Theme parks can be exceptionally fun vacations for the whole family. There’s usually so much to do and you can often spend multiple days at major theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios (see Universal Studios tips here). The days at these parks are typically long, however, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve put together a theme park packing list so you don’t forget anything.
We have recommendations of things to put in your day bag, as well as downloadable packing lists for longer theme park vacations that involve overnight stays.
When packing your theme park bag, it’s important to get the right balance. You’ll want to make sure you have anything you may need for the day. But, since you’ll be carrying the bag all day, it shouldn’t be too heavy. You may decide not to bring everything on this list, instead choosing to purchase things as you need them in the park gift shops, rather than carry the extra weight.
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Visiting a water park? Here are some things you’ll want to pack for a water park trip. Don’t forget a change of clothes, especially if don’t want to leave in wet clothes.
Theme Park Packing List For a Day Trip
You’ll probably be spending the full day walking, and by the end of the day, your feet will be tired. Comfortable shoes are a must. Don’t wear new shoes – make sure they are broken in before you go. I generally recommend against flip-flops because they don’t always have enough support for that much walking.
Try a few pairs of shoes to make sure they are comfortable for you. Some people love sneakers while others prefer sandals.
Type of Bag To Pack for a Theme Park
Before you pack for your theme park or amusement park trip, you’ll need to figure out which bag to bring. If you are flying in for a theme park vacation, you may consider using this bag as your flight carry-on bag to consolidate and save space.
Bring a bag that is comfortable to carry, because you’ll probably need to have it with you all day. While most theme parks do have storage lockers available, they aren’t always convenient. You’ll also want to have your essential items, like credit cards, park tickets, and cash, with you at all times.
I typically like to have a backpack, because they can often carry lots of things and are fairly comfortable. You can also be hands-free. However, sometimes in the summer heat, a backpack can give you a sweaty back and can be a little less comfortable than in the cooler months.
My favorite right now is the Beis Expandable Backpack. It comes in ivory and black and has a zipper that expands it out to a larger size. It works as a carry-on bag and is also a great park bag. Save $15 on your first purchase through this link.
Another option, especially if you don’t need to pack as much, is a sling bag. These bags are smaller than a backpack but you’ll still be able to have your hands free. I wouldn’t recommend this if you are packing for several kids because a sling bag doesn’t have as much storage space.
If your kids are still in diapers, you can use the diaper bag. As a bonus, you can store it on or under your stroller so you won’t have to carry it around with you for the whole day.
Tote bags can also be great to bring, as long as you don’t overfill them. Make sure your tote bag has a zipper on the top, so your belongings will be safe when you go on roller coasters. If you are going on multiple theme park trips locally in a short period of time, you may want to even keep this bag packed.
Refillable Water bottle
Staying hydrated is especially important if you are visiting a theme park or an amusement park in the summer months or in a warmer climate. I’d recommend bringing reusable water bottles so you can continuously refill them throughout the day. Many parks offer refill stations and/or water fountains.
This is something that can get heavy throughout the day. You may also want to purchase bottled water, although it is nice to avoid using too many single-use plastic bottles.
Planning on going on any water rides? You’ll want to bring some sort of protection for your phone and any other fragile items. I like these protective phone cases from Amazon – they are reasonably priced and work well. Ziploc bags are also an option but aren’t as protective.
If you are bringing along a larger camera, and do plan on going on water rides, this may be when you want to utilize a storage locker. That’s the best way to keep things safe.
With all of the apps you’ll probably be using on your cell phone, as well as the camera, you may find that the battery drains quickly. You won’t want to be stuck hanging out by an electrical outlet, so bring along a fully charged cell phone charger.
One great option is the FuelRod, which can be purchased on Amazon. The FuelRod comes fully charged. Once depleted, it can be exchanged for a fully charged replacement. There are FuelRod kiosks located in many popular locations, including airports and theme parks, but check to see if your specific destination is included.
Rain doesn’t have to ruin your amusement park or theme park trip. In fact, it can actually help deter crowds from visiting. If there is rain in the forecast, be sure to pack some rain ponchos for each member of your family. Although these can generally be purchased at the parks, they are often more expensive and of lower quality.
Hand Sanitizer and First Aid Essentials
There are first aid stations at most theme parks and amusement parks. So you won’t have to bring too many things “just in case”. I just recommend tossing a few band-aids and hand sanitizer in your bag. If you are prone to motion sickness, don’t forget to pack your medication.
Sunscreen and Other Sun Protection
Even if it’s cloudy outside, you are probably going to need some sun protection. Put sunscreen on before you leave for the theme park, and be sure to reapply it throughout the day. I prefer lotion to spray, because you may be reapplying in a line or in another crowded area. Don’t forget the lip balm with SPF.
When my kids were really little, we used to have an SPF sun blanket for very strong sun. The one I owned was discontinued, but there are some other options on Amazon.com.
Traveling with young kids? You may want to bring some entertainment to keep them busy in long lines. It can also be a good idea to pack your own snacks – especially if your kids tend to get hungry at inconvenient times.
Packing for a Theme Park Vacation
Traveling for your theme park vacation? We also have downloadable theme park vacation packing lists. There’s a main master list for the adult who will be packing for the family and separate child lists for each kid.
I usually do not recommend that, unless you need to store something you won’t need until later in the day, like a change of clothes or a bathing suit. Otherwise, you won’t want to go back and forth to the locker to get essentials, especially if you are park hopping.
I like to use a crossbody strap, so it’s always easily available to me when I want to take a picture, but is also secure. The one I use can be purchased on Amazon (be sure to buy the right phone size).
More Packing Tips Resources: Looking for more packing tips and recommendations? Here are all of our posts including packing lists, product recommendations, and ideas for specific trips.