Having a park bag with the essentials not only saves money, but precious park time. While the contents vary, based on the ages in your party, some things are always going to be handy to have in there. These are our must have's, in no particular order!
It happens more than you'd expect. Disney' payment system goes down on occasion and you can't buy something with your magic band or credit card. While you can always come back by later, of course, if it's an important purchase, like a snack for your hangry child, or a drink on a hot day, cash is important. I always keep $20 in my bag, just in case. Every trip, I've had to use it, and often more than once.
Whether it's your tired feet, aching back or the migraine that's forming, a little pain reliever is important! While you can go visit the free first aid stations, sometimes you just don't feel like getting out of line to do that.
Summer afternoon showers are as predictable as the song getting stuck in your head after you exist It's a Small World. Be ready to protect your clothes and gear from getting soggy.
4. Disney Pins
My boys and I loooove our Disney pins! These are always a must have for some on the go trading. If you aren't sure what these are, and wont to know how to get started with this inexpensive hobby, you can click here!
5. Hand Sanitizer / wipes
Look around next time you go. Besides the hundreds of people each hour riding the same rides as you, ever seen all of the kids licking the handrails, and everyone coughing, sneezing, rubbing at their noses, and then touching stuff? the same stuff that those in your party are going to touch? Enough said!
6. Extra camera battery
We had done two trips before I made the best investment of all. A second camera battery. No longer did it drain and leave me with no battery after I filmed Jedi Training, or a parade. It was so, so worth it to have a spare.
7. Portable battery pack for phone
You might be snapping photos, pulling up Disney games, making fastpass changes or browsing menus on your phone and that eventually can wear down your battery. A portable charger might do the trick, and then can be recharged that night, ready for the next day. These are especially helpful if you were so tired the night before, you forgot to charge your phone.
Sunscreen is so important. Not only does it protect your skin from a burn and possibly cancer later, it helps you from being overheated. How? When you get a sunburn, you feel so much hotter! Later up, and reapply every few hours, so you aren't walking around looking like a lobster and feeling the burn. Save that for the gym!
9. Ziploc bag
Wet rides or rain, your phone risks getting soaked! A quick tip is a ziploc bag. We've a bunch of other great ideas to use one of those, click here to see why it's our favorite thing to pack.
We bring snacks along not just to save money, but to always have one at the ready for a hungry child. In line, on a bench, waiting a really long time to get our lunch, it doesn't matter. Having a snack on hand is always important. One of our children also has a food allergy, so it's even more important that he has a few safe options to choose from if we can't find him something fairly quickly. As a bonus, here are our suggestions for snacks to bring in, that they already sell (for a lot more money!)
What do you think of our list? What's a must have in your park bag?
If you've ever looked down while walking around in the the Dumbo area of Magic Kingdom, chances are you've seen the above picture. Those aren't real peanuts (whew, for us food allergy folks! and a heads up so you don't get a shock your first visit) but a clever detail and a bit of Imagineering. You'll also find animal tracks, hidden mickeys and more hidden in the concrete at Disney World! All created with intent!
If you've not stopped by Target lately, you need to! On a large standalone display near the groceries and housewares, at least in my store, is a display with all kinds of Disney Eats merchandise. You'll find cookie kits, bowls, snack containers, kitchen utensils, other food related things, and these...beautifully decorated cookies like you'd see at Disney. But part of what makes these so amazing, is for those of us who need to be on the hunt for allergy friendly products. These are made in a peanut and tree nut free facility!! All of this cookie's brands are. Isn't that fantastic?
We bought both the tub, with 8 cookies for $14.99 and some single cookies at $1.99 each. The tub has 4 different designs, snowflake, Christmas tree, gingerbread and Mickey Clause. Single sold cookies, they had Mickey Clause, and Minnie. I'm hoping they get some plain Mickey in too, to save back.
We all love the taste of these, they are not as hard as you might expect iced cookies to be, and actually have a bit of flavor, unlike many decorated cookies I've tried. What could be a better way to brighten the season than to have beautiful, Disney cookies at your family gatherings? In a Disney park, since these are safe for your child with nut allergies, or tucked in a stocking or lunchbox? We plan to give a few to our Disney loving school librarian!
Since these have a long shelf life, I plan to buy any left after Christmas! (I might have already bought 3 tubs and some singles!! So I've bought all I can at full price!)
It's my hope that they will bring these back for next year! And the year after that! Every Christmas cookie tastes better when in the shape of Mickey!
Photo from Disney
If it's not the special fireworks, the once a year parade or the rare character meet and greets and low crowds that have you excited about going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, it might be the epic trick or treating! The internet is full of pictures of candy piled high. People reporting backpacks full of sugary sweetness, but this year, there's a trick that some people have been playing, that isn't very nice.
Once of the best parts of Disney is the fact that they are not only allergy aware, but allergy friendly. In addition to the regular candy passed out, Disney has a (limited) supply of safe, allergy friendly treats too, redeemable at two locations in the park.
Imagine...that time of year when everyone's getting yummy treats, handfuls at each stop, and your child is getting a single allergy token, with the promise of redeeming it for a treat at the allergy friendly station. They get there, and either are handed a half full bag, or, even worse, being told not even two hours into the party, that they have run out of allergy friendly treats.
This year, that has been an all too common scenerio for children and adults who are there to enjoy every aspect of the Mickey's Halloween Party. multiple reports from partygoers have said that those taking the allergy bags are greater this year, and that the majority of the people they've talked to, are laughing, saying they want the healthier, or organic candy, because then they won't feel guilty eating it.
I say shame on them. they SHOULD feel guilty eating it.
The organic Surf Sweet gummies? Might just taste like gummies to someone, but to a child, that's a treat made in a top 10 free facility. No nuts, no dairy, no sesame, no soy, etc...10 allergens that are the most common this treat is FREE of. The Enjoy Life chocolates? Also free of dairy, nuts, and many other things.
By choosing this "healthier" candy, it is being taken away from those who do not choose to have an allergy, or choose to eat a Gogo Squeez applesauce instead of a Hershey bar, particularly children.
Please, if you don't need the allergy candies, take the regular ones. let those children who are excluded and different during birthdays, and holidays, and classroom parties and family get togethers, and every day restaurant meals feel normal, and excited, and be a regular kid when at Disney. There's already so many treats that they can't have at Disney that those with allergies can have. Please, leave those allergy friendly trick or treats for them.
When you go to a place as expensive as Disney, sometimes every dime counts. Often, they ask if you want your drink in a souvenir cup. Some of these cups are a fairly good bargain, like the rapid refill mug, and others are simply to collect. No matter why you get one, there is one thing to remember: unless the cups say they are refillable (and most of them are not) it is a one time use purchase. Is that all bad though?
This last trip, we did go ahead and buy two souvenir cups for the kids. That was included in the cost of when we saved a TON by NOT doing the Disney Dining Plan. I ended up buying our first cup after reading about them on the Be Our Guest online menu. Since the youngest isn't a breakfast food person, I figured I'd get him a mug to go along with the snacks we packed. It was a very sturdy mug, and has a flip top lid to prevent spills.
Though I have boys, they didn't mind getting Beauty and the Beast cups. My only complaint, is because breakfast is a set price, it includes a drink. When I ordered the second cup, even though my oldest son's meal came with a drink, I was charged additionally for the souvenir mug. $10.
Now let's look at these next cups! These are my favorites!
I like these second souvenir cups better. They came from Big Top Souvenirs in Magic Kingdom, and were filled with a Goofy's Glacier. It was just under $10 for the filled mug. Since our youngest couldn't have a lot of the fun treats he used to have, I decided to splurge on getting the cup for him, and one for his brother and me. Just want to say..get the Lime flavor. I have dreams about how yummy that is, and I can't wait to get another. They had a lot of other flavors, too.
These cups also have a sturdy lid, and a plastic (YAY! A must have for a frozen drink!) and the design is very cute!
IMPORTANT, ALLERGY PARENTS! As they were getting the straws, the cast member told me she'd be right back, she always had a friend with gloves put the straw in, since they were loose in the box. I turn around and there, the friend in gloves, stopped stocking the case filled with nutty treats, stuck the straws in and came back. I was embarrassed, I mean, these weren't just throw away cups, but I apologized, and asked if I could have just one of them remade, because of traces of peanuts and tree nuts possibly now being on the straw. Without blinking, she did.
So are these cups a good deal? for around $5, you can buy just the drink. It's around $10 for the drink AND cup. To buy just a cup? I saw prices in the gift ship starting off at $10.
We reuse our cups a ton at home. If you aren't the sort to reuse your Disney souvenir cups, and don't collect them, I'd pass and save money. Our kids have used these a ton, and dispute multiple washings in the dishwasher, they are holding up great! Far better than this year's rapid refill mugs, actually. For us, these cups will be a sometime thing, especially since it can make a plain drink, and one of the few Disney treats our youngest can have, seem even more special!