bin for bags in the vehicle.
Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom has a bin inside the raft, but you may not want to fully trust it to keep things dry, because it is very likely that some one in your family will get very wet on that ride.
If you prefer to play it safe, you can either put items like your cell phones in plastic baggies, or you can use the free 2-hour locker rental to the left of the attraction entrance.
What is the Best Bag to Carry at Disney World?
Not surprisingly, there’s no definitive answer to that question.
I like it because it’s pretty, not too big or bulky, and has multiple compartments.
But as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be a minimalist when I travel (so much so that my husband has gotten annoyed with me at times.) Obviously my bag wouldn’t accommodate things like lunch, extra clothes, and multiple autograph books.
So obviously, everybody is different — not just in personal preferences, but in their specific needs. When I was traveled with that bag, I was with my two daughters, who were ages twelve and fourteen at the time. No way would I recommend that same bag to a family with three kids under the age of 7.
Whoever you are, you want to think about things like comfort, size, durability, and ease of use. No matter what size bag you get, I would highly recommend that you get one with multiple compartments or pockets on both the inside or outside.
Best Backpacks for Disney World
I personally don’t ever bring backpacks into the park, because the idea of lugging around so much stuff all day gives me the heebie-jeebies. Still, some people swear by them, and if you want to super-prepared with food, water bottles, and extra clothing for several people, it’s a decent option.
Here are some great backpacks that many people love:
The Under Armour Storm Hustle II is made of 81% polyester and 19% nylon blend and has a water-resistant finish. It has and has adjustable shoulder straps, a soft-lined laptop sleeve that holds up to 15” laptops, 2 side water bottle pockets, and a top grab handle.
Reviewers loved this backpack not only because of its durability, but also because of the great colors and design.
Be sure to double-check the dimensions on this one. At 18 inches x 13 inches x 8 inches, it is “thinner and longer” than most typical backpacks.
The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible 9 x 22 x 14 inches and comes in 5 different colors.
People raved about how this backpack held a ton! (One reviewer said they packed for an entire 2-week vacation using this bag.)
So this would be a great bag for families who are flying into Orlando and want to avoid having to check luggage at the airport. It has zippers that lock, allows easy access to your laptop, and fits just right in an overhead compartment.
People who didn’t like this bag complained of the weight distribution, claiming it was uncomfortable to carry a large load for a very long time. Also, some people did not like the water bottle holder, which folds away into a zippered compartment.
The Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack is designed to handle loads up to 50 pounds. It has A mesh back panel improves ventilation, as well as mesh on the harness and hip belt reduces chafing under load. Most notably, it comes with a detachable daypack to carry the essential for a hike in the hills or an excursion downtown.
Reviewers were impressed with how sturdy and well made the seams, locking zippers, and clips were. It was also described as very comfortable, even for walking long distances, thanks in part to the waist strap that helps keep some of the weight off your shoulders.
People who didn’t like this backpack said that it had too much padding that too up too much space, and that it had an awkward layout without enough pockets.
If you truly want a “Disney backpack,” the JanSport High Stakes backpack has 3 different Mickey Mouse designs in vibrant colors.(I like the “Tropical Mickey” best.)
It has padded shoulder straps, a fully padded back panel, and comes with a lifetime warranty. The dimensions are 8.5 inches x 16.7 inches x 13 inches.
Note that there are no water bottle pockets on the outside of the bag, and there is no computer pocket on the inside of the bag.
The Best Crossbody Bags for Disney World
I like using crossbody bags for Disney. They’re cute, convenient, and hold what I feel are the essentials if you’re bringing a lot of food or extra clothing.
This bag comes in 19 different colors. It has 2 exterior pockets: a large zippered pocket on the front and a large open pocket on the back. Its dimensions are 9 inches by 10 inches wide by 5″ wide at the bottom. It is very light weight and has an adjustable strap, so it can either be used as a crossbody or just a regular shoulder bag.
This bag measures 6.5 inches by 25 inches by 9 inches and includes a pen loop and tethered key clip with led light, a front zippered pocket, and a rear drop pocket for your phone. It comes in 7 different designs, including black and white stripes, mocha, and blue.
Some people disliked this bag because they felt the material was too thin and it was too small, with little room for versatility.
Amazon reviewers Heidi M. does a great job describing when she loved using this purse on her vacation:
I was looking for something small enough not to be bulky and large enough to carry multiple items as well as hold an iPhone 6s+ in a Mophie case. This bag did all of that and provides great anti theft properties.
#1 It’s well constructed. Seams are reinforced and zippers are smooth gliding. No catching on loose threads or hanging up and stuttering along. The strap is well attached and doesn’t seem flimsy. The main pocket zips ¾ around the bag and not just at the top making it easier to reach in and get stuff. The size is about the size of an iPad mini. The strap allows you to carry it over the shoulder, a hip pack and a cross body. I’ve used it all three ways.
#2 The strap is smooth and without kinks. Usually, the anti theft cables make most of the these strap stiff and not hang on your body very well but this strap is nice and smooth. It also unhooks at one side so that you can secure the purse to your chair or table and not worry about someone walking by and stealing it.
#3 It can lay flat but also fill up pretty good without being bulky AT ALL. I over stuffed it and it still looked nice and slim. The pockets are well designed and hold a lot without taking up all the room in the purse. It’s RFID safe too!
#4 The fabric feels like rip-stop nylon and repels water nicely. Looks like it won’t hold stains and is washable. It’s double lined because of the wire crisscross cables in between but doesn’t look bulky or add weight.
#5 The anti theft properties, wire cables in strap and bag keep it safely on you and guard against would be slash and runners. The main zipper pull is also a carabiner that hooks on a d-ring when bag is zipped closed to keep would be theives from getting into your bag.
#6 It has 2 great tiny little d-rings placed in strategic spots to hang keys or Chapstick from without it getting in the way.
All in all, I’m extremely happy with this purse and would not change or add anything to it’s greatness. It’s just the right size, shape and has all the features I was looking for in a travel anti theft bag – made by a reputable company that stands behind their product.
I must say, people on the DisBoards mentioned Kipling over and over as their favorite Disney park bag.
The Kipling Alvar crossbody has adjustable shoulder straps, a front main compartment that contains an open all-purpose pouch pocket, tablet pocket and two pen sleeves, plus a back main compartment contains one zipped pocket and a key clasp.
Reviewers love how it is lightweight, water-resistant, and has tons of room. In addition, the strap is wide and comfortable.
There were very few negative reviews of this bag, and many of them had to do with the fact that the color was different than they expected.
What Do I Need in My Disney Park Bag?
Minimally, you need to bring Magic Bands, ID, credit cards, and cash.
Past that, it’s somewhat of a personal preference. For example, some people may not be interested in pressing pennies, and people with short hair won’t need hair ties.
So take this list as more of a starting point, and not a definitive, everybody-must-have-all-of-these list. I’m sure it will be easy to see what resonates with you and your situation and what doesn’t.
Okay, this is is pretty non-negotiable. on’t think that you won’t need sunscreen because it’s cloudy that day, or because it’s November, or because you burn that easily, or whatever. Trust me, you will need sunscreen, and plenty of it.
If your family isn’t as sun-sensitive as we are and you don’t feel that you need a “doctor-approved sunscreen,” you might to consider using a spray sunscreen. They’re much more convenient, especially if you have kids, and sometimes have the added benefit of smelling nice.
Also, don’t forget a lip balm with spf. Here’s one with fun flavors and good ratings:
2. Hat (or other head covering)
If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn on your scalp, you know how important some headcovering is when you’re spending a day outside in Florida.
I have this hat in my wish list for our upcoming trip:
Of course, Mickey and Minnie hats are fun too:
If you want something a little more versatile, you might want to opt for a bandanna:
3. Water bottle with filter
Yes, you can get free ice water at any counter service restaurant, but the tap water tastes … not great. This water filter is inexpensive, durable, BPA-free, and dishwasher-safe.
Sunglasses are important (and fun), and you don’t want to waste your time at the parks shopping for a pair.
5. Pennies & Quarters
Here’s a fun fact: There are 500 pressed penny machines throughout Disney World parks and resorts. Finding and using some of them is a way to keep the kids on their toes and get inexpensive souvenirs (two quarters plus a penny).
Instead of having tons of change banging around in your purse or backpack for the entire trip, you can store them in these, which has the additional benefit of being required to eat many M&Ms first.
If you’re really into the pressed penny idea and plan to get a lot of them, you might want to consider this Disney World pressed penny book for storing them in an organized way. One particularly nice thing about it is that the sections are divided by park, so there’s a specific section for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, etc.
Some people like to carry an extra pair or two of mouse ears in their park bag so they can swap them out during the day.
You can find mouse earsat ShopDisney, but I’m planning to get some at Etsy for my next trip, partly because I like to support small business owners, and partly just because the selection there is amazing.
Here are some adorable mouse ears to get you started:
7. Rain ponchos
We’ve gotten caught in rain twice at Disney World. One time we got drenched, and another time we spent a fortune on the Disney rain ponchos.
Now we know better. These rain ponchos are cheap, disposable, and compact.
The Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Disney World
8. Portable phone charger:
Between using the My Disney Experience app and taking photos, you’re probably going to be using your phone a lot at the parks. You’ll want to have something like this on hand.
9. Hair ties
We have three people in our family with long hair, so we like to have plenty of hair ties on hand. Hair ties help us stay cool and keep hair from blowing in our face while we ride Test Track.
10. Hand Sanitizer
I read that the Magic Kingdom has over 50,000 guests per day. That’s a lot of germs that you’ll be wanting to get off your hands, and your kids’ hand, all day long.
If you like to stick with the Disney theme, there are several cute choices you can get before you arrive at the Disney parks.
11. Wet Wipes
Similar to hand sanitizer above, but also needed for things like when your 3 year old eats a Mickey ice cream bar.
12. Change of Clothes
We never did this (I told you I was a minimalist), but I can see how it would be handy. There are many reasons you might get drenched, between rain, fountains, and rides like Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom and Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom. (And let’s not forget the possibility of accidents if you have very young children.)
Are you or your kids likely to be miserable if you’re stuck in wet clothes? If the answer is yet, bring some extras, along with gallon-sized Ziploc bags to store the wet clothes in.
13. Extra socks
I prefer to wear sandals at Disney World, but if I wore socks, I sure wouldn’t want to walk around in wet ones. You don’t need to have Princess socks — any dry ones will do — but these are cute and don’t take up too much space in your bag:
If you do get a pack of pins before you go to Disney World, make sure you buy official Disney trading pins, because there are some imposters out there.
A lanyard is nice for holding and displaying your pins, but not necessary. Some people prefer to pin them on their park bags or hats.
14. Eye drops
These are good to have on hand if you wear contact lenses. I go so far as to bring an extra contact lens, just because I’m so extremely nearsighted that having a contact tear or get lost during the trip would be a big problem for me.
15. Pain Relief Medication
Every Disney park has a First Aid center, and (somewhat amazingly) they offer a wide variety of over-the-counter medication, like cough syrup and Tums, for free.
However, I know when I start to develop a headache, I don’t want to have to quit what I’m doing and go on a hike looking for some Tylenol, so I always carry a small bottle in my purse.
16. Mosquito Repellant
Same as above — it’s available at First Aid, but you might want to have your own small container on hand.
17. Autograph book and pen for character greeting
Autograph books are not mandatory for for meeting Disney characters, but kids tend to like having them.
These 9 personalized Disney autograph books are really cute and worth checking out.
This is the pen I recommend for Disney signatures because the characters don’t have to fumble with a cap. I’d recommend packing one per kid and then an extra one. If you’re like me, writing utensils always seem to magically disappear.
18. Ziploc bags
This is for keeping things like cell phones dry when going on water rides. Don’t forget to bring gallon-sized bags to put wet or soiled clothes in if needed.
Even if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll want to have some of your own food handy. How much and what kind depends on your family and how much you want to avoid eating the park food. Things like beef jerky, protein bars, and fruit strips work well.
20. Glowstick necklaces
You can easily save a lot of money by buying these at your local dollar store before your trip instead of paying a fortune for them at the parks. I like to have a few extra on hand to pass out to nearby kids who are glowstick-less.
21. Ear Protection for Kids
I never even knew about this until a month ago, but there are headphones specifically created for reducing noise for babies and toddlers.
That may sound strange if you aren’t a parent, but on our very first visit to the Magic Kingdom our girls started howling and shrieking non-stop when the fireworks show started. We had to run as fast as we could and duck for cover inside Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland and be entertained by Sonny Eclipse until they were over.
22. Things to Keep Kids Entertained While Waiting in Line
No matter what you to avoid lines, you’re going to have to spend some time waiting in them.
Some people like to have things like bubbles, Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, or other small toys on hand to keep kids occupied. Actually, I’d probably enjoy rolling some Play-Doh balls while rolling in line myself. It sounds peaceful.
23. Portable Misting Fan
We never go to Disney World during the summer, but if we did, we would probably bring something like this.
So, um … that’s kind of a long list, isn’t it?
Don’t worry. I don’t think every single family needs all these things. Then again, you may want to be super-prepared and get almost everything on the list. Everyone is different!