Diary of a Park Bag

If you have ever been on a Disney fan board, you have inevitably read at least one thread about park bags.  What style, size and brand to bring are endless discussed.  You can also find post after post about what people put in their park bags. 

Since I am about 30 days away from our next trip to Disney World, I have already pulled out my park bag and reviewed its contents.  While everything was all spread out I decided to arrange it neatly and snap a photo to share with you guys.  Of course, I did all of this when my darling husband was not home, lest he decide to have me committed.

First of all, let me explain the strategy that works for our family...  My kids are young enough that we still make use of a stroller.  We really use it more as a pack mule that as a stroller.  My kids could probably do the parks on foot, but whining really annoys this mama!  As a result, I like to make judicious use of a stroller when I know a lot of walking will be involved, or on particularly long days.  Because of the pack mule option, we pack 2 bags and perhaps a small cooler.  One bag contains "the valuables" and is kept with us at all times.  The husband and I take turns carrying it.  In it you will find both of cameras (video and still), a cell phone, and anything else that would ruin our vacation if we lost.  The other bag contains the "extras" that make our life easier in the park.  Nothing in that bag is "mission critical", so I am ok with assuming the risk of leaving it in the stroller.  Are you shocked?  Well, don't be. people leave things in strollers all the time!  Most people never have any problems leaving their things behind.  That being said...DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN A STROLLER.  If it will ruin your vacation, or even your day, keep it with you!  My general criteria:  If it will take more than 10 minutes and $3 to replace any item then don't leave it behind!
As for what kind of bags to use...I bring a plain old standard issue backpack.  I think I got it at Walmart for $10.  It is not a fancy hikers day pack, it does not contain a camel back, it is just a simple backpack.  My husband - the primary valuables carrier uses his old college back pack.  Surprisingly, it has not yet dry rotted.

Drum roll is a list of what I actually carry in my bag:

  • Rain Gear - Heavy Duty Ponchos, Ziplok bags to store them in when we are done, and a chammy cloth (nice for wiping down a stroller or wet bench!)
  • "The Drug Store" - Ibuprofen, Dramamine, Tums, Lip Balm, Contact Lens drops, tissues, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, wet wipes,  a stain remover pen and ear plugs for my princesses who are not fans of loud noises.
  • The First Aid Kit - I bought a little pre-fab kit and supplemented with some extras.  I have band aids of all sizes, a new Neosporin Spray that is the size and shape of a credit card, tweezers, nail clippers, safety pins, moleskin for blisters, alcohol wipes, insect repellent, and insect bite relief.  Probably overkill, but it all fit in the little white box, so I don't care!
  • Kid Stuff - Glow Sticks, colored blinking "flashlights", perhaps a snack or something to keep them occupied if the lines are long.
  • Miscellaneous - Disposable Ponchos for water rides (we toss them or pass them along when we are done), extra zip top bags, Autograph books, and some spare change for penny press machines and fountains.
  • "Back in the Day" items included an extra diaper or two, some wipes, and perhaps a change of clothes...Loved having toddlers, but I don't really miss the extra stuff that comes along with them!
  • And of course...I always have my daily itinerary, dining information, and the World at a Glance Card, Disney Fun Fact Cards, and tip cards provided exclusively by TMC Travel.  (Yes, that is a shameless plug!)
So, there you have it...all of the stuff that I schlep around with me!  If you do not have a stroller pack mule, I would suggest a locker or streamlining a bit.  How about you?  What essential did I not mention that you must have?


  1. We always carry a tiny flashlight - great for checking park maps, show schedules, etc, while waiting in a dark attraction for the show to start, or in a line after dark! Also, our journal, so when we need to 'sit a spell', we can make a few notes about fun memories from the day that we are likely to forget by the time we return to our room.

  2. Great ideas, Gail! I "interview" the family on video as we wait in line for the next attraction. It preserves not only "the facts", but the excitement as well. It is especially cute hearing it in their own words!

  3. the most recent addition to my park bag is the iPad. now if only wdw offered wifi!