Stepping into the enchanting world of Disney — whether you’re headed to Disney World in Orlando or Disneyland in Anaheim — is a dream come true for people of all ages. The anticipation of meeting beloved Disney characters and indulging in tasty amusement park treats is enough to make anyone’s heart race with excitement.
However, to make the most of your magical journey, it’s crucial to be well-prepared for a full day out. From sunscreen to comfortable footwear, this packing list of what to pack for Disney World or Disneyland will ensure that you have everything you need to ensure that your visit to the happiest place on earth is as seamless and delightful as can be. Read on for everything you should consider including in your bag for your trip to Disney.
Disneyland and Disney World Bag Policy
The first thing you may be wondering is can you bring a backpack to Disneyland?
According to Disney’s bag policy, bags or backpacks that are smaller than 24 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 18 inches tall are allowed in their theme parks as long as you do not pack any prohibited items including, but not limited to:
- Weapons or self-defense devices of any kind (knives, firearms, pepper spray, mace, etc.)
- Objects or toys that are remote-control operated or resemble firearms or weapons
- Illegal substances, including marijuana
- Flammable or explosive objects (fireworks, smoke machines, fog machines, etc.)
- Artificial noise makers (horns, whistles, megaphones, etc.)
- Skateboards, scooters, skates, or shoes with built-in wheels
- Selfie sticks or handheld extension poles for cameras, flags, banners, or phones
- Glass containers
- Alcoholic beverages
It’s also important to note that all bags, strollers, backpacks, and purses are subject to security screening on any Disney property.
What’s the Best Backpack for Disney?
Again, it’s important to check well in advance that your backpack is within the size requirements of 24 inches long x 15 inches wide x 18 inches tall to save yourself the trouble of not being able to bring it in. You can also opt for bringing a hydration pack, such as a Camelbak, into the park as long as it meets the same size requirements. In most cases, here are other important features to consider when choosing a backpack for Disney World or Disneyland:
- Comfortable and adjustable straps
- Ventilated back with back support, especially for hot days
- Outer pockets and compartments to easily access water bottles, sunscreen, cameras, etc.
Disney Park Bag Packing List
Once you’ve chosen the right bag to bring with you, here are all the top theme park essentials that you should definitely include in your bag for Disneyland.
1. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is essential, especially in the Florida or California heat. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack with you, carrying a reusable water bottle will be incredibly helpful. The more water supply you have, the better so you can spend more time exploring the park. Plus, water refill stations are completely free and scattered around the park, so you won’t have to spend money on single-use water bottles. A map of all the drinking fountains can be found on Disney’s website, but in most cases, you can find one near any restrooms.
Be sure to protect your skin from sunburn by applying sunscreen regularly throughout the day! Applying it at the beginning of the day is definitely not enough if you’ll be there from morning until night, so it will come in handy to bring some with you. We highly recommend using sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
3. Hat and Sunglasses
You can never have too much sun protection! We’ve all been in that situation where we forgot our sunglasses on a sunny day and then ended up squinting in all the photos, so be prepared. A foldable hat or cap is good to pack just in case you need it. But in the event that you’re visiting Disney on a cold day — which might be rare in Orlando and Anaheim — you can bring a beanie instead.
The great thing about Disney theme parks is that you can bring outside food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park for your personal consumption. Small, non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix, or crackers work great to keep energy levels up between meals.
5. Portable Phone Charger
It’s important to consider that if you’re visiting Disney, you’re probably going to spend a full day there, which means you should bring a portable phone charger! Some power banks can even charge your phone without a cord, allowing you to make the most of the space in your bag.
5. Hand Sanitizer
Keep your hands clean in crowded areas with hand sanitizer, especially if you’re visiting Disney with kids who like to touch everything and put their hands in their mouths afterward. You’re also bound to eat at some point, so having hand sanitizer easily accessible is always a good idea.
6. First Aid Kit
You can never be too prepared by bringing a first aid kit. Include band-aids, pain relievers, motion sickness medications, and any other necessary medications for minor emergencies so that a cut or a headache won’t ruin the rest of your Disney experience. Motion sickness medications are useful in the event that you — or anyone you’re traveling with — feel nauseous after a winding ride like Space Mountain or the Mad Tea Party.
7. Resealable Bags
In the event that your clothes get wet on Splash Mountain, resealable bags come in handy for storing them separately from everything else in your Disney park bag, protecting your phone on all water rides, or storing snacks. If you have liquids such as sunscreen, placing them in a resealable bag can also prevent leaks in your backpack!
8. Travel-Size Toiletries
Theme park days can be long and sweaty, so having travel-size toiletries like wet wipes or hand sanitizer at your disposal can help you freshen up quickly without having to visit a restroom. Lotion, deodorant, lip balm, or petroleum jelly can also be useful for a full day out in the sun.
9. Extra Layers or Clothing
Bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings and indoor attractions. Having extra clothing is helpful in the event that your clothes get too wet from a water ride — or even from too much sweat on a hot day.
10. Portable Fan
More often than not, Florida and Southern California’s sun can get incredibly hot. Beat the heat with a handheld fan to stay cool in long lines or even while you’re walking from one ride to the next. Some fans come with a mist spray to keep you extra cool.
11. Cooling Towels
Speaking of staying extra cool — packing cooling towels can go a long way as well. If you (or the kids) are overheating, cooling towels offer some relief and help prevent heat stroke. They can be used in many ways, such as around the neck, draped over the shoulders, held against the forehead for targeted cooling or to soothe sunburn.
12. Rain Poncho or Umbrella
Be sure to check the weather before your Disney adventure! But even if the forecast predicts sunshine, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for unexpected rain. Pack a compact rain poncho or umbrella, just in case. There’s a chance you can probably buy rain protection at Disney, but it’s not guaranteed.
While most people take photos on their phones nowadays, it’s nice to bring a camera to capture all the magical moments. If you decide to bring a camera, don’t forget to bring an extra battery as well.
14. Tile Tracker or AirTag
Putting a Tile tracker or AirTag on your bag is essential in the event that your bag suddenly goes missing. You could even put it on a lanyard for kids to wear in case they wander off in the middle of all the madness.
Things to Bring to Disney if You’re Traveling With Kids
Aside from the list of essential items above, here are a few other things that come in handy if you’re visiting Disneyland or Disney World with kids!
1. Autograph Book and Pen
In case you didn’t already know, your kids can ask for autographs from all the Disney characters they meet around the park! This can be an incredibly exciting activity for kids to collect autographs from their favorite Disney characters as a keepsake. Disney autograph books are typically available for purchase at the park, but you can also pack your own. And don’t forget to bring a pen too.
2. Entertainment for Waiting
Pack a small book, bubbles, or playing cards to pass the time during long lines. You might end up waiting between 30 minutes to an hour for some rides, so it’s nice to have something to keep your kids entertained while waiting.
3. Disney Gift Cards
Preload a gift card to make transactions easier and control spending. This is a good way to teach your kids how to budget properly while giving them the freedom to choose what they want to buy — whether that’s mouse ears, a princess dress, or a tasty snack!
4. Glow Sticks
Once the sun sets, glow sticks are a great way to keep track of your kids in the dark, but the kids will also love it because they’re fun and colorful. Allow the kids to create necklaces and bracelets to keep them occupied while waiting for the fireworks show or while you’re in line for a ride.
Where to Stay Near Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
For those headed to Disneyland in California, the best places to look for accommodations are in the cities of Anaheim and Orange, as Disneyland itself is located in Anaheim and Orange is the neighboring city. Check out our top picks for hotels within walking distance of Disneyland below!
Howard Johnson by Wyndham Anaheim