Disney World

A man with a backpack with Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway in the background

Can You Bring Bags on Rides at Disney World? A Guide to Bags at Disney

It’s difficult to imagine a full day at a Disney park without a bag of some sort.

In fact, these days my family shows up with all the accouterments you would expect for folks with young children. Namely, a gigantic double stroller with portable fans to keep baby cool, a diaper bag, baby carriers and a backpack loaded with supplies.

We take snacks, water bottles and rain gear.

Even if you’re traveling without young kids, it’s a good idea to bring some sort of bag along for personal items like phone chargers, keys and sunscreen. Particularly if you plan to be at the park all day during the summer months. A small crossbody bag is a great option.

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The good news is that most Disney attractions have been designed with convenience for guests with bags in mind.

We noticed recently that the Walt Disney World Resort has updated some of the security protocols at park entrances to make the process more streamlined for guests with bags.

At the time of this writing, you can just bring your bags through the metal detector with you.

In years past, each bag was thoroughly hand-searched by security personnel. They opened each and every compartment and ALL of the zipper pockets. Therefore, guests without bags could breeze through an express security line. While convenient for the rare party without any bags, this procedure created congestion near the front of the park.

Families had to reunite and often repack their bags.

The new process is much better. Strollers now go through a separate line. But both lines move quickly and it’s easier to stay close to your party. A similar security process is now also in place at Disney Springs, too.

A stroller rental area at EPCOT in Disney
Families can also rent strollers at Disney (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Are bags allowed on rides at Disney World?

Yes, bags are allowed on rides at Disney parks. Larger bags like backpacks will usually need to be stowed near your feet in the ride vehicle.

Many roller coasters and thrill rides have a mesh storage pouch for small loose items like phones, hats or sunglasses. Sometimes these pouches can accommodate smaller handbags or a fanny pack (which are apparently back in style!).

Some rides, like Epcot’s Soarin’ Over the World, cannot accommodate medium and large sized bags on the ride vehicle. As a result, cast members will direct you to place your backpack or bag in a designated location on the floor before you take your seat and get buckled in.

On Avatar: Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are shelves built into the ride chamber where you’ll be directed to stow your belongings during the ride. This includes bags and other personal items.

Read Also: Is EPCOT good for toddlers: What does the park have for toddlers?

Ride entrance for Soarin Around the World
Some rides, like Soarin’ Around the World, cannot accommodate larger bags, so you would need to stow it before riding (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What size bag can you bring on Disney rides?

Anything backpack-sized or smaller can go with you on most Disney World rides. According to Disney’s website, bags must be smaller than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high.

If your bag meets the size requirement for park entry, you should be allowed to take it with you on a ride.

On the other hand, there are several items that are not allowed in Disney theme parks. The list includes pepper spray, glass containers, selfie sticks and alcoholic beverages.

Disney does offer paid daily locker rentals near guest services at each of its theme parks. There are small and large options at all the theme parks. Epcot and Magic Kingdom also offer jumbo lockers.

Disney’s water parks also offer standard and large sized lockers for rent.

Read Also: How do you pack a bag for a theme park? The theme park backpack list

Kali River Rapids ride
Some guests can choose to take their bags with them on rides like Kali River Rapids, but make sure you have a waterproof pouch for the important items (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What do I do with my bag on water rides?

You have the option of taking your bag with you on the water rides at Disney World.

However, there are free lockers available for stowing your belongings outside Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom.

Although it’s possible to stay relatively dry on this ride, it’s completely out of your control. In my experience, at least one person in each raft gets drenched, and it could just be your lucky day.

You may get completely soaked. So it’s a great idea to take advantage of a storage locker for this attraction.

There is a 38 inch height requirement for Kali River Rapids. So if your party includes small children, leave the bags with the non-riding members of your party.

The ride does have a compartment for bag storage which offers some protection from the elements. If the line is long and you want to have your bag with you, pack a sealable plastic bag for your cell phones.

Certainly, Kali River Rapids carries the most risk for getting riders wet. However, there are a couple of other rides where park guests and their bags may get splashed.

Epcot’s Frozen Ever After is a boat ride located in the Norway Pavilion. While the waterworks are minimal, I have noticed that small amounts of water can accumulate on the floor and on the bench seats. For this reason, be mindful of where you place your bag on this ride.

The Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean is similar. Although if you’re seated near the edge of the boat and a cannonball splashes into the water at just the right time, you can get pretty wet.

You can also get wet on Splash Mountain.

Man carrying backpack at Disney
Many rides at Disney will allow you to stow your backpack near your feet (photo by Kirby Russell/HeyOrlando.com)

Where do backpacks go on Disney rides?

On most rides, backpacks will need to be stowed near your feet. Many of Disney’s ride vehicles have been designed with ample space to accommodate a backpack near your feet.

My very large husband (6’2” and 250 pounds) is our family’s designated backpack carrier. I have borne him five sons (including TWO sets of fraternal twins!).

Therefore, he was awarded this role to balance our division of household duties and responsibilities.

The big man reports that Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train and Space Mountain can be a tight squeeze with a backpack at his feet. However, he has successfully crammed into each of these rides with a backpack. Smaller riders should be good to go.

Pro-tip for larger designated backpack carriers: as you board the roller coaster, pass the bag to a member of your party with a lesser need for leg room.

Do you have tips for taking backpacks on rides at Disney? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.

Finding Nemo figures at EPCOT

What Can Babies Ride at EPCOT and Disney World? 7 Best Rides

I love this question! Despite its reputation as a park geared more toward adults, EPCOT is one of the best Disney parks for babies and young kids. 

There are seven rides that babies and kids of all ages can enjoy at EPCOT. Only the Magic Kingdom has more rides suitable for babies.

In addition to rides, EPCOT has several play areas, shows and movies, splash pads, interactive fountains and characters that babies and young children can enjoy. 

People often seem to think they should skip EPCOT when planning a Walt Disney World vacation with young kids. However, if you’re rushing through EPCOT and focusing only on the most popular attractions, there’s a lot you could miss.

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the fun things for the entire family that EPCOT has to offer.

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Can babies go on rides at EPCOT?

Yes, babies can go on seven rides at EPCOT.

That’s more than Hollywood Studios (2) and Animal Kingdom (4) combined. Additionally, there are three rides in the World Showcase and four rides in World Celebration that are suitable for babies.

The Ratatouille Adventure ride at EPCOT
Babies can ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a 3D trackless ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What can babies ride at EPCOT?

World Showcase rides (without height requirements)

  1. Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

World Celebration rides (without height requirements)

  1. Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  2. Living with the Land
  3. Spaceship Earth
  4. The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Most festivals also feature a pop-up playground with artificial grass and a variety of play structures. And also, there are exciting towers for older kids to climb and play on.

There are also smaller structures and tunnels that babies can explore. In fact, my one-year-old twins love having a chance to get out of their stroller to walk, crawl and climb on the playground.

My husband brought me delicious snacks from the nearby festival outdoor kitchens while the kids were playing. It was magical.

Read Also: How do you pack a bag for a theme park? The theme park backpack list

The seas with nemo and friends
The little ones usually love The Seas with Nemo and Friends at EPCOT (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What can a one-year-old ride at EPCOT?

One-year-olds can ride seven of EPCOT’s ten rides. The better question may be what CAN’T babies ride at EPCOT?

Specifically, babies can’t ride Mission: SPACE, Test Track or Soarin’ Around the World until they are 40 inches tall. For most kids, this is around age 3 (which is also when they start needing tickets for admission to Disney’s theme parks).

Fans of “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” will love visiting the Seas with Nemo & Friends. It’s located in the area of World Celebration (formerly Future World) called World Nature. You’ll find it near the main entrance between Spaceship Earth and The Land Pavilion.

This dark ride takes you under the sea and through an actual aquarium. The baby can sit in your lap in the clamshell ride vehicle.

You’ll see a bright coral reef and gently swaying sea anemones as you travel along the same journey that Marlin and Dory take to rescue Nemo. Look out for Jellyfish, mines and sharks! Animated images of favorite characters like Dory, Marlin, Nemo, Bruce, Crush and Squirt are projected into the aquarium tank swimming alongside real fish.

Afterward, when you finish the ride, plan to spend some time in the aquarium. Young children can pick up a scavenger hunt sticker booklet there to guide their exploration of the exhibits.

You can also view manatees, dolphins, seahorses, sharks, sea turtles, rays and more in the aquarium that shares a building with the ride. Highly knowledgeable cast members are posted throughout the aquarium to answer your questions about the sea creatures that call EPCOT home. 

There’s also an interactive show called Turtle Talk with Crush that little kids and parents will both love. The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion is a great place to take a break from the long lines. And you can spend some time inside, cooling off on hot days.

The Gran Fiesta Tour at EPCOT
The Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros is one of my family’s favorites for the younger ones (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Another of my family’s favorite rides at EPCOT is the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. It’s located inside the pyramids of the Mexico Pavilion along with an indoor night market and a table service restaurant.

I’ve been going to Disney World since I was a baby. But I never knew there was a ride inside the Mexico Pavilion until I was nearly 30. We were at EPCOT with our three small kids and I saw it pop up at the top of the wait times list in the My Disney Experience app. There are almost never long wait times for this boat ride that takes you on a tour of Mexico in search of the missing Donald Duck.

If your little one needs a quiet space to rest, visit the EPCOT baby care center. In fact, each park in Walt Disney World has a baby care center. EPCOT’s center is located between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion.

Baby care centers offer private nursing rooms with rocking chairs, kitchens with sinks and microwaves, high chairs and restrooms with changing tables. So, if you find yourself short on diapers, wipes, baby food or formula, you can purchase these supplies at the baby care center.

Frozen Ever After
Babies can even ride the popular ride Frozen Ever After (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Can babies ride Frozen Ever After?

Yes, babies can ride Frozen Ever After!

In fact, there is no height requirement for this fun ride found in the Norway Pavilion. Therefore, even your smallest princes and princesses will be able to enjoy this chilly boat ride. Sing along with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf as you visit Elsa’s ice castle.

Read Also: Disney Characters at EPCOT: What Characters are at EPCOT? [2022]

Can babies ride any rides at Disney?

Babies can ride any ride without height requirements at Disney World parks. However, they will need to sit on an adult’s lap or on the seat beside the adult.

Sometimes a cast member will give you more specific instructions when boarding the ride vehicle, such as “please make sure baby’s legs are under the lap bar”.

On rides like Dumbo, children younger than 7 will be required to sit on the inside of the vehicle with an adult between them and the door/exit. Of course, small children under 7 must be supervised by an adult or older kids (age 14+) on many rides.

Also, babies can stay in a front-pack carrier on many rides.

Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World
Babies can ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What can babies ride at Magic Kingdom?

Magic Kingdom has a few more rides for babies. These include:

  1. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  2. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  3. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  4. Mad Tea Party
  5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  6. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  7. Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid
  8. It’s a Small World
  9. Astro Orbiter
  10. Peter Pan’s Flight
  11. Haunted Mansion
  12. Jungle Cruise
  13. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean
  15. Walt Disney World Railroad (currently closed for refurbishment)
Child on safari ride in Animal Kingdom and baby elephant
A baby elephant makes an appearance during the Kiliminjaro Safari experience (photo by Kirby Russell/HeyOrlando.com)

What can babies ride at Animal Kingdom?

  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  2. Na’vi River Journey
  3. TriceraTop Spin
  4. Wildlife Express Train

What can babies ride at Hollywood Studios?

  1. Toy Story Mania
  2. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Have you visited EPCOT with the little ones? Let us know in the comments!

the epcot ball

What Is the EPCOT Ball? Does It Have a Name? What’s Inside?

Walt Disney had a vision – one of many really.

He wanted to take the lessons learned in building Disneyland in California and apply them to the mega-site he was preparing in Central Florida.

In addition to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Disney had a dream for EPCOT. The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

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EPCOT was originally meant to be a real city

It was, in fact, an elaborate vision of a city of the future. It would house 20,000 souls and serve as a testbed for city planning and organization.

The community of the future would have an industrial park and a futuristic airport. It would also serve as something of a Utopia for city planners.

Corporations would be stimulated to come up with new ideas for urban living that would spur endless innovation.

EPCOT would never stop growing, creating and testing new systems.

It would be part of the larger Project X in Lake Buena Vista, aka Disney World. 

The legend is that Walt looked at his grandkids and worried about the world in which they would grow up. And Walt had begun to notice that modern cities were hectic and disorganized. They were dirty and filled with crime.

Walt wanted a better future and he thought he and his Disney Imagineers could create it.

They couldn’t, of course.

a 3d model of what would have been the city of EPCOT viewed from the people mover
A physical 3D model of the original plans for EPCOT can be viewed while riding the PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Why did Walt’s original plan for EPCOT fail?

Walt’s vision showed but the double-edged blade of his hubris.

In fact, it was the limitations of his seemingly boundless optimism and the perils of always looking to the future while neglecting the past.

Walt’s vision of EPCOT is similar to Saltaire, a Yorkshire town in England, by Sir Titus Salt – a textile magnate.

In 1851, Salt built neat stone houses for his workers – much better than the slums in which they lived previously. They had washhouses with tap water. The town had a hospital and an institute for recreation.

There was a library, a reading room and even a gym. The model village had a school, park and boathouse.

For a while, in the glow of a post-Industrial Revolution era, Saltaire was a landmark example of enlightened city planning.

But ownership of the town fell eventually to Sir James Roberts. Roberts invested heavily in Russia and lost some of his fortune in the Russian Revolution. Over the years Saltaire’s grand vision faded and it became just another English town.

Even if Walt could have created his utopia, it would have been impossible to sustain.

The inherent flaw in Walt’s original vision for the city of EPCOT

It’s strange to me that the uber visionary Walt Disney was unable to recognize the other basic flaw in his vision. If he truly looked at “modern” cities with dismay, it was a pessimistic vision.

Sure the cities of the 50s and 60s could be all the things he feared.

However, they were also significantly better than at any time in the world’s history.

Even in his own younger life, American cities were hard, unforgiving places.

American cities at the time Walt’s grandchildren were young were modern marvels as they are today, testaments to both the failures and the triumphs of the human condition.

Finally, I don’t understand how someone who spent his life connecting and marketing to the populace like no one ever before him could craft a scheme so inherently flawed as a utopian city. 

Utopia cannot exist because we are human beings, not robots. In addition to our better qualities, we are filled with passion and vices and jealousies and prejudices.

We’ve been on this Earth a long time. There have been many men and women of vision – of a special kind of hubris – who thought they could craft a Utopia through the force of their will and the promise of a better life. That carrot and stick may work for a time, but thousands of years of history say we will reject it.

You’d think that someone who fought so long and hard with Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers just to make a single movie would understand, better than most, just how stubborn and intractable people can be, even in the face of a spectacular vision.

Modern cities and even smaller communities are wonders of the modern age. They are superior in every way to Disney’s EPCOT vision because they are real and they reflect who we are and what we are capable of for good and for bad.

Walt passed, of course, long before he could put any real concrete plan together to create his Utopia.

Then came the EPCOT we know today

It took nearly 20 years, but another vision arose in its place. Not a utopian city, but an amusement park that paid homage to the more practical pieces of Walt’s vision.

It’s a park that brings the world together and casts an eye to the future.

And it’s a park that has a giant golf ball smack dab in the entrance. 

The epcot ball at night
The EPCOT ball houses a dark ride that takes riders on a trip through time (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What is the EPCOT ball?

Friends, the EPCOT ball is irony, writ large.

It is a celebration of the very journey of humankind that Walt overlooked in his pessimistic assessment of “modern” cities.

Inside the ball is a dark ride on a slow track that carries riders through the history of human communication.

From caveman drawing on the walls, it tracks through time as new ideas spread like wildfire.

From Gutenberg’s press to the modern age of media, it is a slow climb and descent through the history of man’s achievements.

And it’s brought to life through elaborate sets and using the talents of Academy Award winner, Dame Judi Dench, who narrates the journey.

spaceship earth line entrance
The EPCOT ball’s name is actually Spaceship Earth (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Does this EPCOT ball have a name?

Yes. The EPCOT ball is actually named Spaceship Earth.

Does that name make a lot of sense? No. I suppose it’s a reference to the idea that the planet on which we live is a spaceship carrying us through time and, well, space.

But the ride itself isn’t particularly space-related. However, there is a moon landing segment. I think probably they just needed a name and Spaceship Earth rocked a lot harder than the Big Golf Ball.

The basis for the design and the name ultimately comes from the work of a guy named Buckminster Fuller. Fuller was an architect, engineer and futurist.

But the design of the ball, the name and the entire ride itself don’t seem to go together very well. Is the story of humanity really Spaceship Earth? I don’t know.

an animatronic scene on spaceship earth
Spaceship Earth features a series of animatronic scenes (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Why was the EPCOT ball built?

The people at Disney wanted a striking centerpiece similar to the castles in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. Apparently, the Expo ’67 Dome in Montreal caught their eye. 

Designer Gordon Hoopes said he wanted to “create an atmosphere for our guests that raises their spirit and kindles an excitement for the human experience in the future.”

That’s kind of grandiose but I suppose building another cool princess castle was already off the board.

Read Also: What is Reflections of China at Disney’s Epcot?

the Expo ’67 biosphere
The design inspiration for the EPCOT ball came from the Expo ’67 Biosphere in Montreal Canada (photo by Greatest Shots/shutterstock.com)

Why does the EPCOT ball look like a golf ball?

The Walt Disney Company took the basic design idea from the dome from Expo ’67 – which was basically a biosphere. At some point, they decided a full sphere would be cooler.

According to the website emtekalloys.com:

“The EPCOT ball is a 165-ft diameter geodesic sphere that is elevated above the ground to stand 180 feet tall. Each face of the polyhedron is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point. In theory, there are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3,840 points.”

What gives the ball its golf ball feel is the series of 1-inch gutters all the way down the building that transport water into the World Showcase Lagoon. And it’s what gives the iconic geodesic sphere Spaceship Earth its signature look.

What is the EPCOT ball supposed to be?

Other than futuristic? Ultimately, it was based on Fuller’s work and his geodesic dome, according to the Disney Parks Blog which cites Disney’s John Hench.

From Hench’s book Designing Disney:

“We assumed from the beginning that we needed a large sphere for the EPCOT icon, and we wanted one with enough space inside for an attraction. We were familiar with architect Buckminster Fuller’s experiments with building the geodesic dome he had invented in the 1940s, including the one he had constructed for the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1953. Fuller’s famous phrase ‘spaceship earth’ also appealed to us.”

The EPCOT ball is supposed to be what it is, the Spaceship Earth ride. Legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury played a central role in creating the themes for the original attraction.

Over the years the icon of EPCOT has undergone some minor and some major refurbishment as has EPCOT itself.

What’s next for the ball?

Hard to say. Disney had previously announced another extensive refurbishment for the ride but that was delayed.

It is, of course, a huge part of EPCOT history but as a ride? Meh. It rises at an odd angle and in my experience stops frequently for loading and unloading.

The last time we rode, we were left at an odd incline angle for a while. It wasn’t painful or even physically uncomfortable, it was just bothersome.

The full ride takes about 16 minutes. And it mostly serves as a nostalgia piece or a place to get out of the weather.

I know some are pushing for the park to make big changes inside the giant sphere. But EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth is one of the signature dark rides in the Walt Disney World Resort along with Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.

Read Also: Mission SPACE at EPCOT: How it works, what you should know

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind debuts in 2022 (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What’s next for EPCOT?

The park itself is going through some of the biggest changes in its history.

Long taking a back seat to Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, like the other Walt Disney World theme parks, is finally getting a much-needed assist from Disney Designers.

The ambitious refurbishment includes the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride, which I believe is likely to be the only Disney Marvel ride east of the Mississippi due to contracts signed before Disney purchased the rights to the Marvel universe.

Have you ridden Spaceship Earth at EPCOT? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!