The Bare Necessities to Bring to Disneyland

Jun 21, 2016 | Disneyland Resort, Guides

There are a myriad of “Packing for Disney Trips” or “What to Bring to a Disney Park” posts out there in blog land, and here I am adding another. For today’s list, I’m concentrating on what I consider to be absolute essentials. These are the things that I make a point of telling anyone and everyone who will listen that they absolutely must have when they go to Disneyland – or any Disney Park, really. I also think this list applies to everyone: frequent park goers, occasional visitors, or first timers.

While these things might seem obvious, I have too often seen examples of people – myself included – in the parks on a hot, crowded day who are missing or have forgotten one or more of these things. And because this list is only 5 items long and a 5 item list makes for a too-short blog post, I’ve decided to add commentary to flesh it out, even if it makes the post excessively long.

5. Water

While this might seem to be the most obvious item on the list, the importance of staying hydrated cannot be stated enough. And if the numerous studies done and articles written are any indication, not being properly watered is more of a problem than people might realize. A simple Google search brings up a number of results, of which those linked are just a few.

With people apparently having trouble staying properly hydrated on a normal day, it’s that much harder to remember to have a proper amount of water intake while running around from one attraction to the next and hopping from one park to another. Even mild dehydration will have huge effects when in an environment as physically demanding as Disneyland.

But it is so easy to get water at the parks and not have to spend any money on those overpriced name brand bottles. You can refill your own plastic bottle at water fountains, or any counter-service restaurant (e.g., Tomorrowland Terrace, Jolly Holiday Bakery) will give you free cups of ice water. I prefer not to have a bottle to tote around, and Cast Members give out cups anyway because they will not refill your bottles straight from the fountain for hygienic reasons. Remember to stop by and grab a cup before you get in a long line and you’re good to go.

4. Comfortable Shoes

Shoes can often make or break an outfit, and at a place with as many photo-ops as Disneyland, it can be tempting to wear the cute sandals instead of the less fashionable athletic option.

While many local annual passholders stop by the park for only a few hours and footwear is less of a concern, anyone who spends more than half a day at Disneyland will appreciate the comforts of a supportive walking or running shoe. I’ve seen comments from Walt Disney World veterans who are surprised by the amount of walking at Disneyland even though they are already familiar with Disney parks. It is precisely because of Disneyland Resort’s smaller size and much fewer transportation options that force people to walk anywhere and everywhere, even just between parks. If for some reason you want to go from Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin in Toon Town to Toy Story Mania at Paradise Pier, you have a good trek ahead of you.

Personally, with the sheer number of strollers, wheelchairs, kids on sugar highs, and impatient people, I think a close-toed shoe is a safer, more practical option. I personally swear by New Balance, but the most important thing is to find a shoe that is supportive. A shoe without the proper support leads to sore feet, affects the legs and back, and leaves you feeling tired very quickly.

3. Sunglasses/Hat

Southern California is hot and sunny. And water is wet. Yes, also fairly obvious. Protect your eyes, prevent wrinkles and glaucoma. If you forget your sunglasses or baseball cap, have fun and buy one of those silly Goofy hats with the oversized brim.

2. Patience

This one is a little tongue-in-cheek (as are most things I say, to be honest), but patience really is the key between having a great day or a terrible experience. Disney parks are generally at their best during tourist season with the long operating hours allowing for a really full day of fun, and almost all entertainment options running at their peak. But of course that means crowds. And the more people there are in Disneyland, the less common sense and courtesy there seems to be.

We’ve all been there, having to deal with another’s misstep, mistake, or even blatant rudeness. But taking a deep breath and allowing yourself a moment of zen can go a long way to shrugging it off, moving on, and getting back to what’s important: enjoying Disneyland with your loved ones.

1. Sunscreen

If there was only one thing I am, without fail, always insistent about, it’s the importance of sunscreen. I am so adamant about sunscreen I’ve already written an entire post harping the necessity of wearing sunscreen and recommending a few I’ve tried and use often.

I also see a lot of people apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and leave the bottle in their cars, leading me to believe they’re unlikely to reapply later on in the day. A quick spray or a small dab isn’t going to cut it for a full day in the California sun. Sunscreen needs to be applied every few hours, especially during the middle of a bright, Southern Californian summer day. Melanoma is no joke; keep yourself protected.

This is by no means a comprehensive packing list. And again, while everything here seems like a no brainer, I’ve seen quite a few people who forget the fairly obvious that it probably doesn’t hurt to reiterate the basics.

Other items, such as portable phone chargers, band aids, or spare socks are all great items that can add convenience and efficiency to a trip. However, I view those things more as items that might be nice to have and may or may not be truly useful, and so I don’t view them as absolute necessities everyone needs to have.

Of course, with a list as obvious as this, I’m sure there are things that others might view as completely necessary that have completely slipped my mind. I’d love to know what you think and anything you would add to this list!

Lastly, if you found this post interesting or helpful, please consider taking a moment to share it on social media, or simply giving it a like. Thank you!

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