Everyone has a different philosophy on what to bring into the theme parks at Walt Disney World. I always get a kick out of watching what people bring into the parks with them, as they get out of their cars or go through the bag check. On one occasion, when I was getting out of my own vehicle at Epcot, I overheard a father tell his son to go put his bottle of water back in the car. The father went on to tell him that they were not taking anything in with them. Whatever they needed they would purchase in the park. Then there are those people that have so much stuff, I wonder what they don’t have with them! For me, I’m a light packer. I like being able to walk through the no bag line, having everything I need in my pockets. But, there are times when something unexpected occurs and I’m left scrambling, trying to figure out what to do.
For this list, we’ve gone straight to cast members to get their opinion. If there was ever a group of people who could give advice on what to bring, it would be them. As many times as I’ve been to Walt Disney World, they have seen and heard more than I ever will. All of the following recommendations on what to take into the parks comes directly from current cast members.
One cast member told us that sometimes there are glitches in the magic band system. If you plan on charging a snack to your magic band and there is a system glitch, you might be inclined to reach for your wallet to grab some cash. Make sure you have it with you! While most locations accept linked magic bands and credit cards, there are occasional exceptions. For example, balloon purchases on Main Street are cash only. Be sure to have some.
Going hand in hand with cash, don’t forget your identification. Whether you are picking up park tickets from the will call window, or are asked for your ID when making a large credit card purchase in a gift shop, this will come in handy. My wife was not able to get a free gift for being an annual pass holder because she left her ID in the car, despite her magic band being properly scanned. One cast member told us many people have had to return to their car or even hotel room to take care of this. Don’t be one of them!
You can save big money by bringing your own stroller. For guests who logistically cannot bring their own, especially when flying into Orlando, they can purchase one usually cheaper than renting one. Sometimes you can even purchase one in the gift shop of the resort you might be staying at. One cast member reminded us that strollers rented inside the parks cannot be taken outside the parks. If your child walks or is carried, it can be very far from the bus stop to the hotel room, both for very tired children, and for the parents who have to carry them.
7. Water Bottle
Many guests are already aware that you can walk up to any quick service counter and get a free cup of ice water. So why bring in a water bottle? Those quick service lines can get backed up pretty quick and sometimes move relatively slow. You can skip that line entirely and find a water fountain to refill your bottle. We always bring in a very large insulated water container filled with ice at the beginning of the day and refill as necessary. One cast member told us unless you are very picky on what type of water you drink, there is no reason to purchase water inside the park. Save that snack credit for something more substantial!
6. Rain Poncho or Umbrella
It rains a lot in Florida, especially during the summer. However, stray rain clouds can form at unexpected times. You can purchase Disney ponchos inside the parks. They are good quality. However, not only do they come at a high price, but who wants to chase down a location selling ponchos while its down pouring? Plan ahead. You’ll save yourself a headache and your wallet will thank you.
My wife and I have four precious children all in their single digits. What phrase do I hear more than any other? It’s not the next attraction, it’s the infamous ‘I’m hungry!” cry! While we enjoy the snacks Walt Disney World has to offer, we also pack our own. Granola bars, dry cereal, and gold fish make great go to options. In addition, you won’t have to get out of that long line you’ve been standing in to go hunt down some food. Plus, these snacks are not just for kids! Just remember, you are prohibited from bringing in glass jars.
4. Summer Staples
Summer is a lot longer in Florida than it is in other places. Not only can the summer heat get to you, but Florida has high humidity. Bring sunblock with you. One cast member told us that it’s super expensive to purchase in the parks! Sunglasses are another must. You might not wear them where you’re from, but down here you’ll need them even on a cloudy day. A hat can also help block those sun rays. Other staples include some first aid items. Bandaids, pain relievers and other items may come in handy.
3. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Most people will advise against wearing flip flops. Sure, they keep your cooler but with the excessive walking you’ll do in the parks, you don’t want those feet getting tired. Also, don’t wear a brand new pair of shoes either. You’ll want something already broke in but has lots of padding. One cast member recommended to bring an extra pair of socks. If it rains, you don’t want to walk around the rest of the day with wet feet. Good advice!
2. Portable Charger
One of the most commonly mentioned item our cast member friends told us, was to bring a portable phone charger! With so many heads buried in the My Disney Experience app and social media, plus the rise of cell phone cameras taking the place of traditional cameras, batteries drain quickly. Make sure your phone is fully charged before going into the parks, cast members told us. In addition, invest in a portable charger. You can pick one up relatively inexpensive. You don’t want your phone to die while trying to book that extra fast pass or snapping that perfect photo of Cinderella Castle!
1. Your Smile!
With all the hustle and bustle of trying to pack everything in, slow down and remember, as one cast member so eloquently told us: You are at the most magical place on earth! She went on to remind us to always be friendly to cast members. They really do have a lot of power to bring pixie dust to your trip in ways you would never imagine!
There you have it! These are 10 Items Disney Cast Members Recommend You Take Into the Parks. Which items do you take into the parks with you? Which ones didn’t make our list? Let us know by commenting below!