This past January was our first large group family Disney World vacation. I was running my first WDW Marathon and everybody wanted to come show their love and support for me. As gracious as it was, we quickly realized that planning for a large group is very different than our small trips.
Budgets, personalities and agendas can quickly clash. Before you even begin planning a large party Disney vacation, just know and expect that a difference of opinions will happen. Don’t take it personally and stress over it. I found that the magic of Disney took over, on the trip, and all of the planning stress was quickly forgotten!
Survival Tips for Large Group Disney Trips:
1- First things first, you’ll need to book a room package. Disney will give you a “group” travel number to ensure your rooms are near each other. Don’t stress if portions of your party stay at a different resort. In the end, everybody has a different budget.
A member of our large group booked his room through Expedia and had trouble. Without a magic band or access to the Disney dining plan options, it was harder to coordinate. Everybody should book through the same TA or through Disney.
2- Start an open line of communication with all traveling parties. Creating a private Facebook group will help everyone stay on the same page.
3- Designate a planning leader. The person who is crazy about Disney and organized can be the planning leader. They can report back with details and answer questions for the group.
4- Have the group make a “dining wish list”. The planning leader can make the reservations. Don’t feel destined to particular restaurants. It’s ok to eat at separate places, if desired.
5- Designate time away from the group. Disney offers so many specialty amenities who different tastes. From golfing to fishing or princess tea time, everybody will want to have a little time to themselves. There is nothing wrong with that! Keeping everyone happy is key.
6- Flexibility will be a priority while on your trip. For example, I planned an early 5pm dinner the night prior to my marathon. Except I was the only one who wanted it. I realized changing the reservation meant more time in the parks and less stress on the whole party. So I called to push the reservation back an hour. Plan to be flexible!
7- End your trip with something spectacular. We ended our trip with dinner reservations at the California Grill to watch Wishes. Disney offers special tours, fireworks cruises and dinner shows, which are awesome ways to remember the last magical moments of your trip.
Having three generations of family on our January trip, made it a remarkable one for us. The whole family still reminisces about the fun we had. Disney is the perfect place to bring a large group for any celebration.