So excited to welcome Matt Esquire from The Hub Podcast, one of my Disney podcast favorites. He commented last week on how most of my shopping guides are geared toward the ladies (he’s so right) and he whipped up this post inspired by a similar feature on TheVerge.com. So what does a huge Disney fan + podcaster bring on his trips to the Disney Parks? Well you are about to find out!
As a podcaster (currently the roundtable discussion show known as The Hub Podcast) and frequent traveler to the Disney Parks, I have developed a “go bag” which contains everything I need to both a) podcast on the fly and b) stay connected with all of my social media accounts. Not everything comes with me into the park each day, but I’m be prepared for any special events, whims, or suprises that come during the course of a trip.
I’ve used a few different bags throughout my trips, but the Axio SlingPack is the one I keep coming back to time and time again. Sure, I would really like a bag with an Add-a-Bag Sleeve so I could easily attach it to my carry on while traversing the airport, but that’s a trivial matter when you look at all of the compartments this bag contains. I’ve found the outside back-facing pocket to be great for storing Disney’s Magical Express booklets, passports (if you need one), and boarding passes. Inside, the laptop compartment fits both my laptop and iPad, and has sleeves for all my podcasting goodies. All that said, I’m thinking of switching to the OGIO Pagoda for my next big trip.
Macbook Air 11″ – This is my trusty workhorse. It’s the Mid–2012 model and has replaced my iMac as my main podcasting and work-from-home computer. I like how easy it is to take with me into the parks and set up with my other podcasting gear to record on the fly. It’s also powerful enough to do heavy audio or video editing in my hotel at the end of the night and get content out before I go to sleep.
iPad – While I get most of my work done on my Air, the iPad is great for catching up on my RSS subscriptions (like THP!) for news on The Hub (I use Reeder hooked up with Feedly to get through this quickly – hopefully Reeder is updated soon so it works on the iPad again!). I also use it to control my soundboard for live recording and can use it as a second monitor in the hotel.
iPhone 5 – How I remain connected to the world while in the World! My iPhone goes everywhere with me. Not only does it act as my connection to social media while traveling (or, let’s be honest, at home as well), but it can fill in as a mobile hotspot when the resort wifi isn’t cutting it or when I’m recording a live show from the Rose Garden.
Headphones – I stick with the traditional Apple EarPods here. While I have a more expensive set of headphones, I’ve found the EarPods stay in my ears better while on the (sometimes horrifying) resort bus system while still allowing me to overhear the constantly amusing conversations of those around me.
Bag ’o Cables – All this tech needs to be plugged in somewhere! I take a go-pouch of cables and adapters just in case I need to combine these goodies in any combination.
Battery Pack – The first time I went down to WDW with an iPhone (around 2007, I believe), I ran out of power before dinner. This was when my only friend on Twitter was @trapped. Now there are so many people to keep up with my battery would be dead before EMH Mornings! My battery pack has lasted me a few years now and holds multiple full charges so I don’t have to seek out the Tangled Town charging stations whenever I’m running low.
Wallet – Crucial cards: Annual Pass (now with RFID, I don’t have to take it out!), Room Key (also RFID so I place it on the opposite side of the wallet to unlock my room with my posterior), Tables in Wonderland (WHY OH WHY did they change this from Disney Dining Experience??), and the typical stuff (health insurance, credit cards, etc).
Ziploc Bag – I had a “waterproof iPhone case” from some Asian country for my iPhone 4/4S, but it was more trouble than it was worth. I find a basic ziploc bag is all you need to protect your phone (and any podcasting accessories) from things like Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run. The water parks, however, are something else entirely.
Zoom H1 with Binaural Microphones – Back when I was putting out regular episodes of Mouse Droppings, this was an my mainstay recorder. I’ll let you in on a little secret: it still is! I still record a lot of my in-park audio and the live ride-on shows Aaron and I did last year were recorded with this sucker.
Audio Technica AT2020USB – This is my travel studio mic. I use it in all of the live in-park roundtable shows of The Hub. I’ve also used it for prerecorded shows from a hotel room while on business travel, and I doubt many listeners could tell! It’s a great value microphone and works really well with my Air. The only problem is I have to take it out of my bag when going through the TSA checkpoints since they think it’s a pipe bomb…
GoPro Camera – I love the concept of this thing. While I don’t currently have a video podcast (I keep thinking I’ll do one but then never really can commit to the time involved), I love capturing the outdoor roller coasters of the Disney Parks (and other parks as well) with this versatile camera. You can mount it on your head or your chest and really get some great wide-angle footage. Will I ever do anything with it? Who knows!
Accessories – Extra batteries for my H1 are crucial since they’re SO EXPENSIVE at the resorts! Spare memory cards are important for the GoPro and H1, since either could be filled up rather quickly! I also carry a second set of headphones and a headphone jack splitter for live shows so my cohost can listen to the sound clips I’m playing as we record.
Just for Fun
Sorcerers Cards – I come down to WDW often enough that I’ve amassed quite a collection of these things. Even though the lines to play are usually too long for me to actually use them, I feel like I’m left out if I don’t have them at the ready. And no, I will not talk to those creepy Sorcerers Traders that hover around Tortuga Tavern.
Reading Material – Until the FAA removes those silly restrictions on electronic devices, it’s a great idea to take along some words on this thing called paper (if you haven’t heard of it, go ride Spaceship Earth). Currently I keep my buddy Aaron’s The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom on hand for these moments.
Drinking Around the World “Score Cards” – Okay. This is just plain silly but SO AWESOME. I made this up for a meet-up a few years ago and made so many (hundreds… Kinko’s had a special) I keep them in my bag. I usually give them away to bachelor / bachelorette groups I see around World Showcase, and in the process get to meet some awesome people. It’s amazing how many different ways people play the “drinking around the world” game… this is mine.
What are your Disney traveling essentials?