If a theme park is in your vacation plans, be prepared with the essentials without dragging along a duffel bag of just-in-case items. Going out for the day (or days) to an amusement park is like readying for a trek to one of the happiest places on earth. Prepare for the elements, physical strain and some wait time.
Make Some Room
Even if you always pack light, don’t think you’ll be able to get away with just your pockets on an all-day amusement park tour. If you try, you’ll be buying necessities all day at exorbitant prices. Waistpacks (like this one) and sling backpacks have some room and are still hands-free.
If you have young children with you, they will want a place to sit down and relax — and sometimes it’s easier to keep them contained as you walk through a crowded area. I’d recommend a stroller or a folding wagon like this one, which doubles as a place to put your lunch and water bottles when you’re waiting in line.
Finding places to refill reusable water bottles is simple, and bringing your own will save you so much money. For summertime, I recommend a standard-size insulated bottle so it will fit in cupholders and small spaces.
Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, grab some sunscreen! If you’re out for several hours, you’ll want to reapply while you wait in line. This Coola sunscreen is a very light, powdery sunscreen that won’t leave you looking greasy. For kids, Badger Sunscreen is made with safe zinc oxide. Toss a few emergency ponchos into your pack and you’ll be ready for a big splash or an unexpected rain shower.
It’s a good idea to bring some resealable plastic bags in case you ride a water-themed coaster. A waterproof phone pouch is a must if you’re trying to decide what to bring to a waterpark.
There are a few necessities I can’t live without when I’m stuck in line with young children. A quick spritz of hand sanitizer after hanging off the handrails is a must when there’s no soap and water at hand, or use Water Wipes for cleanup. For long wait times, have some snacks (these containers are perfect for separating snack foods) and activities ready. The Eye Found It card game has a fun travel Disney version, or have kids write or draw about their adventures in a travel journal.
Mariko is a high school English teacher who has three children, illegible handwriting and an obsession with mail-order artisan ice cream. She lives in Hawaii, but she makes a point to eat her way through big cities as often as she can.