I like to think of myself as somewhat of a seasoned Disney traveller. I’ve visited the parks more times than I can count and had (I think!) 12 Disney holidays in my life. And over this time I’ve figured a few things that are a necessity for your days in the parks. I’m sure there will be plenty of others too, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you need in the parks, but here are my musts when visiting WDW – mostly related to two main things: being outside and moving around a lot.
Obviously you can buy water and other drinks in the parks, but as I’m sure you can guess, you’ll be paying a bit of a premium for these. Plus there’s the fact that at WDW and the other Disney parks, you’re going to be doing a lot of moving around, probably in the sunshine if you’re in Florida, so you and the family are going to get thirsty.
Our trick when we’re staying in a villa is to fill up water bottles (500ml or more if you can manage to carry them) the night before and stick them in the freezer. They start to melt pretty quickly in the hot sun as soon as you take them out, so you have free ice water for at least the first couple of hours. If you don’t have a freezer where you’re staying, buy some chilled bottled water in the morning or fill your own up.
But here’s the thing: you only need to buy water once if at all, especially if you have a funky, or even personalised, bottle like the ones above. You can fill up your water bottles for free all around the Disney parks – there are fresh drinking water fountains at every turn! Some aren’t necessarily chilled, but you come to discover which ones are, so make sure to fill up your bottle from these at every opportunity.
I’d like to think I don’t have to explain this one too much! Do not forget or lose your tickets and/or Magic Bands! Magic Bands can now do everything your ticket can in WDW and more, so you’re going to be a bit lost, and most likely stuck outside the parks, without them.
I can’t emphasise this enough – you need comfortable shoes in Disney! The most walking I have ever done in my life (according to my Fitbit) has been in Disney parks. And there’s an awful lot of standing around too in queues which takes more toll on your back and feet than you think. You want shoes that won’t give you blisters (even when they get wet – watch out for storms in Florida and water rides) and have good foot support. I find my feet ache like crazy at the end of a Disney day and that my lower back is stiff from standing in queues. Flat shoes are good, but I find if they’re too flat they make the arches of my foot ache. It’s better to have a very gentle wedge or cushioned heel. I’m hoping to get some Fitflop sandals for next year’s trip as previous years I’ve worn Croc sandals (I know – I said I never would, but in Disney it’s necessary!) and they’ve been good, comfortable and stay dry in the rain, but these look pretty.
Like I said before, it’s often very sunny in Florida, and even on cloudy, rainy days, you’re still at risk of sunburn. Make sure you’ve applied sun cream before leaving for the parks and to reapply throughout the day, especially if you’ve been on a water ride.
Maybe not every person in your group needs to take one, but I definitely recommend having at least one camera or photo taking device that will take good quality photos. I use a Canon EOS Rebel T3/1110D but it doesn’t often make it to the Disney parks – instead we stick to point and shoots, more lightweight and safer to carry around as they’re expensive if they get damaged! I probably wouldn’t have a polaroid as pictured above for a day at the parks – too much hassle to carry around extra film and the printed out films all day, but it does look super pretty in the post and would make a good accessory (and leave you with some awesome photos) for a shorter day – just make sure to have another camera too. You’re making memories and you’ll want to remember them, but make sure not to get stuck behind the camera too.
What are your necessities for a day in the Disney parks?