No matter whether it’s your first time or one-thousandth time going to a Disney park, you can never get enough useful tips on making your vacation as smooth sailing as possible. Where some may swear by their methods, others may dismiss them. From someone who has extensively visited Disney parks (and been behind-the-scenes), here are some things you just may reconsider bringing on your next trip to Disney parks.

1. Poncho/Umbrella

People in Ponchos

Image: Andrea McKinney

I know, blasphemy, right? Every Disney World packing list is going to include the beloved poncho – a known staple in the Disney-goers guidebook, but just hear me out. I have been to Disney more times than I can count and have made it without a poncho. My secret? Bring a light, hooded jacket. In fact, it works so well, I have a dedicated “Disney jacket” that I bought off Amazon just for going to the parks.

The reason a jacket is your best option is that it’s generally wearable. With a poncho, you’re going to need something to carry it in, which means going through the bag check line and hauling it around with you all day. Yuck. With a jacket, you can tie the arms around your waist and go. If you get cold in a line or end up stuck in a spot where water drips on you (a la Splash Mountain), you have something to cover up with. And, as you never know when rain will fall in central Florida, a hood is going to cover your head just as much as any poncho or umbrella will. Trust me, your hair is going to look ridiculous either way. Plus, if you can find one with zippered pockets it can double as a wallet. Win, win!

2. Purse

Bag Checkpoint

This brings me to my next Disney no-no: bringing a purse into the park. This could really pertain to any bag, though I know some are adamant about bringing extra suncreen/bandaids/etc., but purses are definitely not a necessity. To get into Disney, the absolute basic necessities are going to be a magic band, ticket card, ID, cash, gift cards (we’ll talk about that in a second), and probably your cell phone. All together, these things add up to be about the equivalent size of a piece of toast and can easily be carried on your person.

Bringing a purse into the park is just an added inconvenience. You will have to spend more time keeping track of it, figuring out how to get it into the rides’ storage compartments, or deciding who will sit out to guard it while you have a grand ol’ time. In addition, you get to lug around the extra weight. It’s simply not worth it. Take out only what you need and put it in a zippered, Velcro, or button-fastened pocket. Leave the purse at home and free Grandma from the oppression of being the bag guard.



The gift card idea is a great one, and I have a trick to get a Little edge! Sign up for a Target RedCard and you'll get 5% off everything Including gift cards, so your $100 gift card will be only $95...it's not a HUGE edge, but it's enough for an extra pretzel or fruit cup!

Going to disagree with you on the poncho, but you need the right kind. Walmart sells a $5 poncho that easily rolls up and fits into a small, 6 inch pouch with a draw string. Feed your fanny pack belt (yes, fanny packs look ridiculous, but everyone is wearing them at Disney so you won't stand out) through the draw string, and you are set to walk relatively dry during those sudden Florida summer downpours.
Walmart also sells at water bottle holder, too, that can be attached to said fanny pack. We may have more gadgets attached to us than Batman on his utility belt, but it works for us!

Love the idea of using gift cards! I can see it being very nice for groups with older children and teens.

I think you overestimate the size of pockets on women's clothing. You can barely fit a tube of chapstick in your pocket, forget a cellphone.

Um.. I am going to disagree with well all of these items.

1) a poncho can be had for less than a dollar at your local discount store. and they come all folded up, smaller than a pack of cards. easier to carry around than a jacket. and quite a bit lighter as well. now, for umbrellas, yeah, that's a bit much. and annoying to have to dodge other guests, or trying to avoid guests with them. stick to the cheap poncho.

2) purse bag? eh. with things like the cell phones and cameras and batteries and all, a nice bag is worth it. i never felt inconvenienced having to go through security or having to "manage" the bag throughout the day. Made for carrying the ponchos, sun screen, snacks, autograph books, water bottles etc. Also if you have a medical condition, the bag offers a nice way to carry those items as well.

3) gift card over credit card? i'm not buying the security thing. any time there has been a data breach free credit monitoring is provided and the CC companies are good with tracking fraudulent charges. If I lost my credit card in the park, i just call and have a new one sent. I can even freeze the account. if the disney gift card goes bye-bye that money is lost. oh, yeah, you can transfer it IF you have the receipt handy. so now you have to carry receipts for the gift cards as well as the cards? come on!

Plus with the disney visa, don't you get 10% discount at stores, plus access to the lounge in EPCOT?

4) Ok. yeah, you don't buy new shoes the night before you go to disney. But isn't that common knowledge that you should have a good pair of walking shoes that are worn in? not falling apart, but worn enough before hand to have the shape of your foot but not lacking any of the support material?

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