Fanny packs rock. You heard me. I’d say it louder if my editors let me use bigger fonts.
Apparently, in that time period between when fanny packs were popular and their subsequent waning, I was asleep. It seemed to happen so quickly. Just like three-piece suits. Don’t get me started on why three-piece suits should never have gone out of style.
The thing is, I’ve never cared for carrying things in my pockets, front or back. It’s not like I ever had a lot of money to make my wallet bulky. Without getting too personal, I just don’t care to have anything in my back pocket to make sitting uncomfortable.
So when I’m at Walt Disney World roaming the parks, and it’s hot, I don’t need things collecting in my pockets to make me even more sweaty. Cue the fanny pack.
From what I’ve learned (if you believe the Interwebs), fanny packs seem to date back to medieval times. They were a practical solution because the garments worn during those times didn’t have pockets. They were a useful fashion accessory.
Fast forward to 1954 where the fanny pack appeared as a mail order item at Christmas time in New England. Inspired by kangaroo pouches, fanny packs seem to have made their fashion entrance in 1962. It is now said that there has been a resurgence. I don’t need a resurgence to know what stands the test of time.
Depending on where you’re from, they go by different names. People in the States generally use the term “fanny pack,” but around the world it can be known as a “bumbag,” “waist bag,” “belt bag,” “moon bag,” “belly bag,” or as chic New York City trendsetter Ted Mosby coined the term: “hands-free waist satchel.”
I admit to owning at least three, but I use only one when I’m at Walt Disney World (see photo above).
I wear mine around the waist but have it positioned in the front for easier access. That is the beauty of this versatile accessory: Wear it in the front for easy access and spin it around to the back when a ride requires a seatbelt. So technically I use it more as a belly bag, but for the sake of this article I will use the much maligned and oft ridiculed “fanny pack.” But for 180 degrees, they’re the same thing. And you can turn them 90 degrees (on the hip) when going through narrow spaces and tight squeezes like turnstiles and Disney After Hours Boo Bash.
So not only are they fashionable and versatile, you can carry stuff in them. Which makes you very self-sufficient and ever-ready. It’s like a useful cummerbund. Here’s a list of the items I usually carry in my fanny pack:
- Masks (hopefully for not too much longer)
- Glasses (for reading or sun)
- Car keys/fobs
- Cash and coin (you never know)
- Ticket cards on trips without MagicBands
Also, maps are important to me. My dad had this uncanny way of always knowing which way was North. And if you know where North is, all the other directions are pretty easy to figure out. Not me. I got the Directionally-Challenged gene from my mom.
I’m also not good at spatial perspective. If I’m seeing that Yak & Yeti Cafe is on my left, but on my map it’s on my right, I have to rotate the map so everything is upside down, just so I know which direction to walk. Thanks, Mom.
I also dig out the map frequently. When a family member wants to see an attraction, it’s my duty to get them to it. Which makes the map well-used. The way I go through a map, it would never survive in my pocket. It barely survives in my fanny pack. Which is why I carry extras. I like to start my day with three.
Let’s get back to the fashion statement. I’m typically on the back-end of popularity of a fashion piece and on the front-end of its resurgence (translation: I always find myself between fashion trends). So for years I’d wear my fanny pack despite its dwindling presence in the parks. But that’s the thing. There was a time in my life when I cared what other people thought of me. That includes my own family. That time has long passed.
And just so you know, if you’re one of those fashionistas who takes a perfectly good fanny pack and slings it over a shoulder like Joe’s saddle bag in A Fistful of Dollars, we in the fanny pack community have one thing to say: nope. We refer to you as a “fanny phony.”
If you like fanny packs but aren’t ready to display them boldly, you can conceal them under your shirt. It makes you look like you have a belly on you, but that’s ok. It takes time. We’ll wait for you.
Bottom line in all of this? Wear what you want. You’re in the Disney Bubble and you should enjoy every aspect of it. And those that attempt to disparage you for your choices don’t belong in the Bubble. They are occupying a space in the Bubble that they don’t deserve and need to leave.
So join us. We are the Fanny Pack Nation. We’re proud and brave and unapologetic. Join us as we journey arm-in-arm into the parks, impervious to ridicule, ignoring the nay-sayers and defying the Garment District. To be timeless like the fanny pack itself: unaffected by what is trending.
And if you should worry about losing your way, you needn’t. Because I’ll have a map. Three, in fact.
Dan Chapman loves everything Mouse - with a tattoo to prove it - and longs to step back into the Disney bubble any chance he gets. He has a particular admiration of Walt Disney the man, and reads every biography written about Walt Disney that he can get his hands on.
Dan is new to navigating the post-retirement landscape and stays busy putting kayak to water, bike to trail and pen to paper.
He and his wife live "beach-adjacent" in North Carolina (close enough to enjoy the beach but far enough to avoid the property taxes).