In order to save money and be prepared for a day out at the amusement park you definitely need to carry a backpack. Before you start packing, you need to check the amusement park rules and regulations on carrying in food / drinks to the park you will be visiting. Some parks allow to you carry in a soft cooler while others will not allow you to bring in any food unless is it medically necessary or needed for a small child. We just visited Disney World and I was able to bring in as much food / drinks as I wanted. This was much different than my previous trips to Disney where I can remember trying to hide drinks and snacks in the secret compartments on our stroller while going through the security checks.
First, you must have the right backpack. Don’t focus on getting a “cute” backpack with rope straps, make sure to get one with lots of zippers, compartments and thick shoulder straps. I have a Swiss Army Backpack that my son used through school and it is perfect. The bags with the straps will hurt your shoulders should you get sunburned or if you fill it as much as I do. The bag that I carried at Disney weighed anywhere between 15 – 25 pounds, but lessened throughout the day as we began to drink our drinks.
You will also need a few carabiner clips hooked on the outside of your backpack. These come in very handy when you need to hook bags, or etc. to your backpack. I like to hook our water bottles here so I don’t have to get into my backpack every time someone needs a drink. If you are going to do this, make sure that you have refillable water bottles that have hooks / loops on them so they can be easily hooked to your backpack. Right before you leave for the park, fill all of your water bottles with ice and it will melt throughout the day. I also carry bottles of water so that we can refill our water bottles throughout the day. If you like flavored water, make sure to carry along some flavored drop ins for your water to spice it up a little throughout the day. If you are visiting a park that has the refillable bottles, be sure and stop by there for water / ice refills. Six Flags is great about always filling up our water bottles for us at the refill stations even though we aren’t using their paid refill bottles.
Will you be visiting an area such as Florida where you may need a poncho? It is so much cheaper to buy ponchos ahead of time than to buy them while you are inside the park. It rained every day while we were at Disney and the ponchos really came in handy.
Yes it is fun to buy snacks from the park, but it can get really expensive buying these every time someone feels that they need a little something to eat. I like to pack snacks that don’t easily crumble and won’t melt. For example, I packed animal crackers, packaged rice crispy treats and pop tarts / cereal bars in a hard box so they wouldn’t crumble. Before our trip, I found “Pop Tart Boxes” at Walmart. They are just the right size for holding small snacks that could easily get smashed.
Ziploc bags are great for storing left over chicken nuggets from the kids meals or any left overs that you would like to keep from your fast food meals inside the parks. These bags are also great for sharing large snacks where your family might otherwise argue who would get to hold the bag such as a large bag of chips or a box of popcorn from the park.
Make sure everyone’s cell phones are fully charged. It is also a great idea to lock your phones with a password if that option is available for your phone. That way if anyone should get hold of your phone, they will not be able to use your phone or access your information.