6 Must-Haves I Always Carry in My Park Bag as a Disney Expert

by | May 22, 2024 | Disneyland Parks, WDW Blog

After hundreds of trips to Disney theme parks over the past few decades, I never leave home without these somewhat unexpected items in my bag.

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Over the last three decades, I’ve spent hundreds of days at Disney theme parks at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. From humid and rainy Florida days to windy and cold California nights, I’ve experienced all kinds of weather and park conditions. And, as a Disney expert, I now know exactly I need to bring with me for a successful, stress-free day at the theme parks.

Whether I’m popping into the parks for a few hours or visiting from rope drop to park close, packing the right essentials can make or break the day, especially when it comes to comfort in any weather or season. With the following must-haves, I’m ready for anything at a Disney theme park – and you will be too, if you stock your own backpack or bag with them.

1. Band-Aids, Moleskin, and Anti-Friction Balm

You’ve got to have band-aids on hand if you’re heading to a Disney theme park. With all of the walking you’ll be doing someone is sure to get a blister… or cut their hand, scrape a knee, or wind up with another small surface injury at some point.

But I don’t pack just any band-aids – I specifically pack Welly bandages. I stash either Welly’s first aid kit or a few Welly bandage refills in my theme park bag, because these bandages seriously stick. They can survive sweat and other types of moisture, friction, and movement in just about any direction. 

Welly’s bandages are so great, they can outlast even the best basic band-aids, and one can keep cuts, scrapes, and blisters safely covered for multiple days (although, let’s be honest, you should be swapping out for a fresh one daily!)

Additionally, when it comes to blisters, I never head to the theme parks unprepared. Even your favorite long-haul walking shoes can fail your feet at Disney parks, and that can result in a world of discomfort. Moleskin padding tape does a great job of stopping blisters and soothing potential pain spots before they start. 

Or, if you’re mostly looking keep friction at bay, Solemates’ Anti-Friction Balm will keep your heels moving smoothly and prevent those painful spots where your heel meets your shoe. I like to carry either band-aids and moleskin tape or anti-friction balm, but not all three.

2. Hand and Scalp Sunscreen

You already know sunscreen is a must-have in your theme park bag regardless of the time of the year. But most of your typical body sunscreens can be pretty thick and heavy or overly greasy – which doesn’t exactly make for the most face-friendly formula.

I like to opt for a lighter, skincare-leaning sunscreen for my face to ensure I stay protected from potential sunburns and that unpleasant all-day greasy feeling. However, I like to go a step farther and also pack a special hand sunscreen, too. 

Supergoop!’s Handscreen (SPF 40) or Sun Bum’s Hand Cream (SPF 15) both offer a lighter-weight, non-greasy formula that’s perfect for Disney days. Your hands will be exposed to the sun all day (especially if you’re pushing a stroller), but as you wash and sanitize your hands throughout the day, you’ll need to reapply it frequently. Stash a small travel-size bottle in your bag, and you can keep your delicate hand skin protected.

Also, don’t forget about your scalp! Whether you have thin hair, forgot your hat, or prefer to wear a visor, your scalp can unexpectedly get a bit too much sun exposure throughout the day. I like to stash a dedicated scalp sunscreen – like Sun Bum’s Scalp & Hair Mist or Supergoop!’s Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder – just in case I take my hat off or leave my part exposed due to my hairstyle for the day.

3. A Collapsible Fan

Whether I’m at Disneyland or Disney World, odds are the weather is going to be warm – and waiting in attraction queues under the incredibly bright rays of the sun isn’t exactly pleasant. To keep myself cool (and my mood pleasant!), I always make sure I have a slim, collapsible fan in my park bag.

I prefer a motorized fan, since they can easily be recharged and tend to deliver a better breeze, especially on extra-hot days. While I like to carry this slim model to save space inside my bag, this larger fan is a great option for those who run hot year-round. 

And if you’re visiting with kids, don’t forget to add a fan onto their stroller, too. The flexible legs on this model are perfect for winding around any portion of your stroller, and the handy digital battery display lets you know when it’s ready for recharging. Stroller fans aren’t as bag-friendly or compact, but they’re a must-have for keeping kids cool and comfortable.

4. Two Backup Batteries (and Charging Cables)

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have your phone die on you in a Disney theme park, you know just how important it is to carry not only a charging cable, but also a backup battery. You need the My Disney Experience app or Disneyland app, depending on which resort you’re visiting, to do everything from scan into the parks to book dining reservations to secure Lightning Lanes. 

Add in using your phone to take photos, check the day’s plans often, and entertain yourself while waiting in attraction queues or for entertainment, and you can easily blow through your battery power and your fully-charged backup battery.

That’s why I always like to bring two backup batteries with me. I typically bring one small battery that can attach magnetically to my phone, which makes recharging while using the device a breeze. I also pack a larger-capacity battery that I can plug into – one that offers enough power for multiple recharges or multiple devices, in case my husband needs a charge, too.

If you like the convenience of FuelRod portable chargers, which can be exchanged in Disney’s theme parks so you always have access to power, that’s a great option, too. I’d still recommend packing two so each adult in your party can charge without worry!

5. Disposable Alcohol Wipes

Parents know to bring baby wipes everywhere, and adults have gotten used to carrying hand sanitizer with them. But I like to go one step above both of these options and stick a travel-sized pack of disposable alcohol-based wipes in my bag when I’m headed to a Disney theme park.

Alcohol wipes are the perfect solution for sticky table surfaces, sudden spills, and unexpected messes (although I highly recommend carrying a Tide To Go Pen or Oxiclean On the Go Stain Remover Pen with you for clothing-related messes!). You can whip them out before you dine at a less-than-clean quick-service restaurant table, or use them to wipe down items your kids drop throughout the day.

You can also run an alcohol wipe over your smartphone, MagicBand, or anything else that might get particularly gross or touch germy surfaces and messes throughout the day. In a pinch, you can also use them to wipe down your hands or kids’ hands. It’s a quick way to sanitize your surroundings, without putting too much effort into the process. 

6. Compression Socks

Okay, technically I don’t put this item in my park bag – I just wear them in place of typical socks. But I cannot recommend compression socks enough, especially with all of the hours of walking and standing that happen once you’re inside a Disney theme park. 

I first switched over to compression socks from your regular ol’ cotton socks after I headed to Disney World post-knee surgery back in 2016. At the time, I figured I’d wear the specialized socks just until I was fully recovered… but they ended up completely changing my comfort in the parks. Now, it’s compression socks only for me.

Compression socks can help reduce that all-too-common foot swelling that happens when you’re on your feet all day and all night. They can also help improve circulation, making them great for standing or sitting for long periods of time. Best of all, I find they help keep my feet and knees ache-free for longer – a huge perk when you’re looking at well upwards of 10,000 steps in a single day.

While you can opt for traditional knee-high compression socks, you can also stick with short ankle socks. Comrad, my personal favorite brand, offers breathable recycled cotton compression socks in knee-height for whole-leg circulation as well as no-show socks that offer targeted arch support and compression. 

With either version, your feet will thank you by the end of the day!

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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