Planning a Disney trip can be a daunting task even if you planning a vacation for just your immediate family. The task grows even more daunting if you are planning a vacation for a group or a trip with extended family. This article is going to discuss ways to make the task seem less daunting and some tips to use when you are on vacation which can make your vacation with a group or extended family more enjoyable. These tips can be applied to groups both big and small.
Make One Person the “Point Person” for the Vacation
There needs to be one person within the group that is the “point person” for the vacation. This is the person who makes all the dining reservations, makes all the Fastpass+ reservations, etc. This should be the person who has the most knowledge of the systems. For a big family vacation that I have coming up, I have a lot of Disney knowledge. However, my wife has a better knowledge of My Disney Experience and how to navigate it. As a result, she is the point person for the vacation. As the point person, she went ahead and bought planning guides for the other members of the vacation to help them plan since, for some members, it had been a long time since they last went to Walt Disney World.
Set Deadlines and Ask Group Members to Make Lists
Another way to put this is, you need to advance plan the advance planning dates. The group members need to have their lists for dining reservations and Fastpass+ Reservations in to the “point person” ahead of the 180 day and 60 day respectively. The lists should also be ranked so the “point person” knows which reservation requests are important and which ones are less important. The “point person” also need to remind the group members that these deadlines are coming up. The “point person” should been able to help the group members decide on which requests should be made before others. This is where the Disney knowledge of the “point person” comes in handy. They should know which reservation requests will be harder to get than others.
Manage Expectations Upfront
All members of the group should know before the vacation even starts whether or not the entire group will be doing everything from attractions to meals and everything in between together or if the group will have independent time to explore the parks. The group should know this ahead of time. One of the better ideas is to have one or two group meeting locations during the day. This could be a meal or it could be at an attraction. From these group meets, smaller groups have the option to break off and do their own thing. If everyone is interesting in doing the same thing, then the large group can head to the attraction/meal.
Create a Daily Planner
The “point person” should take the time to create a daily planner/newsletter which gets emailed out to the group members at night for the next day. The newsletter contains all the important for the day from park hours for all the parks, to everyone’s Fastpass+ reservations for the day, as well as the dining reservations for the day. This planner/newsletter gives everyone a preview of the upcoming day as well as what time they need to leave their room. This planner/newsletter is important especially if the group is spread out across different resorts. It’s an easy way to get information out to the various members.
The “point person” doesn’t have to make these newsletter at night for the next day. These newsletters can be made before the vacation even begins and then sent out to the group while on vacation. These newsletters can also help manage expectations for the group since they would lay out the plan for the day and where everyone needs to be and what time they need to be there.
These are some of my tips for how to manage a vacation with extended family or a large group. What are some of your tips? Drop us a comment here, or on the Facebook Group, or on twitter.
Thanks for reading!