Thursday, January 20, 2011

Traveling to WDW with a Large Group

2008 ~ All the kids in their Patriots shirts and we
were chosen as the first family to enter
Payhouse Disney Live on Stage
Making Magical Memories Column
WDW Daily News
Published October 2010

For our next trip, we will be celebrating a family reunion. There will be six adults (my parents, brother, sister in law, my husband and myself) and five children. The kids will be 6.5, 5, 4.5, 3.5 and 1.5.  This will actually be my family's 25th anniversary of our very first trip to Walt Disney World in October of 1986.  Our family has grown just a bit since that first trip with just my parents, brother and I!

Traveling with a group takes some planning and some compromising. I think we all know that you can't make everyone happy every moment of every day - not even at the happiest place on Earth!

Here are a few tips I’ve learned for traveling with a large party:

2006 ~ Joey's first trip to WDW and our
family's 1sy character meal
1. Make one person your "leader" - I think we all know the saying "Too many cooks in the kitchen . . ." With one person the contact person, you can stay organized and everyone is informed. Though that one person should not dictate the vacation. Everyone should have a say in what they would like to do.

2. Because you are all in Walt Disney World together, it does not mean that you must spend every waking moment together. Plan days where you split up and then meet for dinner. Or, spend the day together and enjoy a dinner alone. We always plan which days we will be in which park and make a reservation for one sit down meal per day. This gives everyone the freedom to go where they want and then meet up with everyone at one designated place and time.

3. If someone wants to leave the park, but you are not ready yet, don't feel obligated to leave. It is your vacation too, and you should feel guilt free about enjoying it the way you want. Or, if you want to leave and someone else wants to stay, don't guilt them into doing what you want - it is their vacation too.

4. Everyone take pictures! I believe you cannot take too many pictures because someone always captures that one moment or expression that no one else gets. Never leave your camera behind with the thought that so many in your group already have cameras. Plus, know that the Photopass photographers around the parks have always been more than willing to take pictures with my camera. Make sure you get pictures of your whole group too. I know I have been asked on more than one occasion to take a group's picture, and I had no idea who the people were. It happened so many times on one trip that my husband took a picture of me taking a picture of someone's family! I have found in Disney, people, cast members as well as guests, are always more than willing to help make your vacation as special as theirs, so it doesn't hurt to ask.

When it comes to planning trips, I say the more the merrier, especially since having children. Having my family enjoying every magical moment along with the kids is something that cannot be replaced.

What is your best tip for traveling with a group to Disney?

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