Ask The Disney Moms: What Kind of Backpack is Best?

Question for The Disney Moms: I am the mother of a nine and six year old boys. What kind of backpack should I take to the parks so that they are not too cumbersome?

I bet you’re excited for your upcoming trip!!  I’ve got eight and six year old boys (and a one year old princess).  Are you looking for a backpack for you to carry or something for the boys to carry?  I just carry one large bag for our family and an additional cooler if we’re traveling during the warmer months for bottles, drinks and other things as needed. You could certainly find a small lunch box style cooler that would fit inside the backpack you choose.  My bag is one I got from The Disney Store a while ago (similar to this one).  I prefer an open bag because I have easy access to what I need without a lot of digging and it allows me to pack however I need to for the park we’re visiting based on the time of day (warm clothes, snacks vs a full meal if we’re bringing food into the parks,ect) and what we’re doing (pressing pennies, hunting for characters, playing the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game or lots of rides).  I did find a really great Fisher Price backpack that has lots of little pockets in it.  While it’s great for storage and is super comfortable, it’s a nightmare to go through security with opening all those zippers and fitting everything back in quickly.  My husband swears by his backpack from Under Armor. (I’ve used it and it’s ok, but nothing really amazing)

When looking for a backpack, I would highly suggest purchasing something locally so you can go try it out.  (Depending on when your trip is, you might be able to get a steal of a deal later this summer once the school supplies go on sale or even on clearance!)  Here are a few other tips:

  • Take something heavy with you to put into the pack and make sure it’s still comfortable.  It might fit great while it’s completely empty but once you fill it with a day’s worth of supplies, that could change quickly.
  •  Another thing to check is how easy it is to get on and off.  A lot of times there’s not a lot of time once you reach the front of the queue to go from standing in line to getting on the attraction.  Being able to get the bag off quickly (and back on quickly at the end of the ride) is important in that instance.
  • Most attractions don’t have a large space for storage of a large bag.  Try to find something that will fit what you need but is not too large that it won’t fit on the ride with you.
  • Try to find something the kids could help carry if you need a break and you only take one bag into the parks.
  • If you’re able to pack your items inside clear zip top bags, having a large backpack with just an open compartment will be easiest to get through park security as you’ll only have one or two pouches to open when you arrive.

If you’re not able to go try out a backpack before you purchase one, be sure to give yourself enough time to purchase something, get it and return it if it’s not the right fit for you.

As for bags for the boys, I have yet to have my boys bring their own bags into the parks.  I’ve got enough to keep track of when I take three kids and my husband (my biggest kid lol) into the parks with me to keep track of their backpacks too.  Anything they would take in with them would have to be things I wouldn’t care if we never saw again in case they set the bag down and I didn’t notice right away.  If they need to bring a bag with them, I would suggest something very small – even their regular school backpack may work well for this.  Again, I’d have a few test runs to make sure they’re comfortable with carrying the weight of the bag for an extended period of time and that they would notice if the bag wasn’t there anymore (they set it down and forgot to pick it up).  One other thing I would go over with them is where to store items.  For instance you don’t want to store your wallet, camera or cell phone in an outside pocket or at the top of the bag where someone could just reach in and grab it.  Spending your vacation trying to track down lost items isn’t fun.

Once you’ve found the perfect bag and tried it out around the house before the trip, be sure you somehow mark your bag – both on the inside and outside.  If you happen to set you bag down or somehow get separated from it, having a bright colored ribbon or scarf tied to it could come in very handy.  By chance something does happen to your bag, somehow having your name labeled inside in a not very obvious location is important to helping get your items back.  Before your trip, start putting a plan together of how you want to pack the bag and do a few test runs to make sure everything will fit.

Good luck finding the perfect bag for you! Have a magical trip.


Lynn Wiltse lives five hours from the most magical place on Earth and is always planning a visit.  When she’s not writing for The Disney Moms or WDW Fan Zone, she’s managing The Disney Driven Life or writing for her own blog, My Pixie Dust Diary and planning the next  Disney trip.

2 comments for “Ask The Disney Moms: What Kind of Backpack is Best?

  1. 29 April, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I take a nylon cinch backpack. It’s a Disney one I got almost 10 years ago. Unlike most cinch sacks, it has wide straps. As a plus, my husband will take a turn carrying it and we can hook our water bottles to it. I like that it closes so I don’t have to worry about things falling out, but has easy access with everything in one pocket.

    I also usually take a small wallet purse since I often don’t have pockets for my wallet/cell phone.

  2. Lauren Fresh
    24 February, 2014 at 9:35 am

    We either take a NorthFace backpack, an LL Bean backpack, or my son’s small-sized PotteryBarn backpack. All three have been fine! I prefer the smallest when I’m without my husband because I can shove it underneath our stroller easily and don’t have to wear it. I wear my own cross-body {Kavu brand} purse for my wallet, phone, hand sanitizer, chapstick, etc.

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