As someone who both loves bags and loves going to Disney – I feel confident in my ability to make some solid recommendations in this article. But, I also acknowledge that everyone has their own priorities and preferences. For instance, some fashionistas prefer design over function. Others prefer function over design. The rest of us fall somewhere in the middle of that scale. This is why, in this article, I will be recommending a variety of bags.
This list includes everything from officially licensed designer leather bags ($$$$) to packable hiker backpacks ($). I’ve also created a handy-dandy chart below for quick reference so you can compare each of my recommendations side by side. As a whole, I find that a functional Disney park bag should feature some sort of mashup of the following features:
- Enough storage space to hold necessities like sunscreen, wipes and snacks
- Easy access pockets
- Water-resistant material
- A bottle pouch (for water bottles/thermoses)
- A convertible style (multiple ways to wear)
I’ve also broken down this list into the following categories:
- Designer bags
- Diaper bags
- Camera bags
PS: Prices listed throughout this article are as of the time of this writing and are subject to change.
|Product||Style||Water Resistant||Bottle Pouch||Convertible le||Packable||Cost|
|Dooney & Bourke||Multi||–||–||–||–||$$$$|
|Loungefly Food||Multi||–||–||Select Styles||–||$$|
|AOTIAN Mini||Backpack||–||Small Bottles||–||–||$|
|KAVU Rope||Sling||Select Styles||Select Styles||Select Styles||–||$$|
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Disney World bag restrictions and guidelines
But before we get into the list, let’s get the not-so-fun rules out of the way. Yes, you can take bags to Disney. However, suitcases, bags, coolers or backpacks, with or without wheels, larger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high (61 cm x 38 cm x 46 cm) are not allowed in any theme park or water park. Luckily, most standard-sized backpacks are well within those parameters. But when in doubt, just grab a measuring tape to be sure.
Best Designer Bags
Let’s start with everybody’s favorite officially licensed designer bags: The Dooney & Bourke Disney collection. These bags aren’t necessarily big on theme park function per se. But they are super cute! Dooney & Bourke offers a variety of genuine leather bags featuring officially licensed, Disney-themed prints that are available both in-park and online at shopDisney. Styles include crossbodies (mini and regular), satchels, totes and backpacks. There are also usually matching wallets available. Prints and patterns are limited and tend to rotate seasonally. At this time, these bags tend to run between $168-$348.
My favorite thing about Dooney & Bourke bags is the soft supple leather and designer name. I also like the fact that the patterns are tasteful and not too childish. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to carry this bag outside of the park. My least favorite thing is the fact that they lack function and can feel a tad heavy on a hot park day.
Now let’s talk about one of my all-time favorite designer brands: COACH. These officially licensed bags are also available both in the park and online at shopDisney. However, I find that the in-park collection is extremely limited – even more so than Dooney & Bourke. So you might want to shop online for this one. I tend to prefer COACH to Dooney as I think the leather is softer and the designs are more imaginative. COACH has a way of bringing their Disney designs to life with fun patches and embossed designs rather than just relying on prints like you often see in the Dooney collection. COACH’s Disney collection, like Dooney’s, tends to rotate seasonally. Current styles include backpacks, totes and crossbody bags. There’s even a cute fanny pack (sorry, “hip pack” for all of you Gen Zers). At this time, these bags tend to run between $175-$795.
My favorite thing about COACH bags is the soft leather and creative designs. My least favorite thing, at least in the context of this article, is that they don’t make for the best theme park bags. Leather in general is just a bit too heavy for hot and sweaty Florida.
Finally, we have the officially licensed designer brand that is, arguably, the most theme-park friendly: Vera Bradley. I haven’t seen a lot of Vera Bradley in the park. But there is a Vera Bradley store at Disney Springs. So if you want to purchase on-site, that’s your best bet. Alternatively, they are also available on the shopDisney website. The Vera Bradley Disney collection, like the other designer brands, also features a set of limited edition designs and prints. Styles typically include backpacks, totes, crossbody bags and wristlets. At the time of this writing, these bags run from $60-$150.
My favorite thing about Vera Bradley bags is that they are lightweight and better suited for travel than the Dooney mentioned above and COACH collections – which is more ideal for in-park carry. My least favorite thing about the Vera Bradley collection are the pockets on the campus backpack that look like they should easily fit a water bottle, but don’t. I speak from experience on this one. I own the canvas backpack and got duped. Why Vera, why?
I nearly put Loungefly in the designer category – because these bags are just too darn cute – and not to mention insanely popular amongst park-goers. I see more of these backpacks per capita than any other bag when visiting the parks. Most of the bags in the Loungefly collection are lightweight and feature simulated leather trim and adjustable padded shoulder straps which make them comfortable enough for in-park carry. However, I was quite disappointed to learn that the side pockets – which appear to be large in photographs – are simply too small to carry a water bottle or even a smartphone for that matter. They are so tight they are nearly cosmetic. You could probably squeeze your season pass in there – or maybe a park map – and that’s about it. Loungefly bags do however come in a plethora of designs that are sure to please any Disney Princess. At the time of this writing there are over 30 different styles on shopDisney and hundreds more options available both in-park and on Amazon. Currently, average prices range from $40-$98.
My favorite thing about Loungefly backpacks is the padded adjustable straps and the wide variety of prints and designs. My least favorite thing, again, is the useless side pockets. It may also be important to note for you over-packers … while these bags are spacious enough to carry your essentials, they are one of the smaller backpacks on the list. We need functional side pockets people!
Why list Loungefly food-shaped bags separately on this list? Because they are quite possibly the cutest things I’ve ever seen and deserve their own separate mention. I own the Mickey Taco Convertible Mini Backpack (which you can carry as either a purse or a backpack). It features fun details like a hot sauce-shaped zipper pull, a string cheese tassel and a PU leather crinkle texture finish.There’s also a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich Bag and a Mickey Ice Cream Cone Convertible Backpack, just to name a few more of my personal favorites. Reviewers claim the Ice Cream Sandwich makes for the best crossbody bag. At the time of this writing, these Loungefly bags run at around $78-$97 on Amazon.
My favorite thing about these Loungefly bags is that many of them feature convertible straps and can be worn as either backpacks or crossbodies. My least favorite thing is … actually there’s nothing I dislike about these bags – so go treat yourself (get it?)!
Now, let’s pivot away from stylish and cutesy and talk functionally. I also own this bag. This AOTIAN Mini Nylon Backpack offers a surprising amount of bang for the buck, despite its tiny size (it is the smallest bag on this list). It’s lightweight and features adjustable straps as well as a side pocket that’s large enough to fit either a small umbrella or a small water bottle (thin bottles like store brands, not thick bottles like Dasani). It also has an anti-theft back zipper pocket where you can store your wallet and other valuables. And, it comes in a variety of colors and is a perfect size for both kids and adults (who prefer a mini backpack). At this time, it is only $20 on Amazon.
My favorite thing about this bag is its functionality for the price point. My least favorite thing about this bag is that it’s hand-wash only.
I own this backpack too – I told you I own a lot of bags! At the time of this writing, this packable backpack comes in four different sizes, the 20L ($15), the 25L ($19), the 28L ($18), the 30L ($21) and the 35L ($19). These ZOMAKE backpacks are incredibly lightweight and each is capable of folding down into pocket-sized pouches. They also come in a variety of colors. I actually own the 20L, but I recommend splurging for the 35L. While I can squeeze a small water bottle into the side pockets of the 20L, it’s a very tight fit. The 35L, on the other hand, is easily capable of holding a 20-32oz water bottle or thermos.
My favorite thing about the ZOMAKE backpack is the fact that it’s so lightweight and packable. In fact, it’s the lightest weight backpack on this list. My least favorite thing is that the side pockets on the smaller versions are so tight that your water bottle options are limited. But again, you can solve this problem by upgrading to the 35L size.
I don’t own this one, but it seems to be a fan favorite amongst theme park goers. This mini backpack features a 10L capacity and two external water bottle/umbrella pockets. However, reviews warn that the side pockets only fit smaller items – so it’s unlikely it’s going to accommodate a Disney-provided Dasani. At the time of this writing, you can grab this bag from Amazon for $58.
My favorite thing about this mini backpack is the recognizable THE NORTH FACE brand name (known for producing quality items) and the variety of colors available. It’s also a great size – with more capacity than a Loungefly backpack but much smaller and easier to carry than your standard full-size bag. My least favorite thing is, yet again, the fact that the water bottle pockets are on the small side.
I might not own this one, yet. But it’s on my wishlist.
This Trend backpack has everything:
- 2 large external water bottle pockets
- Packable (folds into itself)
- Wet front pocket
- Wet pocket/shoe compartment on the bottom
- Waterproof material
My favorite thing about this backpack is that it has all of the functionality you could ever want out of a theme park backpack. As far as I can tell, there are no downsides.
I own one of these too – it’s my all-time favorite sling bag. KAVU is an outdoor brand with sturdy rope bags designed with adventures in mind. Their bags come in just about every shape size and color imaginable. But it’s their large slings, in my humble opinion, that steal the show when it comes to theme parks. I own the KAVU Rope Fleece Crossbody in White Sherpa and frequently carry it while at Disney. It’s sturdy and spacious with a large main compartment and plenty of easy-to-access external pockets. Plus, it’s comfortable. I admittedly have a bad back and am picky about wearing a sling as I normally prefer to carry weight with even distribution. But I make an exception for KAVU as it never makes me sore or causes problems at the end of a long day. And if you’re looking for functionality, there’s a good chance you can find a KAVU style to fit your unique needs. For instance, this Coastline Blanket KAVU (made of 11oz 100% 600D polyester) is water-resistant with a small external pocket that can accommodate small water bottles. KAVU Rope Slings usually range from $44-$100 on Amazon depending on the size and style.
My favorite thing about KAVU Slings is the wide variety of colors, styles and features. I also love the fact that it’s surprisingly comfortable for a sling. I do, however, wish that more styles came with external water bottle pockets.
This is another fan favorite. This WATERFLY crossbody sling has a strap pocket that holds most smartphones, a side pocket that holds water bottles with a 2.4″ diameter and a reversible shoulder strap. It also has a hidden wire hole for headphones or a phone charger (or other battery chargers). Plus, it’s an affordable alternative to the KAVU at just $26 (on Amazon).
My favorite thing about this sling is the reversible shoulder strap which is great for lefties.
Best Diaper Bags
Admittedly, I have no children. So I have to rely on HeyOrlando.com writer Kirby Russell for this recommendation. Kirby is a pro mom with five young boys (two sets of twins plus one). And she isn’t afraid to take her entire party of seven to the Disney theme parks regularly. In fact, in her recent article entitled “17 Best Mom Backpacks for Disney, Ranked” she sings the praises of this JuJuBe BFF Diaper Bag Backpack. And so, I thought it fitting to give it a shout-out on this list as well. This convertible bag can be carried as a shoulder bag or as a backpack and comes with a matching changing pad. It also has two external bottle pockets. It’s available in various colors and patterns but we here at HeyOrlando.com are head over heels in love with this Minnie Mouse-inspired polka dot style ($74). At this time, these bags, depending on the style, run from $74-$195 on Amazon.
Best Camera Bag
And finally, last but certainly not least, we have my all-time favorite Disney go-to: The BAGSMART Camera Backpack. As a blogger, I like to carry my DSLR and at least one extra lens into the parks with me. This bag is virtually waterproof with padded customizable compartments. It also has a quick-access side pocket and a super spacious tripod/water bottle side pocket. The side pocket is so large I can even carry my 18oz YETI chug cap. It also seems to easily accommodate most standard-sized souvenir mugs. Plus, it can handle a lot of weight with adjustable, padded plush straps which relieve pressure on my hips, waist and back. It is for these reasons that I carry this bag into Disney more often than any other mentioned. I love this bag so much that I even reviewed it on my personal YouTube channel. You simply won’t find a cooler backpack if you’re in the market for a camera bag.At the time of this writing, it comes in two sizes (medium and large) and two colors (pink and black) on Amazon. The medium currently retails for $39-$40 and the large retails for $54-$59.
My favorite thing about this bag is the plush pads, customizable cubbies and easy-access side pocket. My least favorite thing about this bag is that while it easily fits inside free Disney lockers (and I’m able to take it on most Disney rides), it does not fit inside free Universal Studios lockers. At Universal Studios, I either have to carry a smaller bag or upgrade to the paid lockers while on coasters.
What are your favorite bags to take to Disney? Let me know in the comments below.