“This will be so much fun”, “Let’s see if my sisters, brother and parents want to go too.” Planning a group trip can be so exciting and at the same time overwhelming! Whether you are taking your larger than “average” immediate family, friends, or a multi-generational Disney trip I have some great tips that will help in experiencing Disney as a large group.
When planning to go to Disney as a large group I try to go during a discounted or off peak travel time (if you have any flexibility in your travel dates). Going during an off peak travel time can help save money as well as help you go during a less busy time of the year. Some off peak travel times to consider include:
-Mid January – mid February
-First 3 weeks in May
-Late August and September
-First 2 weeks in November and First 2 weeks in December
The downside of going during an off peak travel time is that this may be the time Disney uses to do refurbishment work on some attractions. You can talk with your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist to inquire about any attraction closures during your travel dates.
I prefer to stay on property. I love that I am close to everything and if one of the little ones in our family needs to go back and take a mid-afternoon nap we can do that without any inconvenience. Disney has many resorts that will accommodate families of all sizes. If you have a child the age of 2 and under, a pack and play can be requested, and they are not counted in the max number of individuals in the room.
If staying in multiple rooms, requests can be made for rooms near each other or rooms that are adjoined by a door. Disney does their best to honor requests but they are not guaranteed.
Another benefit to staying on Disney property is that when you fly into Orlando International Airport you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express transportation to and from the airport. For more information on all the benefits of Disney’s on-site transportation and how it would benefit your group click the link.
Disney has different dining plans for nearly every budget and taste. A perk of the dining plan is that you will get a discount on the meals by pre-purchasing the dining plan versus paying for your meal the day of service. I also like how adding the dining plan onto your package gives it an all-inclusive feel.
When traveling as a large group it is important to make your dining reservations as close to the 180 day mark as possible! You may need to be flexible with your seating preference as some restaurants may need to split your group between different tables.
Make sure to show up early to your dining reservations. Since you are dining as a large party you want to give yourself plenty of time to get get where you need to go.
Also, keep in mind that when you are dining with a party of 6 or more gratuity is automatically added onto your bill.
If this is a large group trip to Disney I highly recommend getting the Memory Maker Photo package. More often than not these are once in a lifetime trips and by adding the Memory Maker Photo Package you will have wonderful photos, with everyone in them, to remember your trip! When going in a large group only one person needs to purchase the Memory Maker but everyone in the group can get linked via the My Disney Experience app and use the Memory Maker.
Be Flexible but Organized
When you are traveling with a large group unpredictable things can happen; kids need naps, some in your group won’t like certain rides, others may want to go back to a different park. It is very important to talk before you go about your expectations. Are you expecting that all of you will do everything together? Are you okay with splitting up and meeting for meals or rides that you have a fastpass for? If you are splitting up make sure you are very specific on where and when you are going to meet up. Also, if splitting up make sure everyone has a cell phone and a cell phone portable charger to help in the event you need to change plans.
Your Me and the Mouse travel specialist will be able to help in creating an itinerary that will best benefit your group.
I touched on fastpasses above but make sure to pre-pick out your fastpasses. Fastpasses can be picked out 60 days before you travel if you are staying on Disney property. If you are staying off Disney property they may be chosen 30 days before you go to Disney. You are able to split up fastpasses so if some in your group would prefer to use their fastpass allocation on thrill rides and others would prefer a slower pace that can be done!
My Disney Experience App
Make sure those in your group that have a smart phone all download the My Disney Experience App. This app will link all of your Disney vacation plans into one place. This app will allow you to make and see your dining plans, fastpass choices, maps of the theme parks, wait times for rides, and more! Your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist can help so that you all are linked, and will be able to see everyone’s plans!
So to review it is important to be flexible in your days but also very organized taking advantage of Disney’s fastpasses and My Disney Experience app. Your travel specialist will be a wealth of information with putting all your pieces together for your group’s vacation needs!