Tons of families travel in packs to Walt Disney World – you see them there in their matching “family reunion” shirts, posing in front of the Castle with big cheesy grins – well, the picture may say they’re all smiling and having fun – but the reality is, traveling with a big group can have its challenges. Should you find yourself a part of one of these parties someday, then you’ll want to be sure to follow my tips and tricks for traveling to Disney World in a big group:
Plan Ahead: Research rides and restaurants, read a Disney guidebook….basically just gather all the information you can so you have an idea of what to expect once you arrive at WDW. Once you have some basic knowledge, you can book your dining reservations (learn more about ADR’s here), pick out your fastpass+ selections, and even make an Itinerary! Having all of this done ahead of time will help avoid confusion and wasted Park time for everyone involved
Let EVERYONE Help: I’m not saying you need to let every person weigh in on every meal/ride choice – but even letting each person pick out just one thing can make them feel that much more invested in the trip (especially those family members who might be a little tricky to deal with – like teenagers perhaps?). Make it easy for little ones and let them decide what characters they want to eat with or visit, and let the older kids and adults pick a ride or meal from a short list
Pack Smart: Packing for Disney for 1 can be daunting, but if you’re also in charge of making sure your whole family is packed and prepared – well, that is a task that can easily become overwhelming. If you have no idea where to start, check out my Disney Packing For First Timers article, and then make a list or two (or three, or one for each person…Can never have enough lists!). Don’t forget to take into account what the weather will be like during your trip, too! Once you’ve made your lists – double check and make sure these 5 items are on them (you can thank me later). I recommend you also start packing a week or so before your trip – so you can make sure you have everything and not be in a rush to try and pack it all last minute (planning ahead REALLY comes in handy here, trust me!)
Be Organized: Keeping track of paperwork, plane tickets, passports/ID’s, park tickets, money, cameras, souvenirs…(and on goes the list) for a big group of people can be difficult – so if you are the lucky person in charge of all that, I recommend you make checklists for each person (more lists yay!). Have each person put their important items in a large Ziploc bag (passport, camera, etc) just in case a rainstorm hits (or in case Splash Mountain happens!), and I would also highly recommend implementing The Buddy System with a big group, too. Assign each person a “buddy” (best to put younger ones with an older, more responsible sibling or adult), and make sure they understand that they need to know where their buddy is at all times, and also assign them the task of making sure their “buddy” has packed everything on their checklist for the Parks. Which brings me to….Park Bags!
Park Bags: Each person should have their own Park Bag, and what they might need may vary (medications or items like an Epi Pen or Inhaler, for example), but there are some things that EVERY person should have with them at ALL times: a poncho, a reusable water bottle, snacks, extra Ziploc baggies, sunscreen, a hat, a hoodie/sweatshirt, and a copy of everyone’s phone numbers/names (should they happen to get separated from the group unexpectedly)
Hopefully you can use these tips and tricks to help ensure everyone in your group has an amazing time when you’re visiting Walt Disney World!