Practical advice needed - backpack

I’ll be making my maiden trip to WDW early in April, visiting Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Blizzard Beach.

As a keen photographer, I’ll be lugging my large and heavy Canon DSLR and its accessories everywhere I go, in a camera backpack, along with water, wallet, etc… The backpack is about the size of allowable hand-luggage on an airplane, maybe a little bit smaller, and I’m a tad concerned about the practicalities of taking it all on some of the rides, especially the ones where you have a chance of getting wet.

Is it even possible to take a pack along on all the rides?

I’d really appreciate some advice from experienced WDW visitors.

You can take a backpack on the rides with you. We don’t have camera equipment in ours, but we have not ever had a problem with bringing it on with us. There are also lockers available at the parks if you would like to keep it stored in there instead of taking it on a ride.

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Thanks for the answer, much appreciated.

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My dh lugged our camera backpack around one trip… It fit by his feet on most rides. Did say it was a bit annoying after awhile… But we are total “big camera” amateurs :slight_smile: funny/not funny story… We took it to Epcot… After a beer at America pavilion, the camera was wrapped around dh and the backpack was no where to be found! We didn’t even notice it was gone until Mexico! Luckily lost and found… Found it weeks later and it came home with a hand signed note! :slight_smile:

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Kali River will require that you use a locker. Otherwise you should be fine. Except for the lugging it part :slight_smile:


Something you should do (that you maybe do already) is line the backpack with a garbage bag. Then in the chance of rain or wet rides (like Splash) you don’t have to worry about your gear getting soaked.


Great idea. Thanks.

I bring a backpack and my DSLR whenever I travel through to the parks. Disney lets you bring bags on every ride in the park (unlike Universal, which is very restrictive in that regard). I was surprised I could bring the backpack on Rock n Roller Coaster, but have never had any issues on that ride, even while upside down.

The biggest problem areas for the bag are some attractions with smaller ride vehicles, specifically Space Mountain and 7DMT. On Space, I can usually put the bag in first under my leg and we both fit fine, but sometimes in the rush to not slow down the boarding process I don’t get things just right and end up clinging to the bag. On the Mine Train, I haven’t found a good way to get the bag in under my legs and the lap bar. I’ve ended up with my legs sort of twisted, but since the ride is so short it’s not a big deal.

The only attraction I would not take my backpack and camera on is Kali rapids. There is a place on the raft to store belongings, but with a large bag the flap may not fully close, which at the least will be a bother during the ride. I’d use the lockers there.

I always have my Nikon DSLR, but I rarely carry anything more than the 18-200 lens that I keep on it and some extra batteries and memory cards in a cargo pocket. Although I do some macro photography, I have never seen the need for it while youring and I just don’t see the need to carry the extra lens around. Ditto the external flash; for the few flash pictures I take, the pop-up on the camera works just fine. In all of my hours of touring and thousands of pictures I’ve taken, I’ve never once said “Oh I wish I had…”. A tripod would be nice for some night shots, but I’ve generally gotten very good results without one, and that’s something I would NOT consider carrying around all day. The camera, asns bag, fits comfortably in all of the provided “storage” bins/pouches on the rides, and I have never had a concern for losing it or damage.

On the few occasions that I HAVE carried a backpack (and with the extra time for bag check, I try to avoid it as much as possible), I agree with all of the above observations.

[quote=“bswan26, post:9, topic:11608”]
In all of my hours of touring and thousands of pictures I’ve taken, I’ve never once said "Oh I wish I had…[/quote]

I have 3 different lenses I use regularly and I wouldn’t want to be without any of them, at least if I were planning any serious photography time in the parks. Same thing with my external flash. It’s much better/more versatile than my on-camera flash. Of course, there are certainly times when photography isn’t the focus (pun intended) of my park time, in which case I don’t “need” all the equipment that I’m carrying, but I’ve found the backpack is easy to carry around Disney parks, so it usually travels with me. The bag is also useful for storing souvenirs (though I still try to purchase those on my way out of the park), ponchos, sunscreen, a water bottle, and sometimes a snack.

Good idea - I never thought of lining the bag. On wet rides I always put stuff that I want to keep dry in a garbage bag - do both and you will have belt and suspenders!

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I learned that from my back-country exploring aunt and uncle. They do it with all their bags of gear that they haul into the back-country in case they get caught in the rain. Who knew it would come in handy for Disney too?!

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I took my DSLR, two lenses, and a travel tripod, in my backpack that doubled as a diaper bag for us (I WISH someone would design a diaper bag that doubles as a camera bag! My husband is onto me to get on the market with my idea, but I haven’t the time, so someone reading this take my idea so I can buy your new product!) It got heavy over the day, I was glad I only took the two lenses, and even then I only switched out for the fantasy parade, the moments happened too quickly to mess with it, but I’m photographing kids so…) I actually left the telephoto lens and tripod in my room for the third day of the parks and didn’t miss it, and my bag was so much lighter. I probably would have wanted more if our plan had us going to AK this trip. I agree with the external flash though, I left that behind and regret it. My tripod folds up small enough to fit into the side pocket of the backpack, where one might usually keep a water bottle, but everything together adds up weight-wise. The walking didn’t get to me, as I am a marathon runner and my legs are used to it, but carrying the bag got to be hard, so in the end it comes down to what can you live without, and what can you do with minimal equipment- will it satisfy your desires for whatever shots you’re thinking of? If I were going without my kids, you’d bet I’d lug along the whole shabang! So many unique photography opportunities there. but as it was I was only out to capture my kids’ experiences for this trip, so the minimal route worked for me. There are a lot of things you can do with perspective and light if you have the time to take to do it.

For Space Mountain I actually had my husband take the bag, and I took the camera out and put the strap across my chest, the camera was in the gap between my armpit and the side of the seat, I was worried about it getting knocked, but I just kept mindful of it and the ride wasn’t so rough that I was thrown around enough to knock it.

I used a poncho inside the bag to keep it dry. It was very rainy on our first day to the Magic Kingdom and the poncho worked well. We purchased them at dollar general once we got to Orlando. I could easily shoot through the arm hole of the poncho and keep the body dry. It was raining when we met Aurora, and I know I looked odd with the thing over my camera, but I wasn’t going to miss that (Aurora is my personal favorite)

The only time anything was roughed up, was when we were watching the parade and I set the bag down near my feet so that I could pick up my four year old without falling over She got very excited and lept off my body, knocking the bag over and kicking my lens across the walkway. It all turned out okay, but moral is to be sure everything is always secure, even if it means missing that split second where everything is perfect for a photo. We were literally running from Elsa and Anna to see the parade, and in the rush of all that and switching lenses, and trying to get my kids’ expressions in with the parade, I just forgot to zip it up and forgot that little people can get unpredictable

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Thanks a bunch to everybody who took the time to reply. I appreciate it a lot and your good advice has certainly set my mind at ease.

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I love all this DSLR talk. I’ve had nothing but point and shoots for several years and have desperately missed all of the lenses, equipment and even the settings involved with a SLR. DW bought me an entry level DSLR for Christmas to get me back into it and I’ve been playing around with it ever since.

I carry a simple canvas Mickey backpack we bought on our first visit back in 2003. That and cargo shorts get me through EVERYTHING. I gave a small gorilla pod that meets my tripod needs (very rare). I will probably take an extra lens and a couple of SD cards.

I do like the trashbag lining idea. I used a gallon sized ziplock in the past but that might not be enough these days.