5 Kid-Friendly Essentials to Pack in Your Disney Park Bag

by | Feb 7, 2023 | Disneyland Parks, WDW Blog

Master the art of packing the right essentials for your next Disney day, and you’ll make your experience more magical! Here’s what we recommend bringing if you’re headed to the theme parks with young kids.

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, we all want to envision each day as the perfect park day, full of magical moments. However, the reality is that in order to have a near-perfect Disney Parks experience, there’s a lot of planning that needs to be done – especially when you’re visiting with kids! From unpredictable weather to ever-changing moods, there are plenty of factors that can impact your day at the theme parks with little ones. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our Disney essentials that you’ll want to pack for every visit, long or short.

Pack these essentials in your bag for you and your kids, and you’ll have a smoother, easier day at the parks (yes, even during those tough moments!).

1. Food and Water

Did you know that you can pack your own snacks and lunch to bring into Walt Disney World and Disneyland? It’s true – and it can make your day both easier and more affordable!

It’s always a good idea to have snacks in your bag when you’re visiting with kids. You never quite know when hunger will strike, and packable snacks allow you to offer up something in mere seconds. Stick a few of your child’s favorite snacks in your pack to hold them over until lunch time (and beyond). Of course, there are many Disney snacks that are special to the parks (Mickey pretzels, churros, Dole whips, and special popcorn buckets, to name a few), but they can do serious damage to your wallet. Worse, stopping to buy snacks will end up eating into your time to ride all of the Disney rides! The best away to avoid a hunger meltdown is to just abracadabra your child’s favorite snack out of your bag.

And if you’re down to pack a whole meal, you can skip the hassle of making dining reservations, trying to secure a mobile order arrival time, or waiting for a restaurant’s walk-up list. Instead, you can rent a locker next to the park entrance at any park and store your lunch box (with your food on ice) until lunch time!  A perfect picnic lunch on the hub grass at Magic Kingdom sounds lovely, doesn’t it? The best part: You don’t have to wait in line, and you can eat whenever you get hungry.  

An equally important reminder is to have water on hand to drink throughout your park day. Hot temperatures are common at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and there’s nothing that makes kids (and adults) cranky like dehydration. With all of the running around to rides, waiting in the hot sun, and rushing trying to catch Lightning Lane times, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water to stay well-hydrated. Make sure each of your kids have their own refillable water bottle on hand – and bring one for you, too! There are plenty of water fountains throughout each park to refill the bottles.

Pro Tip: Forgot to pack your water bottle? All Disney quick service restaurants will give you free cups of ice water upon request.  

2. Change of Clothes (or a Bathing Suit)

If you’re traveling when it’s warm (and that can be most of the year whether you’re headed to Orlando and Anaheim), you may want to pack a change of clothes – or even a bathing suit – when you’re headed to the parks with your kids. Many of the parks have either a water ride or a splash zone area to cool off from the harsh heat, and this will allow your kids to get wet without worrying about drying off afterwards.

A change of clothing can come in handy for normal kid messes, too. A spare t-shirt or outfit will save you the hassle of trying to clean up spills, food messes, or any other unexpected stains that might happen. And you can even pack a change of clothes for photos, too. Disney PhotoPass photographers are located all over the parks to capture your family memories with characters and without – so treat these photo spots like the mini photoshoots they are and freshen up with a change of clothing before you take those castle photos!

Pro Tip: Stash a small wet bag inside your park bag to keep those wet or messy clothes! These roll-top or zippered bags can securely steal up wet bathing suits or food-covered items, preventing the interior of your bag from getting messy, too.

3. A Fan

The Florida and California heat can be brutal, and many days are without the respite of even a forlorn breeze. That’s why one of the most important items you can carry in your bag will be a rechargeable fan of some sort – plus a battery pack to keep it charged throughout the day. 

You can find plenty of portable and rechargeable fans in various shapes and sizes, all designed to be lightweight and easy to carry. We love stashing a slim handheld fan with wrist strap in our backpack’s pockets or a purse. If you’re headed to the theme parks with a stroller, you can also opt for a stroller fan with flexible feet (or a hanger) to direct a breeze towards kids while they ride. Whenever you or the kids are feeling warm, break out your fan and you’ll have a convenient stream of cooling air no matter where you are.

Pro Tip: Even with the help of a portable fan, you’re going to want to make sure to schedule plenty of shade and/or air conditioning breaks throughout the day to keep cool. Nothing is worse than kids overheating in the sun! 

4. Autograph Books

Meeting Disney characters is a special experience for any Disney kid, but having an autograph book can make the encounter even more magical. These blank books are the perfect way to collect different characters’ special signatures, create a memorable moment for your child, and give them something to utilize throughout their days at different theme parks. 

You don’t have to buy an autograph book directly from a Disney theme park, either! If you want prepare before you head to the parks (or simply want to save some cash), you can pick up a Disney autograph book online for as little as $10.

In addition to the book itself being a wonderful keepsake souvenir from your trip, it can also help kids with their initial interactions with each character. This tip is especially helpful for those kids who are a bit more shy and reserved, who may not know exactly what to say or how to approach their favorite characters. 

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to capture photos and videos of each character meet and greet, too! You won’t want to miss the magic of your kids interacting with their favorite Disney characters as they sign their autograph.

5. Busy Toys or Electronics

This item is a must for many families – don’t forget to pack your child’s favorite toys from home or always-used handheld electronics! Each of these items can be very useful to combat boredom or down time while waiting in lines to ride attractions. For some children, having their go-to toys or some form of entertainment on a gadget on hand in the parks can even help calm their overloaded senses if they tend to get overwhelmed by crowds or theme parks in general.  

Don’t want to bring along toys that are heavy or oversized? If you happen to have an old iPhone, pack that! You can download the Disney Play App for some additional in-park fun. All of the games on that app are kid friendly, and many are interactive within each of the theme parks. Some even interact in ride queues.For example, there’s a new Disney Ducktales World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT that gets the kids moving around each of the pavilions on a quest. The kids will be happy and entertained, and, in turn, so will you!

Pro Tip: If your kids are a little older, you can download games to play with the entire family on your smartphones while you’re waiting in line to keep them entertained and complaint-free.

While there’s no right or wrong way to pack your Disney park bag, hopefully these suggestions make Disney vacation even more magical! We would love to hear if you have any additional must bring items for your Disney Day. For more packing ideas and insight, keep reading:

Disney World Packing List: What to Bring Free Printable Checklist

Written by Ilana Robinson

Ilana Robinson is a published writer, photographer, seamstress, and former attorney, who practiced law in the Greater NYC area for 10 years before relocating to Orlando with her family. She is a WDW Annual Passholder and dreams of visiting every single Disney Park worldwide. Follow along on her Disney adventures on Instagram and TikTok.
Ilana Robinson

Written by Ilana Robinson

Ilana Robinson is a published writer, photographer, seamstress, and former attorney, who practiced law in the Greater NYC area for 10 years before relocating to Orlando with her family. She is a WDW Annual Passholder and dreams of visiting every single Disney Park worldwide. Follow along on her Disney adventures on Instagram and TikTok.