During crowded times at the parks, the lines to get into the magic can be just as stressful as the ride lines (PSA- Fastpasses are FREE. I repeat, Fastpasses are indeed FREE). Security checkpoints have been added to the main gates after a series of unfortunate and scary events (which I completely support for the safety of all who enter) and the amazing security staff do such a thorough job of checking every pocket and pouch and hiding place in our fancy multipurpose bags and strollers that the back check line can be pretty overwhelming and long. If you're traveling without strollers, scooters or small children not toilet trained yet, let me invite you to the Guests Without Bags Challenge. It really can be done! As a mother with two children and a husband who wears great cargo shorts, it can be done rather easily. Not only does it get you in the park gates much faster- there is never a wait at the Guests Without Bags line, it will make the rest of your day so much more enjoyable; it is a pain to get in and out of rides with an overstuffed backpack full of things you really can live without in the park, you'll find you buy more stuff than you intended to because you have someplace to stash it, and hot summer backpack sweat is the worst. Since we stay on property, we usually plan a mid-afternoon rest break to go back and nap, swim, snack, recharge phones, reapply sunscreen, and layer up for the evening temperature drop. Travel lightly!
Top 5 Essentials to carry in:
1. Sunglasses on your head. Wear on your head as a headband, clip on your shirt or use a glasses cord to keep up with them.
2. Phone and power charger in your cargo shorts pocket. You can even make it most of the day without the charger (my iPhone only can last half a day with this method and then I recharge during the midday hotel rest break!) by (1) turning your phone to airplane mode, (2) turning your phone to low battery mode and (3) only turning on the FREE WDW wifi as needed to text others in your group, look up ride wait times, or access the MyDisneyExperience app. Save your juice for when you really need it- parade and fireworks photos and video!
3. Lip balm and sunscreen in your pocket. No cargo shorts even required here. Keep it small- a small travel tube or stick of sunscreen for touch ups is all you need.
4. Magic Band on your wrist. With your band (only available to those with either Annual Passes or staying on resort property), you don't need a purse, wallet, credit card, ID, room key, or cash. With it's amazing technology, this cute watch band is your park ticket, Fastpass ticket, resort room door key, credit card, Photopass card, and meal plan all in one. If you lose a child, cast members can even locate your child by their band. Some may find this intrusive and creepy but I find it absolutely magical.
5. Disposable water bottle in hand. No matter what time of year it is when you go, hydration is essential. You will be on your feet for hours and literally walk an average of 8-10 miles per day. Not kidding. Will walk for Dole Whips! You can go through the Guests Without Bags line with a water bottle, even filled. Shoot, you can walk through that line with your whole breakfast in hand (more on eating on the cheap at Disney in a later post). There are water fountains all through the parks and you can actually skip carrying a bottle altogether and just go to any quick service restaurant and get a cup of ice water with a lid and straw for free and refill or replace all day.
Extras to consider if you have room in pockets?