Amusement Park Packing List: What to Bring and Avoid

Amusement Park Packing List: What to Bring and Avoid

Amusement parks dazzle the senses and create lasting memories for the entire family. Travellers flock to these wonderlands from near and far to adventure through rides and attractions unmatched anywhere else. Whether you are headed south to Florida, west to California, or somewhere in between, you need to know what to pack for your theme park vacation (and what not to pack). Being well-prepared will help you and your family make the most of your time and investment.

Clothes, Costumes, and Swimwear

Most parks are best experienced when the weather is nice. But that doesn't mean it's always nice. Of course, you hope for great weather, but Mother Nature can be fickle. Packing strategically will help keep the fun going, no matter the climate.

  • Clothing for the Daytime – Most days at the park will be spent outside. Even cooler days can feel sweltering under the sun. Wear loose-fitting clothes to let the breeze flow through. UPF clothing, like sunshirts, will also minimize UV radiation exposure.
  • Clothing for the Evening – When the sun sets, the temps drop, so pack a sweatshirt or wrap. If you have been sweating it out in the park all day, a fresh shirt before dinner will feel great. Be sure to check dress codes if your plans include the park’s more upscale restaurants. 
  • Swimwear for the Water Parks – A well-fitting swimsuit helps prevent embarrassing moments at the water park. When you're done with the water portion of your trip, a change of clothes will save you from feeling soggy for the rest of the day.
  • Footwear for a Day on Your Feet– Getting around means lots of walking. Comfortable shoes are a must to prevent blisters and fatigue. A pair of flip-flops for wet rides will avoid soaking your sneakers.
  • Consider Costumes or Matching Shirts – Some parks encourage younger visitors to wear costumes – especially around Halloween, but teens and adults are usually discouraged from dressing up. Wearing matching shirts can be fun and a great way to easily spot people in your group when you get separated. Note that masks are almost always prohibited.

What to Bring in Your Day Bag

Deciding what to bring to an amusement park can be limited by what bag you carry. If you're flying, bring a Travelpro®backpack as your personal item, and use it as your day bag into the park. Check the rules ahead of time to know what food to pack for the amusement parks you plan to visit. Some parks limit what you can bring inside the gates.

  • Refillable Water Bottle – Bring a refillable water bottle to save money and avoid getting dehydrated.
  • Hat – All day in the sunshine can lead to severe sunburns. A hat keeps you cool and blocks the sun's damaging rays. A wide-brim hat, one that goes all the way around, is even better.
  • Sunglasses – Don't let your eyes get fatigued. Bring sunglasses and a hard-sided glasses case to safely store your eyewear in your day bag.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm – Protect yourself and your family with sunscreen and lip balm–and remember to reapply every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Ziploc Bags – The best snacks to bring to an amusement park will fit handily into a Ziploc bag. Keep some clean ones around to protect items you don't want wet from errant sprays or afternoon rain showers.
  • Hair Bands– Many of the rides flip you upside down. Hair bands are easily lost, so keep a few in your bag, just in case.
  • Poncho – Want to stay dry on the water rides? A plastic poncho will repel water and fold up easily to fit in your bag. Bring your own and save money by not purchasing them at the ride.

Don’t Forget Toiletries

Nearly every park will have items you forgot, but they will be expensive. Leave plenty of room in your day bag for the essentials.

  • Diapers – Including waterproof diapers. If your little one wears them, you know how many they’ll go through in a day.
  • Feminine Products – No explanation necessary; a good supply prevents embarrassing moments.
  • Bug Spray – Some amusement parks take measures to keep mosquitos and other insects away, while others don’t. Pack a small bottle of bug spray to stave off those biters.
  • Medication – Headaches, muscle aches, and foot aches can quickly turn a trip sour if you don't have some over-the-counter meds. Prescription meds should be kept in their original container to prove authenticity.
  • Hand Sanitizer – A lot of hands touching the rides means a lot of germs touching your hands. Freshen up regularly.

Electronics to Bring Along

Road tripping? Electronics help pass the time (or check out our seven ways to pass the time – many without devices). At the park, your phone is a must to capture lots of photos and track down your party when needed. But a few other related items can be just as important.

  • Chargers and Battery Pack – After a full day, your phone battery, along with your family's energy levels, may be nearing exhaustion. An external battery pack can tuck nicely in your day bag for charging when needed.
  • Waterproof Phone Case – Modern phones are water resistant, but a waterproof case adds one more layer of protection and peace of mind.
  • Phone or Camera Straps – Avoid dropping expensive electronics with phone and camera straps that secure around your wrist.
  • Fanny Pack – Not keen on hauling a day bag? Store the big stuff in a rentable locker, and use a fanny pack to keep electronics and valuables close.
  • Tablet with Videos – Little kids get bored. A tablet with videos can save your sanity at mealtimes and on long drives. Headphones – Keep neighbours happy by not blaring your (or your kids’) music or videos for all to hear.
  • Lens Wipes – You can wipe your camera lens on your shirt. But a few lens wipes will do a better job and take up practically no space.

Avoid Bringing these Key Items

Keep in mind that while most of your everyday items won't be a problem, there are some things that parks won't allow. Below is a list of no-nos. (Check your destination’s guidelines for their complete list).

  • Self-defense Weapons – Amusement parks have good security; leave those brass knuckles and other weapons at home.
  • Toys that Look Like Weapons– If they can be mistaken for real weapons, they cause problems. Purchase souvenir "guns" at the park itself.
  • Noise Makers – Air horns, whistles, and things that go boom might seem funny to you, but they’re upsetting to others.
  • Things with Wheels – This does not include wheelchairs or strollers but does include bicycles (and other cycles), skateboards, and the like.
  • Folding Chairs – There are plenty of places to sit; no need to haul around your own.
  • Selfie Sticks – Your Disneyland packing list shouldn’t include selfie sticks. The park explicitly prohibits them. For safe measures, consider them on the do-not-bring list for any theme park. 
  • Glass Containers–  Shattered glass is a hazard for everyone.
  • Umbrellas – Some parks ask you to leave umbrellas at home. Use your packable poncho instead.
  • Alcohol– While some parks sell alcohol and others do not, bringing your own alcohol is never allowed.
  • Tobacco/Marijuana – Many parks have designated smoking or vaping areas; none allow smoking marijuana.

Amusement parks are found all over the USA and in some countries around the world. They're fun-filled places to create long-lasting memories, especially when you are well-prepared. Ready to plan your next family vacation? Check out our family vacation planning guide to get some great ideas

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