12 Items You Must Carry With You at Walt Disney World
I recently befriended someone who mentioned that they were leaving for Walt Disney World soon. They casually indicated that they planned to bring a few belongings that they would keep with them at all times. While they were talking, the imaginary light bulb above my head brightened. I started itemizing all of the essentials for spending a day at the theme park. Here are 12 items you must carry with you at Walt Disney World.
Bandages and Disinfecting Wipes
I’m clumsy and something of a germophobe, so I try to plan for the worst. I do sometimes get nicked up while wandering through the parks, often because I tend to explore places too recklessly. I like to have bandages for various nicks and cuts I accumulate along the way. Plus, I do get blisters frequently, and the bandages help with that. The disinfecting wipes are to clean affected areas and also to protect myself in case some sort of flu bug is going around.
Disney loyalists lament the omnipresence of cellphones in the parks. I understand the mentality that they express, “Put down your phone. You’re at Disney.” But we don’t live in that world anymore. People are attached to their phones too much, and Disney leans into this fact. You can do almost everything at the park from order food to book FastPasses to get directions via My Disney Experience. For this reason, your phone is either a necessity or a necessary evil, depending on your perspective.
The reality of My Disney Experience is that the Disney app is a resource hog. You will find yourself running out of your battery charge after only a few hours of usage. Since many people stake out the parks for the full day, it’s a problem. A couple of backup batteries go long way in keeping your phone juiced the entire time. Alternately, take a USB charger with you and leave your phone plugged into it all day.
Everyone gets a headache from time to time. Ibuprofen is the best cure for a migraine or any time of minor pain flare-up. During a theme park visit, you may feel like everything is a bit too intense. When that happens, Ibuprofen is your best friend.
Your lips can’t catch a break while you’re in Florida. During the off-season, lower temperatures will cause them to crack. During the sweltering summer months, they’ll suffer in the sun. Lip balm is the magical ointment that will help you stop thinking about how irritated your lips are. Its usage is also somewhat preventive at a theme park. You may not need it, but if your lips crack, you will regret that you weren’t using lip balm already.
At this point, your Magic Band is everything at Walt Disney World. It gives you access to the theme parks, it unlocks the door to your hotel room, and it even allows you to pay for your meals and merchandise. Frankly, the Magic Band is the future of economics, at least in some form.
This sort of transactional, informational device is exactly the sort of innovation that Walt Disney had in mind when he fantasized about Tomorrowland. You’ll want to wear yours the entire time that you’re at Walt Disney World.
This one is a personal preference. Your Magic Band and My Disney Experience account will store all of the information that you need for your trip. What happens when something goes wrong, though? Because people have become so reliant on cellphones, we sometimes forget that things happen during vacation. You could forget your phone at the airport or have that piece of luggage get lost/stolen.
Alternately, you could run out of your battery charge. Suddenly, you don’t have access to something that you need. By printing out a list of your reservation and confirmation numbers, you’ll have back-up in case of emergency. I strongly recommend this step, as it only takes a few minutes and could feasibly save your vacation.
The weather in Disney is more chaotic than a kindergarten classroom. You never know when the sun will suddenly vanish behind foreboding clouds. Moments later, a downpour could soak your clothes and leave you looking like you just rode Splash Mountain 14 straight times. I’ve had this happen before. I don’t think my clothes fully dried for another five hours.
The way to avoid sticky, wet clothing is to pack a poncho or, better yet, an umbrella. You don’t want to carry around anything that’s full size, of course, but clever manufacturers have built ponchos and mini-umbrellas. These devices have a small footprint in your backpack/purse, but they provide similar protection. Bring one of them to avoid getting caught in the rain.
This one isn’t rocket science. You wear sunglasses most of the summer in your current town, right? Why would Orlando be any different? You’ll stare at the sun a lot during your theme park visit. Sunglasses are what protect you from discomfort.
My one suggestion here is that you add a tight strap to your sunglasses, especially if you plan to wear them on rides. One of the running jokes among Disney cast members is that they get their sunglasses cheap since they’re pre-owned…by park guests. Yes, uncollected ones at Lost & Found eventually get auctioned by cast members.
I think you’ve noticed a theme by now. Florida weather is mercurial. One second, you’ll have torrential rain. After only a few minutes, sun will beat down on you. It’s…kind of cool. You’ll never quite know what to expect and must plan for everything.
Still, sunlight is the default setting in Florida. You’ll regret it if you don’t have sunscreen on at all times. Since the rain could wash away your SPF protection, you need to carry sunscreen with you for additional applications.
Even though Magic Bands do most of the heavy lifting, you still need a wallet while you’re at Disney. You’ll need to produce identification at times. For example, when you’re entitled to discounts as an annual pass owner or Disney Vacation Club member, cast members need photo ID to verify that you’re the right person.
Also, the credit card attached to your Magic Band may have issues. Some banks are hyper-protective about the usage of cards in unexpected cities. A standard security measure is to reject charges until the user calls to verify. So, carrying a back-up credit card is a good idea. Technically, you don’t need a wallet for this. It’s just easier.
This one depends on the person. Some folks don’t have an issue with the price of drinks at Disney theme parks. They’re okay with paying a few dollars when they’re thirsty. Guests using the Disney Dining Plan get a couple of snack credits that they can us on drinks anyway.
For others, the cost of bottled water at Disney is outrageous. They’d rather save their money for other merchandise. People in the latter category should bring a water bottle. The best ones are the re-usable bottles that keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold.