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Old 10-17-2012, 08:35 AM   #1
SonomaCountyDad
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40 days until the best or worst vacation ever

Two years ago, after we (me, wife, two year old son) came back from Disney World, we knew we wanted to go again. Well, we're checking into our cabin in 40 days from today...and we won't be alone. We actually have 3 cabins booked. The three of us in one cabin, mother-in-law and father-in-law in the second cabin and my wife's sister and family (husband, two kids) in the third cabin. In total, we have 3 cabins and 9 people. There is actually a fourth cabin booked by relatives of my wife's sister's husband, but I don't know much else about that group.

My wife's sister has twins, a boy and a girl. They actually share the same birthday as our own son. SIL gave birth just a few hours after my DW. Since they live in NH and we live in CA, the cousins don't get to see each other very often. I'm really looking forward to seeing their interactions with each other and with the parks. They will all have turned 4 about a week before the trip, so they are at a good age to take everything in. One of the reasons we decided to stay at FW was because of all the open space outside for everyone to play while the adults relax. It will be our first time at the Fort.

The dining arrangements are a little tricky. I had to book early to have a shot at getting reservations for a group of 9. It's going to be a busy week, and I think I may have overdone it a bit.

Monday - Chef's Table at Victoria and Albert's for wife and I.
Wednesday - Breakfast at Chef Mickey's for 9.
Thursday - Mickey's Backyard BBQ for 9.
Friday - Lunch at Crystal Palace for 9.
Saturday - Dinner at Garden Grill for 3.
Sunday - Lunch at Hollywood & Vine for 3.

I still can't believe that 140 days ago I was up at 4:30am making these dining reservations. Now, we have 40 days to go and although I can't wait to get there, I must admit I'm a little nervous about everything working out with the 3 families.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Your ADRs look great-- the places you chose as a larger group will accommodate you well, and you were smart not to try to squeeze in two sit-down meals with a big crowd on any one day.

The main pitfall with traveling with a extended family is when everyone has different expectations. You may have a good sense of what your nuclear family can handle, but then there's your in-laws' stamina, as well as the rest/activity patterns of the twin cousins. If you are the one making the plan for each day, it may be a good idea to share that ahead of time and be willing to diverge and/or separate and meet back up from time to time in case people need breaks at different times. I'm guessing you're going after Thanksgiving, which is great because crowds will be manageable and all the holiday stuff will be going on. If you all can manage it, getting to parks when they open is still the best way to minimize waits, and then maybe you can have some down time in the afternoons. The cousins may simply want to play together, and if you're not back at FW for a break, most of the parks have play areas where they can have a little more free play time.

With a little flexibility, I think you all will have a great time!
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
shinysparklybubbles
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Last year we went with 9 people. My parents, myself, DH, our almost 3 yr old son, my brother, his wife and their 4 yr old and 14 month old. Some restaurants would not sit us all together, but honestly in the end that was fine because the kids were calmer when separated lol.

I think the biggest thing is to not spend every second together. We learned after the first day unless we had a breakfast ADR it was better to go to the park when you are ready and meet up at lunch or something like that. Nothing is more frustrating than being ready to go and waiting for someone in the morning. That drove me bonkers! That said, we had a wonderful time together and the kids loving having their cousins there! I would vacation with them again in a heartbeat but would still hold my ground on not waiting for people in the morning!
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:19 PM   #4
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Large Groups

We went with a group of 11 2 years ago. Similar to your group, my family (2 kids), my Sis's fam (2 kids), my teenage sis and my parents. They were coming from the West Coast so they were on a little different time schedule than we were.

What worked for our group was to go to the Parks when we were ready and they met us there 1-2 hours later. Then we would leave to give our kids a nap. By then they were usually back and we would all go swimming and/or dinner.

Everybody had a list of reservations so they knew when the sit down dinners were, other than that we just did as we pleased.

The great thing about the big group is built in baby sitters! We each took a night to go to dinner as a couple with no kids. My DH and I went to Downtown to shop and have dinner. I see you already have a ressie with your wife - Enjoy!!
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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Sounds like a fun time! I think as long as everyone realizes that you don't have to be together 24/7 and if someone is tired and wants to stay behind, that is fine. It's great that everyone has their own cabin to retreat to when they do want some quiet time.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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I agree! Don't plan to spend every day together..When you go to the parks, everyone should have a plan of when to meet up.You all paid a lot to do WDW AND EVERYONE PROBABLY has different ideas of what you want to do. Enjoy yourselves and say we'll meet up w/you folks in 3 hrs at such and such a place or back at the cabins!! There is a lot of folks at the parks and trying to stay together just doesn't work!! Been there done that.. The pool at the campground is a good gathering place, or the campfire program or the fireworks down by the marina!! Plan to spend a day at the fort and all be together! Have a cookout together,a bottle of beer or wine, just relax and enjoy each other .Have fun!!!
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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4 is SUCH a great age to be in the magic! I love CP too. My DD had just turned 5 when she was there. I wore a Disney scrub top with the Pooh gang on it and the characters flocked to our table.

I bet you all have a great time. :-)
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:17 PM   #8
SonomaCountyDad
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Everyone's suggestions are great. I have no problem with everyone splitting up for certain things, and I hope that won't be a problem. It's been 18 months since the cousins saw each other, so I would love to have them just spend some time together at the campground. We'll just have to wait and see. I did rent a 6-seater golf cart from Kenny so that all three kids and some combination of 3 adults can drive around. I'm not sure if it will be too early for people to start decorating for Christmas...
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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I think the best thing is that you all have seperate cabins that time away from each other will come in very handy and could be the trip saver, the biggest thing to remember is to go with the flow and plan to have some things change, it's great to have a plan but also be flexible. Your dinning ressies looks great as others have said, a great mix and good spots for the large groups, the kids will love the BBQ plenty of character time.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:48 PM   #10
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I really wouldn't worry too much. Two years ago, I planned a trip for my best friend's boyfriend's extended family. We had three cabins for a week... remarkably similar ADR's to yours (except Chef's Table... i'm SO jealous!).

Honestly, the trip went fantastically despite the fact that the family can be, at times, contentious. It really helped that everyone had their own "space" (cabin) at the end of the day.

Heck, it worked so well that I'm now planning a similar trip (except adding a fourth cabin and two more guests) for Thanksgiving 2013. 13 people!

Lord, we clearly are crazy. And by "we" I mean you and I!

Richard/Tralfie
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:55 PM   #11
SonomaCountyDad
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I think we all have a bit of crazy inside of us, but I like to think it's the good kind of crazy. We actually lucked out on on the Chef's Table. We were on a waiting list and somehow our name came up and we got upgraded. I can't believe it's down to 23 days now. There is so much to do that I haven't had time to even get worried yet.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonomaCountyDad View Post
I think we all have a bit of crazy inside of us, but I like to think it's the good kind of crazy. We actually lucked out on on the Chef's Table. We were on a waiting list and somehow our name came up and we got upgraded. I can't believe it's down to 23 days now. There is so much to do that I haven't had time to even get worried yet.
I think you will see a few people already decorating for the holidays.
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