How does a large group do Disney?


#1

Ok, we have a family of 7 going to WDW in July 2011.
Me, DH, DS(15), DS(27) & DW(25), DS(25) & DGF(22). Five of us are arriving on Thurs. and the married two kids are arriving on Sat. We are renting DVC points and have opted for the DDP. Here are my questions. Any advise or suggestions needed and welcomed.

  1. If you go with a large family or group, do you all go through the parks together or do you go off and do your own things? I am hoping we will all do the parks together and go off on our here and there.

  2. Do you eat all your meals together or choose one meal to meet up and dine? This is if you all go off in different directions each day.

  3. Because two are arriving two days after the five, we will have 4T/4C/4S to play with. What would you suggest?? As of right now, we haven’t sat down to discuss where we all want to dine. A suggestion was put out that everyone choose a place where they want to eat and go from there.

I know I must seem like I am all over the place but I have this going through my head constantly. I am so use to planning for just DH, DS and myself. They just sit back and enjoy the ride. Last trip we had DS(25) with us and he had an absolute blast. This trip we will have all the boys and their better halves. I don’t want to come across as being too pushy with making plans, but I know what goes into planning these trips and being we are going during a busy time, I am starting to panic.

Oh, and I have already ordered the Vacation DVD for the kids and the Passporters are on pre-order. Just wanted to throw that out there too. And, I’ve texted everyone to let them know that we have 250 days to go woohoo!!! DH already received his first WDW countdown note today:)


#2

Kim, your trip sounds so wonderful and I can feel your excitement already! I cant help with advice there’s only 3 of us- but I know Jo-Jo just did a ‘larger party’ at AK and BLT and I am sure she would be happy to help- good luck with your planning though- sounds amazing.


#3

Try traveling in a pack of 13!!! We did that 3 times and then realized it just didn’t work to try and stay together. We would meet up around lunch and exchange our day’s activities or meet for dinner. If we saw each other in the park we would hang around for a little while and then separate again. We typically stay in the same park so we can meet if we need to decide anything or have a meal together.

It was a lot of fun in the past, but schedules just don’t allow for this any longer.


#4

[QUOTE=hiner;1055850]

  1. If you go with a large family or group, do you all go through the parks together or do you go off and do your own things? I am hoping we will all do the parks together and go off on our here and there.

  2. Do you eat all your meals together or choose one meal to meet up and dine? This is if you all go off in different directions each day.

  3. Because two are arriving two days after the five, we will have 4T/4C/4S to play with. What would you suggest?? As of right now, we haven’t sat down to discuss where we all want to dine. A suggestion was put out that everyone choose a place where they want to eat and go from there.

I know I must seem like I am all over the place but I have this going through my head constantly. I am so use to planning for just DH, DS and myself. They just sit back and enjoy the ride. Last trip we had DS(25) with us and he had an absolute blast. This trip we will have all the boys and their better halves. I don’t want to come across as being too pushy with making plans, but I know what goes into planning these trips and being we are going during a busy time, I am starting to panic.

Oh, and I have already ordered the Vacation DVD for the kids and the Passporters are on pre-order. Just wanted to throw that out there too. And, I’ve texted everyone to let them know that we have 250 days to go woohoo!!! DH already received his first WDW countdown note today:)[/QUOTE]

We just took a family trek to Disney last month and there was 10 of us. Most flew down the first day, but a couple came down a few days later.

  1. We booked some dinners together and did go to the parks together each day, but broke off to do our own things during the day.

  2. My two sons (3 and 1 1/2) were with us so we ate where we wanted to. We did get the free disney dining this trip so actually booked 9 sit downs, but only made it to 7. Two of them were character breakfasts so everyone came with us since it was birthday related. For the other sit downs, only on one of them did a few come, but for the most part they booked where they wanted to eat and we did the same.

  3. They say that the seafood buffet is awesome (our other group went to it) which is at the Yacht Club Resort I believe but could be wrong you will have to research it since the name is slipping from me too. Our favorite character breakfast was Ohanas at the Polynesian. The Coral Reef at Epcot was pretty good to, and the atmosphere is what we liked. Our favorite spot is Canada Steakhouse at Epcot and actually didn’t go this trip, but we are not going to miss it next time.

Just research what you like, you are bound to find something. Downtown Disney is always fun and we love the Cirque De Soleil (sorry about spelling) that is always a great night out.

Good luck with you planning and keep us informed…


#5

We did a trip with 27 :wacko: this past June!
I did LOTS & LOTS of planning.
We had a big family meeting 5 months prior to the trip, just so we all could get on the same page.
We decide we would dedicate certain days (every other day) for “family days” and on those days we made plans from breakfast to dinner. The other days were our free days to do what we choose.
I made dinner reservations in the parks on the night of MH. The MH was how I decided where we would go, on what day.
I would send out an e-mail to everyone with 3 differant restaurants and everyone would vote on which one they wanted and then the majority ruled :rolleyes:

Once the itinerary was done, 3 months head of time, I e-mailed it out to everyone to look over. Believe it or not everyone pretty much agreed with it and it was a success!

Good luck and don’t stress :flowers:


#6

We went with 3 families - 6 adults & 5 kiddos. We usually went to the same park, but often split up throughout the day as we had some little ones. We ate dinner together every evening except one night the adults went and the kiddos stayed with a sitter.

I would take your extra TS meals and put the credits toward a 2TS meal and pay OOP for the other 3. On second thought, I don’t know if you can pay OOP for 1/2 of a meal LOL!

We had a wonderful time with our extended family & friends - it is a different experience than going with just your immediate family = )

Have fun planning!!


#7

I’ve traveled to WDW in groups of 8 and 11. The best advise I have is what Tinker2222 said: PLAN PLAN PLAN!

Whatever you decided to do as far as meals and park time together just make sure that everyone is one the same page and that everyone has a say in the plans that you make.

I found it very helpful to have 2 pre-trip “meetings.” It gave everyone an opportunity to voice their wishes and expectations.

I always LOVED traveling to WDW in a group! The more the merrier!


#8

When we traveled with a group of 13, we met up for one meal each day (planned in advance). One person from each family was the designated decision maker and this worked out very well.


#9

I did it with a group of 13. We ususally ate breakfast, or early lunch and dinner together. Most of us would be together at the parks all day, sometimes the group would split up diff. age groups.


#10

We went with a group of 21 last year. I did all the planning. We all went to the same park each day except for one day when we all did our own thing. We had free dining, so I booked a sit down meal together for everyone once a day and we all met for whatever meal that was. Otherwise, once we got to the park, we all went our separate ways. Just plan everything out and leave room for changes. Not everyone is going to want to get up early or stay out late, so be flexible and I’m sure you will all have a great time!


#11

Our last trip was a family of 6 with dining plan which was the most difficult park. Decided each person was able to pick their favorite restaurant for one night. Fortunately, we were able to get all our ressies and everyone was happy at least one night with their pick.

GM and GF took the days a little slower but we would always catch up with them towards the end of the day for dinner and whatever was going on that night.

Like everyone else has said, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN but leave room for change because it will change. We were flexibile each day so if we showed up at one park and it was unusually crowded (early Dec crowds weren’t too bad) we’d pack up and head to another. The time spent traveling to another park was worth it for us because we didn’t stand in lines all day.

Hope you have a magical trip!


#12

I just took a group of 17 in July for 5 full days and 2 half days. I had 1 advance meeting with them and did several emails. I told them about everything that needed to be ordered in advance and left it up to them if they were interested. I booked 3 adrs for all of us, as for the rest I told them which day I planned to go to which park and where I planned to eat while there. If they were interested in joining me then awesome! Surprisingly all but 5 tried to follow my plan to a point of at least being in the same park, riding a few rides together and sharing some meals. While not together everyone seemed to have their own agenda, I just made sure I let them know what all was available to them and what my schedule was in case they wanted to join in. By everyone having their own schedule (or mine :D) that worked really well for us since no one stressed about waiting around or trying to catch/keep up and we all had a great trip.

*wanted to add that all but those 5 that didn’t follow my plan were newbies and had they had their must-do’s list then I was open to compromise but since they didn’t and I did I went ahead with my fav’s. I can’t go with a group and stand around trying to decide who’s idea we’re going to do next.
Time is a valuable commodity in WDW:wink:


#13

Thee last trip we had four of us Me, DH and DD and DSIL. We stayed together, The trip before that we had seven and we started off together but we separated after lunch and met up again for dinner most ever night then we separated again. That trip it was me, DH, DD1 DSIL, DD2 and DSIL2 and DGS. My DH planned the whole trip and everyone had a choice where to eat except for the first morning where we always eat at the Crystal Palace. It worked out great.


#14

I’ve done large groups before, and the planning is the most laborious (but also the most fun!) part. About 3 months before we head down there I put together our tentative schedule. I include 3 choices for lunches and dinners. Fortunately, the group I travel with HATES to plan, and they leave that to me - lucky me, b/c I really go crazy with color coded spread sheets, time tables, and cross-referenced guides. I email the spreadhseets to everyone with “voting boxes” to check. Once I get everyone’s feedback, I make ressies for lunches and dinners.
Once we’re down at WDW, we all start out at the parks together, get our group pics, then we all go our own ways. We meet up for lunch, go our own ways in the afternoon, and meet for dinner again.
Trying to all navigate through the parks together as a large crowd just doesn’t work…we all have different interests, but sharing meals really makes us feel like we’re creating the memories together.


#15

Thank you so much for all the advice!!! It sure will help me plan. I love to plan our vacations, no matter where we go, but I do not want to seem overbearing with the kids. They’ve basically said to do whatever I think but I don’t want to take over everything. January is when we will have to make our ADR’s so I have time to get feedback on where everyone wants to eat and find out their must do list. Then we will see if they want to stick together or go off on each’s own.

I’ve already shown them a sample of the spreadsheet I use when we are in the world which has park times, EMH days, ADR’s comfirmation #'s, parades and firework times for each day. I am not a commando, although it looks that way on paper, but we usually will pick what park we want to go to the night before. That is if there is no ADR in the park that day. It usually works out.

I think it will go smoothly, it is just the pre-planning that is making me go nuts. I still have a few months before the true panic will set in. Once the ADR’s are done, it will be smooth sailing!!!

Again thank you!!!


#16

that is exactly the method I use. The spreadsheet with all the necessary information for each day with confirmation number, parade times, etc. Going down and just winging it is sometimes good if you only have a few people. But having some type of idea of what you want to do, etc. certainly makes things much more enjoyable.

Good luck with your planning. Be sure to do your ADRs as soon as you can. We are leaving at the end of this month and I waiting a little too long for mine. We got a few places we never tried before and have been wanted to try, but a few of our favorites just won’t happen because I waited too long. :frown:


#17

My family goes every year! And there 12-14 of us! And we stay together for 90 percent of the trip. Occasionally towards the end of the night we might split off. But mostly we are all together and we don’t miss a thing! I love traveling with a large group! :slight_smile: Good luck on your planning!!


#18

My daughter’s school Choir is going in the Spring! (Middle School)