A Disney World trip is a big deal. It’s expensive and requires a lot of advance planning. In addition to making reservations and planning your days, you’ll want to make sure you pack just the right things for your theme park day bag.
One thing that people frequently ask is whether or not a backpack is allowed. You definitely won’t want to get to the front entrance and find out that you can’t bring something in. Luckily, backpacks are allowed with a few restrictions.
This post contains affiliate links. A purchase and/or click-through may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
When booking your Walt Disney World vacation, consider purchasing through our affiliate Get Away Today. They offer great prices on tickets and can book many hotels.
Bringing a Backpack to Disney World – Packing and Best Bags
Are Bags (Including Backpacks) Allowed at Walt Disney World
Bags are allowed, but there are limits on the size bag. Bags larger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high (61 cm x 38 cm x 46 cm) aren’t allowed at the Disney World theme parks or at the water parks. Luckily, that’s a pretty large size, and there are plenty of bags that are still allowed.
You’ll also want to know the other rules about what can be brought into Walt Disney World Resort. The full list can be found at this link on the Walt Disney World website, but some of the restrictions (for the theme parks) are:
No loose or dry ice (they recommend reusable ice packs)
No selfie sticks
No glass containers (except for baby food)
No self-defense items (like mace or pepper spray)
No weapons of any kind
No strollers larger than 31″ (79 cm) in width and 52″ (132 cm) in length
No stroller wagons
No rolling coolers
No artificial noise makers
The Disney Resort hotels have different guidelines.
Is a Backpack a Good Idea?
So, within those guidelines, you definitely can bring a backpack. But, is a backpack a good idea for your day at the Disney parks?
In general, I think it is. You’ll be able to go hands-free and can hold much of what you need.
As a bonus, if you are flying for your Walt Disney World vacation, you can also use your backpack as a carry-on bag. Need a diaper bag? A backpack can be a good option for that as well.
There are a few times when I think you may want something other than a backpack for your Disney World vacation.
One is if it’s extremely hot. A backpack flush against your bag can make you sweat even more. So, you’ll need to weigh the hands-free convenience with the potential of getting a little sweaty.
The other time when you may not want a backpack is when you are traveling without young kids. In that case, you can probably get away with a much smaller bag since you won’t need to bring as much.
Another option is to rent a locker. However, just keep in mind that you’ll keep having to go back to the locker to get the items you leave in there. It’s definitely not convenient for any of the Disney park bag essentials you may be packing.
What Features Should My Disney Backpack Have
Once you’ve decided to bring a backpack to Walt Disney World, you may be wondering what features it should have. Here’s what I would recommend:
Padded adjustable shoulder straps
Water bottle pocket
Trolley sleeve (to put on top of a rolling suitcase) if you want to use it as a personal item
What is the Best Backpack For Disney World?
I don’t necessarily think that you’ll need to purchase a brand-new Disney World backpack. Even if a backpack you have in the house doesn’t have all of the features listed above, it’s probably still a great option.
But, if you don’t have one, I have a recommendation for a great, reasonably priced travel backpack. This backpack, sold on Amazon, is very popular with travelers (image at the top of this blog post).
It is waterproof (probably more water resistant, but this is helpful on water rides at Disney or in the rain). It has a wet pocket, a separate pocket for shoes or similar items, a top handle, and a laptop pocket. The straps are padded so it’s comfortable to wear, and it comes in a variety of different colors.
There’s also a trolley strap, so you can put it on top of your suitcase when you are at the airport. Below the trolley strap is another pocket. This is the perfect place to put things like your passport, credit cards, and other personal items since they’ll be protected.
This is the type of bag that can hold a lot. But, if you don’t stuff it, it doesn’t look too big, making it a great bag for both Walt Disney World and the airport.
Where Does My Bag Go When I’m on Rides?
One big concern that guests of Walt Disney World have is what to do with their bags while they are on rides. While there’s stroller parking for your stroller, you won’t want to leave any valuables there.
Luckily, most ride vehicles can accommodate a bag. You’ll usually have to take it off and place it by your feet.
I like to have a bag with a zipper closure on the top, because that way, nothing will fall out of the bag, especially when I’m on roller coasters.
There are a few rides where you’ll need to remove your bag. These include TRON in the Magic Kingdom, where you’ll place your bag in a free locker, and Avatar Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where you’ll place your bag in a cubbie.
On a water ride, like Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may want to give your bag to someone else to hold if it isn’t waterproof. Alternatively, there are free lockers that can be used while you are on the ride.
What Should I Pack in My Disney Backpack
Packing your bag for a day at the Walt Disney World resort requires a little bit of strategy. You’ll want to make sure you have enough of what you’ll need, but won’t want the bag to get too heavy.
Some things you may need include:
A portable charger. You will be using your cell phone quite a bit and may need to charge it up.
Snacks. You can bring your own food into the theme parks as long as it follows the rules (no glass)
Sunscreen. That Florida sun gets very hot.
A refillable water bottle. This is optional but can be a great way to stay hydrated.
Diaper bag items. If your child is in diapers, you can use the backpack as a diaper bag.
A few first aid items. You probably won’t need a full first aid kit since there are first aid stations in every theme park. But I usually bring some Advil, just in case I need it.
Hand Sanitizer. You’ll be touching a lot of surfaces during your day at the Disney World parks
Rain poncho and/or Umbrella. If there’s some rain in the forecast, you’ll want these.
Small toys. These can be great to amuse your young children while waiting in lines at the theme parks.
Deodorant packets. You may need these if it is hot out and you plan on spending long days in the parks.
Lip Balm. Try to find one with SPF.
What Other Bags Should I Consider Bringing?
If you aren’t bringing a backpack, what should you bring? Here are a few recommendations:
A sling bag. This is my preference when I’m visiting the parks solo or with a friend. It’s like a fanny pack, but worn crossbody.
A tote bag. Sometimes I find a tote is the easiest to reach into if I need something.
A traditional diaper bag. If you prefer to bring your own diaper bag, this may be the best option.