You know it happens… you announce, “We’re Going to Disney World” and somebody will say “Can We Go to?” or maybe you say “why don’t you come along with us?’ Either way before you know it your are traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth with your peeps! Great! But now how do you keep everyone happy?
Planning can be a life saver and will be your friend! Appointing someone the “lead planner” in the group should help things run smooth, all plans come his or her way so everyone can stay on the same page. I’m not saying all decisions are his or her’s alone but when making a grand plan, one person making notes and keeping things in order will help to finalize things. I find, being the Disney planner of my friends and family, that they are more than happy to say “you just tell me where and when to be there” great then I will just do my thing, plan a Disney Vacation!
So now plans are in the making and your group of 3 is now 5, 7 or 10 and they have left you in charge of planning! Yikes what to do? Stay Calm and make plans, come on you can do it, you do it all the time for yourself now you’re just expanding and trust me at the end of the day, or should I say trip, you will be so glad you did.
Always ask, even if they say “I dont care, its up to you” always ASK this way you can always say…”I ask you” so your in the clear if something comes up. Most people have a different vision of what a Disney vacation should be, from where they want to stay, what they must see or do, to where they really want to eat. So asking each person, group or family what they have in mind on those points will help you in the long run. Plus keep in mind everyone has a different budgetand that’s ok, traveling as a group does not mean being together 24/7 in fact time apart will make an enjoyable trip even better, you have your group vacation as well as some family or personal vacation time! Its a win – win!
Ok so now your ready, so lets plan this group vacation out!
Where to Stay? Will you all stay at the same resort? Or will you spilt? Staying at the same resort can have its perks, like all leaving in the morning and heading to the same park for the day, families will do this, then when they arrive at said park they will separate and meet up for lunch, dinner or even there favorite ride. You also can stay at the same resort and have down time each evening with family or friends around the pool or in each other’s rooms. Staying Separate can also work out well. If you have a favorite resort and grandma and grandpa have another one, no problem Disney is big place but with avid transportation so groups staying in different location won’t be an issue. Some folks will want the Saving a Value Resorts like POP can offer, others will like the laid back pace of Port Orleans French Quarter, and some may want to wake up with the animals everyday at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, with so many choices letting them choose their own can be a good thing. Also if you are planning to spend most of the days touring together, different resorts can be a little retreat at the end of the day plus a quiet morning to start your busy family/friends filled day!
Each family is different, so will be there touring style. Ask each group what there must see & do’s are and start with that. Some families may have younger children, teens or none at all so separate touring plans can be a must. If knowing what each family wants to see and do in a park then directing them the way they need to go to have the vacation they want, won’t be a problem. Nobody wants to go and follow someone else plan for a fun filled day all day every day, so let everyone know “Separation is the key” this will also help with… um shall we say internal family meltdowns. This also helps with, just because you’re the trip planner you’re not the trip boss. That can be big load to carry and keeping everyone happy can be hard so knowing what they want to do and see and pointing them in that direction, will keep them all smiling.
Some families also may want to do Extra Magic Morning Hours and other may be more into the Extra Magic Evening Hours. Letting each family know where and when these are will help them choose which park on a particular day is right for them. Also if they say “here is what we like, you plan it” and yes this can happen, just eliminate a lot of choices and let them know since they have little ones Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Mornings Hours are this and this they will head there then and all will be right, hopefully…
Plan to all get together here and there, lunch or dinners are good for that. This is a great time to talk about what everyone has done or is getting ready to do. Try to choose a place that will have a variety for everyone or a place that everyone has said they want to go. If nobody has said where they would like to go, choosing a Disney Buffet can be a great way to satisfy even the picky ones in the group. Family Style meals like Ohana, Liberty Tree Tavern or Hoop Dee Doo Review can also be a crowd pleaser.
So with these basics nailed down your ALL ready to head to Walt Disney World and have an amazing vacation…together!
Being a Disney Planner can be fun, just don’t get overwhelmed, make a chart, have a plan and you and your group will have an amazing family and friends Disney Vacation!
Dana is a Disney Addict here at Chip and Company with a passion for planning, just look for her and her charts on Main Street with Disney Popcorn in one hand and highlighter markers in the other~
- Disney to reduce evening park hours for hotel guests (chipandco.com)
- Understanding Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World (tipsfromthedisneydiva.com)
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