What do you bring with you to the parks?
You can always buy some of these things in the park if you forget them, but it will be at a premium price, so it’s best to remember to pack them on your own.
Always pre-purchase your tickets on the web first so you can skip the long lines outside the parks and go straight in! You can sometimes find coupons for certain parks right at work; the Human Resources Dept at my office offers discounts to Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm, maybe your HR offers something too, just ask! My mother-in-law works civil service for the military and is able to purchase discounted tickets to area attractions. Check your Costco or local grocery store as they sometimes offer discounts at certain times of the year. Undercover Tourist (affiliate link) offers multi-day discount tickets for WDW. The Disneyland website also offers discounts on multiple day passes.
Camera and/or video camera.
This would also include batteries (or a charged up battery) and a second memory card.
Throughout the parks at Disneyland there are Disney photographers ready to take your picture in all the prime locations in the park (like at the entrance or in front of the castle). At the first stop, they will hand you a Photopass card, a scannable card that you will present to each Disney photographer you meet on your trip. Don’t lose the card! You will use this card to view, edit, share and purchase your photos online once you get home. Disneyland photographers are always happy to take pictures for you with your own camera too!
A purse or backpack that you don’t mind carrying around all day. I have a Baggalinni I can wear crossed over my chest. I slip my ticket right into the front pocket and it’s waterproof, lightweight and holds everything I’ll need. Anything else goes into a backpack that either one of the kids wears or it goes into a rented locker.
Read up on the individual Park websites for their “outside” food policy. Some places may frown upon it but will still let you bring in snacks. Obviously don’t be bringing in anything that will spoil without refrigeration but bringing your own simple sandwiches, beef jerky, fruit and pretzels can save you big money. There is a Picnic Area outside the parks at Disneyland if you want to purchase food at Downtown Disney and eat it before going into the parks.
They can be new and sealed bottles full of water (not frozen) or empty bottles that you can fill with drinking fountain water.
A change of clothes for each person.
Nothing like getting totally soaked on a ride and having to schlep around with soggy socks for the rest of the day! Also, those chocolate covered bananas can get pretty messy and tend to drop big chunks of chocolate all over the place (I bought my son a new shirt at the park before for this very reason!). I also usually bring an extra pair of shoes. I tend to start off with tennis shoes and when my feet get achy or swell a little, I’ll move to sandals.
A few plastic bags. Perfect to hold wet or dirty clothes. Ziplocks are ideal, as they can be sealed up.
Don’t forget your jacket. Even if it’s warm in the daytime, the night can get chilly. Check the temps online before your trip to know what to expect.
Apply frequently. Bring a lip balm with SPF too.
There are strollers for rent in the Disneyland parks, but I have always liked having my own because that walk back to the car or hotel at the end of a long day can be awful when you’re trying to carry a sleeping child (and you are already tired yourself!).
Sunglasses. The bright sun can make everyone a bit cranky.
Cash (not just your credit/debit cards).
The little kiosks scattered around the parks don’t usually take debit or credit cards so if you want a Mickey shaped balloon, a rainbow glow stick or a bucket of popcorn be sure to have cash on hand. If you only have your credit or debit cards, you can still withdrawal cash at the ATMs around the park.
If there is a chance of rain, bring an umbrella that folds up very small when not in use or a rain poncho.
A Hat (Ears are optional!)
Handi wipes (or baby wipes) and hand sanitizer. Always nice to clean up before you eat that bucket of popcorn and then wipe your face down after gnawing on that giant turkey leg. Hand sanitizer is great to use on a regular basis throughout the day (have you seen how many hands have touched the rails in the queues?!).
You won’t find it for sale anywhere in the park so if you have to have it, bring it yourself.
Baby stuff, if you have a baby.
Don’t rely on buying diapers & baby food in the park, bring your own with you. At Disneyland make sure you stop in the Baby Center as there are high-chairs, rocking chairs, quiet nursing areas and even teeny-tiny toilet stalls for toddlers that are potty training.
I’ve visited Disneyland First Aid for Ibuprofen when I’ve felt pain coming on and I’ve forgotten my medication at home. Of course I get a headache just looking at the teacup ride so I usually try to bring my own pain reliever! First Aid can even give you an ice pack or bandage up a wound. I can’t tell you how handy it is to have a few Tums stored in your bag when indigestion flares up after eating a diet of corn dogs and ice cream sandwiches all day. Also, if anyone in your group suffers from motion sickness, consider getting a prescription for the medicated patch. I suffer from motion sickness myself and the patch is perfect for me (it’s a small medicated sticker that goes behind your ear for three days of coverage). Avoid motion sickness tablets as many of them will cause extreme sleepiness!
What NOT to bring (from the Disneyland website):
•Clothing or tattoos with obscene, lewd or offensive language, graphics or designs
•Clothing that could be construed as indecent, exposing excessive portions of skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment (e.g., string bikini tops and bottoms, G-strings)
•Weapons or accessories that appear to be weapons •Clothing or accessories that drag on the ground and create a potential tripping hazard
•No Costumes on Guests over the age of 9. Guests under the age of 10 may wear certain types of costumes.
•Sharp or pointed accessories that may cause injury
•Masks or makeup that could be construed as part of a costume
The Disneyland website also has this simplified Packing List.
What are your amusement park must-haves? Anything you’d like added the list? Include it in the comments below!