The type of bag to take to the parks is very much a personal choice. Some prefer backpacks, some messenger bags, others like totes or purse-style. You see all types of bags in the parks, from the one that looks like it is packed to actually stay on the jungle cruise for a week to some that look like they could hold only a pack of gum.
You obviously want to choose something in between. The lighter, the better. That overloaded bag you declare first thing in the morning as “not being heavy”, will quickly start to feel like you are carrying a child. The bag you select should fit your needs. It should be large enough to hold what you plan to bring to the parks, have easy access to items you need frequently, but most of all, be comfortable. The fashion police will not be issuing tickets for a less than attractive bag, so that should not be a major factor in your decision making.
Only take what you absolutely need in the parks. Most items you might forget to bring can be purchased at the parks.
All park bags should include the following basics: a rain poncho, wet ones, hand sanitizer, zip-lock bags, sunscreen, camera, cell phone, autograph book and a large pen. I also include blister pads, band aids and some pain reliever in my park basics. Keeping these items on hand will save you a long walk to first aid in the event of a scraped knee or sudden headache.
If you're staying onsite, most purchases made in the park or in the Downtown Disney area can be sent back to your resort via complimentary package delivery so you don’t need to be concerned about room in your bag to carry what you buy.
If you're traveling with little ones, you will obviously need to bring more with you. Put diaper supplies in a large zip-lock and a change of clothes in another and utilize your stroller as storage for these items. If you run out or forget any items for your little one, the Baby Care Centers located in each park are well-stocked with supplies that can be purchased.
A medium-sized backpack with at least 3 zippered sections is generally a good choice. Sort items into the sections based on your need to access them. Quick access items can go in the outside pocket, items brought along “just in case” like rain ponchos in the back section and items of in between use in the middle. If you keep bag items to a minimum, finding what you need should be a snap. Use zip-lock bags for additional organization in your park bag as well. Be sure to attach a luggage tag that includes a number you can be reached at.
I am also a fan of a cross body bag. My favorite one has 3 sections that I, again, stash items based on how often I will need them. It is easy to take off for rides and I can also clip a water bottle to it and not feel weighted down.
In the end, the bag you ultimately choose should be big enough for what you absolutely need in the parks, but not so big that the park can fit in it.Stacy