The more the merrier! Well, more can also make things tricky when enjoying a Disney vacation. Here are our top 7 tips for large groups visiting Disney World.
1 – Family Itinerary
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, FastPass+ is temporarily suspended.
Whether you are visiting Disney solo or plan to have the entire family tree join you for the occasion, planning ahead is our top tip! Planning in advance is particularly important for large families. Why? Resort room selections, dinner reservations, FastPass selections, ticket purchases, transportation… all these items and more are typically harder to organize with a large family. We suggest you make an itinerary to share with your family. “Itinerary” sounds like a business meeting we know, but keep it light! You’ll want to include resort information, dinner reservation spots and times, FastPass selections, and anything else you think is of importance for your large family. Of course, you’ll want to hear what everyone’s must-dos are and incorporate those activities or dinner selections if possible. Make sure everyone has a copy of the itinerary so they will be in the loop. We see time and time again large families standing around trying to figure out where to eat and what to do next when this would have been a simple fix if did a little planning ahead.
2 – Resort Selection
Exhaust all of your options when it comes to saving money when staying as a family! Look for any special offers Disney may have at the time of your trip. Check out Magic Your Way Packages to see what works best for your family budget. For resort rooms, we suggest you check out the multiple family room options depending on your family size. Fort Wilderness Lodge Resort and Campground campsites and/or cabins are excellent for large families. Among the several options available, we recommend the villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Disney’s latest DVC resort – Disney’s Riviera Resort.
3 – MyDisneyExperience
The MyDisneyExperience app and website is your ticket to success with your large family! Create an account, and MyDisneyExperience allows you to link with your family and friends to add them to items such as your plans, dinner reservations, FastPass selections, and more. You can also help family members that prefer to stay off a computer or phone with their selections. Check out Memory Maker (a fantastic photo selection tool) while you are at it! Each family member (or each family, if traveling with multiple families) can pitch in to purchase Memory Maker, then you can have it linked as one family Memory Maker account. Don’t hesitate to ask Guest Services for guidance via phone, website, or even on Disney’s website if needed. MyDisneyExperience really is a great tool that we highly recommend for organizing large family plans.
4 – Time to Eat!
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the dining booking window is 60 days.
If your large family has the desire to eat at one of the table service restaurants, advanced dining reservations are critical. Select a point person for dining reservations in your group. Have him, or her try to book these reservations the morning of your 180-day advanced dining reservation window (online at 6:00 am or by phone at 7:00 am). Disney Resort guests can book dining reservations 180 days from check-in date. Non-resort guests are also welcome to book 180 days in advance but are not able to book for the length of their trip. Book in advance – you’ll be glad you did later! Plus, are you a Disney Vacation Club Member, Annual Passholder, or Florida Resident? If so, check into Tables in Wonderland and get a 20% discount on food and beverages at several dining locations. We also must mention saving those Disney dollars and eating in your resort as a family if possible. Several of the larger family resort rooms and/or villas have a full kitchen and even a dining room! If you are looking to cut costs, dining together at your resort as a family will save you in the long run.
5 – Don’t Always Stay Together
Let’s face it! Despite all of your planning, when you travel with a large family, you need to be flexible. Not everyone will want to do what you want to do, and vice versa. One of the biggest blunders we see large families making is trying to stay together at all times. For example, send those thrill-seekers off to ride Tower of Terror and the younger and/or moderate preference family members to Disney Junior Live on Stage. Different people, different likes and dislikes… it’s what makes a family a family! This again is why an itinerary is helpful because everyone will be on the same page when it comes to when to meet up for a dining reservation you have or your next FastPass selection.
6 – Odd Meet Up Points
Family check-in time with a large party is helpful at different points in your trip. Of course, a simple text can handle checking in with each other – but let’s say you want to meet up as a family anyway. Do yourself and your family a favor by being sure to select random places to meet up. For example, if at Magic Kingdom, don’t select meeting in front of Cinderella Castle. This hub area is typically one of the busiest areas in the park. Instead, choose something like in front of the Carousel of Progress attraction. Look for areas that aren’t overflowing with guests, so you will have a better opportunity to find everyone in your family.
7 – Stand Out!
Alright, it’s time to ignore the cheesiness and yes – buy or have those colorful family shirts made! With large families, a bright color really helps spot each other amid the crowds. If you simply refuse to wear a shirt, you could also go for family hats or bandanas. Plus, let’s be honest – you secretly have always wanted to be assigned a character name on the back of your family shirt for everyone to see!
In the words of Lilo and Stitch – “Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” We hope you find these tips helpful in keeping your large family trip to Disney a magical memory you’ll always have together.
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.